For those of you who already have a Hero 4 Silver, or those of you who are considering a Hero 4 Silver, you will notice that there is a wide choice of back doors to utilize. Some are betters than others, some look better than others, and in my opinion there are some you absolutely have to utilize during certain times. As to which one to use, well that is the purpose of this article.
Being a kayak fisherman, I am around water a lot which brings me to the floaty back door. Although the back door itself does not float, I consider the floaty back door 'system' as a back door because they are essentially glued together as one unit. If you are around water, it is mandatory to have the floaty back door. At $399, I would hate to lose my Hero 4 Silver because it sank in water. At $19.99, I don't have to worry about losing an investment. The floaty back door really is like insurance, just a one time payment fee. It does of course limit some mounts, as a head strap can only be used with some extension mounts to make clearance for the floaty back door. Other mounts like the chest strap and just your regular old adhesive mounts may not work the same way either. However, it is well worth altering some of your mounts slightly in the case of preventing the loss of your Hero 4 Silver. The negative of the floaty back door is not only the extra bulk, but also the loss of the rear built-in touch screen that the Hero 4 Silver utilizes. Once again, this is worth working around.
The standard housing and door assembly is quite possibly the most widely used, and for good reason. With waterproofing and enhanced ruggedness, the standard back door is truly what makes a Gopro - GoPro. The nice thing about the standard back door is that it is slim, waterproof and allows you to see the built-in touch display. However, you cannot use the touch display by touching it, but rather by the old style of using buttons. This is still very useful though as you can frame shots while still having a waterproof case on. The only negatives to the standard housing is really just the elimination of using a touch display, and highly muffled audio. The key thing to remember is that you have to compromise somewhere. You can have waterproof characteristics, or good audio... but not both.
The next back door to mention is the touch back door. It primary purpose is the capability to utilize the touch screen, but I kind of think it isn't that good at all. It is no where near as good touch sensitivity when you use the touch back door, and trying to scroll down a menu is near impossible. It is said to be waterproof to a few feet, but I will definitely not be using it underwater. Audio is improved quite a bit over the standard back door, but still somewhat muffled. I think the touch back door may best be used in rain ... if you want a 'waterproof' back door that allows you to use the touch screen. I will not use the touch back door too much though just because of the lack of touch sensitivity.
The last back door worth mentioning is the skeleton back door. The skeleton back door basically allows you to have the best audio, utilize the touch screen, and have a protective case so that your GoPro is safe from a drop. It is really a nice back door so that your camera is still safe from a drop, just not water and dust. I like this back door a lot and I think it can be used quite a bit depending on location. As I stated already, the only negative is just the loss of waterproofing and dust proofing.
As you can see, there are quite a few options with each one serving a purpose. Give each one a try and find what works best for you. Just a quick word of advice, use the floaty back door, as it has saved me a $400 camera a couple times. Thank goodness for the $20 investment.