Since it’s summer and many action geeks are out with their GoPro cameras getting the shot, our review series of accessories continues. The latest to come my way is the Removu R1 Wireless LCD controller, which is almost like a watch for your GoPro. It’s a cleverly designed device that works so well, that you’re going to probably throw away your GoPro remote and maybe even remove the app from your mobile phone!
I don’t know how they got the idea for the R1, but I imagine it went down something like this… the gang at Removu are avid action sports geeks and own several GoPros. In the days before the GoPro app made it easy to control your HERO camera, these guys would look at the GoPro wireless remote, and the LCD BacPac, and just wish they could be merged together to create the ultimate wireless remote.
Considering their mandate to innovate and collaborate on ground breaking designs to support the GoPro platform, it’s not surprising. But for their first product, they’ve really knocked it out of the park with merging these two devices into a cool “frankenrig” that’s rapidly becoming one of my favorite GoPro accessories.
First, lets take a look at its spec sheet:
- Remote Monitoring and Operation
- 2-inch Live View LCD Display
- Wristband for Watch-Style Operation
- Water- and Shock-Resistant
- Record Start/Stop + Access Settings
- Playback Recorded Footage
- Battery Lasts up to 3 Hours
- Camera Mounting Possible
- For HERO3, HERO3+, and HERO4
The design of the R1 is fairly simple. It’s got a 2-inch live view LCD screen and three simple buttons that allow the user to connect wirelessly to his GoPro Hero 4, 3+ or 3. The three buttons are for power, recording/enter, and a menu button. Once you’ve powered it on, the Removu will look for a camera. You can also go into the menu setting and connect manually. You will then be prompted to enter your HERO password, and the R1 pops up a keyboard.
Unfortunately, the R1 isn’t a touch screen, so you have to use the three buttons to navigate the keypad to enter your password. It’s kinda klunky, much like how you have to enter your password in the AppleTV with the remote. Removu would be wise to figure out a way to write a Mobile app to make this much easier.
But after some practice (and accidentally powering off the unit a few times), I was able to enter my password and connect to the HERO. The good news is, that you really only have to do this once, as the R1 will remember your connection, even after powering off. And you can connect to more than one camera. Once connected, you’ll see a blue LED light to signify that you are wirelessly connected as well.
Once done, I have a live view image, much like the GoPro app gives me, and yes, it does have a second or two of latency, but that’s true with GoPro’s WiFi devices, so it’s just the nature of the beast. Now users can see what they are recording. From there, it’s just a matter of hitting the red button on/off when you wish. The Removu battery lasts up to 3 hours, so there’s plenty of juice. But remember the more you access the LCD, the less time you get.
You can also access playback mode and view your videos and still photos after taking them. Another cool feature is that by pressing the third button, you can trigger the Removu’s wrist watch mode and now you have a time piece as well. Nice extra feature. Users can also get the optional P1 cradle for attaching the R1 to any other GoPro mount.
Price of the Removu R1 is $119, with the optional P1 cradle very affordable $9.99.
The other device I got in the mail was the Removu P1, which is essentially a water proof housing for an existing GoPro BacPac. So if you already have a touch screen LCD BacPac, you want to use for live view, you can insert it into the P1, connect via WiFi and at perform the same functions as the P1, but have the added benefit of being able to get it completely wet (up to 3 feet) for 30 minutes. This makes it great for surfers, water skiers, and boogie boarders, or just kids playing in the backyard pool.
The GoPro BacPac touch display also makes it really easy to enter that password we were having trouble with on the R1. Battery life for connecting wirelessly to the Hero is about 2.5 hours thanks to it’s 1,050 mAh lithium polymer battery.
Price for the Removu P1 Waterproof BacPac interface is $99.
Why do you need these devices? Well, there are a lot of times where you don’t want to use your mobile phone and the GoPro app because it’s not convenient to do so, or you worry about breaking your smartphone or getting it wet. Being an action sports geek, thinks like that definitely happen. And the R1/P1 are shock proof, so they can take a pretty good licking and keep on ticking.
So if you’re looking for a wireless option for your GoPro HERO that gives you live view capabilities, as well as hands free flexibility, I recommend the Removu R1 and P1 devices. For more information, visit Removu.com.
Check out our growing list of reviews here.