Today we’re doing a quick side by side with the gopro hero 4 session and the new polaroid cube plus. We’re going to put these cameras through a variety of tests.
We are mainly going to focus on video quality and audio quality, we’re gonna do a bunch of tests and really touch on the features that both of these cameras offer.
We’re going to start off by taking a look at what each of these cameras does best at 30 frames a second, now it should be noted with the polaroid cube that its field of view is a little shorter and things maybe look a little more zoomed in. That’s because its field of view is restricted to 124 degrees because stabilization is always turned, there’s no way to disable it.
The gopro hero4 session runs the latest 1.5 firmware. This firmware offers a lot of functionality to the hero4 session including the ability to change the settings on the device itself. Both cameras do take advantage of a phone app using Wi-Fi to change the settings but the polaroid actually requires the app in order to change any settings whereas the gopro lets you change them on the device itself.
The hero4 session when it first launched did not have this feature, you needed to have the phone in order to change any of the settings but after that 1.5 update you can actually change it through the device now using the two buttons, which makes it a lot easier to use and its really nice not having to depend on your phone.
The hero4 session retails for around 300 dollars, the polaroid cube actually retails for about 150 and for that we have stabilization and we have 1440p, we have built-in Wi-Fi now so we can change the settings on the go and the app actually does have a lot of different features but we’ll get into that more later.
The hero4 session does a really good job of just showing you a really nice image but when we zoom in to a hundred percent when you’re seeing these things full screen and just putting them side-by-side the hero for assessing just is much softer, initially I thought this might be because well maybe the polaroid cube plus is crunching the values so we get really nice sharp edges but later on we actually did a test with the hero4 session to sort of match some of those settings and we just don’t see it from the hero4 session, it’s just always slightly softer
If you zoom in on an image, you can actually see edges a lot better on the polaroid cube plus than on the GoPro.
When it comes to color I really like the hero4 session. It doesn’t go too far in either direction to be way too saturated or way to understated, but when you’re looking at it compared to the polaroid cube plus it might seem washed out. Generally it all depends on when we’re filming it and what the lighting conditions are like; twelve o’clock one o’clock here we are where we are everything is really flat in this situation so it does kind of come off as feeling like a really flat plate but later on when we went into our low-light filming you can actually see what the Polaroid Cube struggled with. In some of those more interesting color environments it takes it too far in the warm direction and the hero4 session ends up looking really good. The hero4 session I guess is a really good job of balancing out the overall picture but sometimes it just doesn’t look as pretty as the Polaroid cube can make it with its default settings. Its just one thing to keep into consideration if you’re filming mainly throughout the day some of these sort of punched up saturation colors might seem more appealing to you and then maybe that one hour of the day where you do film later night it might look a little too far in one direction.
We now started looking at the differences between 60 frames a second and 30 frames a second. One thing I really want to point out especially on the the Polaroid cube plus is the detail that this camera manages to pull out. The detail that just isn’t visible on the gopro. The hero4 session is a $300 camera, I would of expected it to be blowing a lot of what the polaroid cube plus is doing out of the water, just in terms of video quality, because video quality is generally the most important thing but it’s kind of way too soft in some scenarios and it’s kind of unfortunate again that the Gopro is failing on a sharpness test.
Again, it is a really nice balance image when we actually do start color correcting some of the footage, but this should be the standard image. If that’s something you want to do in post processing, then there’s a ton of range with the hero4 session when you try, however that same sort of work with the polar cube, you’re much more limited on sort of your spectrum. The cube just doesn’t have the range in your blacks or whites, but there’s a ton of detail in the images from the cube. In conclusion, you don’t really lose any detail in between 30 and 60 frames a second.
The polaroid cube is always stuck on that 124 field of view, the gopro hero4 session we can actually change our field of view, just to make a little more narrow. We actually have a range of options with the Gopro. It has a wide variety of options we could change. Things like ISO for filming at night, if we don’t want as much green to pop in we can bump that down to 800. The polaroid cube plus does have a lot more options compared to last year in terms of overall features and a usable feature through the phone app. However, there’s just a lot more on the hero4 session.
A lot of the features that matter, or at least that you would want, are there on the polaroid cube plus. As mentioned earlier, you can’t turn off stabilization. One of the negative things about having stabilization always turned on is that sometimes when you’re doing locked off shots your footage will actually start to drift to the left or the right because the camera gets it wrong and tries to correct the image. It would be nice to turn off that stabilization at times, but for most people it probably won’t be an issue.
There is no stabilization at all on the hero4 session, which is unfortunate, especially this late in the game. it’s a big selling point to a lot of people.
With the cube plus you are going to have to buy a aftermarket waterproof case in order to go underwater, it is not waterproof right out of the box. Its about an extra 25. The hero4 session however can go underwater right out of the box with no additional cost.
We were talking about the saturation on the cube plus being a little to much at certain times of the day, the hero4 session is always providing a really good balance of colors but can look a little washed out.
One of the big things with the GoPro line of cameras is they’re always really good on post-production stuff so you can always go in later and change the color as you want. You can add a sharpen filters to crunch down those values and you can you really make that sharpness come back…But you still can’t get away from the fact that the Cube is almost half the price as the Gopro and yet the image is just much better.
The hero4 session has a new dual mic system so if you’re riding your bike and you have a lot of wind noise coming in the front Mike it will switch to the back microphone to try and cut down on the noise. Right out of the box none of the audio sounds muffled or anything. The audio on the polaroid cube unfortunately sounded really poor.
The Polaroid cube does have a magnetic base which is great, but you can also get tripod mounts and helmet mounts. The hero4 session, even though it’s a new design it’s still compatible with a lot of the other gopro mounts out there. You won’t have any problem hooking it up to those older mounts, and shouldn’t have any problem mounting either of these two cameras on anything.
Both of these cameras were having a hard time with the night time images. We have a few options with the hero4 session that we don’t have with the polaroid cubes. Options such as ISO control, however, even with the lack of features and adjustable controls on the cube, it still has better image quality at night. There is better definition and far more detail in the polaroid camera.
When it comes to still images, the gopro hero4 session uses an eight megapixel image sensor at a resolution of 32 64 x 2448. The Cube plus is using the same resolution but a 6 megapixel image sensor. The hero4 session has a more balanced, neutral color and has more range in blacks and whites. The still images were very very very slightly better on the Session…..But only very slightly!
Its hard to pick a winner between these two action cameras. The hero4 session soft image isn’t going to be the best, and the polaroid cubes lack of interface isn’t ideal. The polaroid cube would make a great dashcam, especially at 150 dollars.
The price alone makes the Polaroid Cube a much better camera than the GoPro. But more than that, the video quality from the cube was exceptional, it was better than the Hero.
Our advice would be to buy the Polaroid Cube Plus.