Review: GoPro launches new HERO 11 Black, its most capable and convenient action cam yet

From $400 Buy now

Today, GoPro is officially launching its latest flagship action camera. The new GoPro HERO11 arrives to iterate on last year’s model with plenty of updated features packed into a familiar design. So while this may look like the GoPros of old, all of the new shooting capabilities and modes deliver an experience that is anything but with the GoPro HERO 11.

GoPro HERO 11 Black iterates with new tech

GoPro HERO 11 Black is officially here, and the brand’s latest action camera delivers so many new features to iterate on what we’ve seen in the past. So while we’re talking about things that aren’t particularly new this time around, it’s worth getting everything about the actual design out of the way. Whether you read last year’s review of the HERO 10 or you’re a longtime GoPro fan looking to see what the most recent debut has in store, there’s really not all that much new from the actual form-factor.

It’s a tried and true design at this point that GoPro wouldn’t dare mess with, which is what the GoPro HERO 11 Black Mini is for, after all. So for its flagship release, you’ll find a form-factor virtually identical to last year’s. Sure, there is a slight adjustment to the color of the rugged plastic exterior, but otherwise you’re looking at the same action camera – at least on the outside.

Breaking into the camera then reveals everything new for the 2022 update. Though before we get there, GoPro is still in fact sticking with the GP2 processor that we saw make a debut for the HERO 10. Even so, the refreshments only pour in from there.

This time around you can now capture 27MP stills, which is a pretty notable upgrade over last year’s model. The larger 1/1.9-inch sensor crafts 8:7 photos and videos, which now look even better than before thanks to the inclusion of 10-bit color for the very first time from GoPro. That pairs with SuperPhoto and HDR modes to really unlock the highest definition content from the action camera in order to make full use of that GP2 chip.

New recording modes shine

Leveraging those updated sensor and lens features, GoPro is taking even fuller advantage of the GP2 chip in the HERO 11 Black than its predecessor. One of the most notable of these is a new wide-angle 16:9 shot that provides even more immersive recordings that make action sport shots feel even more superhuman. The aspect ratio really ups the ante on POV shots to capture more of you and your surroundings.

The newest GoPro is also an excuse for the company to deliver its latest iteration of HyperSmooth stabilization, which is now on its 5.0 update. New this time around to the feature is a separate toggle called Linear + Horizon Lock that helps keep footage straight even if the camera rotates a full 360-degrees.

There are also some pretty novel new shooting modes that put Timelapse taking in the spotlight. This has always been one of my favorite applications of GoPro cameras since I used one of the original HERO models nearly a decade ago. Since then there have been some enhancements, though, and the HERO 11 really steps that up with three notable new modes.

Focusing on astrophotography, the new Star Trails feature lets you point the action camera up at the sky and use the stars to paint your video with light. It’s something that I unfortunately wasn’t able to make the best use of here in NYC, but will frankly be going out of my way to put to the test once I can trade out the concrete jungle for something a little more scenic.
GoPro’s new Vehicle Light Trails mode

One thing that was seemingly perfect for the city is the new Vehicle Light Trails mode, which swaps out the focus on stars in favor of using headlights and taillights to paint a whimsical photo. I set up the new GoPro HERO 11 Black on my roof and managed to record a pretty neat shot of a helicopter circling overhead with the Brooklyn Bridge in the backdrop.

And in a similar fashion, the new Light Painting mode provides a dedicated way for more creative applications of drawing using a light source. It’s a fun a little inclusion that isn’t going to be as useful for the more professional applications, but does deliver something equally as worthy of making your Instagram story.
GoPro’s new Light Painting mode

New content sharing experience, too

Alongside just updating the actual recording features of its new HERO 11, GoPro is also giving its flagship action camera a pretty notable adjustment in the workflow department. Typically you’ll need click open the side and then pop out the SD card to transfer footage, or manually boot up the companion app to share with social media. Now, GoPro has a new auto upload feature that sends off files to the cloud to easily accessing on any device. It’s locked behind the GoPro Subscription, though.

And for tackling getting your shots or videos out into the world in new ways, GoPro’s Quik App has a new way to automatically crop content to your ideal aspect ratio. So while you’re shooting in 8:7, the app makes it easier to adjust your clips without losing image quality. Another way that GoPro is really steering the course to make its new HERO 11 Black a more convenient option for both casual and professional photographers alike.

How does GoPro HERO 11 Black compare to last year’s?

One of the biggest updates in the actual form-factor this year is that GoPro is packing in a new Enduro battery into the HERO 11 Black. The previous-generation HERO 10 Black came with one of the standard batteries, which in practice means that just on capacity alone you’re going to be able to shoot for longer sessions before it’s time to recharge.

From there, most of the updates outlined above enter onto the feature set side of the checklist rather than true hardware refreshes. Though like we mentioned before, the inclusion of 10-bit color is one of the major sensor upgrades, as well as the ability to shoot 5.3K60 and 4K120 footage with 27MP stills compared to last year’s 23MP stills.

HERO 11 versus last year’s HERO 10

The larger sensor this time around also delivers a 16% larger vertical field of view compared to the HERO 10 Black. The more unique 8:7 aspect ratio really helps get more in the shot, and that’s not even taking the ultra-wide angle mode into account.

Taking GoPro’s latest for a tour of NYC

I’ve had the pleasure of testing out the new GoPro HERO 11 over the past week or so and have had a blast getting to run around New York City seeing how the new action cam can hold up. I am by no means maxing out the limits of the new release, but have managed to capture a fair bit of different footage with my time.

I’ve already sprinkled in some clips captured on the HERO 11 above in this review, but now am back to dedicate a whole section just to show off some stills and footage recorded on GoPro’s latest.

From early morning shots around the city to timelapses, skyline sunsets, and trying to capture all of the lights that the city has to offer come night, I’ve tried to show what the HERO 11 Black is capable of.

Now available for purchase, the new GoPro HERO 11 Black is available for $499.99; those who want to subscribe to the company’s subscription service can score the new action camera for $399.98, as well. There’s also a new HERO 11 Black Creator Edition which is launching today alongside the base model, which bundles in some extra gear at the $699.99 MSRP or $579.98 subscriber price.

9to5Toys’ Take

It feels a bit too much like déjà vu to be back in the same spot as 2021, but just days shy of an entire year since the GoPro HERO 10 hit the scene, we’re back to take a look at a seemingly unchanged action camera. There really is more than meets the eye on the inside this time around, even if that unassuming exterior has you unconvinced that GoPro is packing in a next-generation experience.

If you simply want the best experience that GoPro has to offer, then it’s an easy recommend to pick up the HERO 11 Black. All of its new shooting prowess adds up to making a package that makes it even easier to capture great content and then share it with the world, whether it’s bite-sized clips on social media or more full-featured videos of your daring feats. I’ll be sticking with the former for now, but the ease of use is certainly going to be appreciated by those leaning into the latter, as well.

But if you’re entirely new to the world of GoPro, things are a bit more complicated. There are a lot of niceties this time around that many videographers and action athletes may not find themselves needing. Last year’s model still manages to accomplish the same action, albeit without as convenient of a final experience.

Even so, GoPro has managed to deliver not only its most capable action camera yet with the new HERO 11 Black, but also its most enjoyable to use. All of the features converge, trying to make it easier than ever to get the most out of the package, which in this case delivers more than you’d expect from the unassuming exterior.

While all eyes are going to be on how DJI’s just-released Action 3 stacks up in comparison, I am sold on the software enhancements that have made GoPro remain the ruler of the action camera kingdom with its latest debut.

Buy the GoPro HERO 11 Black now

FTC: 9to5Toys is reader supported, we may earn income on affiliate links

Subscribe to the 9to5Toys YouTube Channel for all of the latest videos, reviews, and more!

Load more...
Show More Comments