Center Aligned Post layout
While the GoPro Hero5 has many of the same specs as the previous generation when it comes to video and photo resolutions, there are some new features in it. Individually no single feature is a massive leap forward in the action cam industry, but collectively they represent a notable and substantial difference over the Hero4 Black. This section is mostly focused on these new features, while the remaining sections take a deeper dive into the core functions of the camera, as well as touch on these new features in more detail.
Fully Waterproofed: Probably the most notable item is that the GoPro Hero5 Black is now fully waterproofed without the need for a separate case, just like the GoPro Hero4 Session was. In fact, it has nearly the same rubberish material on the outside.
What is of more concern though is the USB-C/HDMI port door. This door pops off for placement into the Karma gimbal/drone, as well as just for charging:
Now this won’t easily pop-off while it’s locked in place, as you have to press a button down to open it (plus slide it). But, the trick will be not losing it after charging your camera or while the charging cable is attached. GoPro does sell the door as an accessory (albeit over priced), and I know I plan to buy an extra door and then seal it up somewhere special in my backpack/suitcase for traveling. Because I guarantee you that I’ll lose it at the most inopportune time on a trip to some beautiful watery location and be unable to take pictures of The Girl underwater in a bikini without the door.
Speaking of doors that we don’t want opening up, we’ve also got the battery compartment down below. That holds both the battery as well as the micro-SD card:
The Hero5 takes the touch display found on the Hero4 Silver and advanced it forward. As you might remember, the Hero4 Black actually lacked a display. This was one reason that the Hero4 Silver was actually a more day to day favorite of mine than the Hero4 Black was.
However, the touch display acts and feels significantly different here than the Hero4 Silver.
The entire menu system has been redone to make it more intuitive to find settings. Along the bottom it shows you the basics for that mode. For example, in the video mode it shows you resolution and frame rate.
You can tap on it to change these specs. Only the available frame rates will display for a given resolution. In theory this looks beautiful, but in practice it’s actually more cumbersome than I expected. I think this is because there’s just too many resolutions too closely together for a normal sized finger to hit the right resolution on that small display.
On the right side of the display you can enable various advanced settings for that mode, such as ProTune, Image Stabilization, and Audio Control:
From the top you’ll be able to access general camera settings like WiFi connectivity and voice control. And from the left you can access the playback pages to review photos and videos you’ve taken. I cover all this in-detail in this video below:
Speaking of a wet display, in general I found it doesn’t work well when wet either. Especially if your fingers are wet, it all goes to crap and fails to respond.
As I said earlier, in theory the new GoPro Hero5 Black touch display layout looks good, but in practice it needs a bit more refinement. I found that the vast majority of the time while trying to change modes the slight display lag combined with tiny option selectors meant many missed attempts at configuring things.
Like the VIRB Ultra 30, GoPro too introduced Voice Control this fall. This means you can simply tell your camera “GoPro, Start Recording”, and it’ll indeed start recording. Same goes for photos, and even changing modes. In fact, you can actually swear an expletive that rhymes with ‘hit’ and it’ll mark a highlight there. It’s cool.
You can turn this option on/off, and it’s available in seven languages. Also, if you have the Remo accessory remote, that’ll accept voice commands too in the event the camera is out of range of your voice.
But…it’s not perfect. I found that it works most of the time when standing still. But once you start moving I found both it and the Hero5 Session actually perform worse than Garmin does. At about 10MPH (15KPH) I find the ability to give commands pretty much dies no matter which way the camera is facing. Whereas with Garmin it’ll continue working above that speed as long as the camera is facing you.
So you’ll see that GoPro has more functionality (commands) than Garmin does. And earlier leaked manuals in August even showed GoPro being able to learn new commands you assign it (that hasn’t happened yet…but that’d be super cool). But in usage, the Garmin actually works better when you start moving, and there’s fewer failed commands.
GPS & Sensors:
The Hero5 Black contains GPS. But that GPS won’t do anything for you. See, the GPS on the Hero5 Black is merely used to geotag the location of your photos and videos. Essentially it does what Facebook and Instagram do with your phone by saying ‘You were here’ when you took this photo. It is NOT used to record your GPS tracks while you bike/ski/surf/etc… Nor is it used to display your speed on videos. Basically, it’s not used for much of anything except saying “This was taken in NYC”.
This is obviously a huge disappointment for sports fans that wanted to overlay data like speed or distance onto their videos and have that all be done natively within the GoPro suite. After all, GoPro bought Dashware, the leading app for overlaying such metrics. Yet, tough beans for any usage there at this point. The GPS tagging icon is shown at the top left of the display: