Pros Durable, can go anywhere and capture any moment
Variety of mounting options
Lots of shooting modes
Small and lightweight
High frames per second in 720p
Good battery life
Cons Poor shooting quality in shade or dark
Somewhat confusing controls
Wifi feature is not as easy to use as they claim
Sound quality is terrible and no option to hook up an external mic
No viewfinder, hard to plan shots
Summary The GoPro Hero 3 White edition is a very affordable entry level action camera that is tough as nails and great at recording and capturing fun action shots. For the vacationer, the action sport enthusiast or the average person that wants to capture memories in a unique and fun perspective, this camera is for you.UPDATE: the fixed aperture is f2.8 not f1.2 like I stated in my review.
The $200 price tag makes this camera very affordable in the range of video cameras. It will capture higher quality video than your smartphone and simple point-n-shoot since it shoots 720p HD (at 30 or 60 fps) and 1080p HD (at 24 or 30 fps). GoPro is also famous for its ultra wide angle lens configuration which gives full emersion in the action and ensures you will capture everything in view. That being said, the GoPro shoots good quality HD video in well lit situations which is good since this is a camera you will probably use more outdoors than anywhere else. The shooting quality suffers, however, when shooting in the shade or in darker situations like indoors. This problem was fixed on the Black edition which features a better low light image sensor. The only other gripe I have about the shooting is that there is no variable focus on the camera. It has a fixed aperture of f1.2 which means a narrow depth of field (ie what's in focus). This means if you want to have professional looking focus capabilities, you should look for a new camera.
Another strong feature of the GoPro is that it offers not only video capture, but also timelapse shooting, burst shooting and individual shots. These are all very useful for capturing the action which sometimes is not best captured in video. Getting to, and setting up, these different shooting modes can be a bit confusing though. There are two buttons and one is the record, the other the power button. This isn't their only function though. You have to use them to navigate the menu in a way that I still trip up over.
The durability of the GoPro is where it shines. Mine has been in many crashes with me and it always survives unscathed. I am not that lucky. One drawback of this rugged design is that it greatly limits the microphone's capability at picking up sound accurately. It is necessary for the toughness of the camera to remain but can still be a bit annoying.
Finally, the wifi features on this camera are confusing to use. They don't work and require constant firmware updates which take time and sometimes glitch on the GoPro website. My advice, don't even worry or try. If you leave wifi off, the battery life is exceptional and extra batteries are relatively cheap which always help extend shooting time.
The bottom line: the GoPro 3 White edition offers good video quality capable of capturing most action sports as long as you do not hope to make it look like movie quality. The controls take some getting used to and the case is somewhat cumbersome but this is made up for by the fact that it can be mounted on nearly everything and will survive any abuse you throw at it.
Updated on Dec 9, 2013
Pros Good video quality
Cons Not as good as Black Edition
Summary Over all I think the Go Pro Hero 3 White edition is a very good camera for the price and would suggest it to people who want one for fun or even for actual photography!
Cons Hard to understand menus
Low camera (only 5MP)
Summary I got this Hero3 White edition as a Christmas gift. I lucked out, and got one that worked. I have read review in other places where the cameras lock up, and stop working. I have not had this with the White. I did have that problem with the Hero3 Silver that I bought. The White is good, but not the best. That's the reason that I bought the Silver for my second one.
I have used it with the iPhone app. It is so much easier to use the app instead of navigating through the menus on the tiny screen. I have not been able to figure out how to control more than one camera on the app. Perhaps this will be an update in the future.
Pros Light, cheap-ish, just works...usually. Armored case is well made.
Cons EXTREMELY poor low light performance with the white edition, far worse than the admirable job the Hero 2 did. Electrical noise using internal microphone. Proprietary external mic adapter.
Summary I bought this camera after borrowing a friends Hero 2, which which I was HUGELY impressed, thinking that the Hero 3 would be better. I was greatly disappointed, and returned two in a row thinking there must be something wrong with the camera. Now on my third camera (from a different store), it turns out that the white edition is just crap.
1. Horrible low light performace: In bright sun, between 6 inches and 5 feet, it's crystal clear and beautiful. Beyond that, it starts getting fuzzy. In a normally lit room indoors, forget it; its blurry and grainy at all resolutions.
2. While using the built in microphone, if you have the wireless enabled, there's a constant low ticking noise. Using an external microphone seems to lessen the effect.
3. The GoPro app frequently refuses to connect, requiring that you restart the wifi on the camera, but....
4. The wifi will not turn off. No combination of button pressing will make the wifi turn off consistently. Instead, I have to pull the battery out to restart it.
Pros Small Size
Excellent Video Quality (when working)
Cons Complex clunky interface
Screen provides poor information
Downloadable (only) instruction manual not informative
Persistent freezing of firmware
Ridiculous, wasteful packaging
Summary This item left me high-and-dry on a week-long trip of scuba-diving and reef snorkeling. It only worked once, recording a couple test videos and a few useless hotel photos. After that, I could never get it to record a video, take a picture, or even be recognized by the USB on my laptop; it would just freeze. On a couple occasions, the battery got very hot and rapidly self-discharged.
After several days of removing the battery to reset it after the firmware froze (this happened probably 50 times), I found out that there was an update. I downloaded the update, followed the instructions to the letter and it never did update. It would just freeze. Browsing around on the internet reveals hundreds of people with identical experiences.
This camera was released by GoPro without sufficient testing or was just released (with full knowledge of the problems) in time for holiday shoppers. I tend to think the latter is the case. I will be returning this with its totally mangled packaging and looking for a different brand of similar product.
That said, the couple videos that it did capture were excellent quality.