Much like Band-Aids or Kleenex, GoPro makes products so good that their brand name is synonymous with the product itself. GoPro’s portable video cameras set the standard for action cameras: they’re durable enough to withstand just about any outdoor activity, they’re easy enough for anyone to use, and they include features typically reserved for far pricier cameras.
Although not necessarily the most important component, a defining element of a GoPro is its lens. Rather than using a standard lens, GoPros — like many other action cams — use an extremely wide lens. What this does is increase the amount of scenery you capture in the frame, making it easy to frame your shot. Mount it to your handlebars or the side of your helmet, and you can rest assured that it sees just about anything that happens in front of you.

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Also note that their newest line of cameras, the HERO3+ (plus) are only smaller in size and lighter in weight. As of now, the Black Edition for both Hero3 and Hero3+ are only a few dollars different in terms of price, so go for the plus! And now that the HERO4's are out, check the prices of previous versions as they'll be dropping slowly. Unless of course you want the newest of the new, check out their HERO4!

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GoPro is leading the charge toward consumer-created virtual reality (VR) environments, and their first VR-ready cameras make it happen with what they’ve dubbed “spherical capture,” which is pretty accurate, given the 360° field of view they record. VR is still a nascent technology, but it’s definitely the future. If you’re an early adopter, you’ll want to pick up a GoPro with spherical capture. 

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Though the Hero 8 Black has all the latest and greatest features, in the end it's not a huge leap forward from what you'll get with the less expensive Hero 7 Black. It's last year's model and has almost all the same features -- including HyperSmooth image stabilization, the killer feature for this model. There are a handful of other differences like a better user interface, more shooting options such as 1080p at 240 frames per second, vertical video and livestreaming straight from the camera. That said, the differences between the Hero 7 Black and discontinued Hero 6 Black aren't that great either, so you might want to keep an eye out for deals on that as the holidays approach. Read our GoPro Hero7 Black preview.

All GoPro cameras cover the basics of action cameras: they’re portable, waterproof, and rugged enough to tag along on any outdoor adventure, and they also take high-quality video. Beyond that, however, there are some big differences across the product line, including some features that are worth paying extra for. Here are the GoPro camera capabilities to consider keeping on your short list. 

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Some GoPro cameras have user-replaceable batteries, and some don’t. If you need a camera for camping or several days away from home, you’re going to want the former. If you buy a GoPro camera with a swappable battery, you can keep extras with you, so you’ll never miss filming the perfect moment. On the other hand, if you’ll only be using your camera for an hour or two at a time, you can save money by getting a model without a user-replaceable battery.

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