GoPro HERO 4 vs. 5 Comparison

gopro hero 4 vs 5

If you live an active lifestyle or just like taking great photos, a debate between GoPro HERO 4 vs 5 may rage in your mind. If you already have a GoPro HERO 4, you're probably wondering if spending the extra money to upgrade will benefit you.

GoPro is perhaps the first name people think of where action cameras are concerned. And it's by no coincidence. The company not only produced one of the first action cameras available but has maintained the quality that earned them their stellar reputation. As a result, they remain one of the most widely-used action camera brands on the market.

GoPro action cameras offer you a plethora of mounting options, including chest and head mounts. You can even strap it to your dog if you want to.

holding a GoPro

If you own a HERO 4, you're likely enjoying the upgrade over previous models. But the HERO 5 includes numerous improvements over what you already own. So you might want to think about kicking things up a notch when considering the GoPro HERO 4 Vs. 5. But are the new features worth spending money on an upgrade?

If you're considering taking the leap and buying your first GoPro, is it really worth it to spend the extra money on the 5, or will the HERO 4 work fine for you? We took a deep dive into the issue to settle whether you should purchase the GoPro HERO 4 Vs. 5.

To help you decide, we have selected two models from each generation. Let's take a look at what each has to offer.

GoPro Hero 4 Silver Edition 12MP Waterproof + 32GB Mini SD Card+ 2 Batteries+ Case+ Head/Chest/Wrist Mounts, Sports & Action Camera Bundle
  • Built-in touch display for easy camera control, shot-framing and playback,Protune with SuperView delivers cinema-quality capture and advanced manual control for photos and video with the world's most immersive wide-angle field of view
  • Professional 1080p60 and 720p120 video with 12MP photos at up to 30 frames per second. Video Supported: 4K15 / 2.7K30 / 1440p48 / 1080p60 / 960p100 / 720p120 fps
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support the GoPro App, Smart Remote and more
  • 30 Day Guarantee

The GoPro HERO 4 Silver offers you a lot for your hard-earned dollar. In many ways, you will find this camera to be a bit dated because of its reliance on a case. While you can snap photos and videos without one, you will need to shove this GoPro model into a hard plastic case to truly make the most of it.

The standard case makes the HERO 4 Silver waterproof to a SCUBA-grade depth of around 131 feet. But you need to be sure to keep the rubber seal clean. As the user manual notes, "a single hair or grain of sand can cause a leak and damage your camera."

GoPro Hero 4 Silver Edition 12MP Waterproof + 32GB Mini SD Card+ 2 Batteries+ Case+ Head/Chest/Wrist Mounts, Sports & Action Camera Bundle

The GoPro HERO 4 measures 2.3 by 1.1 by 1.6 inches without the case. The casing expands its size to around 2.8 by 2.6 by 1.5 inches. Without the case, it weighs 2.9 ounces. With the case, it weighs 5.2 ounces.

When the HERO4 was new, it offered something unique among action cameras: an LCD touchscreen. The screen allows you to make adjustments quickly, preview photos, and more. But you can't access the touchscreen while you have it inside the case. Fortunately, you can still make adjustments to settings and preview photos and video through the smartphone app.

Video and Sound Quality

GoPro Hero 4 Silver Edition 12MP Waterproof + 32GB Mini SD Card+ 2 Batteries+ Case+ Head/Chest/Wrist Mounts, Sports & Action Camera Bundle

With the GoPro HERO 4 Silver, you can film video in 1080p or 720p. You can also take 12mp photos. In other words, you can expect amazing quality. It offers four field-of-view settings: Superview, Ultrawide, Narrow, and Medium. While video and photos are typically spectacular, bright lights, like streetlights and the sun, can produce starburst-like flares.

Unfortunately, most of the time, you probably can not expect much from the sound quality. Since you have to shove it inside a plastic case to fully enjoy it, you'll often notice a muffled sound.

Battery Life and Storage

GoPro HERO 4 Silver

The GoPro HERO 4 Silver can shoot video at 1080p/30fps for almost two hours between charges. So if you plan to use it for a full day out and about, you'll want to buy an extra battery or two.

The camera supports microSD cards up to 64 gigabytes, which is enough to hold about 4 hours and 40 minutes of 1080p, 60fps video. That gives you quite a bit of storage, but you'll probably want to bring along some extra cards just in case.

User Ratings

Owners of the GoPro HERO Silver love it, giving it a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon. Positive reviews focus on the quality and features. Negative reviews say that the camera stops charging or working altogether after a relatively short amount of time, as well as issues surrounding overheating. Many users noted that GoPro's customer service leaves much to be desired. 

GoPro HERO4 BLACK
  • Professional 4K30, 2.7K60 and 1080p120 video, 720p240 video for super slow motion playback and 12MP photos at up to 30 frames per second
  • Built in Wi Fi and Bluetooth support the GoPro App, Smart Remote and more
  • Improved camera control and built in video trimming lets you create and save short video clips right on your camera
  • Protune with SuperView delivers cinema quality capture and advanced manual control for photos and video with the world's most immersive wide angle field of view
  • Night Photo and Night Lapse offer customizable exposure settings for nighttime shooting

The GoPro HERO 4 Black gives you more bang for your buck. But many wonder if the extra video quality and features justify the price increase over the Silver. Many of the features are the same. Like the Silver, the Black (inside its casing) is waterproof up to 131 feet. It also features a touchscreen and everything mentioned about the Silver.

What's the difference between the GoPro HERO 4 Black and Silver?

GoPro HERO4 BLACK

Picture and video quality. The GoPro HERO 4 Black was the first GoPro to support 4k video at 30 fps. So if you're looking for the best video and picture quality of the generation, you'll want to spend the extra money on Black over Silver. Otherwise, you'll find yourself satisfied with the Silver.

Battery life, storage options, and accessory options don't differ between the GoPro HERO 4 Silver and Black. You'll still need the casing to take it underwater. Also, you'll still enjoy the touchscreen and apps, which make your experience awesome.

User ratings

Reviewers on Amazon give the higher-priced Black a lower rating than its lower-priced counterpart -- 4.0 out of 5 stars. Positive reviews praise the picture and video quality. Negative reviews indicate that the Black finds itself plagued with many of the same issues as the Silver. These include overheating and a stubborn refusal to charge, as well as customer service issues.

GoPro HERO5 Black - Waterproof Digital Action Camera for Travel with Touch Screen 4K HD Video 12MP Photos
  • Stunning 4K video and 12MP photos in Single, Burst and Time Lapse modes Charger not included
  • Durable by design, HERO5 Black is waterproof to 33 feet (10 meter) without a housing
  • Additional GoPro HERO5 Black Features + Benefits below on item page Time Lapse Photo Intervals: 05, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 seconds
  • Preview and playback your shots, change settings and trim your footage, all on your GoPro
  • NOTE: Check User Manual on Technical Specification and Instruction video available before use.Audio Format:WAV

When you're considering the GoPro HERO 4 Vs. 5, you'll want to take note of the numerous improvements this incarnation possesses over its predecessor. If you own the GoPro HERO 4, you already have a great camera. But when it comes to the GoPro HERO 4 Vs. 5, the HERO 5 blows the HERO 4 out of the water.

Speaking of water, you won't need to shove this camera into a plastic casing to take it swimming. It features waterproofing up to 33 feet. That's enough for a day at the pool or lake. That also solves the muffled sound issue that irked many users who own previous incarnations of the GoPro HERO. It also means the camera enjoys protection in snow and rain that the GoPro HERO 4 didn't.

If you need to "dive deeper," the GoPro HERO 5 Black features waterproof housing that won't fail you up to 196 feet underwater.

New Features

GoPro HERO5 Black - Waterproof Digital Action Camera for Travel with Touch Screen 4K HD Video 12MP Photos

The GoPro HERO 5 gives you a host of new features over its predecessor. These include a new button setup, as well as voice commands. GoPro did away with the three-button setup from its previous models. Instead, you simply push the "Record" button on the top to power the camera and begin recording. Push it again to stop shooting and power it off. A small button on the side allows you to take photos.

You'll love the voice commands. Since you often won't have a free hand while using your GoPro HERO 5, you can just talk to it to operate it. Voice commands include:

  • "GoPro, start recording"
  • "GoPro, highlight"
  • "GoPro, stop recording"
  • "GoPro, take a photo"
  • "GoPro, shoot burst"
  • "GoPro, start time lapse"
  • "GoPro, stop time lapse"
  • "GoPro, video mode"
  • "GoPro, photo mode"
  • "GoPro, time lapse mode"
  • "GoPro, burst mode"
  • "GoPro, turn off"

Be warned that voice commands, while convenient, won't work in especially noisy environments. However, you can purchase a voice-activated remote that largely fixes this.

Also, the GoPro HERO 5 Black features built-in GPS. Now before you get excited, this doesn't do much for you. However, if you love geotagging your photos and videos, you'll think this feature is very exciting.

In addition, GoPro added a linear-view setting. That corrects color distortion in wide-angle photos and videos. However, the feature isn't available in 4K or with frame rates over 60fps. If you want more editing control, the GoPro Hero 5 lets you take photos in raw format.

If you pay for GoPro's per month service, you'll have the option to automatically upload your photos and videos to the cloud for easy editing and sharing. You'll also get discounts on accessories and access to a library of licensed music you can include in your videos.

Image and Video Quality

When you're considering the GoPro HERO 4 Vs. 5, you may want to pick up the latter for newer features. But regarding image quality, you'll find that the HERO 5 doesn't present much of an upgrade. In fact, you'll notice that they are about identical in the GoPro HERO 4 Vs. 5.

Battery Life

GoPro battery and charger

If you hoped for improved battery life in the GoPro HERO 5 Black, you'd find yourself disappointed. Like the image quality, the battery life remains unchanged. So if you plan to shoot for more than a couple of hours, be sure to stock up on replacement batteries.

User Reviews

Like its predecessor, the GoPro HERO 5 Black scores well with customers, who give it an average of 4.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Users love the host of new features -- especially the ability to go swimming without shoving their camera into a case. However, many noted that the waterproofing doesn't stand up to what the company promises.

One user noted that during a snorkeling trip to Hawaii, the battery compartment became "soaked" despite them following the company's instructions. Unfortunately, this seems to be a regular issue. So you probably want to use a waterproof case just to be safe. Numerous customers also note the lackluster customer service the company provides. 

GoPro Hero Session 8.0 MP Waterproof Sports & Action Camera with Standard Housing and 2 Adhesive Mounts (Renewed)
  • Designed to withstand extreme environments and conditions, HERO Session is waterproof to 33' (10m), no housing needed.
  • Simple, grab-and-go operation with a compact, waterproof design and weight of just 2.6oz (74g), Easy one-button control press the button once to power on the camera and begin capturing video or photos automatically.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support the GoPro App, accessories and more
  • Stunning GoPro video quality records stunning 1440p30, 1080p60 and 720p100 video. Powerful photo capture captures 8MP single photos, 10 fps burst photos and 0.5 to 60 second time-lapse photos.

Since the Silver isn't available in the GoPro HERO 5, we have chosen the Session for comparison. This camera is even more compact than its big brother, the Black. Most of the features, unsurprisingly, are the same. However, you'll notice a few major and minor differences.

What's different about the GoPro HERO 5 Session?

GoPro Hero Session 8.0 MP Waterproof Sports & Action Camera with Standard Housing and 2 Adhesive Mounts (Renewed)

First off, the cube-shaped Session lacks a rear touchscreen. So if you think that feature is important, you'll want to skip this camera entirely. But you can use the app as a "rear screen" as well as a means of browsing the various menus if you need to. Otherwise, you have a small display that acts as an insanely finicky way to adjust settings.

It also lacks an interchangeable battery. So you'll need to charge it between uses. And you can forget taking it for lengthy outings. Video and picture quality is on par with the HERO 5 Black.

Size-wise, this camera is about as big as a cube of chalk you would use for a pool cue. But you'll be pleased to know that it is compatible with all of GoPro's accessories.

User Reviews

In what seems to be a trend for GoPro cameras, users on Amazon give this camera 4.0 out of 5 stars. Positive reviews focus on its portability, the ability to shoot in 4K, and waterproofing. Negative reviews mention that the camera has issues in cold weather, issues with overheating, and -- as seems customary -- poor customer service. Customers also dislike the forced "chaptering" of videos, which cuts them into 17-minute chunks.

GoPro HERO 4 Vs. 5: Which Is Better?

Product

Details

Rating

Price

GoPro HERO 4 Silver

Waterproof
Up to 131 feet

Dimension
2.3 x 1.1 x 1.6 inches (without case)
2.8 x 2.6 x 1.5 inches (with case)

Weight
2.9 ounces (without case)
5.2 ounces (with case)

Display
LCD touchscreen

Video Quality
1080p at 30fps

Photo Quality
12 MP

Field of View Settings
Superview, Ultrawide, Narrow, and Medium

Battery Life
Up to 2 hours

Storage
microSD card up to 64 GB

GoPro HERO 4 Silver

Waterproof
Up to 131 feet

Dimension
2.3 x 1.1 x 1.6 inches (without case)
2.8 x 2.6 x 1.5 inches (with case)

Weight
2.9 ounces (without case)
5.2 ounces (with case)

Display
LCD touchscreen

Video Quality
​4K at 30fps

Photo Quality
12 MP

Field of View Settings
Superview, Ultrawide, Narrow, and Medium

Battery Life
Up to 2 hours

Storage
microSD card up to 64 GB

GoPro HERO5 Black

Waterproof
Up to 33 feet (without case)
Up to 196 feet (with case)

Buttons
Record button
Small button to take photos

Voice Commands
12 voice commands

Connectivity
Built-in GPS

Field of View Settings
Superview, Ultrawide, Narrow, Medium, and Linear

Video Quality
4K, 60fps

Photo Quality
12 MP

Battery Life
Up to 2 hours

GoPro HERO 5 Session

Build

Cube-shaped, no rear touchscreen


Waterproof
Up to 33 feet (without case)
Up to 196 feet (with case)

Connectivity
Built-in GPS

Field of View Settings
Superview, Ultrawide, Narrow, Medium, and Linear

Video Quality
4K, 60fps

Photo Quality
12 MP

Battery
No interchangeable battery

When you consider the GoPro HERO 4 Vs. 5, which is better depends on you. As far as video and photo quality are concerned, you'll notice little difference between the two cameras. So if that's your biggest selling point, you can safely go with the cheaper GoPro HERO 4.

If you think the additional features you'll find in the GoPro HERO 5 represent adequate added value, by all means, spend the extra money. The waterproofing without a case is certainly attractive -- when it works. But since so many customers report that relying on this damaged their cameras, you'll want to put it inside a case as a precaution.

The voice commands bring a lot to the table, but you need a reasonably quiet environment to rely on them. Ultimately, when you're thinking about getting the GoPro HERO 4 Vs. 5, you won't find much in the newer model that the older one didn't bring to the table.

So consider what each camera offers and make your decision from there. In the end, the ball's in your court.

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