If you've been holding off on getting a GoPro HD HERO actioncam ... well, you were right to wait. Today, the California-based company announced the release of its HD HERO2 camera, which is claimed to be "2X as Powerful in Every Way." More specifically, it has an 11-megapixel image sensor (as opposed to the regular camera's 5 mp), along with a new processor that is said to be twice as fast, and a redesigned lens that GoPro claims is both twice as sharp and capable of a complete 170-degree field of view even in widescreen 1080p mode. There's also good news for consumers who think the existing HD HERO is all the camera they need.
Along with the upgrades already mentioned, the HERO2's LCD interface has been redesigned to be much easier to use. This is definitely an improvement, as the previous version really couldn't be understood without the instruction sheet handy - although the optional add-on LCD screen module helps in that regard.
The new camera also has a 3.5 mm stereo external mic input (although it can only be accessed with the waterproof housing removed), better low-light performance, and can capture up to ten still images per second in "burst mode." It can also support time-lapse video, recording one frame every 0.5 seconds, if a Class 10 SD card is used.
The HD HERO2 is also compatible with GoPro's yet-to-be-released Wi-Fi BacPac and Wi-Fi Remote. The WiFi BacPac will allow the camera to be remotely controlled via a smartphone or tablet, with the waterproof WiFi remote acting as a dedicated alternative to such mobile devices - it will additionally be able to control up to 50 HERO2s at once. The new WiFi gear will also work with the basic HD HERO, although the HERO2 will be unique in being able to broadcast streaming video using the BacPac.
Speaking of the original HD HERO ... the arrival of the HERO2 has driven its price down. Instead of the previous US$259.99 - $299.99 (depending on the package), it will now sell for $199.99 - $239.99.
The HD HERO2 comes in Outdoor, Motorsports and Surf packages, all of which are available from GoPro for US$299.99. The video below gives an indication of its image quality - watch it in 1080p for the full effect.