You don’t have to use a GoPro long to run into the battery life issue. GoPros do lots of things well, but battery life is not one of their strengths.There are ways to work around it. On some models you can swap out the battery for a freshly charged one.
You can also power the camera from an external USB powerbank. The problem with that approach is that most of the time it’s pretty cumbersome and not particularly convenient for filming on the go.
Wasabi’s solution to that problem is to combine an external USB powerbank and a grip. The result is the Wasabi Power CLUTCH for GoPro Camears (also sometimes listed as the Wasabi Power Hand Grip).
It looks just like any regular GoPro grip, but inside is a 5200mAh battery.
It has a standard GoPro mount on the top.
And it has a socket for a regular 1/4-20 tripod stud on the bottom, so you could attach the whole thing to a regular tripod or strap or anything else that uses a standard tripod attachment system.
The ports for charging and powering are behind a rubber cover:
And the body of the grip is covered with a textured rubberized surface that works well with cold and wet hands.
Things the Wasabi Power Hand Grip is Not
There is one very big limitation of the Wasabi power hand grip that’s essential to know before you buy it: it’s not waterproof, especially when you’re using it to power the camera.
The reason is simple. You need to attach the charging cable to both the battery and the camera, and on both ends that means exposing the ports on both ends.
You can, of course, remove the cable and use it just as a grip while filming and then use it later for charging the camera after you’ve finished filming. There’s a rubber trap door over the ports on the grip that offer some weather resistance, but it’s still not waterproof.
It also doesn’t float–which isn’t much of issue since you don’t want to get it wet anyway.
And it’s not a telescoping selfie-stick. It’s a fixed grip about 8 inches long.
For power to flow from the battery to the camera you’ll need to run a USB cable. Of course, that also means that many of the waterproof housings won’t work with it because they don’t allow access for the charging cable to the camera. So you’ll need some kind of frame mount or skeleton housing. The ones that come standard with the new HERO5 and Session models work well, as do ones you can get for earlier models like the HERO4.
While these frame mounts work well, they also often mean that you’ll need to remove the cover door over the ports. They’re designed to easily snap on and off for this very reason.
Because this is essentially a standard external battery, it’s compatible with all of the GoPro cameras.
One aspect to factor in is that if you plan to power the camera while filming, you’ll need a frame mount that allows access to the USB ports on the camera itself. That might mean removing the door over the ports.
Technically, you can use other cameras and smartphones with this. The only GoPro-specific aspect to it is that the mount that’s fused to the body of the grip is the GoPro-style mount. But with a simple adapter that’s included in the box you can turn that into a normal tripod mount that’s compatible with just about any camera on the market.
Also included in the box is a universal smartphone holder, so you can easily mount your iPhone or other smartphone. Then it’s just a matter of swapping the cable out with whatever cable is compatible with your camera or phone.
What’s in the Box
- Wasabi Power Hand Grip
- micro-USB cable
- mini-USB cable
- GoPro-style thumbscrew
- wrist strap
- Universal smartphone cradle
If you plan to use it with a HERO5 model, you’ll need to pick up a USB-C cable separately.
Weight: 6.4 oz
Length: 8 inches
Input: Micro USB, 5V, 1A
Output: USB, 5V, 1A
3.7V 5200mAh 19.24Wh
How much battery life you’ll get out of a GoPro–or any camera, for that matter–depends on what settings you’re using, whether you’re chimping with the back screen a lot, how much use the battery has seen, and even environmental factors like temperature (lithium batteries perform poorly in very cold temperatures). So it’s impossible to give a definitive amount of time for battery life.
Wasabi claims that the Power Hand Grip will add around 5 hours to your shooting. I was interested to put that to the test. So I put a 128GB card into a GoPro HERO5 Black and did a continuous video at 1080p30 (Protune off). I made sure that both the camera’s internal battery and the hand grip battery were fully charged.
It ran for over 10 hours before both batteries were drained and the recording stopped. That’s a big improvement over using just the internal battery. With the same camera, same card, and same settings, I repeated the test without the power clutch, just using the internal battery. It ran for about 2 hours 15 minutes before the battery died.
That difference makes sense. The regular GoPro HERO5 battery is rated at 1220mAh, while the clutch grip is rated at 5200mAh, so you’d expect to get about four times as much again (the internal battery (1220mAh) plus the clutch grip (5200mAh) gives you a combined total of 6320mAh).
I’ve found it to work well. As a grip, it does what it needs to do. As an external battery, it exceeds the manufacturers claims.
So long as you’re shooting in dry conditions and are fine with having to connect the two with a short USB cable, the Wasabi Power Clutch Grip is a very useful GoPro accessory that doesn’t have much in the way of competition at the moment.