Friday, December 4, 2009

Go Pro Heros

When I feel compelled to write about companies, it's usually because they p'd me off. But once in a while, I find a company makes great products, sells them at a great price, and has outstanding customer support. That's my short description for GoPro.

I just got my Xmas and birthday present from my lovely wife - a GoPro Hero HD helmet camera. Of course, I had to test it right away. The results were great - the quality is just outstanding. Here is a short example:




(To watch directly on YouTube, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YK12NSlAr4 - make sure to click the HD icon on the lower left corner to get the highest quality!)

I go the camera before Xmas because we are going on a short windsurf trip to Tobago soon, where we plan to use the camera a lot. The HD version of the camera is brand new, we had to pre-order it directly from GoPro. They tried to keep people up to date with the expected shipment dates, but is seems they were overwhelmed with orders. When they updated the expected shipment dates a few days ago, it seemed unlikely that we would get the camera in time for our trip.

We contacted their support and asked if there was anything they could do. We got two answers within 24 hours, apparently from 2 different people. Both said that we would probably get the camera in time. A day or two later, we got another email from GoPro support. This time, they said they could not be certain that we would receive the camera before the trip, and suggested that we pick up a camera at a local REI store. They included a list of the closest stores, with location and phone number.

We called the stores right away, and the third store had 4 cameras in stock (with another 56 cameras in the warehouse). They were kind enough to hold one for us, and we picked it up an hour later. Then, we canceled the order we had placed with GoPro using their web form - no problem. We had ordered a couple of 16 GB Kingston SDHC cards at Newegg.com, since some people had reported problems with other cards. But to try the camera on the warm and windy day of November 3rd, I had to get a card locally. I was lucky, the 8 GB SanDisk speed 4 card worked, as the video above shows.

Lovely experience to do business with GoPro - great product at a great price ($299 for a waterproof HD video camera!), and fast, proactive support that really wants to help you. I wish there were more companies like this one out there...

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