Hero2 at a glance: how it differs from the Original Hero
- Improved image quality. Much better image quality than the Hero and better than the Contour+.
- Now has external mic jack. This was one of the key benefits the Contour+ used to have over the Hero.
- Viewable on a smartphone through WiFi. However, this feature will not be available until Feb 2012 and will require purchasing and extra adapter that goes on the back of the camera. Smartphone viewing is available on the Contour+ today and does not require buying extra adapters.
- Price didn't change! Still $300. The mid-range Hero is now $240 with a sport package or $200 naked. The 960 is only $150.
- Now has an 11-megapixel camera (Hero and Contour have 5mp cameras). Also, the camera shoots up to 10 frames a second for action photo sequences.
As we were about to go to "press" with the first generation HD Hero vs. Contour+, GoPro announced the release of the Hero2. The news was not shocking, as we had already had the opportunity to play with the Hero2 in China while on the Jeb Corliss cave flight adventure. GoPro sent one of their minions to film us BASE jumping in the Hunan province, and our tests with it there consisted mainly of sticking Hero2s all over ourselves for a variety of angles and shots in what was consistently hazy, less-than-perfect light.
Apart from a sharper, more color-rich image, the Hero2 also boasts a range of new photo modes and an improved 11mp still image. Incredibly, it is capable of taking ten 11mp images per second, which will make for some pretty sweet action sequence shots. And, if you want both still and video images of the same action… then get two cameras. It's not capable of unbridled magic, yet.
The LCD screen resolution is far higher and this somehow makes the camera feel a bit more modern. This allows for more info (and by virtue of that, fewer cryptic symbols), to be displayed on screen. The record mode light is larger and more visible in daylight. What is unchanged is the size and shape of the camera and housing. This means that, conveniently, it will fit all of your old Hero cases and mounts, but don't expect it to have a larger lens or a slimmer body. There is a full comparison on the GoPro site.
All these packages stayed about the same except the surf edition has smaller mounts and comes with two. Also, they changed the name of the Helmet Hero package to Outdoor Edition.
No major dislikes; it is an improvement over the Hero in every way. However, it still has some of the minor dislikes we had with the Hero. It is much bulkier than the Contour+, especially if you want a side mount on a helmet. It does not have the best look.
The Contour+ has more features for the techy user that the GoPro lacks:
- Contour+ streams to smartphones now with no extra accessories needed.
- Contour+ and Contour GPS have GPS.
- All contour cameras let you configure the settings with your computer.