GoPro Hero 4 Session
GoPro Hero 4 Session is about half the size of normal GoPros, is waterproof, and can shoot up to 1440p.

Pure innovation.

That was my first reaction to the new GoPro cube camera (NASDAQ:GPRO). The Hero 4 Session is about half the size of the already tiny Hero 4, and retains most of what makes these cameras great. It’s easy to use, doesn’t cost much, and can easily attach to a variety of accessories.

Priced at $399, I expect this little action cam to sell like hotcakes.

How astonishing that so much tech can be crammed into such a tiny frame?!

And, unlike the traditional GoPros, this one comes waterproofed out of the box (no add-on cage required).

GoPro calls the Session the “smallest, lightest, most convenient GoPro possible.” Quite a feat that.

Simplicity is key. So there is just one button on the Session. Hit it to start/stop recording or long-press for time-lapse photos. An app is used to set the remainder of the features. This is a trend I’m noticing of late, as action and street photography options expand to include these app/camera hybrid control systems. The Olympus Air is another example of a camera that has minimal controls on the device itself, relying instead on a companion smartphone app to do the heavy lifting. If we already have a small computer in our pockets (i.e. a smartphone), then, the thinking must go, why not harness its capabilities?

As always, The Verge has a solid in-depth look at the new GoPro Hero 4 Session (strange name that, “session”?), including this video preview:

Filmmaker Philip Bloom also has an exhaustive first look. In addition to thoughts about the Session, he compares it to the Hero 4 Silver and Sony X1000V action cams. No-surprise spoiler: he notes the absence of 4K in the new GoPro.

I expect Hollywood to go ga-ga over this thing, and buy them by the truckload. They’re fantastic for grabbing action shots, of course, but also handy for working in tight spaces, such as car interiors. By using GoPros production teams have the potential to dramatically lower costs.

We talk a lot about innovation here in Silicon Valley. Tesla is a name that comes immediately to mind (as does Apple, the obvious example). But GoPro too is innovating extremely well. Will it be enough to fend off low-cost competition from China? Hard to say. At this point, though, GoPro is the gold standard. If you want high quality results, you choose GoPro. So long as the company can protect its brand among hobbyists and filmmakers alike it has a good shot at extending its market lead.

The GoPro Hero 4 Session (still, a strange name no?) ships next week, and is priced at $399. If you don’t need 4K this looks to be a spectacular product.