GoPro unveils its new action cam lineup with the Hero 3, which packs 4K and Wi-Fi into its tiny new body

gopro hero 3 blackEveryone’s favorite action cam company has revealed its latest endure-anything devices, the GoPro Hero 3 lineup. The latest cameras aren’t just your average next-gen improvements over the predecessors, either: GoPro has added a slew of new features that completely evolve the Hero.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Hero 3 is that it’s much smaller – 30 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter, in fact. The camera comes in three different models, the white edition, the silver edition, and the black edition. Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences in each, courtesy of GoPro:

gopro hero 3 spec breakdown

Yes, you’re reading that correctly: The black edition Hero 3 (which retailers for $400) is capable of capturing video at up to 4K resolution (provided you drop frame rate to 12 fps, but hey – sacrifices). The question you have to ask, of course, is whether that’s useful at all. Shooting at this resolution means, in addition to a low frame rate (hello, choppy video), your camera is creating massive files. Jury’s still out on 4K though, and how would we even view these videos? There are no 4K TVs available yet (there shortly will be one for sale… at the low, low price of $25,000!).

To GoPro’s credit, if 4K adoption does pick up, the Hero 3 got there first and offers the technology at a relatively reasonable price. Honestly, 4K’s future seems even iffier than consumer level 3D’s, but props are deserved for taking these types of risks in tech.

Now that we’ve addressed the 4K-sized elephant in the room, on to what else the top-of-the-line Hero 3 has to offer. The black edition also includes a 12 megapixel sensors with a 30 fps bust mode, built-in Wi-Fi , has preferred low-light performance, a better processor that means better frame rate options at lower resolutions, and works with the GoPro app. All three versions include Wi-Fi, but the white and silver editions obviously don’t have the image performance the black Hero 3 does — but they also only retail for $200 and $300, respectively.

This is all an ambitious, adventurous new lineup from GoPro – which is certainly sticking to its action cam roots with the Hero 3. And while you could argue the 4K capability was thrown in for the sake of a spec and nothing else, it doesn’t seem like any other brands are even within an arm’s reach of challenging what GoPro is doing, so more power to ‘em.