A Statista report estimated that 1.2 trillion digital images were snapped in 2017. That’s twice as much as 2013. Mobile shooters accounted for the bulk of these images and have almost pushed the conventional point and shoot camera out of the window. But even the most rugged smartphone cam hasn’t yet quite been able to match the action abilities of the GoPro. It’s the 2010s, the times of YOLO and ticking off adventures on your bucket lists. The GoPro has been the quintessential companion for all those outdoorsy folks and helps them create endearing digital memories. This year’s GoPro flagship adds a couple of key enhancements including better ‘social skills’.

GoPro launched a trio of devices with the HERO7 badge. It’s the HERO7 Black, the top-end device of this pack that we put under the scanner. True to its name this one’s all black, and that’s what sets it apart from its predecessors in the looks department. First things first. One of the key differentiators that sets the HERO7 black apart is its Live Stream feature. It’s one thing that will make this device more appealing to compulsive Instagrammers and Facebook live fans who would love to share their exploits in real time. Live Stream works via a companion app that hooks up with your smartphone. Of course, not every zip lining circuit or dive site has the best mobile coverage and there’s no hiding place for those moments when you look silly or edgy on cam.

GoPro HERO7 Black

Aside from the new black hue, the HERO7 doesn’t look entirely different from the GoPros of 2016 and 2017. You will find the rubberised exteriors familiar and comfortable. It’s the same for the start/stop video recording buttons on the side and the slightly inaccessible battery and SD card (a necessary precaution for weather-proofing) slots. The two-inch touch screen is all you need to compose your videos and helps in keeping things compact. Some of the other changes under the hood include an improved microphone. This elevates performance in two key areas – better audio recording capabilities and reduced vibration sounds. It’s also comforting to note that the HERO7 is waterproof up to ten metres. And unlike your iPhone or Note device, you wouldn’t hesitate to dunk this into the water.

GoPro HERO7 Black

GoPro reimagines its video suite for the HERO7 Black. There’s the TimeWarp feature that GoPro compares to a magic carpet ride. This clever tweak is essentially a super-stabilised time-lapse video (up to 30x speed). You may not need GoPro’s Karma Grip (one of its most popular accessories) thanks to the new HyperSmooth Stabilization feature. This mimics a gimbal-like stabilization without the gimbal. The new built-in electronic image stabilisation (and not optical image stabilisation or OIS) ensures blur-free videos. We dig the Social media-friendly ‘short clip’ mode that curtails videos to 15 or 30 seconds. GoPro claims a battery life of about an hour and 45 minutes for each charging cycle. That’s a fair claim based on our usage patterns. The HERO7 uses a USB type-C charger just like its predecessor.

So, is the HERO7 Black for you? That might well boil down to your lifestyle and usage patterns. If you’re a compulsive action camera user or a GoPro fanboy, you will enjoy some of the key enhancements the HERO7 brings with it. But this equally a great option for action camera newbies looking at their first brush with a GoPro device or any action camera.

The GoPro HERO7 Black costs Rs 37,000. The GoPro HERO7 2018 line-up also includes the HERO7 Silver (Rs 28,000) and the HERO7 White (Rs 19,000)

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