Until recently, there was no way to remotely control the HERO8 and HERO9 Black as these cameras weren’t compatible with the existing Smart Remote. The Remote is the next generation remote control. In trying it out, I found it to be a mixed bag of experiences. It works well but really there should be a good user guide and The Remote does lack a couple of features I expected it to have.
The Remote (89.99 EUR) has a very nice design with a rubberised feel. It’s large enough to handle with gloves. Its interface is as simple as possible with only one huge “Go” button and the other three buttons on the sides. It’s very easy to scroll through, for example, the Modes by pushing the Modes button, which is large enough to use — this one, perhaps, harder with gloves on — but small enough not to use accidentally. The large monochrome LCD screen is responsive and you can orientate it so that the text is always legible, no matter how you wear The Remote; on your left or right wrist, upright or upside down.
There’s a generous velcro strap included with The Remote, but no lanyard for which there is an attachment slot located at he bottom of the unit, so that, when it hangs on your chest, you can swing it to instantly read the screen. The Remote is also waterproof to 5m and is charged via the included USB-C cable. The operating range is 60m and the battery consumption is very low due to the use of Bluetooth Low Energy technology.
That’s all great, but operating the unit is not straightforward. That’s not because the UI is unnecessarily complicated but because there’s no decent user guide included. For example, the leaflet that serves as a user guide details how to pair the unit with a single camera, but The Remote allows you to control up to five HERO8/HERO9 Black cameras. Alas, you’ll need to search for the GoPro forum thread where someone figured it out and was kind enough to share it with the rest of the world.
Still, the only thing that I found operationally missing is a way to shut down a connected cam. After having tried all kinds of button combinations, doing a Hopi rain dance and searching the GoPro forum, I simply gave up.
I still think The Remote is a good accessory to take with you if you’re in the great outdoors and you don’t want to use a smartphone or tablet to control your GoPro cameras. If you don’t mind fiddling with your iPhone or Android smartphone, though, you are better off with the Camera Tools for GoPro HERO Action Cams app.
This app does cost a few Euros, but you’ll be able to fully control more than five cameras and shut them all down at once as well.