ACTION HERO

 while riding

We loaned the latest all-action GoPro HERO2 to Editor Adam Scorey s best mate, Darren Elliott, who took it to The Peaks for a gentle saunter over hill and dale

Err, in reality this was more like myself and a few mates barrelling down I rocky, muddy, slippery trails on gnarly, expensive off-road mountain bikes —and you know what us blokes can be like when we all get together. So, having had a good look about on the net, YouTube videos etc, the GoPro HERO2 seemed the perfect companion, you know, out there. I have my own DSLR and a compact, but they are just not man enough for the job. Anyway, you can t really attach them to a bike very easily; more to the point, I didn t want to!

On opening the pack, both the camera itself, the waterproof housing and all the accessories had a real air of quality about them, they look and feel good. To me, there seems to have been serious thought gone into the design, as if by a genuine user not a geek. Things like it being very light, simple to operate and having a changeable lens dome on the case for when it gets scratched, rather than having to buy a whole new case.

As it is a technological product, my assumption was it was technical, but it was far from it. Essentially there are two buttons that do everything. The instruction book —yes, I did read it —was easy to follow and it even had a dedicated, step-by-step section for biking. I followed those suggestions and it all worked fine. Once set-up, using the main selector button, it was a single button to start/stop which, even while riding with it in the chest harness over rugged terrain, was easy enough.

Image quality, from both the 11MP stills and the video, were above my expectations to be honest. The lens looks relatively small, but it is professional quality glass. The sound was mono, but you can add a stereo mic if you wanted to.

There are a couple of slightly disappointing elements that I need point out, though. First, I wish I d done a trial run on my bike; as there is no way to preview your images on the camera itself, you don t know if the video, stills or time-lapse footage looks okay unless you download it and check. Second, the battery life wasn t quite as good as quoted in the manual, but this could just be that it was new and needed conditioning —perhaps a spare battery would be advisable for a long ride or other activity.

One thing I can confirm is the camera s strength. As you may expect, I will have had a few thrills and spills while out riding. One particularly momentous occasion was a full-on head plant in the boggiest, muddiest puddle you could imagine. I am happy to report that the HERO2 survived perfectly, not so sure about my brand new bike though. Oh well, a few scratches on it shows it has been used.

VERDICT

For the money, and its capabilities, it is an outstanding bit of kit that you can get some fantastic action images and footage from. It s so easy to use, it s robust and the cons certainly wouldn t stop me from buying one at all. I d give it nine out of ten!

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