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By Kimber Streams

The GoPro, a camera known for it’s small size and great HD footage has very few limitations.  But for those who want a little extra, GoPro has introduced an extension to the camera: the LCD BacPac, a monitor addition useful for lining up shots and reviewing footage.

Before you can use the BacPac, you have to update the GoPro’s firmware.The ritual involves standing naked in a field at the full moon, and calling to the GoPro gods while turning 3 times to the right and playing Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” on the tambourine. In all seriousness, updating the firmware was worse than pulling teeth, if you don’t believe us, watch the actual installation process here. We finally got it to work after about an hour and a half of trying, giving up, and looking around at tutorials and forums, only to find the advice: “Keep trying.”  It never worked exactly as demonstrated in that tutorial, but one way or another we got the BacPac up and running.

Frustrating firmware update aside, how well does the accessory work?

The LCD BacPac is great for framing up shots to really step up the quality of your footage, and it’s great for reviewing footage afterward. While it does add a little thickness to the back of the GoPro, it adds virtually no weight at all, and comes off in a split second if the situation calls for every ounce of portability. The quality on the screen isn’t grainy or fuzzy at all, and there’s no lag between the camera’s movement and the display, which can be a concern for an add-on component.  In addition, the screen displays battery life and menus, which makes the GoPro considerably more navigable.  The LCD BacPac also comes with a waterproof casing for both the GoPro HD HERO and the HD wrist, as well as a lighter, non-waterproof Skeleton casing for both devices.  The whole LCD BacPac package, cases and all, is $79.99 on the GoPro website.

However, the addition is not without its minor faults. The storage casings are only for the LCD BacPac when connected to the GoPro itself, and it doesn’t come with a case for just the BacPac, making transportation a little worrisome with such a small device with an open LCD screen on the back.  Also, the small speaker on its right side is unfortunately very, very quiet – we could only hear the audio as a faint rumble. It may have been better served by including a headphone jack for reviewing audio instead of such low-quality speakers.  And finally, it's a bit of a battery hog, eating up the 2.5 hour average battery life rather quickly! One way to handle this issue, however, is to turn off the screen after framing shots or reviewing footage, since the BacPac has a convenient power button that is entirely independent of the GoPro.

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