The GoPro is the ideal and ‘must have’ action camera who has recently realised their forth generation of GoPro’s with three new models being introduced, One of these models is the GoPro Hero 4 Session which is the smallest, lightest and most compact GoPro yet. Which is also the first GoPro to be waterproof up to 10m without the need of separate housing.
The Smaller GoPro shape that is half the size of the Hero 4 Black and 40% lighter makes the Camera much more portable and lightweight to carry around than any other previous GoPro camera, this also makes mounting it a lot easy with it being far less visible.
The GoPro Hero 4 Session only features one button which turns the camera on and instantly starts recording automatically, pushing the button again stops capturing footage and turns the camera straight back off again. The camera is only ever turned on when recording footage which helps maintain the battery life of the camera.
Just like previous GoPro models the GoPro Hero 4 session produces high quality professional photos at 8MP and 1080p60 videos both underwater and on land.
One of the main things that makes GoPro action cameras stand out from other action cameras is the large variety of different accessories, mounts and housings that are compatible with the camera. With over 60 different accessorises available to buy for the GoPro there is defiantly something to suit everyone’s needs including head mounts, helmet mounts, surfboard mounts, underwater housing and shockproof housing. There are more accessories available for the GoPro than any other camera on the market.
In comparison to the other two GoPros in the fourth generation range the GoPro Hero 4 session is the cheapest, most affordable model.
GoPro Hero 4 Session Specs
Wireless Connection: Wireless LAN, Bluetooth
Optical Sensor Type: CMOS 1/2.3in
Video Resolution: 1920 x 1440
Photo Resolution: 8MP
Image Recording Format: JPEG
AV Interfaces: Composite video/audio
Widescreen Video Capture: Yes
Connections: USB 2.0
Connectivity Features: Wifi, Bluetooth
Battery: 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery – 1030 mAh ( included )
Battery Life: 2 hours (approx)
GoPro Hero 4 Session Size and Design
The GoPro Hero 4 Session is the smallest, lightest and most compact GoPro yet, with dimensions of just 1.5 x 1.43 x 1.5 inches and the camera weighing only 0.16 pounds. In comparison to the other Hero 4 models the GoPro Hero 4 Session is 50% smaller which makes a big difference. When testing the camera I found the smaller design to be a great edition to the GoPro as its certainly a lot lighter and less visible than any previous generation of GoPro. When testing the Hero 4 Session in water I could barley feel that the GoPro was attached and the footage turned out to be a lot smoother and sharper than underwater footage I had taken on previous GoPro models.
The Hero 4 Session is made out of a rough rubber like material and Just like the other GoPro Cameras it is tough and shockproof therefore it shouldn’t break or be damaged if it gets chucked around or dropped. The camera is also waterproof however unlike the other GoPro cameras you don’t need housing to take it in the water, the Hero 4 session is waterproof up to 10 metres without any case or housing, however you can purchase waterproof housing for the camera which will enable you to take underwater footage at greater depths.
Physical controls and buttons on the device are limited, however considering the size of the camera this isn’t surprising. The camera features one button on the top of the device which when pressed turns on the camera and starts recording footage automatically, the same button is used to stop recording and turn of the camera.
Next to this button is a small LCD screen which tells you how many pictures you have taken, the battery life you have left, the quality of video that you are recording and how long you have been recording for. There is also a small button on the back of the camera which is used for pairing the camera with a smartphone so you can view your footage. This button can also be used to flag a video or photo so that when editing you can locate it easily. However this button is almost impossible to find if you have the camera mounted. On the side of the camera there is a Micro-SD Card slot and Micro USB Port which is well sealed and protected from getting wet when using the camera underwater.
The Hero 4 Session also has two microphones for improved audio quality, one on the front of the camera and one on the back of the camera, The camera will automatically prioritise one microphone over the other depending on what you are taking footage off.
GoPro Hero 4 Session Video Quality
The Video quality on the Hero 4 Session is good however in comparison to the two other GoPro Hero 4 models the video quality isn’t outstanding, The point of the GoPro Hero 4 Session is to sacrifice lower video and photo quality for the benefits of having a smaller, lighter and more portable GoPro Camera.
The GoPro session has a 1440 resolution with 4:3 aspect ratio being the highest resolution that the camera offers. Unfortunately unlike the other GoPros in the fourth generation the session doesn’t come with 4K video and only shoots in 8MP unlike the other Hero 4 GoPros which shoot in 12MP.
As like the previous GoPro’s the Hero 4 Session has various different shooting modes and settings including super view at 30 or 48 fps, 1440p at 30fps, photos at 8MP with 10fps bursts and WVGA at 120fps. When testing the video quality of the Hero 4 session I found that it produced high quality, sharp and detailed footage in all of these settings, therefore the lack of 4K doesn’t appear to be a major con of the camera’s footage.
The Hero 4 Session also features a wide angled lens at 170 degrees which enabled you to get a fish eye effect on your photos and videos, this setting can be fun to experiment and mess around with however in order to get quality footage it shouldn’t be overused.
GoPro Hero 4 Session Audio Quality
The audio quality of the GoPro Hero 4 Session is impressive, especially in comparison to the other two Hero 4 GoPro Models. The GoPro Hero 4 session features two microphones, one on the front of the camera and one on the rear of the camera, this helps to capture all the audio that is happening around you.
Compared to the other GoPro’s there is no thick plastic housing covering both these mics which also benefits the quality of audio that the GoPro Hero 4 Session produces, the audio comes out crisp and clear and cuts out most of the background noise which isn’t always the case with audio from other GoPro models.
As the GoPro Hero 4 Session doesn’t require housing to be used underwater it can also capture the same quality of audio when being used in the water as it can when being used on land. This isn’t the case with the other Hero 4 GoPro models as they require thick plastic casing in order to record footage under the water which has a negative effect on the quality of audio that it produces.
In order to capture the same quality of audio that the Hero 4 Session can capture on another GoPro you will need to either buy a skeleton backdoor cover or use the GoPro out of its casing, although this isn’t possible if you are recording underwater footage.
GoPro Hero 4 Session Connectivity and Storage
As like previous GoPro generations you will need a Micro SD memory card in order for the camera to work and store footage, this isn’t included with the camera however these can be picked up pretty cheap. There is a switch on on the right hand side of the Hero 4 session which will pop out when clicked, this has a micro SD card slow as well as a Micro USB charging port which is where you can plug the charger in.
In terms of connectivity the GoPro Hero session has got built in Wifi and Bluetooth which can be used to connect the camera up to your phone and the GoPro app which will allow you to easily view your footage.
Connecting up your Hero session to your smartphone using Wifi or bluetooth is really easy, all you need to do is press the little button on the back of the GoPro, you will then be promoted on the screen to pair with a smartphone device, on your phone you will then need to go to your Wifi settings and find your GoPro session and pair with it, you will be asked to type in a pin on your phone and then you will be connected.
GoPro Hero 4 Silver Mounting Options
The GoPro is a well known brand of action camera which is more popular than any other action camera, one of the biggest reasons for this is the large amounts of accessories, mounts and housings that are compatible with GoPro cameras, which makes it easy to record almost anything using a GoPro camera.
There are mounts and accessories for recording footage in all different environments and accessories specifically for recording various different extreme sports such as surfboard mounts and bicycle helmet mounts.
The GoPro Hero 4 Session includes all of the basic accessories that you will need to get started with your GoPro including the frames, curved and flat adhesive mounts, ball joint for mounting buckle, hardware and mounting buckles and the USB charging cable. However if you are looking to improve the potential of your GoPro camera than the possibilities of accessories and mounts are endless with over 60 different mounts and accessories which you can buy.
If you’re looking to experiment with your GoPro and are undecided on which mounts and accessories to buy then check out our top 10 recommended accessories for some ideas.
GoPro Hero 4 Session Editing Software
GoPro has its very own editing software called ‘GoPro Studio’ which enables you to create movies with your shots and edit your footage.
The software it pretty self explanatory and easy to use, it comes with various templates which enables you to use your footage to create high quality videos without having to put too much effort in, the software even includes some music tracks which you can add to the background of your videos.
In order to use the GoPro software you will need a decent computer as it will take a long time to import the footage on a slow older computer, if you have never edited photos or footage before then it may take you a few attempts to get used to it however the software is really simple to use therefore you should pick it up pretty quickly.
With the GoPro editing software there are various different tools and options allowing you to edit your footage in various different ways, you can reduce barrel and fish eye distortion, create time lapse videos by simply dragging footage into one image, add slow motion effects to your footage, trim and shorten your video clips and so much more.
GoPro Hero 4 Session Battery Life
In general the battery life of GoPros aren’t great however I found the battery life of the Hero 4 session to be pretty impressive, at least compared to previous GoPro generations. The reason why the Battery life of the session is so excellent is because as soon as the session isn’t recording footage it automatically is switched off, which actually makes quite a difference.
Its a good thing that the battery life of the session is impressive compared to the previous generations as unlike the previous generations the battery of the session is built in therefore you can’t swap it over with a fully charged battery, this does mean that as soon as the battery runs out you will need to plug in the GoPro and charge it up again before you can take more footage, when with the previous models you could just simply take the battery out and replace it with a fully charged battery.
You do have to be careful regarding the temperatures that you use your GoPro in as the batteries tend to perform a lot worse in colder temperatures therefore if you are planning to use your Hero 4 Session often in freezing cold environments you should be aware that the battery life of your GoPro will decrease a lot, if you are planning to do this often you may want to consider one of the other Hero 4 models as with the Hero 4 Session you cannot replace the batteries as they run out therefore as soon as the battery is dead you will need to recharge the GoPro before being able to take anymore footage.
When I tested the Hero 4 Session it managed to last approximately one hour, 10 minutes when recording in 1080p 30fps in conditions of -7 degrees Celsius.
Price of the GoPro Hero 4 Session
At the time of writing this review the price of the GoPro Hero 4 Session is $239.99, You can check the exact price of the GoPro Hero 4 Session below.
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GoPro Hero 4 Session Pros
- Produces High Quality Video and Photos
- Good Battery Life
- Small, Lightweight and Compact
- LCD Screen
- High Quality Audio with the Camera Featuring 2 Microphones
- Waterproof without Additional Housing
- Free Editing Software and App
GoPro Hero 4 Session Cons
- No 4K Capture
- No Image Stablization
- Need to connect Camera to Phone or Laptop to View Footage
- Lack of Buttons
The GoPro HERO4 Session is the smallest and lightest GoPro to date, making the camera even more portable. Although the Camera is small and doesn’t have many physical buttons, the Hero 4 Session is the most user friendly GoPro. The camera can produce high quality videos and photos, and with the large variety of different mounts available and how small the camera is the Hero 4 Session can be mounted anywhere.
In comparison to the other two GoPro’s in the Hero 4 generation the GoPro Hero 4 Session is the most affordable GoPro and is defiantly worth the price of it.
The Hero 4 Black and the Hero 4 Silver do feature slightly higher quality footage as well as a screen where you can playback the footage you have taken, however if you are not too worried about having the top of the range highest quality camera then the Hero 4 Session is defiantly a great option for you.