Just in time for the winter sports season, GoPro just released an updated remote designed to help you control the company’s action cams even if they are far away or mounted somewhere hard to reach.
Starting at $80, the new Remote costs the same as its predecessor, the Smart Remote, while offering an updated design with an even bigger Record button up front, a larger display, and most importantly, compatibility with GoPro’s most recent line of Hero 9, Hero 8, and Max cameras (connectivity for the old Smart Remote stops at the Hero 8/Max lines).
When paired with a GoPro camera, the Remote can control all the standard camera settings, including presets, shutter speed, ISO, and more. Additionally, the Remote can be paired with up to five different GoPros at the same time, while the included wrist strap should make it easy to keep track of the Remote even in the middle of the action.
However, another notable change is that because the new Remote relies on Bluetooth Low Energy for connectivity and to deliver optimal battery life, it actually has shorter range than the old Smart Remote, topping out at 60 meters (just under 200 feet) compared to a range of 180 meters (600 feet) for the older Smart Remote.
Furthermore, while the new Remote comes with water resistance rated down to five meters (16 feet), once again that’s significantly less than the Smart Remote’s water resistance of 10 meters (33 feet). The new Remote can be paired with up to five devices simultaneously, but the old Smart Remote can be paired with up to 50 cameras at a time.
For owners with a GoPro Hero 8 camera or older, this makes the upgrade path a little less clear, because you can either choose the new Remote with its refreshed design and bigger display, or go with the older Smart Remote to get longer range, better water resistance, and more support for simultaneous connections (though you do make a trade-off when it comes to battery life). If you have a new Hero 9, aside from using the GoPro app on a mobile device, your only other option for off-camera controls is the new Remote.
GoPro is also releasing a firmware update (version 1.5) for its Hero 9 Black, Hero 8 Black, and Max cameras. On the Hero 9 Black, that update delivers 30% faster wireless data transfer to phones using the GoPro app (or 20% for the Max and 15% for the Hero 8 Black), improved GPS accuracy, a new shortcut for slow-mo capture, better HyperSmooth 3.0 cold-weather performance, support for the Pro 3.5mm Mic Adapter, and, of course, compatibility with the new Remote.