I started with a Hero 5 Session, simple, small and most of all reliable. Fewer bells & whistles, but It always worked as advertised. And with my first REMO worked flawlessly.
I’ve had Hero Black 5, 6 & now 8. The video time is limited by battery life. Memory cards now have way more capacity than you will use before the battery dies. I get maybe 1 hour recording, depending on temp.
The voice control works occasionally. You can expect it to fail when you get a little water in the mic, or wind, meaning all the time. I’ve commanded my camera “GoPro start recording” and it would fail but trigger two other cameras on nearby boats to start. Quite comical.
There’s a “quick capture” feature so from dead OFF you command “GoPro Capture”. The unit should power up and start recording. Then “Gopro Stop Recording” should make it stop & power down. This is designed to maximize battery life. My Hero 8 NEVER, NEVER works, and often won’t even stop. Just runs until dead.
If you don’t use the very specific brand/type memory card the camera freezes, fails, has fragmented files, etc.
I’ve tried the Smart Remote. Total piece-O-Sh.%&!
It’s pretty much all wide angle, close shooting. My 6 does have 1.5X zoom, I think. But you have to re-select it in settings every time it turns on. The 8 has NO zoom, I believe. Forget about capturing anything distant. Where it scores high is the super impressive video stabilization. Also I’ve had no problems with water. Mine have all been totally waterproof. I apply Rain-X to the lens and it reduces the water spots considerably.
One place I value it is when practicing rolls. I mount mine at the edge of the pool and record myself. It’s excellent for reviewing technique and spotting faults, lifting the head, whatever.
There are other video modes. And several still photo modes. I think the image quality is pretty good. But it’s monitor screen is tiny.
I have the custom-fitted orange foam floaty jackets. They will float the camera only, but not with mounts attached. I use them as much for impact protection and color visibility. If one falls off I have a chance to spot it and recover it. I cut a piece of foam noodle and add that to the mount and/or tether. There are many mounts available for other activities too.
The suction cup mount will stick fairly well to smooth deck. Adhesive mounting pads work well. Far forward for yourself surfing, helmet mount for others. But get close and hold steady with minimal head turning. When breaking out through surf the camera WILL slip, turn & aim away from you, requiring assistance. “Hey, could you point my bow camera up a little?” becomes a constant nuisance. Tried several mounts and haven’t solved this one. Also, it’s easy to forget if a helmet-cam is running or stopped.
I’m not really a photo/video guy. I’ve all but given up on using the damn things. Maybe just when surfing days, but often not even then. I have a buddy who’s great. He’s using other brands now. Another buddy with good video skills claims the new 9 & 10, along with the new Bluetooth remote are much better. But sorry, I’m out. Way too many problems. After 4 diff models, 2 diff remotes, I’m more & more disappointed.
Oh, then there’s the editing. I have a program with my videos. I simply hand my SD card to my buddy. He takes it and uses what few moments I capture, if any. He swaps me a blank card for the next outing.
If you’re really into it then enjoy. But overall my opinion is these things suck. Just too much trouble. I’ll do the navigation, thank you.