GoPro HERO3 Silver Review: A Solid Midrange Action Camera

go pro hero3 silver photo

The HERO3 Silver is GoPro's midrange option in the HERO3 line. Sitting halfway between the powerful Black Edition and the wallet-friendly White Edition, the Silver Edition is a decent action camera that will meet the needs of most.

The Good

  • Reasonably priced for its very solid specs
  • More accurate color reproduction and better exposure handling than the HERO2
  • Slimmer than the HERO2

The Bad

  • Battery life, while improved, is still poor
  • Images sometimes appear dull and flat

The Verdict

The HERO3 Silver is a solid midrange camera for users who don't need too much power or control. If you need a basic action camera that will take high definition photos and video without getting in your way, this is the camera for you.


Tech Specs

Image Quality

11 MP, max 1080p @ 30fps

Audio Quality

Above average 

Battery Life

120 minutes (approx)

Wifi and Bluetooth

Yes


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Design and Hardware

If you've seen our review for the HERO3, then you already know what to expect from the HERO3 Silver Edition. The Silver Edition is the midrange of GoPro's HERO3 line, featuring more capabilities than the White Edition but fewer than the powerful Black Edition. The form factor is exactly the same as the other models, retaining the small boxy shape and featherweight 2.7 ounces. You'll find the lens, LCD, and settings button on the front, the shutter button on the top, Wi-Fi button on the right-hand side, and connectivity ports on the left-hand side. The HERO3 Silver is small, lightweight, and has access to the same mounts and accessories as the other HERO3 models.

While the included underwater housing adds a bit of bulk, it also adds a great deal of protection. It allows the HERO3 to dive to a depth of 60 meters (197 feet). Unlike the HERO2, the HERO3's flat lens ensures that underwater photos come out crystal clear and focused. GoPro's finally updated the menu for easier navigation, adding subdivisions that group common functions by category. While it's still a pain to use, it's getting better.


Image and Video Quality

The HERO3 Silver captures video at 1080p with a maximum frame rate of 30 frames per second (fps). Although this is the same upper limit as the HERO3 White, the Silver supports 48fps at 960p, 60fps at 720p, and 120fps at WVGA. If you like to film high speed or slow motion action, but don't mind a minor hit in quality, this is the HERO3 for you

The HERO3 Silver maintains GoPro's trademark fisheye lens, resulting in wide-angle shots that emphasize the action. For still photos, the HERO3 Silver's 11 megapixel (MP) sensor takes images that are far more detailed than the 5MP sensor in the White Edition. The Silver can take burst photos at up to 10fps and can take time-lapse photos at intervals between 0.5 and 60 seconds. Some images tend to appear flat and undersaturated, but GoPro's included a color grading process that automatically adjusts the color variation of the final image. It's not an ideal choice for purists, but it makes a big difference.

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Battery Life and Performance

Like the rest of the Silver Edition's feature set, its battery life falls in the middle of the HERO3's other two editions. You can expect an hour of battery life, up from the Black Edition's paltry battery but down from the relatively generous White Edition. The Silver Edition features a replaceable battery, but it can also be paired with GoPro's battery BacPac for some added runtime.

Despite its battery woes, the HERO3 Silver is a champ when it comes to recording video. The camera begins recording the instant you press the shutter button, making it easy to catch moments just as they occur. The camera has an assortment of modes for dealing with any condition, including an upside down mode that automatically adjusts the orientation of the camera for upside down placement. Mounting the camera to the underside of your visor means you'll no longer have to stand on your head when playing back your videos. The waterproof casing makes the HERO3 extremely durable and capable of withstanding water, dust, dirt, and grime.


Other Features and Accessories

The HERO3 Silver has access to an extensive array of mounts and accessories, from ski pole mounts to an add-on LCD screen. The built-in Wi-Fi lets you connect your camera to the GoPro App on your smartphone or tablet for remotely controlling the camera and previewing images. In addition to controlling the camera's settings via Wi-Fi (which is a huge improvement over the onboard settings menu), GoPro's added a "locate camera" feature which causes the camera to beep intermittently. If you happen to drop or misplace your camera frequently, this feature will be a lifesaver.

GoPro's Studio software has an enormous variety of options for adjusting the quality of videos and pictures. You can define presets that are automatically applied to imported media, making it easy to quickly adjust and conform pictures and videos.

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Conclusion

For users who are looking for a bit more than the White Edition has to offer, but don't want to blow their budget, the Silver Edition is the best option. It provides a wealth of features and functions in a compact, lightweight, durable frame. However, if you're looking for an action camera that's more on the professional side, you should take a look at the HERO3 Black Edition.


GoPro Hero3 Silver Edition In Action


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