12 Best Alternatives to the $200 2018 GoPro Hero

Interested in the new 2018 GoPro Hero that GoPro have just released,  we are!

We're super excited, we new something new was coming but didn't know what to expect. They're obviously profiling their camera range again and bringing everything in to point, on the same form factor, look and shape. When you head over to the GoPro website, you don't even see the Sessions advertised on the front few pages any more.

Is this the end of GoPro release range, or are they just beginning again now with this new release? We'll look in to it's specs, features and compare it to another similar camera by GoPro, the Session 5 Black and also to other cameras which share a few of it's main features.

In this post we look in to the spec and features of the new GoPro and find out whether it's worth spending a little more on a different GoPro camera or looking else-where to get more for your money.

gopro hero 2018

First Look at the GoPro Hero

At first glance, this camera is just a bigger GoPro Session 5 with a screen? Or is it more similar to the other action cameras that cost sub $200 we have listed here on Action Camera Finder?

What do you get from GoPros new 2018 Hero? It has the following main specs:

The new GoPro Hero records video resolutions of 1080p and 1440p at 60fps. They aren't breaking any barriers with this video resolution and frame rate combination. No 4K video recording and no full slow motion capabilities of 120fps or more, which is a bit of a let down in our opinion.

Image stabilization when recording videos which is a must in the latest action cameras, this means no matter what activity you are partaking in, you can get smooth footage from it.

Waterproof to 10m deep without a housing, which means you can snorkel, surf and do many on-surface and shallow depth water sports without needing an extra housing.

A touch screen, which means you can control the camera with its rear 2" screen by navigating through the user interface just by touching the screen.

Finally, the GoPro Hero has Voice Control as well as it's touch screen, which adds to it's user experience and makes it that little bit easier when controlling the camera hands free.

These are it's main features and specs, we don't yet know what image sensor or chipset it is using. We wouldn't be surprised if it was using the same sensor as the GoPro Hero 4 Silver/Black cameras. This was used in the GoPro Hero 5 as well and it is obviously capable of 1080p at 60fps. It might also be using the new GP1 processor, but on the GoPro Hero spec page this isn't confirmed.

What we'd like to see from the new GoPro Hero is an extended battery life, it's not packing a punch in terms of features of specs, so maybe they have geared it towards regular action shots with its 1080p video recording and focused more on battery life, we will see!

How Good Is The GoPro Hero

We would also love to see how good this camera is, we can't compare image quality, how the stabilization works or the user experience just yet as it needs a lot of people using this camera first and comparing it before we'll get a feel of how good or bad it is. Who knows, it may be one of the best quality cameras released by GoPro with all new and better hardware that does just a few simple things; like 1080p video, image stabilization and ruggedness really well, only time will tell. For now the comparisons below are all based on paper and not full user experiences.

The above video is quite an unfair test and comparison, even so, you can see strong differences in the video detail and image quality.

We believe that some of the cameras that we compare to below would also have better image quality than the GoPro Hero at 1080p as some are as good, if not better than the GoPro Hero 6 Black action camera.

Compared To Other GoPro Action Cameras

This camera comes closest to the GoPro Hero 5 Session in terms of features and offerings, the only main difference is the lack of screen, but where you lose out on visual representation, you gain in a smaller form factor. They're both $199, so hit the same price market, let's check out its hardware and spec differences.

Video Resolution and Slow Motion Frame Rate

With the GoPro Hero 5 Session you get 1080p at 60fps, the camera goes one further in terms of frame rate and slow motion capabilities and gives you the option of 1080p at 120fps, so if you want slow motion in full HD, you'll have to consider the Hero 5 Session.

You also get the benefit of 4K video recording with the GoPro Hero 5 Session, if you want sharper, better quality videos, the Session wins this one too. The GoPro Hero can record up to 1440p resolution, but this seems more of a stop-gap res and isn't much of an improvement over 1080p and is far off of the quality of 4K.

Image Stabilization

You get image stabilization with both cameras, which is a feature you can't live without, unless you have a gimbal to smooth out your footage. Both cameras can then record in 1080p at 60fps with image stabilization on. No matter what it is you are doing, you can have image stabilization helping to smooth out your footage.

Waterproof To 10m Deep

Since the GoPro Hero 5 Black, GoPro have been releasing, waterproof ready action cameras. You can still add on an extra dive housing and go deeper, but you get 10m waterproof depth out of the box. Just make sure the doors are all closed and locked and you can snorkel, surf or do other water sports to your hearts content. This isn't made for serious freedivers, scuba divers, spearfishers, but is made for the general public who may want to slide in to the ocean, jump off a cliff, swim with family and friends, go surfing and then take it back on land without any extras.

User Interface and Experience

Another similar feature on both cameras is that of voice control, this means that you can control each camera, hands free. They don't have as many control features or commands as the Garmin Virb Ultra 30, but they do have enough to get the job done, say for instance your camera is underneath your stem on your road bike, or on the chin of your full face helmet, voice control will help with recording and stopping the recording without having to touch the camera.

Where the GoPro Hero wins in this area is that it has a 2" touch screen. This means you can navigate the user menu and control settings and other features of the camera more easily than having to press unfriendly buttons. Action cameras are already small enough and usually you may be trying to control them with cycling gloves, skiing gloves, wetsuit gloves, and this just adds to the frustration of setting your camera up for a shot, when you need to be doing it quickly.

Summary of GoPro Hero vs GoPro Hero 5 Session

You get very similar features with both of these cameras and they both cost $199 in 2018. So it all comes down to one simple thing when choosing between the two.

Do you want a touch screen which you can see and frame shots and control the camera via the screen.

Or do you want a smaller form factor, with better video quality and slow motion capabilities?

Everything else comes out pretty similar: image stabilization, waterproofness out of the box and voice control.

For us, comparing this camera to the GoPro Hero 5 Session, which came out August 2017, we're pretty concerned that GoPro just aren't offering anything new, even against their own catalog of camera options.

 

Alternative Action Cameras Which Have Similar Features

The below cameras have been pulled from the look-up table to show where they can record at 1080p at 60fps, has image stabilization, a touch screen and costs less than $200 brand new. These are all cameras that closely match the new GoPro Hero in terms of specs, only missing one or two features but in most cases they have some features that the GoPro Hero does not.

Andoer AN1

andoer an1 action camera

As well as the similar features above, you also get 2k at 30fps video recording feature, a quarter inch tripod mount which none of the new GoPro cameras have on their body. You also get 20mp photos compared to the GoPro Hero and it's 10mp photos. This camera also has mini USB which means you can plus in a mini USB laravel external microphone, which you can't with the GoPro Hero.

Where the GoPro wins, is with its waterproof out of the box feature, but this can be overcome by adding a case to the Andoer that just takes a few seconds to fit in to and you're ready to dive to 30m deep.

This camera costs just $80, less than half price of the GoPro Hero.

Advantages of the Andoer AN1

  • MiniUSB so you can plug in an external microphone and record better sound
  • 2k video recording
  • 20mp photos compared to GoPro 10mp photos
  • $80 to buy it brand new, a huge saving over the GoPro
  • 1/4" tripod mount at the bottom of the action camera body, so you have an extra mounting option

Advantages of the GoPro Hero

  • Waterproof out of the box to 10m deep, no need for an extra housing
  • Better burst mode

Eken H7s

eken h7s action camera

Again, this camera has a rear touch screen, can record at 1080p at 60fps and has image stabilization. It doesn't have the waterproof out of the box feature like the GoPro Hero but has the following advantages and other similarities.

You can record in 4K video resolution at 30fps, this is true 4K. Live streaming modes and only costs $90 brand new, another camera that is less than half the price of the GoPro Hero.

Advantages of the Eken H7s

  • True 4K video recording
  • Extra video recording modes with live streaming
  • only costs $90 brand new, another camera that is less than half the price of the GoPro

Advantages of the GoPro Hero

  • Waterproof out of the box to 10m deep, you need an extra case for the Eken H7s to take it diving and in to the water

Eken H8s

eken h8s action camera

Another camera which has image stabilization, 1080p at 60fps and a touch screen. Let's see what makes these two cameras different from each other below.

Advantages of the Eken H8s

  • $95 which makes it less than half price of the GoPro Hero
  • Only 66grams, so weighs half the weight of the GoPro Hero when not in its housing
  • Photo resolution of 14mp which makes it better than the 10mp offering of the Hero
  • 4K video recording at 30fps, so true 4K HD video footage

Advantages of the GoPro Hero

  • A better battery life
  • Waterproof to 10m without an extra housing
  • Voice control so you can use the camera hands free

SooCoo S100 Pro

soocoo s100 pro action camera

The SooCoo S100 shares image stabilization, 1080p at 60fps, touch screen and even voice control features, all for a camera that costs less than half price of the GoPro Hero at $100.

Advantages of the SooCoo S100 Pro

  • The camera body has a quarter inch thread in its body which means you can mount it to a tripod or other mount not in its case
  • The camera has GPS chip which means you can pin point the video location in to your footage
  • You can record at 120fps in 720p video resolution, which means super slow motion videos at 720p
  • Camera costs just $100 online, less than half the price of the GoPro Hero

Advantages of the GoPro Hero

  • Waterproof to 10m deep without an extra waterproof case
  • Better photo burst rate at 10fps

Xiaomi Mijia 4K

xiaomi mijia 4k action camera

Ranked one of the best action cameras in early 2018, this formidable package is hard to beat, especially when it comes to hardware and specs of the camera.

Advantages of the Xiaomi Mijia 4K

  • You can record in 1080p at 100fps and 120fps, which means super slow motion in true HD video resolutions
  • You can also record in 2.5k footage at 60fps which is much better than what the GoPro hero offers, its best is 1440p at 60fps
  • RAW photo capture which the GoPro does not have when taking stills
  • Larger 2.44" screen, compared to the 2" screen of the Hero
  • Sony and Ambarella image sensor and chipset which are both well proven
  • Priced at $110 brand new, which is a big chunk less than the Hero

Advantages of the GoPro Hero

  • Wider field of view at 170degrees compared to the Xiaomi which is 145degrees
  • Voice control which means better hands free control
  • Waterproof out of the box to 10m deep

Eken H6s

eken h6s action camera

Another Eken action camera that has similar features to the GoPro Hero camera. It's missing out on the waterproof feature out of the box, but has an info screen like GoPro does and many other similar features, lets check them out:

Advantages of the Eken H6s

  • Another 4K recording camera, true 4K too, not interpolated like others
  • The camera case is mostly aluminium which is much more hard wearing and tougher than the plastic versions
  • Costs $130, so a good $70 cheaper than the GoPro Hero
  • Weighs just 61g out of its housing, so less than half the weight
  • Takes bigger resolution photos as well

Advantages of the GoPro Hero

  • Waterproof out of the box to 10m deep
  • Voice control so you can use the camera hands free
  • Better battery life, which is surprising, considering we are talking about GoPro

Yi Lite

yi lite action camera

The Yi Lite is very much similar to that of the GoPro Hero, a new camera released after better spec'd cameras (like the Yi 4K and Yi 4K+) but with simple features and aimed at a specific market. You can do 1080p at 60fps, use image stabilization and there is a touch screen too.

Advantages of the Yi Lite

  • You can record at 120fps when you drop the resolution down to 720p, the GoPro Hero doesn't have this resolution option or frame rate
  • $135 to buy brand new, so considerably cheaper
  • 16mp photo resolution, so more pixels in your photos
  • Lighter when not in its waterproof case
  • Quarter inch thread on the bottom of the body, so if you don't need to use it in a waterproof housing, you can still mount it

Advantages of the GoPro Hero

  • Waterproof to 10m deep without an extra housing
  • Has voice control, which the Yi Lite does not
  • Auto low light, so should do better in low light scenarios and scenes

SooCoo S300

soocoo s300 action camera

This is a sub $140 4k recording action camera by SooCoo, one of two by them in this list which have similar features to the GoPro Hero and come in at a much lower price. It's in this list because it also has 1080p at 60fps, image stabilization and a rear touch screen to control the camera.

Advantages of the SooCoo S300

  • 1080p at 120fps, so super slow motion footage from true HD video resolution
  • A bigger screen at 2.35", this too is a touch screen
  • Made of rubber on its outer, similar to that of the GoPro
  • Cheaper at $135 brand new compared to $199 for the Hero

Advantages of the GoPro Hero

  • Faster burst rate of 10fps in photo mode
  • Voice control so you can record and control the camera with your voice and using commands instead of having to hold the camera in your hand
  • Waterproof to 10m deep without an extra housing needed, great for all round use

SJCam SJ6 Legend

sjcam sj6 legend action camera

The SJCam SJ6 is a fantastic action camera, getting a cam score of 88/100 and putting it in the top 30 best action cameras list. It has similar main features to the GoPro Hero: Image stabilization, 1080p at 60fps and a touch screen on the back of the camera to control it's settings and set the camera up, you even get an info screen on the front of both cameras too which is helpful.

Advantages of the SJCam SJ6 Legend

  • Cheaper than the GoPro Hero by $55, costing $145 brand new
  • Has a quarter inch (1/4") thread mount on the bottom of its body which is always handy to have an extra mounting option, as you aren't using your camera underwater all the time, well we dont
  • Mini USB so you can use external microphones with this input/output unlike the Hero which can't
  • Better video recording resolution of 2k at 30fps and interpolated 4k

Advantages of the GoPro Hero

  • Voice control on the GoPro Hero which isn't on the SJCam SJ6 Legend
  • Waterproof to 10m deep without an extra waterproof case to take it underwater

ThiEYE T5 Edge

thieye t5 edge action camera

A great camera from ThiEYE, which has been released after the successful T5e, ThiEYEs first 4K video camera which many people gave great reviews. This shares some main features with the GoPro, like touch screen on the back, image stabilization and can record at 1080p at 60fps and even has voice control, lets see how they differ:

Advantages of the ThiEYE T5 Edge

  • You get 4K video recording, which is real true 4K and if you drop it down to 720p you can record at 120fps as well
  • A faster burst rate of 15fps compared to GoPros 10fps in photo mode
  • Can fit to a tripod or other mount with the 1/4" fitting as it has this option on the camera body
  • Costs just $150 brand new, so a price cut of one quarter and $50 cheaper than the GoPro Hero
  • GPS chip inbuilt so you can track your videos and where you were located

Advantages of the GoPro Hero

  • Has the ability to go diving and snorkeling with its 10m waterproofness without the need for an extra case

MGCool Explorer 3

mgcool explorer 3 action camera

The GoPro Hero and MGCool Explorer 3 are very similar cameras, they look slightly different, due to the GoPro Heros form and being underwater ready, but there aren't many differences between them.

Advantages of the MGCool Explorer 3

  • 4K video recording, which is a bit better than the limited video recording offerings by GoPro
  • Mini USB means that you can plug an external mic using the mini usb input/output in to it to get better sound recording
  • $160 brand new so $40 less than the GoPro Hero, not a lot cheaper but enough to make you think

Advantages of the GoPro Hero

  • Waterproof to 10m deep
  • Voice control
  • Better battery life
  • Bluetooth connection which the MGCool does not have

Yi 4K

yi 4k action camera

The Yi 4K was Yi's first high-end action camera release, which they shortly after released an updated version with a few extra features. This camera, in it's own right is still a fantastic piece of kit, using high end Ambarella and Sony chipset and image sensors which are well regarded.

Advantages of the Yi 4K

  • A cheaper camera by $30, coming in at $169 brand new
  • Offers 4K out of the box, so a much better video resolution
  • You can record at 120fps in 1080p, so you get super slow motion footage from the same resolution available on the GoPro Hero
  • Quarter inch mount fitted to the bottom of the camera body, so more mounting options. You get the usual gopro (2 to 3 fin mount) on the waterproof housing
  • RAW photos, so more details and information in your still images taken with this camera, better if you want to use this as a video and still camera
  • USB Type C so you can use external microphones with this input/output unlike the GoPro Hero
  • 2.19" rear touch screen which is a little bigger and easier to use than the GoPro
  • Weighs just 95 grams without its waterproof case
  • Can take up to 12mp photos, 2mp more than the GoPro Hero

Advantages of the GoPro Hero

  • Waterproof out of the box to 10m deep
  • Slightly better battery life in 1080p
  • You get voice control with the GoPro, which you don't on the Yi 4K

Summary of Alternatives to the GoPro Hero

Above are all cameras that have similar or near enough the same main features as the GoPro Hero, image stabilization, 1080p recording at 60fps and touch screen features.

Out of all of the main features, the GoPro comes out on top when taking the camera in to the water. With it's waterproof to 10m deep feature and without the need for an extra housing, it's much easier to use because you don't need any extra accessories. This is really, the only main difference from all thee comparisons above.

Is the GoPro Hero worth $199 when all you really get is a camera that doesn't need to be put inside an extra housing? To us we think not.

If you don't need that specific feature, which we don't feel you do, especially in an action camera type of camera, as we like to argue that putting on a housing protects the camera in more ways than just keeping it dry; you get dust proof, sand proof, mud proof, grit proof, drop proof and weather proof toughness added to your action camera by putting on a separate housing and they only cost a small amount to replace, compared to that on a full refurb or fix if your GoPro breaks.

We've had a few cameras drop and the only damage has been done to the housing and not the camera itself. So if you can deal with putting a housing on to your camera, which takes just a few seconds, then you have plenty of options. As shown above, and when comparing it to the GoPro Hero 5 Session, we feel a little bit let down by this new camera.

The GoPro Hero Is A Simple Action Camera Aimed At A Very Big Market

They're obviously making a camera simpler to use, less video options, no need for a separate case or accessories, because you can't fit an external mic, so we see where they are going with this. But if that is the market they are aiming for, then you can easily buy something that gives you more options, like any of the cameras above, put it in its housing, set it up to 1080p at 60fps, turn on image stabilization and just use it as and when you need to, even with more features, action cameras are very simple electronic products to learn and to use.

They want the camera to be bought, plug in a micro SD card and used in-hand or on a stick or mount and thats it. It's a very good market to aim at and spending $200 isn't all that much for someone looking for a well rounded, all you can do sort of camera that they know they don't have to be precious with. This market aren't looking for extra video features, they want to record simple things, simply and with image stabilization in 1080p at 60fps you can get that result very easily and importantly, anywhere, water or land.

But this brings us back to the same point above, you can do all this, keep it simple, with a camera that has more options yes, but you can ignore them and most importantly, spend less on the camera. Each camera we have compared with above is at least $30 cheaper and in most cases is nearly half the price and you also get he options to record in 4K, to take the camera deeper if you decided to take up scuba diving as you can put it in your 35m deep underwater housing, which you probably keep it in all the time anyway.

Waterproof Ready Action Cameras

It seems that the biggest difference with all the cameras that look, feel and work like the GoPros are missing out on waterproof ready options.

If you really really need waterproof without an extra case, then so be it, the GoPro could be perfect for you. But they aren't the only action and tough camera range that offer this feature. There are more than 50 options for cameras that are waterproof ready and we wouldn't be surprised if you found that you would be better suited to something else.

For instance, if you needed something purely for diving, then you can't go far wrong with the Paralenz Dive or the Olympus TG-5. The Paralenz can go over 100m deep without an extra housing, but you don't have a screen on it. The Olympus Tough TG-5 can go to 15m deep without an extra housing and feels much more like a normal point and shoot camera, it's not much heavier or bigger than the new GoPro Hero and can record in 4K too.