What is the Difference Between the GoPro Hero 4 and 3+ Cameras?

The difference between GoPro HERO 4 and 3+

Since GoPro released the Hero 4 cameras, I've gotten quite a few requests by my friends and readers to highlight the major upgrades and overall differences of the new and old models. You've seen our original which GoPro to buy article help many of us with all of the camera models, but in this post I'd like to focus on the newest of the new. The GoPro Hero 3+ cameras were only released in October of 2013, so a lot of people were bummed if they had recently purchased the 3+ and didn't even know about the 4! They've also released a new budget-friendly option simply called the HERO which we'll also highlight. In our opinion, the 3+ is still a very solid choice (if they remain available), but the Hero 4's have been greatly improved in numerous areas, particularly with the Black Edition's supporting 4k cinema and 30fps. In terms of the absolute best to buy? We've come to a conclusion that you may not have expected. Let's go by edition by edition first.

GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition vs. 3+

Similarities

  • Beastly video resolution

    The Hero 4 Black's only standout features (in our opinion) is Bluetooth and 4k\30fps

    Both photo quality at 12MP (30/1, 30/2, 30/3, 10/1, 10/2, 10/3, 5/1, 3/1 burst rates)
  • 10/1, 5/1, 3/1 continuous photo rates
  • GoPro App and GoPro Studio compatible
  • Field of View (FOV) is Ultra Wide, Medium, Narrow
  • Lenses are ultra-sharp\ultra-wide with all-glass lens (reduced distortion)
  • Protune and Superview compatible in both models (1080p)
  • Waterproof to 131’/40m
  • WVGA at 240fps
  • Wi-Fi in both
  • Professional low-light performance
  • Auto-low light
  • Both photo quality of 12MP
  • microSD up to 64GB memory card support
  • Looping video
  • No built-in touch display for either
  • Support for an external 3.5mm microphone
  • Mono, 48kHz, AAC audio quality (not changed in either of them)

Video

  • Maximum video resolution: 4k cinema\30fps in the Hero 4 and 4k cinema\15fps in the 3+
  • The hero 4 is also able to shoot in 1080p\120fps and the 3+ max fps for 1080p is 60
  • Hero 4 has auto low-light modes
  • Maximum 1080p fps support: 120 in Hero 4 and 60 in 3+
  • 4k Superview in Hero 4 only

Photo

  • None!

Misc. features

  • Hero 4 supports Bluetooth
  • Night lapse and night photo only in Hero 4
  • Highlight tag in the 4
  • Studio quality external mic support in the Hero 4
  • Increased audio range (10dB) in the 4

Check Pricing

Hero 4 Black: Amazon US | Amazon UK | ActiveLifeStore 

Hero 3+ Black: Amazon US | Amazon UK | ActiveLifeStore 

GoPro Hero 4 Silver Edition vs. 3+

Now we'll compare the Silver Editions of the 4 and 3+. There are some decent smiliarites, although the differences are pretty significant when it comes to quality and additive features (not as big of differences as the Silver Editions, though). One thing to notice GoPro has not done is improve the overall audio quality of their cameras, which we're a bit unhappy about, but beggars can't be choosers, right? Perhaps they're saving this for future models (because we all know how bad the audio is with the cameras now). Here's the list:

Similiarites

  • All models are GoPro App and GoPro Studio compatible
  • Both models Field of View (FOV) are ultra wide, medium and narrow
  • Both can film in 1080p\60fps
  • Time lapse intervals both at 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 seconds
  • Looping video in both
  • Mono, 48kHz, AAC audio quality
  • Support for an external 3.5mm microphone
  • Both have the same ports: Micro HDMI, mini USB, microSD, HERO Port, 3.5mm
  • Both memory card support microSD up to 64GB (read our best memory card for GoPro)

Differences

Video

  • The best GoPro

    The Hero 4 Silver is one of our favorite models of the bunch

    Maximum resolution of the 4 is 4k cinema\15fps while the 3 is 1080p\60fps
  • Neither have 4K superview (Hero 4 Black does with 24 fps)
  • Hero 4 can shoot in 1080p SuperView at 60fps
  • Low-light performance of the Hero 4 is 'professional grade' while the 3+ is 'prosumer grade' (relatively noticable difference, yes)
  • The WGVA of the Hero 4 can shoot in 240 fps, the 3+ in 120 fps (both Ultra Wide FOV)

Photo

  • The megapixels of the Hero 4 is 12MP while the Hero 3+ is 10MP
  • Maximum burst rates: Hero 4 at 30/1 with Hero 3 at 3/1
  • Hero 4 allows continuous photo rates (up to 10/1) while Hero 3+ cannot

Misc. Features

  • Built-in touch display in the Hero 4
  • Hero 4 supports Bluetooth and the Hero 3+ cannot
  • Hero 4 has Protune, Hero 3+ does not
  • Auto low-light, 'night photo' and 'night lapse' only in the Hero 4
  • New 'highlight tag' feature not in the Hero 3+
  • Simulatenous video and photo in the Hero 4

Check Pricing

Hero 4 Silver: Amazon US | Amazon UK | ActiveLifeStore 

Hero 3+ Silver: Amazon US | Amazon UK | ActiveLifeStore 

GoPro HERO vs. 3+ White Edition

Here's the final comparison which is specifically geared towards those on a budget. The new GoPro HERO is basically the 4's "white edition" renamed, albeit for rather cheap (we're pretty happy with GoPro releasing this model to help give us a choice). The Hero 3 white list price is $200 and the HERO is $130.

Similarities

  • The new GoPro HERO

    We love the HERO -- you don't sacrifice much yet still get an affordable camera with 1080p

    Maximum video resolution: 1080p\30fps
  • Both contain Ultra-sharp ƒ/2.8 6-element aspherical glass lens/ Ultra-wide angle (reduced distortion)
  • Consumer grade low-light performances
  • Both photo quality of 5MP
  • Neither have night photo, night lapse, highlight tag or simulataneous video and photo
  • Bitrate video up to 16 Mb/s
  • Both with mono, 48kHz, AAC compression and support external 3.5mm mic

Differences

Video

  • Field of View for 3 white is ultra wide, medium, narrow while HERO only offers ultra wide
  • HERO offers Superview in 720p (60 fps)

Photo

  • Hero 3 white with 3/1 burst rates and HERO 10/2
  • Time lapse intervals of 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 seconds with Hero 3 white
  • Wi-Fi built-in to the Hero 3 white, no wi-fi with HERO
  • Auto low-light in the HERO
  • Looping video only with the Hero 3 white
  • Ports in Hero 3 white: Micro HDMI, mini USB, microSD (up to 64GB), HERO port, AV, 3.5mm
  • Ports in HERO: Mini USB and microSD (up to 32GB)

Check Pricing

HERO: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Hero 3 White: Amazon US | Amazon UK

The final word on the GoPro Hero 4 cameras

The best GoPro out there

Our choice of the bunch is the Hero 4 Silver Edition

What about some other combinations? The listing price of the Hero 3+ Black and the Hero 4 Silver are similar and some of you may debating on the two. If we were to choose and sift through the numerous models of GoPro's available in general, we'd go with the Hero 4 Silver Edition. Not only does it have crystal clear quality at 1080p and 60 fps, but the built-in LCD screen and Wi-Fi leaves us scratching our heads why somebody would drop 5 bills on the Hero 4 Black for reasons other than the 4k cinema at 30fps resolution.

We get it, the 4k cinema quality is appealing, but that not only eats your battery up but most video players can't even handle that quality of picture yet -- that's for movie studios in our opinion. Unless of course you want the best of the best, the Black Edition is for you. But the answer we're sticking with is the Hero 4 Silver Edition pertaining to most.

If you are debating on either the Hero 4 Black or Hero 3+ Black, we'd stick with the 3+ being that the price is dropping and the features aren't too staggeringly different. However, we've noticed that GoPro took the 3+ off of their site and has not allowed retailers to order more (we tried). In result, we're pretty sure they are just discontinuing the 3+ Black altogether, so keep that in mind. Otherwise, grab the Hero 4 Silver as we recommend.

Let us know if this has helped, and don't forget to check our site for GoPro cameras, mounts and accessories since we offer free shipping to the US, extremely cheap shipping internationally and no tax on all orders.

Lastly, here's their fancy video:

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