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GoPro Hero 3 – Black vs Silver vs White

[UPDATE: GoPro have released the Hero 7 Black Edition.  You can find more about it here.]

My black edition Gopro Hero 3 arrived in the UK a couple of weeks ago. The form factor will be familiar to all who have seen or already own the white or silver editions.

GoPro Hero 3

Looking at the different cameras (I have silver and black editions) the “3” within Hero3 is coloured to match the cameras edition. That is the Black edition’s 3 is black and the Silver Editions 3 is silver etc. But what really makes the white, silver and black editions different to one another is what goes on inside.

GoPro Hero 3

GoPro 3 – Black

3 Black Editions: Adventure, Surf, or Motorsports – all are the same only difference is some of the supplied mounts.
4kp @ 12fps/2.7kp @ 30fps
1440p @ 48fps/1080p @ 60fps/720p @ 120fps
Glass Ultra Sharp Lens
12MP / 30fps Burst
45Mbps bit-rate
Wifi Remote included
Excellent Low Light Performance

Simultaneous Photo and Video Mode:

Photo every 5, 10, 30, 60 seconds or can be manually triggered
1 x 12 Megapixel still while recording video in 1440p @ 24fps
1 x 8 Megapixel still while recording video in 1080p @ 30fps
1 x 8 Megapixel still while recording video in 720p @ 60fps

GoPro 3 – Silver

No Wifi Remote but this can be bought seperately
Lower def shooting modes than the Black Edition
1080p @ 30fps/960p @ 48fps/720p @ 60fps
Basic Lens
11 Mega Pixels / 10 fps Burst
No photos while recording video
35Mbps bitrate

GoPro 3 – White

1080p @ 30fps/960p @ 30fps/720p @ 60fps
Basic Lens
5MP / 3 fps Burst
15Mbps bit-rate
170deg in 720p mode

I have used both the Black and Silver editions (I haven’t seen the White edition as yet) in a range of situations and found both to be an improvement over the Hero 2. Although the Silver edition on paper is the same as the Hero 2 its low light capabilities and the overall quality of the video/images produced is far better.


1. All of your mounts and usual GoPro accessories will work with the new GoPro Hero 3 case. E.G. Chest Mount, Handlebar mounts etc

2. You will need different memory cards for the Hero 3. The Hero 1 and Hero 2 accept SD and SDHC cards while the 3 accepts Micro SD cards. I have found that some retailers sell the same capacity Micro version for less than the standard size. You will be able to swap a Micro SD card into the Hero 2 if you have an adaptor. The black edition has the ability to take stills and video at the same time. I have therefore settled on a 32GB card for the time being as the 64GB cards are still quite pricey but are starting to come down in price. If you are wondering what card would be best and what all the figures mean check out my ramblings on SD cards.

3. The Hero 3 uses a different size battery. Therefore you will not be able to swap between the 1/2 and 3. Additional betteries are avilable from GoPro and Wasabi.

4. The back panel of the Hero 3 case is the same as the Hero 2. In my case this means I don’t have to go out and buy another Floaty back door back.

5. All bacpac accessories are backward compatible but the new touch screen LCD unit will not work as a touch screen on HD 2 units.

Which edition to get will be a tough choice that may be driven by cost, intended use or even availability. For my money I believe that the Silver edition will actually fulfil most peoples needs and offers the middle ground. Combine the silver with a few choice mounts for your particular application and either use the WiFi remote or smart phone and you have a pretty versatile setup. For some even the white edition may prove to be a good choice if video is only going to be uploaded to the likes of Vimeo or Youtube. The black has lots of cool little tweaks but in all likelihood the 4k and 2.7k videos will never really be seen until other areas of consumer technology catchup and become more affordable. If your wallet can take the hit go for the black, if it can’t and the silver edition is the one you will be going for don’t worry. You won’t miss what you didn’t have and its unlikely that you’ll be craving the features that the black has over the silver.

I have a fair bit of GoPro kit and to maximise its use I also have a range of must have accessories.


  1. Unsponsored

    I now own two silvers and one black. If taking stills the black is used. If taking video for Vimeo etc I tend to use the silvers.

  2. Simon

    Excellent review, couldn’t make my mind up. Silver now ordered!

  3. Rifen

    A great review indeed . I must say hero3+ black edition is great and i love for its 12 megapixel, and for its super slow motion video ability.

  4. Mary

    What about the white GoPro? We are beginners and just want to take a camera on a cruise for our snorkling, a zip line adventure and one short diving excursion. After the cruise, my husband will use it for fishing. Not sure which version we should get….any suggestions. Will the white be all we need, or should be upgrade to silver or black? Thanks.

    • Unsponsored

      I haven’t had any real contact with the GoPro white, although it is similar in many ways to the GoPro 2. There are lots of deals to be had both the Black and silver since the Hero3+ range was launched. I would recommend the silver based upon the better quality optics and low light capability.

      GoPro Deals – Here.

  5. Wayne Wright

    Just want to say thanks for taking the time to sharing this information with everyone. I’m in the process of selecting a GoPro camera, and trying to learn about all of the different models. I haven’t decided which one to get yet, but your review/comparison is very helpful.

  6. tos

    i’m trying to pick a gopro camera for my sons birthday – he’s big into kayaking so that will be it’s main use – which one would you recommend for river kayaking ??

  7. Eve Ozouf

    Im unsure for which GoPro i should go for. Im a budding photographer so i’ll be taking a lot of stills but also a media student so i’d like to take a lot of good quality footage too. What would you recommend?

    • Unsponsored

      You can’t go wrong with the Black 3+. In all likelihood a new GoPro Hero 4 is probably due out Autumn/Winter 2014, so plenty of deals on the 3+. Check out these.

      You’ll need a good Micro SD as well for the higher quality footage.

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