With the cost of high capacity micro SD cards plummeting, there is no longer any reason to run out of storage space during a day filming with your GoPro. However, battery life is increasingly an issue. For example, the GoPro Hero 3+ Black already claims a battery life of only 1 hr 30 min when shooting 1080p at 60fps – and that’s under optimum conditions, with a new battery and no use of the wifi connectivity. Factor in a cold day on the ski slopes, with a battery that has been through a few charge / discharge cycles, and the actual recording time is likely to be significantly lower than this.
Managing battery life is always something of a dilemma – you want to keep the camera rolling to capture any exciting (or amusing!) action that does occur, while not blowing all your battery juice on the first coupe of hours, leaving nothing for the remainder of the day. GoPro will sell you a spare battery – but it charges nearly $20, and in order to charge it you need to swap it into the camera unit.
However, help is now at hand in the shape of the Wasabi Power Battery and dual Charger pack
. This pack contains 2 spare GoPro Hero 3+ batteries, and a a double slot external charging unit which can be run either of mains power or from a car 12 volt socket. Both the wall and the car charger can also be used to charge other USB devices such as smartphones and tablets – to this end each has a 1 amp and a 2.1 amp USB port. The 1 amp connection is fine for smartphones, while the 2.1 amp is needed for larger capacity batteries like those found in an iPad. Either can be used to power the GoPro battery charging unit, but the best performance is obviously from the 2.1 amp socket. Wasabi also make a kit with just a single slot charger
, though this lacks the ability to charge other USB devices.
The Wasabi Power batteries themselves are lithium polymer cells rated at 1280mAh – a little higher than the GoPro-branded batteries which are 1180mAh. Some users have reported that they have achieved a significantly longer life from the Wasabi batteries than from the GoPro ones, but this could result from a comparison of new Wasabi batteries against used GoPro ones. What does seem clear, however, is that the Wasabi Power batteries are at least as powerful as the originals. The batteries themselves do fit a little bit more snuggly in the camera than the originals, but that is no bad thing as it reduces any potential vibration and noise when the GoPro is bumped around during filming.
The charger unit will fit and charge batteries from both the Hero 3 and Hero 3+ range of cameras, and will work with both the GoPro original battery and the Wasabi Power replacements. However, it should be noted that because of the slight difference in size between the batteries, the original GoPro batteries fit a bit more loosely in the charger, so care must be taken to ensure they are seated correctly and charging.
Overall, the Wasabi Power batteries and dual charger
are an excellent option for those looking for increased run time from their GoPro Hero 3 or 3+. For the little more than the price of a single GoPro spare battery, you can get two from Wasabi, plus the wall and car charges which will double us as chargers for your other USB devices. It’s also worth noting that Wasabi Power offer a $10,000 dollar guarantee against any damage to equipment caused by using their products, so there shouldn’t even be any concern as to the GoPro warranty when using a third party product like this. So a big thumbs up then!