For a start, GoPro’s Hero 5 Black is very different from last year’s Hero 4. It’s still rectangular, but this time around it’s a little curvier and semi-rubberised body.
It’s easier to hold, especially with gloves on, and it should withstand a few bang and bumps better than the older model.
Thanks to the redesign, it is a couple millimetres thicker at all angles, making it totally incompatible with the Hero 4 so cases etc. will need to be bought.
The Hero 5 is waterproof, if you take your GoPro for a dip, you can now take it to a maximum depth of 10m without damaging the internal camera. And because it doesn’t need a case, underwater sound quality is much better, and it no longer sounds like you’re stuck in a vacuum.
To keep its internals nice and air tight, the Hero 5 does have some thicker covers over its ports, which are far more tightly sealed than the old model. But it does mean the battery, microSD slot, USB Type-C and Micro HDMI ports are all a little trickier to access now, but at least they’re much safer from the perils of water damage and should survive multiple usage.
GoPro Hero 5 review: Touchscreen
The physical shutter and mode buttons are still there, but the old triple button scheme is officially dead and buried thanks to the Hero 5’s shiny new 2inch touchscreen.
Using the touchscreen feels very similar to using a camera on a smartphone. You can swipe to navigate menus and toggle features on and off, and swiping to the right will bring up your gallery. Here, you can take a quick look at all of your captured footage. Swipe left, and you can toggle additional settings, such as video stabilisation and the option to capture images in RAW format for easier editing. Dragging down exits these menus and brings you back to the live-view screen.
Being able to look through the lens without the need of a smartphone app is much better and of course easier. Its touch gestures are a little more awkward to begin with, but it isn’t too long before it feels perfectly natural. You can still use your phone for some fine tuning if you need to.
The only concern is that touchscreen navigation was just a little too slow to react for my liking, especially during fast paced shooting. There’s a short, but noticeable delay when switching between modes and swiping to access special settings, and there’s an annoying delay between each captured image.
Fortunately, you can still use the physical buttons to switch between modes and capture footage which is easier and quicker. You can also take advantage of the Hero 5’s new voice controls. Whether it’s “GoPro turn on” or “GoPro start video”, the Hero 5 picked up my orders with minimal fuss, allowing me to go hands-free whenever I pleased. A really useful if not a little gimicky.