The 3 Best GoPros to Buy in 2017

See which must-own cameras to take on your next adventure

If capturing action anytime, anywhere is something that feels like a must do for you, owning a GoPro has probably come to mind. There’s no shortage of competition in the space as plenty of big tech names have jumped into the field of action cameras all while GoPro expands their product line. On top of the product line, there’s a slew of accessories available from head and chest mounts to even more durable casing to make sure the action never stops. If you want to capture the action thousands of miles above ground or 30-feet below the surface, there’s a GoPro for you. Here are our choices for the best GoPro you can buy.

GoPro’s flagship model, the Hero5 Black, is simply described by the company as “the best GoPro ever." That’s a tall order considering the company’s wildly successful line of products, but with added features such as voice control that allows you to say “GoPro, take a photo,” the innovation continues. Additionally, the inclusion of beautiful 4K/30fps video and 12-megapixel photos in single, burst and time lapses ensures that you’ll never miss a single moment of the action. If that action just happens to be underwater, the Hero5 Black is ready, with a rugged and waterproof design that can handle up to 33 feet (10 meters) without any added housing for protection. Packed into its .26 pound and 1.26 x 2.44 x 1.75-inch size is a two-inch touch display for quick and easy video/image preview, playback and editing.

Adding to the flare of the Hero5 Black is the minimal one-button control that allows for a single press of the shutter button to power the camera and automatically starting recording. The camera can be easily mounted to your head or chest (and there are more than 30 different types for all budgets and body sizes). Regardless if you're using a mount or in your hand, the Hero5 Black has enough juice for 90 minutes of 4K video capture that can be bumped up more than two hours if the quality is dropped to 1080p at 30fps.

As a bonus, GoPro offers an optional Plus subscription that provides direct uploading of captured footage to the cloud for editing and sharing on-the-go. Moreover, the Hero5 Black shines even brighter with features such as RAW WDR images, which allows photography buffs even more flexibility when editing online. Stereo audio provides for sound capture from both left and right stereo channels, so those watching afterward feel like they are right there in the action.

Like its sibling, the Hero5 Black, the Hero5 Session captures and records video at 4K/30fps, allows for underwater adventures up to 33 feet and has both video stabilization and voice control. Where it breaks from its larger sibling is that it does all of this in a smaller package. The separation from the Hero5 Black begins with a difference in photo capturing at 10 megapixels with single, burst and time-lapse modes. Regardless of the size of the megapixels, advanced video stabilization is on board, which helps maintain stability regardless of whether the Hero5 Session is locked onto a mount or in your hand. The ability to connect to an Android or iOS smartphone over Wi-Fi helps open the door to a vast interface of manual controls, as well as previewing, editing, trimming and sharing captured footage all without removing the GoPro from a mount.

Unfortunately, there’s no touchscreen display on the Hero5 Session, but that's OK since it weighs only .28 pounds and measures at 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.43 inches. Packed into this condensed size is a battery that can last up to one hour and 20 minutes on 4K/30fps video capture jumping all the way up to one  hour and 55 minutes at 1080p 30fps. Switching between modes on the Hero5 Session is simple and easy just by pressing the menu button on the back (though you can find much more control connecting the GoPro to an Android or iOS smartphone for manually controlling video quality, frames-per-second, recording settings and more). Once connected to the smartphone, you can also use your phone’s display as a remote viewfinder and remote control.

The capturing of video (without a smartphone) is handled through a single press of the shutter button. Once recording, like the rest of the GoPro lineup, there’s a slew of mounts and accessories for handily capturing memories of any type of action. GoPro even offers its Plus optional subscription providing for easy access to all captured footage directly on their cloud server for easy sharing. Additionally, there are dual microphones, front and back, allowing the camera to switch between the two based on external conditions such as wind noise to help provide the best possible sound recording.

Formally known as the Hero4, the newly retitled Hero Session drops its price tag to reflect its “budget” status in the GoPro lineup, but don’t confuse budget with a disappointing performance. While it lacks 4K video, the device weighs 2.6 ounces, measures 1.43 x 1.49 x 1.49 inches and proves good things can come in small packages. The one-button interface allows for quickly beginning video capture with just a single press. Beyond ease-of-control, the Hero Session matches its larger siblings in ruggedness and waterproofing with a design that can withstand up to 33 feet (10 meters) of water. And the lack of 4K recording hardly means poor quality since the Hero Session includes 1440p capture at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps and 720p at 100fps. Additionally, the action camera can capture eight-megapixel photos, 10fps burst photography and .5- to 60-second time-lapse photos.

The boxy cube remains pocketable with a multi-function shutter button on the top and the power/pairing button on the back. A monochrome LCD can display battery life, shooting mode and a small handful of menu options. Additionally, there’s room for a microUSB port and microSD card slot (up to 64GB) for extra recording space. Capturing at 1440p with Wi-Fi off will grab around one hour and 55 minutes of footage, while recording 1080p at 3fps gives you around two hours and five minutes of footage. With Wi-Fi on, you’ll see a nominal reduction in battery life, but the ability to connect to an Android or iOS device opens the door to a larger feature set and more manual control over video and photo capture.

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