What is the difference between GoPro Hero 3 and 3+? – Quick Guide

In the realm of action cameras, GoPro has established itself as a leading brand, offering a range of devices that combine robustness, compactness, and high-quality video capture. The GoPro Hero 3 and 3+ models have attracted a lot of attention among its diverse lineup and are now the preferred option for many explorers, sports fans, and casual users.

What distinguishes these two models, though? We will examine the subtleties of both the GoPro Hero 3 and 3+ and compare their features, functionality, and all-around value in this detailed 3000-word guide.

Whether you are an experienced GoPro user or new to the world of action cameras, this article will provide valuable insights and clarify the key differences between these popular models. Although it wasn’t included in our list of the 20 most creative 40th birthday gift ideas for 2023, I believe that for nature and travel enthusiasts, opting for either of these two models would be the ideal choice.


GoPro is a brand that has become a household name in the world of action cameras. Their devices are renowned for their durable construction and ability to capture high-quality videos, making them the preferred choice for adventurers, sports enthusiasts, and everyday users.

Among their range of models, the GoPro Hero 3 and 3+ stand out. At first glance, these two models might appear quite similar. However, upon closer examination, several significant differences between them become apparent.

Comparative Analysis

In 2012, the launch of the GoPro Hero 3 took place, and in 2013, the Plus version was introduced. Both models possess the ability to capture superior video and still images, albeit they do vary in certain aspects.

Here is a table of the main differences between the Hero 3 and 3+:

Feature GoPro Hero 3 GoPro Hero 3+
Video resolution 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 60fps 1080p at 60fps, 720p at 120fps, 4K at 15fps
Image stabilization Digital Digital and optical
Battery life 1.5 hours 1.8 hours
WiFi range 10 meters 20 meters
Dimensions 52 x 40 x 23 mm 52 x 40 x 21 mm
Weight 85 grams 81 grams

The Plus version offers several enhancements in comparison to the basic one, such as improved video resolution, optical image stabilization, extended battery life, and a broader WiFi coverage area, as evident from this. However, the Hero 3 is also a great camera, and it is still a good option if you are looking for a more affordable option.

Detailed Feature Comparison

GoPro HERO3+ vs. HERO3

Here is a more detailed look at some of the key differences between the two models:

Video Resolution

The GoPro Hero 3+ model can record video in 4K at 15fps, while the highest resolution on Hero 3 models is 1080p at 60fps. This means that the Plus version can capture higher resolution and potentially more detailed video footage.

Image Stabilization

Neither of the models compared have built-in image stabilization. Image stabilization was first introduced in the GoPro Hero 5 models.

However, you can use an external stabilizer or apply stabilization when post-processing the footage in software like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro X.

Battery Life

The Plus model has modest improvements in battery life over their predecessors. However, the exact battery life will depend on the settings you’re using.

WiFi Range

While the specific WiFi range isn’t mentioned, both the Hero 3 and 3+ models have WiFi, so you can use GoPro‚Äôs Capture app to control the settings and shooting, and use the GoPro Smart Remote.

Size and Weight

There is a slight difference in weight and size between the GoPro Hero 3 and 3+. The basic model weighs 85 grams, while the plus version weighs 81 grams.

The Hero 3 is also slightly larger, measuring 52 x 40 x 23 mm, while the Hero 3+ measures 52 x 40 x 21 mm. The difference in weight and size is due to the fact that the Plus version uses a new battery that is 30% larger.

This battery allows the Hero 3+ to have a longer battery life than the Hero 3.

Accessory Compatibility

Both of the models share a wide range of accessories due to their similar form factors. However, with the slight size difference, certain housings and mounts specific to the Hero 3 may not fit the Hero 3+ perfectly.

Low Light Performance

Both models come equipped with improved low-light performance over the previous models. Still, the Plus version is slightly superior due to its upgraded sensor and new shooting modes specifically designed for low-light conditions.

Audio Quality

GoPro Hero 3+ offers a superior audio experience with its advanced wind noise reduction technology, which is an improvement over the Hero 3 model. This allows you to capture clearer audio, even in challenging windy conditions.

Waterproof Depth

The GoPro Hero 3 and 3+ are both waterproof and can be used for underwater photography. However, the Hero 3+ has an improved dive depth, rated for up to 40 meters compared to the 30 meters of the basic version, making it a better choice for deep-water activities.

User Interface

Both cameras use GoPro’s intuitive user interface. The Hero 3+ makes some improvements, streamlining menu navigation for faster, easier control of camera functions. This is particularly useful when you need to change settings on the fly.


When considering the price, the GoPro Hero 3 is typically less expensive than the Hero 3+ due to its older release date and fewer features. However, both models offer excellent value for their price, and the choice between them would come down to individual needs and budget constraints.

Additional Features

The Hero 3+ model has a few additional features that the Hero 3 doesn’t have, such as the ability to shoot in 4K, SuperView mode for a more immersive wide-angle video, and Protune options for more control over the visual and sound settings. The Plus version also has a slightly larger sensor, producing 12MP images compared to the 10MP images of the basic models.


Are there any differences in the sound between these two models?

Both have onboard mono microphones and are compatible with external microphones using the mini-USB port.

Can both models shoot Timelapse photos?

Yes, both can shoot Timelapse photos, with the options of intervals at 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds. However, neither of them can shoot time-lapse video, where the video is generated on the fly in the camera. That was a feature that came with the HERO4 models.

What are the differences in photo modes between the Hero 3 and 3+?

The GoPro Hero 3+ has a new photo mode called SuperPhoto, which uses a combination of HDR and noise reduction to produce sharper and more detailed photos.

Are the two models compatible with the same accessories?

In nearly every case, these work with the same accessories, from mounts to housings to batteries to memory cards.

Last Words

The question of whether the Hero 3+ is worth the upgrade from the Hero 3 depends on your specific needs and budget. If you value higher video resolution, better image stabilization, and longer battery life, then the Plus version would be a good choice.

However, if you’re on a budget and these improvements aren’t crucial to you, the Hero 3 remains a solid option. It’s clear that the Hero 3+ is an improvement over the Hero 3, but it’s not so much better that the Hero 3 becomes obsolete or not worth using.