GoPro has just taken the wraps off of its new Hero 7 cameras, most notably the top-end Hero 7 Black – the most advanced camera it’s made.
With boosted image stabilisation, new live-streaming powers and improved audio, it’s a step up from last year’s Hero 6 Black. Along with the mid-range Hero 7 Silver and the entry-level Hero 7 White, there’s something for every kind of action cam buyer in GoPro’s refreshed 2018 lineup.
So which GoPro Hero 7 is right for you? How do they compare to and improve upon past GoPro models? Plus, what does the competition look like today? Here’s everything you need to know about GoPro’s current camera offerings.
How many versions of the GoPro Hero 7 are currently available?
The GoPro Hero 7 comes in three different varieties: Black, Silver and White. Aside from the hinted colour schemes in play, each version boasts some major differences from the others, with the Black packing in the most added features and the highest-quality output.
The other two models are considerably cheaper and lack GoPro’s GP1 processor. As such, they lose some functionality in the process. For a quick comparison of their features, scroll down to the table below.
GoPro Hero 7 Black (£379.99)
The Hero 7 Black is GoPro’s new flagship offering, and while visually identical to the Hero 6 Black aside from colour, the 2018 model brings in some seriously compelling upgrades.
Most significant is GoPro’s new HyperSmooth video stabilisation feature, which builds upon the already-impressive electronic image stabilisation of its predecessor. GoPro promises gimbal-like stability, plus it thrives in scenarios in which gimbals might fall short – underwater and very windy situations, for example.
GoPro’s new top-end model is the first to live stream video wirelessly to services such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others. The Hero 7 Black also introduces a TimeWarp Video feature, which speeds up, stabilises, and streamlines videos and plays them back at up to 30x speed.
Overall, the spec sheet is a lot like the one from the previous Black edition, as the Hero 7 Black captures 4K HDR video at 60fps via its GP1 chip, snaps 12-megapixel still photos, and can handle 8x slow-motion video at 1080p resolution and 240fps. It’s waterproof up to 10 metres without additional housing, has an intuitive touch display, and packs in voice control as well.
It’s also the only current GoPro with a small screen on the front for quick info at a glance, including battery life and resolution.
Surprisingly, the Hero 7 Black arrives at a lower starting price – just £379.99 – than the last official price point for the Hero 6 Black.
GoPro Hero 7 Silver (£279.99)
GoPro’s new Hero 7 Silver is a more modest offering than the Hero 7 Black. In fact, it has more in common with the Hero 5 Black than last year’s flagship, since it lacks GoPro’s own GP1 chip that powered some big image quality improvements.
The Hero 7 Silver still captures 4K video, but does so at a lower 30fps. When it comes to slow-motion video, the Hero 7 Silver sticks to 2x with 1080p video at 60fps. Still photos, meanwhile, are captured at 10 megapixels with WDR (Wide Dynamic Range), rather than the Hero 7 Black’s HDR.
It doesn’t have the HyperSmooth functionality of the Black either, but GoPro promises ‘significantly improved video stabilisation’ over past models, so things still ought to look pretty smooth and impressive.
Elsewhere, the Hero 7 Silver has the same physical build, 10-metre water-resistance, touch display, and voice controls of the Black. However, it won’t stream live video to your platform of choice, and the TimeWarp Video feature is missing. Also, it uses a built-in battery, while the Hero 5 Black featured swappable batteries.
Along with some features, the Hero 7 Silver shaves £100 off of the Black’s price, arriving at £279.99.
GoPro Hero 7 White (£179.99)
At the bottom of the new 2018 line is the Hero 7 White, a camera that resembles its brethren in core design but sheds a fair bit of functionality and quality along the way. That said, it’s less than half the price of the new Hero 7 Black.
The Hero 7 White doesn’t go as high on resolution: it settles for 1440p or 1080p at 60fps, plus it lacks expanded dynamic range. As with the Silver, GoPro suggests that video stabilisation has been much-improved over previous years’ models. Slow motion video again tops out at 2x, plus it sticks to 10-megapixel still shots.
Like the other models, it’s waterproof at up to 10 metres without external housing, plus it has a touch display and voice control. However, it lacks the high-end perks of HyperSmooth video, live streaming to various platforms, and the TimeWarp Video feature. And, again, the battery is built into the camera, so you can’t trade cells once it’s tapped out.
Those are the many trade-offs for buying the entry-level GoPro Hero 7, but the upside is pretty significant: the Hero 7 White will only set you back £179.99, which is £200 less than the Black.
|GoPro Hero 7 Black||GoPro Hero 7 Silver||GoPro Hero 7 White|
|Max video resolution||4K/60fps||4K/30fps||1080p/60fps|
|Still photos||12-megapixel (HDR)||10-megapixel (WDR)||10-megapixel|
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Recently discontinued GoPro Hero versions
The Hero 7 line is GoPro’s focus going forward. It told us that it’s ‘putting a stop on the production of previous models’, but that “for a while there might still be some retail inventory of previous cameras”.
Which means you might find the odd discounted bargain in the short-term. Here’s a quick look at the GoPro’s outgoing cameras.
Hero 6 Black: Up until now, the Hero 6 Black was GoPro’s most accomplished camera to date, packing in the best video quality and electronic image stabilisation seen in the line. GoPro’s GP1 chip, which debuted in the Hero 6 Black, allowed for much greater resolution and frame rate combinations than before, essentially doubling the performance of its predecessor. At the reduced £399 price, the Hero 6 Black clearly led the pack. We said it was ‘absolutely the best action camera you can buy today’ in our review last year. Given that the Hero 7 Black isn’t a huge upgrade, it could well be worth looking for discounted versions later this year.
Hero (2018 Edition): GoPro’s base Hero model is almost identically specced to the new Hero 7 White on paper, delivering the same 1440p top video resolution, 10-megapixel snaps, basic 2x slow motion video, and waterproof casing. That all makes sense given that the core Hero just rolled out six months ago, although the Hero 7 White loses the front display in the process. However, the Hero 7 White costs £20 less than the core Hero, plus GoPro is touting improved video stabilisation on the new model.
Hero 5 Black: Before the Hero 6 Black arrived, the Hero 5 Black was the best of the best in the GoPro line – and with last year’s price drop, it was still a strong option. However, the Black line has improved significantly since then, and the Hero 5 Black is dated as a high-end action camera. It tops out at 30fps while shooting 4K video, the electronic image stabilisation isn’t quite as polished, and the touchscreen can be unresponsive.
Hero Session: While already discontinued well before the Hero 7 cameras rolled out, the Hero Session devices marked a huge deviation for the GoPro. These tiny, cube-like cameras lack a touchscreen, but the Hero 5 Session still packed in 4K shooting and video stabilisation, plus the lower price made it an ideal entry-level option. Ultimately, the core Hero (2018) camera replaced it on GoPro’s low end, but you can still find the Session cameras for sale for around £200.
Related: Best compact cameras 2018
Which GoPro is best for me?
The flagship Hero 7 Black is an excellent, premium option for anyone looking for an approachable ‘take anywhere’ camera with strong video skills. Considering its improved image stabilisation, usability and range of accessories, it’s the best all-round action-cam you can buy.
If you need need 4K/60fps video and are prepared to miss out on features such as live-streaming and improved audio quality, it could well be worth looking out for discounts on the now discontinued Hero 6 Black. Aside from the Hero 7 Black, it’s the only other GoPro camera to have the company’s proprietary GP1 processor and all of the image quality benefits that brings. Depending on the size of the discount, it could be a better buy than the Hero 7 Silver.
We haven’t yet tested the Hero 7 Silver or Hero 7 White. On paper, the former is a pretty significant step down and is more like a modified Hero 5 Black. You’ll lose all of the new features, including HyperSmooth stabilisation and live-streaming, while the frame rate on 4K footage is halved and slow motion is much simpler. GoPro does suggest that the video stabilisation is better than past models, and it does offer 4K recording at £100 less than the Black – but then so do many rivals such as the Yi 4K+. We’ll deliver our full verdict soon.
The Hero 7 White, then, is clearly targeted at action camera newcomers, or those who may only use a GoPro here and there. With 1440p 60fps recording and improved video stabilisation, you should still be able to pull some pretty slick clips from this GoPro. But while the price is plenty appealing at £179, it’s relatively bare-bones compared to the other Hero 7 models, and you may be tempted to go even more stripped down to bargain-basement models such as the Apeman A80.
GoPro Hero 7 – The Rivals
Sony’s FDR-X3000R isn’t cheap, but it’s certainly impressive. Proper optical image stabilisation offers a perk not seen on the GoPro Hero 7 models, and it works even during 4K shooting, delivering oft-brilliant results. The FDR-X3000R also ships with a wrist-worn, screen-packing remote control, which is a unique perk. While strong on both audio and video quality (albeit with 4K capped at 30fps), and packing strong battery life, the £500 price point makes this a less accessible option for the average buyer.
The Yi 4K launched as a cost-effective alternative to the GoPro Hero 4 Black and certainly impressed, capturing 4K video at 30fps with electronic image stabilisation despite the lower price. Granted, it lacked waterproof housing in the box and didn’t come with a mount, but the price was right. Now, the Yi 4K+ is out, upping the 4K recording to 60fps and bundling in waterproof housing, and it still undercuts much of the competition on price. We’ll be testing it soon, so keep an eye out for our coverage.
The Garmin Virb Ultra 30 is a very good alternative to the older GoPro cameras, and is particularly effective for recording sports activities. It has a robust waterproof chassis along with a GPS sensor to capture telemetry data, and it grabs great 4K footage at 30fps. At a discounted price under £300, as has been seen lately, it might prove to be a solid and notably cheaper option than the Hero 7 Black.
Despite its name, the GoXtreme Vision 4K doesn’t capture full 4K footage. It doesn’t shoot at the full resolution, so we’d call it more like 2.7K. But here’s the upside: it’s super-cheap, weighing in at an RRP of just £99. Image quality is decent, plus it comes with a very generous mounting bundle. That’s unexpected, given the price, and it helps make the Vision 4K an ideal pickup on the lowest end of the action cam pool.
It’s much the same with the Apeman A80, another value-orientated action-cam that impresses more for its price point than its image quality. Despite promises of 4K shooting, the pixel count again doesn’t stack up here – but it’s still pretty clear, and totally decent for the kind of cash you’ll splash out. It also comes with a generous bundle of mounting gear and a carrying case, and the US$70 price is pretty phenomenal for a largely solid device (aside from its very temperamental app).