The launch of the GoPro Hero 5 Black at Photokina 2016 marked a dramatic new direction for the market-leading action camera manufacturer.  We take a look at what’s new in this GoPro Hero 5 vs Hero 4 comparison.

The first thing to note in any GoPro Hero 5 vs Hero 4 comparison is that the waterproof housing has gone, replaced by a frame system along the same lines as the Hero Session, but despite the change in design surprisingly most of the actual video capture specifications remain the same.

However whilst there was little movement in resolutions and frame rates ,the Hero5 is all about refining the design and adding technologic features that once again push the GoPro Hero way out in front of the competition.

GoPro Hero 4The question is, if the all important video capture is much the same between the Hero4 and Hero5 is it really worth the money to upgrade or is it better to grab a bargain priced Hero4. Here we take a look at the differences between the two models and decide is the Hero5 worth the upgrade

SEE MORE: 5 quick GoPro Hero tips to get more from your action camera

GoPro Hero5’s Video Capture

Let start with video capture. Running through the list of available options for resolution and frame rates there seems to be little if any movement. The headline grabbing 4K at 30 frames per second (fps) and 1080p at 120fps remains the same as the Hero4, so no 8K as rumored on some sites.

GoPro Hero5 Black

GoPro Hero5 Black in Frame

The biggest change in video comes not in the visuals but in the audio. There are now three separate microphones dotted around the body of the camera, this means that it one is suffering from the effects of wind noise then one of the other microphones is automatically selected. From early reports this new system works exceptionally well.

As the camera is also case-free, the old issue of slightly muffled audio is also gone.

GoPro Hero 5 is now case free

In line with the GoPro Hero Session the traditional removable casing has been scrapped and instead uses a detachable frame. This system has several obvious benefits; It’s makes the entire camera smaller and lighter than before, which in turn means that it looses some of the bulk and will be easier than ever to mount.

The removal of the case means that when used in water there is no longer the issue of the case lens steaming up. So no need to keep ordering moisture pads or loosing footage due to the misting issue.

With no case you can now see all buttons directly, this won’t bother those who are long term GoPro users but for those new to GoPro, or switch between different camera manufacturers the lack of exterior markings for the buttons can be a real pain.

No case means you don’t need to check that the door and seal is properly closed and water tight. That means that you can get on with the activity you’re about to do without the old routine of checking and then double checking that everything is sealed and tight. You only need to loose one GoPro through water damage to run through these checks vigorously!

GoPro Hero5 Black review

GoPro Hero 5 now features a 2-inch touch LCD

GoPro Hero5 Black

GoPro Hero5 Black Showing the Screen

LCD and touch screens are nothing new to GoPro Hero with an optional accessory having been available for the Black series for a number of years. The old Hero4 Silver already had one incorporated but this is the first time it’s featured as an integral part of the flagship Black.

The 2-inch size is larger than most and really only challenged by the Yi 4K action camera that has a couple of mm on it for size. If the screen is anything like the Yi 4K’s then it’s inclusion can only be a good thing and will make using the GoPro out in the field far easier than any other GoPro.

GoPro Hero 5 vs Hero 4: voice activation

This is a feature that many action sports enthusiast are going to love as one of the major issues with action cameras is accessibility. In most cases you attach the camera to your bike, board or roll cage and then hit record. But often the process of getting to that record button can result in a contortion act just to see if the camera is recording.

Of course, wearing and using the remote should help, but even that isn’t always that easy so just being able to shout at your GoPro to start recording seems, in principle, at least like a great idea.

How to shoot a Time Lapse Video with a GoPro Hero5 Black

GoPro Hero 5 vs Hero 4: GPS, finally

Finally GoPro has GPS built in, which means you can now track your location and see your route when you review footage. It’s a welcome addition and once we have one in our hands we’ll take a fuller look at it’s full potential.

Stabilse your GoPro footage

The GoPro Hero5 Black is the first GoPro to have built in stabilization and this will help to reduce camera shake and vibration that’s inevitably caused by the camera being attached to a moving object.

Initial sample footage that we’ve seen shows that the system works well, again we’ll do a full test of this feature once we have a review sample.

Having tested the GoPro Hero5 Black – and then bought one because it is so good – this action camera marks a major upgrade in design and usability over GoPro’s previous generation. The changes that have been made all make sense and it’s great to see that the market leaders in the action cameras are still innovating and leading the way.

With a Hero6 now promised for this year, we’ll be watching with keen interest to see how the company innovates its brand even further.

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