GoPro Hero 11 Black Review
The GoPro Hero 11 Black marries impressive video quality with excellent features, best-in-class stabilisation, and a new 8:7 sensor to make it an excellent creator tool. Despite its familiar design, and the mounting system being more fiddly than some competition like the DJI Osmo Action 3, the Hero 11 Black is still our action camera of choice, and a worthy follow-up to the excellent 10 Black.
- 8:7 sensor perfect for content creation
- A rich range of accessories
- Excellent dynamic range for an action camera
- Mediocre low-light performance
- Mounting doesn’t best DJI’s magnetic system
- Pricier than the main competiton
- UKRRP: £499.99
- USARRP: $499.99
- CanadaRRP: CA$900
- AustraliaRRP: AU$799.95
- Great camera skillsNew 27MP, 1/1.9-inch, 8:7 sensor
- Excellent video5.3K 8:7 content perfect for cropping
- DurableWaterproof up to 10m
GoPro is the gold standard when it comes to action cameras, and the new Hero 11 Black innovates harder than most.
Its standout spec bump is its 8:7 camera sensor – the reason it can capture 360º horizon locked video at up to 4K resolution, and shoot one clip that can be cropped for loads of different platforms.
There’s a lot of competition chomping at GoPro’s heels. First up, the new DJI Osmo Action 3 is playing the value card, undercutting GoPro by a wide margin and still packing in plenty of new features. Then there’s the Insta360 X3 – a mighty two-in-one that’s both an all-seeing 360º camera and an action camera. Heck – even GoPro’s competing with itself, with the excellent Hero 10 Black still on sale alongside the new 11 Black.
But when you look at last year’s Hero 10 Black, it sports the same design, same processor, and a lower price tag. Does a new sensor really warrant GoPro’s latest action camera costing more?
- Identical design to the Hero 10 Black
- Works with Hero 9 and 10 Mods
- Waterproof up to 10m
Weighing 153g, and bringing back the exact same dimensions as the Hero 10 Black, GoPro’s Hero 11 Black is a big smack of deja vu. It’s 33.6mm deep, so fits in a baggy pocket, is a squat 50.8mm tall, and an easy to hold 71.8mm wide.
Unlike the new DJI Osmo Action 3, the Hero 11 Black doesn’t have a front touch display – just the same, non-touchscreen as past GoPros. So you’ll be steering the ship with physical buttons – a power button on the side and a record button up top, and the rear 2.27-inch touchscreen.
The main touch display is a roughly 5:3 aspect ratio. I’ve been grumping for a few years that GoPro screens shouldn’t be so tall. GoPros have, historically, been lousy stills cameras, and a 16:9 video recorder should get a 16:9 screen, not one better suited to photos. Well, this year, I will eat my words. With its new 8:7 sensor, the 5:3 aspect ratio screen actually makes a lot of sense, straddling square and widescreen content capture well.
Running with LCD screen tech, while it isn’t as inky as the AMOLED on the DJI Action 2, it’s bright and easy to view outdoors which is always handy for an action cam.
There’s one sliding door on the side that houses the new Enduro battery, and has room for a microSD card, up to 1TB. On the bottom of the camera are its flip-out feet, which make for quick mounting, and on the front, next to the selfie screen is a protruding lens. Twist it off, and you can swap it if it gets damaged, and you can also switch it out for a Max Lens Mod to give your Hero a wider angle of view.
Waterproof up to 10m, the GoPro Hero 11 Black is no more or less hardy than its predecessors, but with DJI protecting its new Action 3 up to 16m, that puts the new GoPro on the back foot with divers.
The best thing about the 11 Black rocking the exact same dimensions as the 10 Black is accessory compatibility. The powerful GoPro Media Mod, which adds a microphone in, HDMI out, cold shoe mounts and superior audio to the mix works with the new camera, as does the Max Lens Mod. You can also pick the camera up in a Creator Edition bundle, with a GoPro Volta battery grip, a Media Mod and Light Mod – ideal for vloggers.
What might prompt GoPro to update its style, though, is innovation in other camps – specifically from DJI. Its mounting system for the new Osmo Action 3 is bulkier, but much, much nippier, using magnets and clamps, versus GoPro’s screw/unscrew process. DJI also introduced a front colour display to action cameras years ago and GoPro snapped that up – so there’s a good chance the new touch display introduced on the Action 3 might end up on the Hero 12 or 13 Black.
Gripes accounted for, there’s no getting around the fact that GoPro’s design has become iconic, and so, most will likely be very okay with deja vu – especially when they start using the Hero 11 Black’s powerful new sensor.
Video, image and audio quality
- Shoots video up to 5.3K 8:7 resolution
- Captures up to 27MP 8:7 photos
- New fun shooting modes
I am surprised square (or near square) sensors, like the 8:7 one in the GoPro Hero 11 Black, haven’t been more widely adopted. When you use a camera, the image that falls on the camera sensor is round, so you’d get the most information with a round sensor. There isn’t much use in round images though – screens and photo prints generally have four corners. Historically, most only really needed landscape images, but now with the boom in TikTok, Instagram and all the other platforms fuelled by a constant deluge of content, images and videos are being shared in loads of different aspect ratios. The most useful sensor shape today, therefore, is the biggest four-cornered shape that fits in a circle – a square.
If GoPro just made an 8:7 sensor, that would have been smart, but it’s gone one step further. The GoPro Quik app for iOS and Android makes cropping your videos as easy as cropping your photos. Now the game really has changed.
One 8:7 clip captured on the Hero 11 Black at 5.3K resolution can be cropped into a square for Instagram, a portrait video for TikTok, a landscape video for YouTube, and turned into a 17MP still for YouTube cover art. While this sounds too good to be true, and if you shoot in poor light, it is – your clips will look Full HD at best – content shot in bright environments is packed with dynamic range, and looks crisp.
Despite its small 1/1.9-inch sensor, GoPro’s become adept at getting the best from tiny pixels, and the new Hero 11 Black’s quality is the best from the brand. Also introducing 10-bit capture, colour gradation should look smoother too, especially across gradients.
If you do want to shoot with that full-sensor, 8:7, 5:3k content can be shot at a maximum of 30fps. Drop the resolution to 4K and you can up frame rates to 60fps. 16:9 video can be shot at up to 60fps in 5.3K resolution, 120fps in 4K, and 240fps at 2.7K. This versatility is best-in-class, especially when you factor in the camera’s stabilization.
If you wanted 360º horizon levelling (Horizon Lock) at 5.3K in the past, you’d have needed a Hero 10 Black with a special Max Lens Mod. Now, it’s available on the Hero 11 Black out of the box. Horizon locking lets you loop-de-loop with your camera, and the horizon level won’t budge. Available on other cameras at lower resolutions, the feature makes wide angled, high-quality, handheld clips walking look like they’ve been captured with a gimbal – it’s perfect for vloggers.
Where the Hero 11 Black doesn’t shine as brightly is in lowlight environments. Despite the Night Mode and new Light Painting Time Lapse feature flexing in the dark better than other action cameras, standard video and stills capture is still low on detail. In my tests, though, I’m still impressed by the way GoPro’s automatic mode gets the best from the sensor. It prioritises faces better than the DJI Action 3, so while DJI’s camera has a larger sensor, vlogging footage captured in automatic mode in dimly-lit scenes looks better when captured on the Hero 11 Black.
GoPro boosts volume levels when recording, so everything is amplified, from ambience to voices. The three mics dotted around the camera are good, but can be a little indiscriminate with what it chooses to pick up. If you’re serious about sound, pick up the Media Mod with the camera. Not only does this add a superior mini boom mic, it also sports a line-in jack, so you can easily hook up a wireless option like a Rode Wireless Go or DJI Mic.
Performance and battery life
- Ships with 1760mAh GoPro Enduro battery
- Powered by same GP2 processor as Hero 10 Black
- New Easy mode makes GoPro’s UI better for novices
The Hero 10 Black got quite a bit of flack for overheating, and the 11 Black also overheats. So too does the DJI Action Osmo 3, and so did the DJI Action 2 – oh, and the Sony Xperia 1 IV, and the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. Sensing a pattern here? Small but powerful camera sensors squished into action cameras or smartphones shooting high-res, high frame rate content overheat. That’s just how it is. In my tests, though, out of all the action cameras I tested, the Hero 11 Black came off the best.
4K video shot at maximum quality at 60fps took between 25 and 28 minutes before recording stopped, while 120fps content lasted a little shy of 14 minutes. All these tests were conducted with no airflow, in other words, when the camera was stationary. Action recording will take longer to overheat as movement promotes air circulation.
Some YouTubers have had much better results from the Osmo Action 3 than I have, with it outperforming the Hero 11 Black. Irrespective, this all illustrates – if you plan on shooting stationary clips longer than 15m, don’t do it at 4K 120fps or higher quality. If you plan on shooting clips longer than 25m, don’t do it at 60fps 4k or higher quality. I found 30fps recording at all resolutions to last for over 45m before I wrapped up my tests with no overheating, and high refresh rate 1080p or 2.7k footage doing the same.
As for battery life, the new Enduro battery in the Hero 11 Black has a 1760mAh capacity, more durable battery than that in past-gen GoPros. It can cope in the cold and lasts up to 30 per cent longer than standard GoPro batteries (which still work with the Hero 11 Black).
Expect 17 minutes of 4K 120fps recording to drain the Hero 11 Black by about 40-50 per cent, and 20m of 4K 60fps recording to deplete it by 35-40 per cent. Enduro or no Enduro, therefore, you’ll still want to pack spare batteries for a long day or weekend out, or invest in a GoPro Volta battery grip.
Should you buy it?
You want gimbal-like smoothness and clips for different social platforms. With 360º horizon levelling at up to 4K resolution, the Hero 10 Black keeps footage looking incredibly smooth. Its 8:7 photos and videos are also easy to crop into landscape or portrait orientation while still retaining ample detail for tall TikToks or 16:9 YouTube videos.
You want the widest angle available on an action camera. The DJI Osmo Action 3 has a wider angle than the GoPro Hero 11 Black, and a 360º camera like the Insta360 X3 gives you an all-seeing eye for expansive 360º capture.
For maximum freedom to crop footage and photos with minimum quality loss, no action camera can do what the GoPro Hero 11 does.
There are some excellent 360-degree alternatives and the DJI Osmo Action 3 squeezes in stellar value and a fantastic mounting system, but GoPro sets the standard once again when it comes to stabilisation and quality.
How we test
We thoroughly test every action camera we review. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Compared against existing action cameras for a comprehensive verdict
Used over an extended period
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The GoPro Hero 11 Black supports microSD cards up to 1TB.
The Go Pro Hero 11 Black has a 1760mAh capacity, more durable battery than that in past-gen GoPros. It can cope in the cold and lasts up to 30 per cent longer than standard GoPro batteries.
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