GoPro’s tiny, mountable cameras, which have fueled an entire industry of extreme videos, make it easy for rowdy, adventuresome types to film their antics and still have their hands free. Today, GoPro announced the HERO4 Session, a cube-shaped camera that’s smaller than any cameras the company has previously released.
The Session has dropped the recognizable rectangular shape of previous GoPro models. According to the company, the one-inch cube camera is 50% smaller than the HERO4 Silver, though there’s no word on whether it will make your surfing videos 50% more extreme.
Unlike its bulkier older brothers, the Session doesn’t require a plastic box to be taken out into the water. It’s also a bit simpler to operate: The camera is controlled entirely by a companion iPhone app, or a remote that’s sold separately. The only buttons on the camera turn on recording and WiFi.
But the sticking point for consumers is still going to be the price. It’s $399, which is the same price as the HERO4 Silver, which, as the Verge points out, can shoot at a higher resolution and can take higher resolution still photos as well. On top of that, the Session isn’t the only cube-shaped action camera on the market. Polaroid’s CUBE camera costs $99 and can also shoot 1080p video, though its battery life isn’t quite as long. That said, if you have already bought into the GoPro world, then the price won’t come as much of a shock, and you’ll be able to use all the accessories and mounts from other GoPro cameras with the Session.
GoPro also announced that the Session will record in its proprietary display size, SuperView. Like the HEROs before it, the Session will be able to stretch recordings to give a wider perspective on your extreme video footage. The company recently announced that it had made a 16-camera mount for its HERO4 cameras that Google will be exclusively using (for now) to create immersive 360-degree virtual reality videos.
While we’re still a ways away from having consumer devices that can easily shoot VR video, carrying around 16 Session cameras seems like it would be a lot less unwieldy than doing the same with 16 HERO4 cameras. Perhaps soon, GoPro—which is positioning itself to become a media company, as well as a hardware company—will be at the forefront of the virtual reality video recording industry, which may be coming sooner than we think.