Hands-on Review of the Wasabi Power Clutch for GoPro Cameras

The Wasabi Power Hand Grip is an external USB battery and hand grip in one. It's a convenient way to add extra battery power to extend your GoPro filming.

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.

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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.

See the note in the caption for the photo at the top of this review for the accessories that are in this photo that are different to the ones included.

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:

At left is the standard-size USB socket for power going out. At right is the micro-USB socket for power coming in to the grip. In between is a small orange button that’s the on-off switch and four small LED indicators that show the charge status.

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.

Housing Compatibility

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.

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.

And with the new design introduced with the HERO8 Black, you’ll probably want to switch out the side door with one that’s compatible with accessing the USB-C port.

Camera Compatibility

Because this is essentially a standard external battery, it’s compatible with all of the GoPro cameras. You will need to make sure to use the right cable, of course–there are three different USB ports that GoPros have used over the years. I’ve put together a guide to which USB cables for which GoPro cameras here.

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’re using one of the newer GoPros since the HERO5 models, you’ll need to pick up a USB-C cable separately; it doesn’t come with one.

Specs

Weight: 6.4 oz
Length: 8 inches
Input: Micro USB, 5V, 1A
Output: USB, 5V, 1A
Capacity: 5200mAh
3.7V 5200mAh 19.24Wh

Real-World Results

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).

Things Worth Knowing

You can run many GoPros without an internal battery installed, but you’re likely to get more reliable results by leaving the internal battery in and having it fully charged up front. That should ensure that the camera gets its required flow of power even in the high-end, processor-intensive video and burst modes.

Wrap Up

I’ve found it to work well. As a grip, it does what it needs to do. As an external battery, in my experience 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.

Buy Them At

I bought mine at Amazon.

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2020-07-04 at 10:09. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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This post was last modified on March 20, 2020 4:50 pm

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