GoPro HERO5 Session Brief Review



  • 4K video, 12 megapixel still photos
  • 10 fps burst speed
  • Voice control, JPEG
  • Exposure control, Stereo audio
  • Waterproof to 33 feet without housing
  • Image stabilization
  • Release Date: 2016-10-03
  • Final Grade: 90 4.5 Star Rating: Recommended

GoPro brings big features in a small package with the HERO5 Session
The latest GoPro Hero Session may be small, but it still packs in quite a few features.
By Hillary Grigonis, Last updated on: 1/10/2017

The original GoPro HERO Session was designed for portability, skipping out on a few key features to become the action camera giant's budget option. And while the new GoPro HERO5 Session follows the same body style, it doesn't follow the same skim list of budget features. With GoPro only introducing a Black version of the HERO5, many are calling the HERO5 Session the Silver of the latest GoPros -- and they're not wrong.

While normally the Silver Hero version has a lower quality, both the GoPro Hero5 and the HERO5 Session shoot 4K at 30 fps and capture 12 megapixel still photos. The Session does have a slightly slower burst speed for those stills, at 10 fps instead of 12, and while the technical details are still scarce as to the size of the sensor that's actually inside, at first glance the two appear to have very similar on a quality level.

The HERO5 Session even includes several of the big headliners for GoPro's flagship, including voice control, where users can say, "GoPro start recording" instead of pushing the record button. Electronic image stabilization also wasn't skipped here either.

So where does the Session cut? The less expensive model doesn't offer RAW shooting, which gives users greater control over photo edits. The smaller version also skips out on the geotagging without a built-in GPS. The Session's smaller profile also means that the touchscreen is  left out to keep the size small, though it has the same 33 foot depth rating without housing.

The difference between the original Session and the HERO5 Session are much more obvious. The $199 budget action camera doesn't shoot in 4K and stills are only eight megapixels. Both models are still waterproof, but the original Session doesn't have voice control or image stabilization. While the older tiny action camera still has Wi-fi and Bluetooth, it also doesn't auto upload to GoPro's new cloud service (not included in the price).

Don't let the Session in the name or the size fool you -- the GoPro HERO5 Session is more like the Silver version than the budget version. The question is whether the touchscreen and RAW shooting is worth another hundred bucks, or if price is really the priority, if you'll miss that voice control, stabilization and 4K by opting for the original Session.

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