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GoPro’s $400 Camera Is Pretty Much Disposable

Summertime is here! And that means the livin’s easy, right? So grab your (mother)boards and hit the beach!

Just in time for the season of sunshine, GoPro has launched its tiniest camera ever: the GoPro Hero4 Session. This lil’ cube cam may be cute, but it definitely put up a not-so-cute fight on our teardown table. After heating, cutting, peeling, prying (and crying) we finally got it open!

The Session is expressly designed to be waterproof, but that definitely put a damper on repairability. The glass lens cover is the only component that can be replaced without the utter destruction of your camera. So this GoPro can only last as long as its integrated battery—and the waterproofing—holds.

Let’s hope the GoPro is seriously durable in the water, because it’s hosed on repair: the GoPro scored a 1 out of 10 on our repairability scale.

GoPro Hero4 Session teardown highlights:

• After destroying the device to get in, we aren’t surprised that the battery is soldered to the motherboard. With a battery life of roughly two hours, you’re going to be recharging often—increasing the number of charge cycles on your camera, and decreasing its life before you need to, but can’t, replace the battery.

• Remember back when you could unscrew the image sensor board from the back of the GoPro’s lens assembly? iFixit remembers.

• Unlike its bigger, more expensive brothers, the Session lacks an accessory port. This means that you won’t be able to mount things, such as an LCD screen or secondary battery, to your GoPro.

  • GoPro Hero4 Session’s hardware:
    • Qualcomm QCA6134X-AM2D Wi-Fi/Bluetooth SiP
    • Ambarella A7LS video and image processing chip
    • Micron JWB25 NAND Flash + LPDDR2 MCP
    • AMS AG AS3715 Power Management IC