Oct 2, 2019

The real problem with action cameras

Ina Fried, author of Login

Screenshot: Gopro.com

Two of the leaders in the action camera world, GoPro and personal drone maker Skydio, unveiled new products Tuesday, aiming to woo new buyers and convince existing owners to upgrade.

The big picture: But whereas once upon a time the biggest issues with such cameras were things like battery life and ease-of-use, the category is now bumping into a new, possibly tougher problem: these cameras are great when you're scaling Half Dome or snorkeling in Maui, but most of our lives just don't pack in enough action to justify such a camera.

Driving the news:

  • GoPro unveiled 2 new models, the $399 Hero8 Black and $499 Hero8 Max, waterproof action cameras which feature the ability to connect accessories directly without separate mounting hardware. The Max version functions as both a traditional action camera and, thanks to dual lenses, a 360-degree recording device.
  • Drone maker Skydio introduced the second version of its owner-following drone, improving the size, range, battery life, camera and other features all with a lower starting price — $999 sans controller. (The Verge has a detailed hands-on here.)

The bottom line: I aspire in the coming year to have enough action to justify the purchase of a GoPro, maybe even the Max. Skydio will probably have to wait at least another year, though that doesn't mean I don't want to try it out, too — especially since I am so bad at flying traditional drones.

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