December 21, 2020
GoPro launched a new wireless remote with free firmware updates that is designed to control the company’s cameras even if they are far away or mounted somewhere hard to reach. Priced at $80 — the same as the previous Smart Remote — it is compatible with the Hero 9 Black, Hero 8 Black and Max cameras. Improvements in design include a larger display and an even bigger Record button on the front, ideal for use with gloved hands. Dubbed the miniature Remote, it is also waterproof up to a depth of 16 feet.
The Verge reports that the Remote “can control common camera features like on/off, shutter button control, and mode changing for up to five cameras within a distance of about 200 feet.” It “can be attached to your wrist, control bar, or steering wheel … [or] mounted to your helmet, kite lines, or roll bar — anywhere you want just so long as the camera is within range of the Bluetooth LE signal.”
The company is also unveiling firmware updates for the Hero 9 Black, Hero 8 Black and Max cameras, with owners of Hero 9 Black seeing “the most dramatic improvements after installing the version 1.5 update.”
Those changes include “up to 30 percent faster wireless data transfer from the camera to the GoPro app on phones, improved HyperSmooth 3.0 cold-weather performance, a shortcut slider button for slow-motion capture, improved GPS accuracy, improved live streaming with the Max Lens Mod [and] Pro 3.5mm Mic Adapter support.”
GoPro added that the “new Hero 8 Black firmware can boost wireless transfer speeds by up to 15 percent, while Max data transfers are improved by up to 20 percent.”
Gizmodo reports that, “because the new Remote relies on Bluetooth Low Energy for connectivity and to deliver optimal battery life, it actually has shorter range than the old Smart Remote, topping out at 60 meters (just under 200 feet) compared to a range of 180 meters (600 feet) for the older Smart Remote.”
It adds that the new Remote’s water resistance of five meters (16 feet) is “significantly less than the Smart Remote’s water resistance of 10 meters (33 feet).” Further, although the new Remote can be paired with “up to five devices simultaneously … the old Smart Remote can be paired with up to 50 cameras at a time.”
As a result, those with a GoPro Hero 8 camera (or older) have a dilemma: “either choose the new Remote with its refreshed design and bigger display or go with the older Smart Remote to get longer range, better water resistance, and more support for simultaneous connections (though you do make a trade-off when it comes to battery life).”
For owners of a new Hero 9, the only other option for off-camera controls is the GoPro app on a mobile device. The new Remote is shipping in North America and will be available in other markets in February.