GoPro 3 Problems or Why You May Wanna Wait a While Before Buying Your HD Hero 3

It seems that GoPro, as a company, is having some troubles these days. Especially after launching the HD Hero 3 camera.

Now, depending on time you read this, those problems may have been solved, but for now (January 2013) this is real. So, consider this a very timely article which may be less relevant (hopefully) in the future.

Have a look at the embedded tweets below or follow these Twitter topics and see what people are saying:

So what's the deal? Why does GoPro suck?

Just consider that Foxconn (Apple products manufacturer) has bought a 9% stake in GoPro for $200 million, which valuates GoPro at $2.25 billion. The Taiwanese electronics manufacturer makes the hottest gadgets on the market today, including the iPad, Amazon's Kindle, Sony's PlayStation and Wii U.

This makes Nick Woodman, GoPro founder, a billionaire.

GoPro was also initially backed by two venture funds which allowed it to grow fast. This means there are a bunch of investors who pour cash into the company to fuel its growth.

Unlike a founder who is somewhat emotionally attached to his company and wants his baby to grow beautifully, investors wanna get their money back as fast as possible. So once they have the product out on the market, most of the money goes into advertising.

The idea is simple: spending money on advertising is a way of buying revenue. If for each $1 they spend on ads they get $1.20 back, then the business philosophy is obvious: spend as much as you can on ads until the profit diminishes to zero - break even point. That's why you see those GoPro ads all over the internet and on TV.

Their focus moved from product and customer service to hard core selling. It may be good for the business in the short run but it's bad for the brand in the long run.

As much as I love GoPro, I think they're in a bad position right now. The reasons?

1. Pushing technology too far and too fast

The Hero 3 is smaller, shoots in 4k resolution, 120 fps in 720p, has WiFi, etc. A lot of features for such a tiny camera so it's expected to have some glitches.

Remember when Steve Jobs launched some iPhone which had everything except...a good GSM network signal? Awesome brand, awesome presentation but an embarrassing issue for a phone. Nevertheless people adopted the product and got over it.

Same here. We love GoPro cams so we still buy them. But consumers who are early adopters of technology will always take risks with such purchases.

By no means pushing technology is bad. It's awesome! It's what drives us forward today. You're reading this on an electronic device which is probably wirelessly connected to the internet - would you give that up?

2. Growing too fast as a company

Having a bunch of investors burning your ass to grow the company so they can possibly flip it to another technology giant or to bring it to an IPO means the focus changes: the company must serve its shareholders first and customers second.

A healthy company must be customer centered which GoPro is becoming less of.

It's basically a capital allocation issue. There's more effort and capital going into sales and less into product and customer service.

I would't worry though. I think they'll come around and do things right before killing their brand. They're too smart to screw this up.

Okay, GoPro cams may have problems. But how bad can it be?

Pretty bad I may say.

Apart from the freeze problem, WiFi connectivity/lag issue, firmware update issue, smartphone app problems, short battery life, not recognizing the SD card, they even shipped out empty boxes...

I've seen quite a few people on Twitter complaining about this. Some bought it on Amazon, some directly from GoPro. Also notice the poor star rating and negative reviews for GoPro 3 on Amazon.

GoPro 3 Ratings vs GoPro 2 Ratings

All these complaints are contrasting with the positive feedback that some lucky filmmakers post on Twitter, YouTube or on thier blogs. It seems you have to be lucky to not get a defective camera.

Where to buy your GoPro HD Hero 3

Your best option is to buy it in a store so you can easily return it if it's faulty.

Buying it online is risky - you don't wanna get too angry with their poor customer service.

I'm gonna wait a while though. I hope they're working on solving all the hardware and software problems.

Over to you

Got a defective GoPro camera or know any people who have been disappointed with GoPro?

Drop a comment. Your experience is valuable for your fellow action sports filmmakers.

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  1. Did you buy one or are you waiting? I was looking at them on Amazon this morning and was amazed by all the negative reviews, then I saw your tweet about this post. It seems like GoPro really dropped the ball on this one. Sad.

    1. I have their first HD Hero and I occasionally borrow the HD 2 from a friend. Love them both and I'm sure I'll love the HD 3 as well once I get it.

      But for now I don't have it and I'm in no rush to get one. For the reasons mentioned above.

  2. My brother and I will have to play with his for a while longer. He doesn't have any bugs with the White edition...yet. Ya know, I have been having problems with my GoPro HD 1 since I updated the firmware for the battery backpack. I just figured I'd live with it. I'm glad to see GoPro must view my videos because they used my tape solution for battery removal. Your welcome GoPro. They could of at least sent me a free camera or something.

    1. I think the Black edition is more prone to bugs since it has the most technology crammed into it - it promises a lot for a camera of that size.

      They usually give credit when they see a fan coming with improvement ideas for their product. But they might have seen the battery removal trick elsewhere as well. They posted my DIY steadicam tutorial on their Facebook page. It was flattering - also the blog got over 100,000 page views that month.

      I sure hope they'll take a step back and asses the current situation and start getting back to what's important: serving their fans with a solid product and stellar customer service.

  3. I bought a Black Edition on the 26th of December in Hawaii.

    I upgraded it to the latest firmware, and it freezes now and then. Specially when browsing the menu on the unit :-(

    I have been recording videos, but it is pretty annoying it freezes, gladly i can set up the camera by wifi from my iPhone without freezing problems.

    I REALLY hope GoPro fixes the bug pretty soon, else they are going down the drain as a company :-(

    1. I think it's important for us to articulate these problems. Not to slander their name but to raise their awareness.

      Maybe this will get them to take action and to properly address all these complaints.

      Thanks for joining, Søren!

    2. I agree completely.

      I love my GoPro 2 and my new Black Edition. Just a shame the last one freezes now and then.

      Ps. very nice website you have here :-)

  4. I have the problem with SD-card. Absolutely good SD-card, class 10 etc. I upgraded it to the latest firmware, but it does not work. The same problem have many people. Support answer after 2-3 weeks and again silent.


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