GoPro has a new action camera out, called the Hero 4 Session. It's the smallest GoPro yet by a massive margin, being 50 per cent smaller and 40 per cent lighter than any other variant of the Hero 4, it's waterproof without an additional case, and you can switch it on and start recording with a single button.
The Hero 4 Session's cuboid form factor is a big departure for GoPro -- previous Hero cameras have all been more elongated with offset lenses. That does break compatibility with all of GoPro's existing Hero 4 cases, obviously, but that's not a big deal when every Hero 4 Session is waterproof out of the box to a depth of 10m (33 feet). Accordingly, GoPro is also launching a couple of mounting cases -- a low-profile mount case, and a regular skeleton -- that will fit a Hero 4 Session.
Sitting in the middle of the current GoPro line-up -- that is, above the entry-level Hero and Hero+LCD -- the Hero 4 Session records in 16:9 1080p60, and 720p100 resolutions and frame rates, as well as various 4:3 formats like 1440p30 and 960p50 and the 4:3-squishing Superview. With a native 4:3 sensor inside, the Hero 4 actually auto-orients its video recording whether it's the right way up, upside down or otherwise on its side, which massively boosts the range of mounting options and different uses. Like more expensive GoPros the Session has ProTune recording, which is a flat colour profile better suited to post-processing video recording.
More revolutionary than its square design is the Hero 4 Session's single button recording mode. There's only one button, which can either be tapped once to power on the camera and start recording video, or held to power on the camera and start capturing interval photos for a time-lapse video. Since it's Wi-Fi compatible like other recent GoPro cameras, the Hero 4 Session can be controlled from your smartphone or tablet, or from one of GoPro's optional Smart Remotes, which you'll also need to use to dive deeper into settings menus and make more complicated adjustments to recording rates and advanced features.
A two-hour battery is sealed inside the Hero 4 Session's chassis, and charging is finally done over microUSB rather than the Hero 4's mini USB. Being waterproof means that the Session has to have an equally water-resistant microphone setup, but GoPro has actually gone one better -- the Session has a mic both on the front and the back, between which it'll dynamically switch based on the amount of wind noise that one is getting. When it drops in Australia come the 12th of July, the GoPro Hero 4 Session will set you back $579.95, and you should be able to buy a bunch of new mounts around that time too -- you can see them throughout this post. We'll have a full review of the Hero 4 Session in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned. [GoPro]