GoPro Hero3: Black Edition Camcorder Review$399.99
If you're looking to upgrade from your HD Hero2, the Hero3: Black Edition should give you plenty to be excited about. The enhanced video performance means your videos will be sharper, have more detail in low light, and moving subjects will look smoother than anything you shot with the Hero2. In addition to being both smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the Hero3's built-in WiFi functions make it an easier camcorder to us, especially if you have a smartphone.
Unfortunately, the smaller size of the Hero3 also means GoPro had to get rid of a few connectivity options. There's no mic jack on the Hero3, which is something we loved having on the Hero2, and the Hero3 also makes use of MicroSD cards rather than regular SD memory cards. But the superior performance on the Hero3: Black Edition should be enough to keep peoples frustrations about the lack of a mic jack at bay. Besides, you can always get a USB-microphone conversion cable from GoPro that works with the camcorder.
Even with its otherworldly specs (4K recording, multiple frame rates, 12-megapixel photos), the Hero3: Black Edition does have some stiff competition coming from Contour. The Contour+2 has the same $399 price tag as the Black Edition of the Hero3, and it makes for a worthy opponent thanks to a few cool features that are unique to the adventure-cam market. With its hard shell and water-resistant body, the Contour+2 is a more durable camcorder than the Hero3, and the tripod mount on the base of the camcorder itself makes it much more versatile when it comes to mounting. Contour's awesome rotatable lens design and built-in laser sight also help make mounting the camcorder a far easier process.
The Contour+2 also has more manual controls than the Hero3, with options for adjusting exposure, contrast, and sharpness via the camcorder's mobile app. The Contour+2 is certainly a bulkier camcorder than the Hero3, and it has far less video and photo functions (you can't shoot 4K on any of Contour's products), but the camcorder still put up good numbers in our video tests.
The Hero3: Black Edition had an unquestionable edge when it came to video quality, particularly in low light, and it's excellent performance alone makes it the best adventure cam we've reviewed so far. But the Contour+2 has just enough flair and unique capabilities for it to be an attractive alternative.