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GoPro Hero 4 Session review

evan kypreos



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GoPro Hero 4 Session 19
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  • GoPro Hero 4 Session 11
  • GoPro Hero 4 Session 13
  • GoPro Hero 4 Session 15
  • GoPro Hero 4 Session 17
  • GoPro Hero 4 Session photo
  • Floaty GoPro
  • GoPro Studio
  • GoPro App
  • GoPro Hero 4 Session Comparison
  • GoPro Hero 4 Session Comparison 3
  • GoPro Hero 4 Session Comparison 5


Our Score:



  • Small and tough
  • Water resistant without a case
  • Decent battery life
  • Solid audio capture


  • Video quality not as good as Hero4 Silver
  • Battery not removable

Key Features

  • 8-megapixel sensor
  • 10m/33' water-resistant
  • 170-degree wide-angle lens
  • 1440 at 30fps 4:3 top resolution, 1080p at 60fps, 720p at 100fps
  • Manufacturer: GoPro
  • Review Price: £330.00

What is the GoPro Hero Session?

The Hero Session is GoPro’s smallest action camera ever and has been designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, whether strapped to the front of a ski or attached to the end of a guitar.

When it launched, it cost £330/$400, which was not exactly cheap. In fact it was the same price as the Hero 4 Silver at the time, which is better in a number of ways – the most important being video quality.

The Hero Session has since had a number of price cuts, as well as being renamed as the plain Hero Session (losing the 4). It shouldn't also be confused with the newer and more feature-rich GoPro Hero 5 Session.

Now that it's available for as little as £150 it's a far more tempting prospect as GoPro's entry-level action camera.

GoPro Hero Session – Design

Everyone we’ve handed the GoPro Session to coos, “Look how small it is.” And that’s the nub of it – this is an extremely compact action camera, a full 50% smaller than its Hero4 siblings. That makes a big difference when it comes to mounting a GoPro in an awkward position. In fact GoPro’s Senior Producer, Cort Muller, mentioned strapping the Session between the spokes of a bicycle. You can’t do that with any other GoPro.

Related: Best Action Cameras roundup

GoPro Hero 4 Session 5

But how small is it really? It’s just 35mm each side, which is just half the width, and a little more than half the weight, of a Hero4 Black in its water-resistant housing. And let’s face it, you’ll want your GoPro protected from the wet stuff more often than not. That’s what makes the Hero Session so neat – it’s water-resistant for up to 10m/33ft without the need for a cover.

GoPro Hero 4 Session ComparisonThe GoPro Hero Session compared to the Hero LCD+

There’s another benefit to losing the waterproof case. The small grilles housing the microphones – one on the front and one on the back – aren’t covered. GoPro claims this improves the quality of audio captured and we’re inclined to agree, but we’ll go into more detail on that later.

Losing a thick, tough outer shell does mean the Hero Session is more exposed to the elements, but also less protected from knocks and drops. Once inside its mount that’s not too much of a problem. The mount covers all the corners and edges of the Session, just like a case on your phone does. This protects all but the lens area from the worst damage a drop can cause.

There’s no such safety net when you’re holding the Session in your hand, though.

GoPro Hero 4 Session 15

The good news is that we’ve dropped the Session half a dozen times during testing and it’s shrugged off all the bangs and bashes. GoPro has clad the Session in textured rubber, which makes it both grippy and tough. The lens is protected by a sheet of glass bolted on to the body and we’ve yet to scratch it in the slightest. The bolts are there so you can replace it if the worst should happen – a replacement kit with two lens covers costs £34.99/$39.99.

GoPro Hero 4 Session 7

Physical controls are minimal, as you might expect with such a dinky little device. Core features are covered by one button on the top of the GoPro Session. Next to this is a small LCD screen that lets you know how long you’ve been rolling for, how many pictures you’ve taken, the quality of video you’re shooting, and remaining battery life. There’s another button on the back that’s recessed. This is mainly used for pairing the Session with a smartphone or flagging a video highlight so you can find it easily while you’re editing.

Buy Now: GoPro Hero Session at Amazon.co.uk (£149) | Amazon.com ($199)

Pairing is easy enough, but using this button to flag video highlights depends on a number of different factors. Firstly the button is hard, if not impossible, to access when the Session is mounted. Secondly flagging a section of video while you’re doing a 360 backflip on a BMX over the Grand Canyon – my signature move – isn’t likely to be at the forefront of your mind. Still it’s a useful feature if you’re doing something not too extreme and the Session is in your hand.

GoPro Hero 4 Session 11

And while the vast majority of the time you will use the Hero Session while it’s in some sort of mount, that won’t always be the case. The cube design is neat and cute, but it does mean the Session is hard to decipher by touch alone. Is the lens pointing at what I want it to or the back of my hand? Am I framing my video correctly? Am I shooting video or taking a time lapse? These are all questions you will keep asking yourself when you start using the Session.

Give it a little time, though, and you start to understand what’s going on better. It’s not as easy to use in hand as the HTC Re, or even as the GoPro Hero4 Black that has a more traditional camera shape, but you’ll sooner or later get to grips with it.

Even though it has a totally different shape, the Session is compatible with previous GoPro accessories, although I did find that because it’s a little thicker it doesn’t have as much travel – using the GoPro headstrap, it points down slightly more than other Hero4 cams. There are also a bunch of new accessories GoPro is launching with the Session, such as the Floaty, which, as you might have guessed, helps the action cam float and be easily seen if dropped in water.

Floaty GoPro

GoPro Hero Session – Storage and connectivity

A small flap pops out of the right-hand side of the Session when you flip a small switch. This allows access to a microSD card slot and the Micro USB charging port. That’s a step forward for GoPro – most of the Hero4 range still uses the older Mini USB standard.

GoPro Hero 4 Session 9

That’s it in terms of physical connectivity and features. The Session does also come with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, though. Both are there to help the little action cam connect to your phone, and that brings a host of additional features with it.

The GoHat

July 6, 2015, 3:46 pm

This is perfect timing, we just launched our new GoPro head mount, The GoHat. It's designed for surfing, but great for any action sport. It will stay on your head in any conditions and it's light weight and very comfortable. Check it out at www.thegohat.com and forget about losing your GoPro.


July 6, 2015, 5:04 pm

GoPro have really definitively gone nuts on the prices. 430€ for this new cam, 65€ for the arm strap (for a f*cking STRAP), 85€ for the remote, 45€ for 2 plastic frames. For godsake...

Robert Winters

July 6, 2015, 9:16 pm

Don't forget the extra batteries needed and a charger you can run from a socket. (only USB included) Then there are the underwater extras that some will need.

These things are highly expensive.

Iv'e also viewed comparison photos and video taken by the older and cheaper GoPro Hero4 Silver edition. That camera gives considerably better pics and video. It's hard to make a good argument as to why someone should buy this new version.

Comparison video.. https://www.youtube.com/wat...


July 7, 2015, 7:53 am

Replay XD Prime X is a better camera at US$100 less, more features, custom designed cinema grade lens, 16MP stills and more with a lower profile.

Angela Harris

July 8, 2015, 12:03 am

Check Polaroid Cube just at 99$


July 8, 2015, 12:27 am

Not if you want a pro grade camera for pro use, live streaming etc.


July 30, 2015, 12:01 pm

You can't compare the cube and other cameras to the session , The price point is high but the camera is solid and even thought the image quality isn't on par with the black or silver it's still got a great pic, I bought one to mount on myhat when im fishing ..


March 3, 2016, 4:33 pm

Don't plan on using in the winter on a snowmobile, this camera can't handle the cold temps, it shuts down after a few minutes and wont start again until its been warmed up. I bought this POS specifically for snowmobiling and GoPro tech support is a freaking joke. There was 2 of us that had them, we both had the same exact problems, this is a problem with this GoPro Session model...I have friends that have older models that work just fine.
If you are planning on using in the winter, the GoPro Session is NOT the camera for you. If you have problems, I hope you're able to figure them out on your own because Gopro support is no help at all.


March 4, 2016, 3:02 pm

I finally got an email back from GoPro Teck support to confirm my claim on previous post, this is a copy and paste of it:

Hi Allen,

Thanks for the quick response!

The cold weather is making the camera shutdown, and we
don't have have a specific temperature it needs to remain at.

We hope that this information helps you.


Geoffrey M..

GoPro Support




April 13, 2016, 1:26 pm

Great review! All points are still valid except one major change since this review, the session has now dropped to $200 and to me that makes this camera a great buy over the compared models.

Ben Hollingsworth

July 21, 2016, 4:38 pm

Assuming you can find a way to mount it, is it possible to operate the Session in time-lapse mode while plugged into A/C with the door open? Does it automatically turn off when the access door opens? 3.5 hours isn't a very long time-lapse session. I'm looking for a way to shoot a time-lapse of the construction of a barn, so it'll need to be able to record all day long. I plan to mount it under the eaves of my house, so A/C and direct rain protection aren't a problem.

Steve Blomquist

August 11, 2016, 7:31 pm

Plug it in with a USB charger and you can go as long as the SD card has space!

Tablet Express

September 5, 2016, 6:30 am

GoPro is really good, but its price is very expensive,maybe you can find some cheap but excellent camera to replace it.,AKASO EK7000 4K wifi sports action camera,good price and good quality.Really worth looking at it!

Marlowe Sharp

October 9, 2016, 6:38 pm

HI Allen. When you say it can't be used in winter. What temps are we talking about here? Freezing? -5C? Just wondering. I'm looking at it or the Ricoh for hunting season and for doing my beekeeping videos next year. Thanks.

Marlowe Sharp

October 9, 2016, 6:40 pm

Does it come with a mount for a peaked hat or is it a head band type mount?

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