Nothing is more frustrating to this GoPro owner than finding a great photo or video op only to find out that the battery is dead. DigiPower has charged this issue head-on (see what I did there?) with their release of the Re-Fuel line of Action Pack batteries for the Hero3, 3+ and 4. The Action Packs are available in three options: a 6-hour, 12-hour and 24-hour. For this review, I had the opportunity to test the 12 hour version.
Using the Action Pack is easy. It attaches like any other rear door replacement. I simply remove the existing rear door, and snap the Action Pack on. I then close the door and snap it shut. Done. Each of the Action Packs vary in size and weight depending on the battery life. The 12-hour Action pack adds around 3/4 of an inch more in length, and weighs 4.7 grams on my scale. However, they all mount the same. Which leads me to first echo a warning from the Action Pack’s box; it only supports the newer 3+ and 4 housing.
This led me down a little adventure and some really helpful info for you, our readers. I own a Hero 3. This meant that I would need to acquire a new housing in order to test this. A friend of mine suggested that I search eBay and save some money. I found a good deal on a new 3rd party case and had it shipped in. When it arrived, I attached the Action Pack and attempted to snap the clip shut. Instead, the clip snapped in half. I decided to just bite the bullet and buy an OEM housing. When it arrived, I did the same thing except it snapped closed like intended. In my experience, the aftermarket case was not made of the same materials as the OEM one. I would recommend sticking with OEM housings for these bad boys.
Other important things to note are: That the Action Pack requires the longer thumbscrews to clear the housing. The short ones will not work. Also, the GoPro’s internal battery must have some charge initially in order to work with the Action Pack.
Now for the meat of this article; how does it perform? Well, in one word, AWESOME. It takes around 4 hours to fully charge the 12-hour Action Pack using the included MicroUSB cable and double 2.1a wall charger. The back of it has LED lights that show the current charge level when charging. When it is in use, I just give it a shake and the LEDs light up to show battery life. I had my Hero3 on and let it sit for 14 hours and the Action Pack was barely drained. When recording a 1080P video, it ran for 6 hours before my 32GB stick was full. The Action Pack was still on the 3rd LED light (between 66%-100%). I left it on all night after this. In the morning, it was at the 2nd LED. I’ve also taken it on a number of cruises in my VW.
The next important part is its durability. I took it on a rough bike ride and it took the beating from branches, bushes and a few minor scrubs like a champ. I also took it into our pool. Waterproof is a check. I even decided to test how long a charge would last when the GoPro is not in use. It has been two weeks now and still all three LEDs are full.
In this guy’s opinion, the Action Pack is without a doubt a must-have for GoPro users where battery life is important and wall outlets are scarce.
MSRP for the 12-hour Action Pack: $79.99
For more info on the full line of Action Packs, please visit Re-Fuel here.
A huge thank you to DigiPower for sending out an Action Pack for me to review and abuse.