If you’ve been lusting after GoPro’s HD HERO actioncam, but can’t justify the US$300 price tag, then you’ll be glad to hear this: GoPro has just released a more basic version that costs $180. As its name implies, the HD HERO 960 is limited to a maximum resolution of 960p, as opposed to the HD HERO’s 1080. If you’re just using it post videos on the web, however, the difference will be negligible.

Like the HD HERO, the 960 features a watertight housing that’s good down to 60 meters (180 feet), and a glass 170-degree lens. It can also take stills, and is compatible with all the existing GoPro mounting accessories. Unlike its more expensive sibling, it doesn’t have an expansion port – this means users won’t be able to attach add-on “BacPacs” such as a larger battery or LCD screen.

One feature it has that the HD HERO doesn’t is One Button Mode. GoPro has obviously heard that its existing cameras’ menu can be rather difficult to navigate, so it has created a setting in which the camera is locked into movie or photo mode, and starts recording as soon as it's turned on. Since the camera lacks an LCD screen for lining up or playing back shots (which means the only reason users would usually be powering it up is to record), this is actually a pretty good idea.

Also new for the 960 is the Helmet Front Mount, which allows the camera to be worn on the front of a helmet, miner’s light-style. This is a good option for users who don’t like the idea of the camera jutting out of the top of their helmet, or sitting asymmetrically to one side. It would, however, be a little front-heavy.

Via GoPro.

Here’s a sample of its video, shot using the option of 4:3 HD:

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