GoPro cameras have changed how we record and share our lives. Sure, they’re marketed as point-of-view camera, but with the proper accessories, they can be a much more versatile device. The Polar Pro PowerPole GoPro Battery Pole adds two features that enhance the function of any GoPro camera.
A pole is a logical extension (we’re punny!) of the GoPro. It allows the GoPro user to take the camera beyond a simple point-of-view camera and lets people insert themselves back into their videos. Take our Polar Pro PowerPole video review for example:
In this area, the Polar Pro isn’t unique, but they have done a great job of creating a solid pole that can extend from 17-30″. It’s made from lightweight, machined aluminum with a rubber grip and weighs 13 ounces. Physically, the pole is well balanced and looks and feels well-made. Our only issue with the construction – the bolt holes in the camera mount are just a tiny bit smaller than standard GoPro holes. This means that instead of being able to slide the bolt through to the nut before you start twisting it, you have to twist it all the way through. It’s not a major issue, but it increases camera installation time by about 20 seconds. We could probably fix it with a careful drilling, but haven’t tried yet.
According to GoPro, the new Hero4s support up to 64gb memory cards. (We’ve heard rumors that they can actually support up to 128gb.) That’s a lot of video, even at 4k resolution. For example, the Hero4 Silver will record almost three hours of 4k video at 15fps before it runs out of memory. At the same resolution, the Hero4 Silver, with all wifi turned off, will record for up to two hours on a single battery. You’ll run out of batteries before you run out of memory.
At 1080p/30fps, the resolution we use to record our videos, you can get up to four hours and twenty minutes of video on a 64gb card, but will only eek out an estimated one hour and forty minutes from each battery. That’s two and a half batteries per full card. We carry three batteries on our review missions, but the normal consumer won’t want to lug a pocket full of lithium around the slopes.
In an effort to keep the Hero4 small and light, GoPro only put a 1160mAh battery inside. Great for something you strap to your head, but poor for long recording times. You can carry extra batteries like we do. But, this brings us to the unique feature of the PowerPole – an integrated 5800mAh lithium ion battery. That’s five GoPro batteries – enough to record two 64gb memory cards at 1080p/30fps. It’s a classic two birds with one stone situation – you get great extension pole and more battery than you could ever need.
The Polar Pro PowerPole charges via a splash-proof micro-USB port in the handle and attaches to your GoPro via a pair of full-size USB ports at the tip of the pole. This means you can also charge any USB-compatible device with the PowerPole – your iPhone, a headlamp, a different camera, your GPS device; you name it! Polar Pro includes a button that activates a three-LED battery level meter below the charging port. One minor drawback is that you have to use GoPro’s Frame mount instead of one of the waterproof and protective polycarbonate cases. So, the PowerPole is splash-proof, but the entire system – pole and GoPro – can’t be when you’re using it. Polar Pro makes most of their filters for use with the standard GoPro housing. They make their Frame Polarizer and two different Neutral Density filters to work with the mostly naked GoPro. These will cover pretty much any situation in which you’d even think to use the PowerPole.
A 5800mAh external battery pack would weigh somewhere between three and five ounces on its own and cost somewhere around $25. Similar, extendable GoPro pole mounts weigh between six and eight ounces and cost between $40-$55. So, if you were to purchase them separately, you’d have a package weighing between nine and thirteen ounces and costing $65-$80. The Polar Pro PowerPole retails for $99 and weighs 13oz. (GoPro’s own spare batteries cost $20 or come in a package with one battery and a charger for $50.)
We think the PowerPole is a great tool to enhance GoPro videos. It functions well both as a pole and as an external battery and puts everything into a single, well-made package. It has small details that could use improvement but that don’t detract from the overall package. We recommend it heartily for all four seasons of GoPro use.