GoPro HERO3: Black Edition

(7 customer reviews)


Last updated on 18:07 Details
  • Versatile shooting modes for pros
  • More detail in brightly-lit areas
  • Wi-Fi built in
  • Lighter and smaller
  • Reduced fogging in the housing
Product Dimensions

1.2 x 2.3 x 1.6 inches

Item Weight

2.61 ounces

Item model number



Lithium Metal batteries required. (included)

Is Discontinued By Manufacturer


Date First Available

October 22, 2012


Bike Electronics & Lighting


GoPro Camera

7 reviews for GoPro HERO3: Black Edition

  1. Dave South UK

    Keeping in mind I purchased a second-hand GoPro 3. The packaging was fine, came with a new battery (not genuine I don’t think) and a few attachments. Usually, I purchase the ApeMan series of cameras. Far cheaper at £30 each and excellent quality. However, I also record cockpit radio chatter. Having been using direct to dictaphone for several years it was becoming a complete pain to align the sound and video in editing. I knew there were several series of GoPro that allows you to record radio via an adapter straight to the camera. So I purchased a second hand one to give it a bash.

    + Fantastic quality video, even with dark cockpit lighting and very bright outside lighting.
    + Not too complicated to operate.
    + Sound works excellent with a non-genuine adapter cable (solved my problem).
    + Small and light.

    – It froze the first time I used it which was … awkward. Not what I expected of this make.
    – Battery life is terrible compared to ApeMan. Lasted just under 60 minutes, whereas ApeMan has lasted me over 150 mins in the past at the same quality settings.
    – Attachments can be a pain – they don’t fit the same as the ApeMan ones.
    – Has a lot of features I don’t need!

  2. Jay R.

    Before the HD Hero3 I’ve already owned the original Hero camera, the HD Hero 2 camera, and now the third generation HD Hero3 in Silver Edition. I’ve used mine for almost a year now, here’s my updated review.

    Smaller Camera
    Compared to the Hero2, the Hero3 is about half the thickness of the Hero2, but more importantly the Hero3 is noticeably lighter, both in hand and when mounted to things like helmets or handlebars. The reduced body thickness also makes the camera easier to position and get to the perfect angle – especially when using the Chesty harness mount or the handlebar mount.

    New Case
    The new sealed splash-proof case is obviously thinner like the camera, but features the same spring-loaded buttons just like the Hero2 has. If you have a large selection of Hero2 mounts and accessories, they will still work with the Hero3, including the LCD BacPac (though the newer version is in black to match the Hero3 color scheme), the Battery BacPac (newer version gets the same color treatment) and the redundant WiFi BacPac (which you won’t need since WiFi is built into the Hero3). The new lens cover is rectangular, and the replaceable lens piece is now recessed behind the frame – much better than the bubble-eye Hero2 lens piece that was easily prone to getting scuffed or scratched because it stuck out. One little “improvement” that is actually a little annoying is the new 2-step release clamp at the top. Whereas with the Hero2 case you had to tug at a tight-fitting latch, on the Hero3 case you have to slide a small tab with one hand, then you can lift the latch open with the other hand. One good thing about it though is that it’s nowhere near as tight to release as the old version; I guess you can say that the Hero3 case latch is more “finger-friendly” since the release tension not as stiff as HD Hero2

    Control-wise the redesigned “Mode” and “Set” buttons have a softer touch and are much easier to use (even with full-finger MTB gloves) but the inset WiFi button sits flush and is very small. The on-screen menus are the same as the Hero2, and now the Hero3 features both red “recoding” LED lights (4 total like the Hero2) and new blue “WiFi” LED lights to make it easy to know at a glance if you’re recording and if the WiFi mode is on or not.

    As for ports, there are three located underneath a small removable door: a mini-USB for charging and data transfer, a micro HDMI for video hookup, and the spring-loaded slot for the microSD memory card. A short USB to mini-USB cable is included in the box, but that’s about it. The 3.5mm external mic and video output plugs are no longer present (both replaced by the micro HDMI). By the way, the separate port cover is cumbersome, as it isn’t attached to the camera case and can be easily misplaced or lost. If you’re using the fully sealed case you can just leave the cover off and be done with it. I’m glad they stuck with a standard, “easy to find a cable at any electronics store” mini-USB port for charging instead of some proprietary port. I do wish that they included some small AC-to-USB charger in the box, but you can buy these easily on Amazon (I use an extra iPhone 5w AC cube charger).

    Built-in WiFi
    With the built-in WiFi you can use the optional GoPro Wi-Fi Remote or the free GoPro App your iOS/Android phone or tablet to have full control over the camera remotely. (see below regarding the app). This is an improvement over the HD Hero 2 in that the Hero 2 required a separate purchase of the LCD BacPac to have WiFi capability; not only was this an extra $80, but the WiFi BacPac also added bulk and weight to the HD Hero 2’s size. With the WiFi built-in to the HD Hero 3, the Hero3 retains it’s smaller, lighter profile. Please note that you don’t actually need an iPhone (cell phone) to use the GoPro App… you can use an iPod Touch or a WiFi iPad; As long as it is on iOS6+ and has WiFi it can connect to the GoPro WiFi BacPac – a cellular signal is not required. I’ve tried the App with my iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, and iPad Mini WiFi and all three are fully functional; I can adjust camera settings, start and stop video recording, snap still photos, and power the GoPro on/off – plus with the screen preview I can see what the camera is seeing – a feature that the GoPro $80 remote does NOT have.

    The GoPro App
    With the GoPro app on your iOS6/Android Wi-Fi enabled device you can adjust video resolution, camera burst speed, and even the beep volume – basically anything you can adjust with the two buttons on the camera can be done with the app. There’s also a basic video preview on your phone/tablet to see exactly what the camera is seeing – great for eating up static camera shots or odd angles where seeing what the camera sees isn’t easy. Granted, in my review of the 

    GoPro Wi-Fi BacPac + Wi-Fi Remote Combo Kit

     I had mentioned that there is a 5 second lag between what the camera is seeing and what you see in the video preview on the app. The lag is very noticeable and not something you’d want to use in real-time.

    Recently GoPro updated the firmware, finally adding in a host of features that were originally promised with version 1.0 of the app. These new features include the ability to watch any recorded footage through the app, view photos taken by the camera, copying GoPro footage to mobile devices, and social media sharing.

    Video Quality
    I was very happy with the video performance of my previous Hero2, and after using the Hero3 extensively in 2012-now, the Hero3 has produced video that looks much better than the Hero2. At 1080p/30fps setting, white balance set to “Auto”, and wide FOV, video was smooth and crisp when viewed on my 55″ HDTV. At 960p/48fps, the video quality was similar to 1080p, but with the added bonus of clear, crisp slow-motion footage just like you see in the various GoPro promo videos. (WVGA supposedly gives even better slow-motion footage, but only at a resolution of 800×480.) The Hero3 allows you to optionally set the white balance as well as activate the “spot meter” for certain types of filming, but I left these at their default settings and I still came up with nice video footage, many times a step above the quality of the old Hero2.

    Taking Photos
    The Hero3 can be used as a regular 11mp digital camera, with point and shoot, burst, and time-lapse functionality. I took a few pics of random stuff around the house just to try it out; I found that there was a slight lag between when you click the button and when the camera actually takes the shot. Later on I also noticed that even when in “narrow” POV, the GoPro still has a wide field of view; noticeably wider than what I’d see at the same distance with my iPhone 5 camera or even a regular point-and-shoot digital camera. At first you’d think to yourself, “great – that just means I can capture more stuff in the photo!” but to take a photo with the GoPro that would have the same amount of info you would have to stand really REALLY close to the subject. Like uncomfortably close. And having no viewfinder (unless you spend another $80 for the LCD BacPac) makes it difficult to get your distance right. Sure, you can use the GoPro app to see what the camera sees, but that’s redundantly pointless; for one, the “app lag” I mentioned earlier. Second, you’re now holding TWO devices just to see what you’re going to take a photo with. And third – at that point you might as well have just used your Phone camera to take the photo in the first place!

    Also, the GoPro HD Hero3 has burst and time-lapse modes. It adds to the feature list, but honestly? Leave that to DSLRs; if anything, the Hero3’s camera mode could have been more useful if it had a timer function – say, if you wanted to take a self-shot with a nice background in the middle of a trail ride. Honestly – the Hero3 is first and foremost a VIDEO camera; if you want to take still digital photos, use a dedicated point-and-shoot or DSLR instead.

    Firmware Update – It’s Not That Bad Really
    When you open the box, the first thing you’ll see is a note from GoPro telling you that you need to update the camera firmware to the latest version. Unfortunately the actual process of updating the camera firmware isn’t a double-click,10 second thing; it takes multiple steps just to get the camera firmware up to date. But it’s not complicated – it just takes some time and lots of steps. I’ve listed the entire firmware update process at the bottom of this review, step by step, exactly how I did it.

    For people who “tinker” with things (like me) it’s not that big of a deal, but there are some people who make this a deal breaker. Personally I’d rather spend a few minutes to have the latest firmware on my camera than to use it “as is” and miss out on any features/improvements. Consider it “some assembly required” – there are things you buy that need to be assembled before they can be used, and (for now) the Hero3’s “assembly required” is a firmware update.

    The Verdict
    Sure there may be smaller “action cameras” out there, but there’s a good reason why GoPro cameras are the most popular – they work well and are tough little machines. I was very happy with the HD Hero2, and the new HD Hero3 upped the performance. The Hero3 is smaller, lighter, easier to use (well, the only exception is the new latch mechanism), and records excellent video. The still camera function is ok, but the built-in WiFi is the best feature – no add-on BacPac required, keeping the camera weight and bulk at a minimum. There are a few complaints I have that keep it from getting a 5-star rating. The first is the new locking mechanism for the waterproof case – the small release slider is a pain to move to open the case. The second is that, although I personally have no problem with it, most people will cringe at the whole firmware update process, mainly because not only should it be easier to get (you have to enter camera serial numbers and name/email info just to get the firmware update) but there’s some manual file moving to do when performing the update. Oh – and if you want to change your WiFi password for the camera in the future, the only way to do it is to re-update the firmware by doing the entire update process again on the website – definitely inconvenient.

    Which “Edition” Should You Buy?
    At the initial release of the HD Hero3, a lot of people were having problems with the Black Edition Hero 3; everything from random crashing, to having to remove the battery just to unfreeze and reset the camera; a friend of mine got the Black Edition last Christmas, tried it out, and his unit was also plagued with the same issues. Meanwhile, I personally never saw any of the same issues with the Silver Edition, and my Hero3 has been performing flawlessly since I started using it (even after a 7 hour mountain bike ride). After the latest firmware update, there were no more reported problems from my friend, so here’s my updated recommendations:

    “White Edition” 

    GoPro HD HERO3: White Edition

    – At $100 less than the Silver Edition, the “White Edition” is the lowest-priced Hero3. It is basically just the original Hero (1) camera with built-in WiFi – skip this version, it’s not worth it.

    “Silver Edition” (This model)
    – Unless you’re a specialist (see “Black Edition”), the Silver Edition is most likely the way to go for the majority of users out there looking for a versatile action camera, and is priced at the same $299 that the last model HD Hero2 was selling for. My review is based on this model.

    “Black Edition” 

    GoPro HD HERO3: Black Edition

    – For $100 more over the Silver Edition you can get the Black Edition. You get the GoPro WiFi Remote in the package (Which sells for about $80) and the Black Edition has some unique features that you may or may not really need, such as:

    – Capability to shoot video and stills at the same time – can be useful, but not a must-haves if your main purpose is to shoot personal action sports videos.

    – Higher burst photo mode, and a unique “Continuous Photo Mode.” Honestly, Honestly, after using a GoPro camera for the last 3 years (starting with the original GoPro Hero) I’ve never really had a need to have these specific features in a single device. For one, if I wanted high-quality still action photos I’d rather use a DSLR with interchangeable lenses and more settings than the GoPro has. Second, taking still photos with a GoPro is a “guess and shoot” affair since there’s no viewfinder built-in to the camera – unless I spend another $80 for the LCD BacPac just so I can see what the lens sees. Or I can use the GoPro App on my iPhone, but at that point when I pull my iPhone out I usually just use the iPhone’s 8MP camera, which is pretty crisp on its own.

    – Black Edition does 1440p48/2.7kp30 and 4kp15 resolutions, but most people don’t have HDTVs that can do that yet. Plus, the way I see it, by the time 1440p/2.7kp30/4.5kp15-capable HDTVs are mainstream and in most people’s homes, I’m sure there will be a newer version of the Hero camera by then.

    When all is said and done, I believe that normal everyday people who want an “action sports camera” to use during activities (not in a specialized field such as filmmaking) can get a lot out of the Silver Edition. Having the capability to do 1080p/60 and 720p/120 are nice to have but I don’t think they are essential for the everyday normal buyer, especially when you take into consideration the fact that a majority of the footage recorded by GoPro’s will be uploaded to the internet on YouTube or Vimeo. So in the end I still feel that the Silver Edition is the way to go for a majority of the people out there looking for an action camera. If you just want a GoPro HD Hero3 to capture your adventures on a mountain bike, or a surfboard, or in a car, and you want to make your own action videos to share online, go with the “Silver.”

    When you receive your new HD Hero3 camera, chances are that a firmware update is immediately required. I STRONGLY suggest that you do this as soon as you receive your camera, because it takes some time to do, and you might as well get it over with right away. I’ve posted instructions on how to do the firmware update to an Amazon Guide, the URL is below:

  3. IOM Fishing

    Make no mistakes the quality of the video recorded with my GoPro surpass anything else I’ve ever used, including some pretty expensive Canon SLR’s. My primary reason for buying was to film 50-100 feet down from the boat and for that it is perfect, a little bit of editing with the supplied software to colour correct the video and I can’t imagine getting a better view of what is on the sea floor without going down myself. It works very well in low light conditions. The 3rd generation case doesn’t have the fish eye problems of the first 2 generations. I’ve also used it as a dash mount camera and on my head, in all instances the images captured are superb in their clarity, stability and colour reproduction.

    There are a couple of tiny niggles, for a start the door casing can be very stiff until you’ve used it for a couple of months, I was always scared of breaking it, a bit stupid really because it is very well made. The other is the hit & miss USB charging. It’s fine if you just connect it to charge but if you’ve been doing any data transfer before leaving it to charge it doesn’t always seem to work. Again a very small issue that takes seconds to fix (just disconnect and reconnect). This could be corrected with the latest firmware update which I’ve not applied yet.

    The reason I’ve dropped it a star is the battery life, you really will be very lucky to get an hour out of it and for a dedicated camera I think this is a bit low. I would have been happier paying more for a better/larger battery but will make do with using a spare, just a shame it means interrupting filming.

  4. T Mill

    I bought the Go Pro Hero 3 Black Edition 3 years ago. I’ve always loved the design and it’s brilliant for someone like me who does a lot of outdoor activities (swimming, skiing etc) with moments you never want to forget.

    You need to consider what you actually will use the camera for, how often and what you’ll do with the videos after as to what camera will suit you. The reviews were brilliant and I have not been disappointed, it records perfect quality and I have not had a single issue in three years. I’d recommend this camera, plus, you can just keep buying add-on extras each birthday/Christmas as a little present to yourself.

    The quality is perfect, at 4Kp fps, 2.7 kp 30 fps, 1440p48/ 1080p60/ 720p120 fps it’s brilliant. It’s realistically future proof for the long term, for the photos the 12mp 30FPS burst is brilliant to ensure you get the picture you want…. especially when doing something crazy!

    The wifi and wifi remote (built in on the black edition) are brilliant and have never let me down. The battery is amazing, for something recording in 4k to last 1.5-2 hours is insane.

    If this ever breaks, which I doubt it will, I’d definitely buy from GoPro again.

  5. Kallistan

    This is not the sort of thing that I really need. But heck, it’s nearly Christmas, so when it came up in the Black Friday sale, I put it into my basket. Then took it out, as it was still more expensive than I had hoped. The item then showed as all sold. Then went back a bit later, and saw that a few other people had obviously done the same, as it there were now only 98% sold. So I decided it was fate, and clicked on buy again. I now have it, and it is very much as expected, takes very high quality video up to 4k and stills up to 12mp. It is incredibly small. When the rest of the bits that I ordered arrive, it will go on my bike, and maybe a quadcopter is on the horizon as well. For the time being, it is going everywhere with me, just for fun.

    For anyone reading some of the negative reviews, it seems very well built, simple to operate, and I have had no problem with a Samsung 64GB microSDXC card

  6. Martin Beecroft

    I am a keen amateur photographer and film maker. I have hankered after a GoPro for a while and finally treated myself to one before going on a long weekend trip to Paris. The results are very impressive, particularly capturing the wide open vistas in many parts of Paris with the wide angle lens on this camera. The HD quality is superb and the ease of carrying and using such a small camera is a real bonus. I used a Grenade short handle and an extending GoPole with the camera both of which, for me, are must have accessories. The GoPole in particular is worth it’s weight in gold. For POV it’s essential, for sticking out and filming back through the safety cage on the Eiffel Tower was fun and for peering over the heads of the manic impenetrable crowd in front of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre it was essential!

    The other plus of using a GoPole with this camera is that it makes a pretty effective Steady Cam if held upright loosely between the thumb and forefinger at the top of the pole.

    Downsides: 1) Battery. You need lots as the camera eats them! I took three and a charger to Paris and could have done with a couple more. 2) Monitor. LCD monitor is expensive and drains battery life quickly. Not always necessary, but, useful for reviewing in the field. Using the GoPro App for iPhone or Android is an alternative, although, as other reviewers have reported, there is a 4-5 second delay in preview mode which makes setting up a handheld shot a pain. However, the wide field of view means that the lack of viewfinder/monitor is not a real problem: point at it and you can be sure to have captured it!

    In conclusion, this is a great little camera for any film maker. Essential for capturing action sports, but, a great device for more conventional film makers too. Small, light, loads of accessories and mounts. Very usable editing software (Download from GoPro website). It’s pure fun to use and gives amazing results. If you enjoy capturing moving images then a GoPro has become the ‘must have’ device.

  7. Edin Hadzimusic

    I must have read 1000 of reviews of GoPro Hero3 online. 90% of these included some kind of negative comments, namely:

    1. Camera freezes
    2. Battery getting hot
    3. Recorded only few frames
    4. WiFi not working
    5. Protune problems, etc.

    Well, either I got lucky or I had made a good call considering that most of these reviews were written by illiterate, spoiled shoppers. Yes, it is true that Hero3 does not come with a “manual” and it is certainly true that it is kind of less intuitive to navigate menus of this camera than, say iPhone … but iPhone was tested on non-intuitive people … everyone knows that. And GoPro Hero3 does have only 2 buttons and no touch screen …

    When camera arrived, I followed manual that I downloaded from GoPro site, inserted card, charged battery. Then I followed video posted on their site on how to update firmware. I opted for manual update (it is the same as automatic), but since I do not believe in Internet Explorer or Mozzila I have had to go with manual. It is easy … you enter your info, name your camera and choose password, enter serial number (do not forget to put back the battery and fire up camera again – or write down serial beforehand). Their site creates custom update for you (basically it makes one extra file in which it inputs info about name of the camera and password you choose). I downloaded it as .zip … unpacked it and copied files using Windows Explorer (or whatever Mac people use) to copy it to the root of the memory card (one in the camera … if your PC does not recognize camera as USB storage device you may think camera is not working … there should be additional external storage registered on your computer – that is the camera card – work pretty much the same as any flash drive). As soon as you disconnect your camera, it turns off. When you turn it on … process of firmware update begins and it ends in approximately 6-7 minutes.

    It took a little while for me to figure how to navigate all menus with two buttons only, but as I said … it is enough intuitive if you are not an average iPhone freak. Now, I am a video freak and I have few PCs, but 1440p at 48fps (native resolution) is not an easy thing to handle … hens some people write frames skipping … indeed. Use Quick Time Player for these high resolutions … Windows Media player will not handle those at all, and all you can get is sound (it is NOT camera fault but PC is too weak). I had to use Adobe Premiere to make it playable on average PC. 4K only worked on my 32GB RAM workstation … 🙁

    I downloaded GoPro App for Android, and it is smooth. Leg is about two seconds, maybe even less. It allowed me to change settings much quicker then using remote or camera itself. Quality is stunning (Protune) considering you do not have Iris, Focus, WB and Shutter speed controls like any normal camera should. I admit that Protune quality for someone who is not post processing is not optimal, but I expected that. I edit all my work anyway. Frame rates are a blast for freak such as I am … I have whole world in slo-mo.

    Battery does heat up, but not to extreme. It does drain out maybe little bit too quick, therefore I bought two extra Wasabi batteries, Although, to that account I used Wifi all the time, Protune was on, and resolution was extreme while I was experimenting. Now, without Wifi, battery life is somewhat longer. GoPro App drained my phone battery pretty fast.

    I also purchased suction cap, head strap and few other accessories. The handlebar seat-post mount is nice accessory too.

    Bottom line … it is a nice little gadget. It is unbelievable what GoPro managed to put into this little thing. Them mentioning word professional is overstatement, but I hope that you know there is nothing professional for this kind of money. One can make videos from impossible angles and in impossible situations, but for any professional work RAW files will have to be edited heavily.

    For someone who is serious about video as I am, I firmly recommend GoPro Hero3 Black edition. For someone who wants to make fun videos to put online or share with friend, I presume White edition, or Silver one is more then OK.

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