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GoPro HERO 11 review

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9.8Expert Score
GoPro HERO 11 Black Review: Compact brilliance

Small, lightweight, waterproof and capable of epic video, the GoPro HERO 11 Black is an exceptional camera for all scenarios, not just action sports.

Design
10
Performance
9.5
Pros
  • Exceptional video quality
  • New sensor lets you create landscape and portrait video exports from one shot.
  • Image stabilisation is insane
  • Huge range of accessories and mounts
Cons
  • Battery life won't last more than about an hour
  • Quik app pushes GoPro subscription relentlessly
  • Can be hard to open the battery compartment

The compact GoPro HERO 11 Black is the latest in a long line of action cameras from GoPro, and as you might expect, in our review we found it does a pretty spectacular job at recording video is a variety of action – or non-action – scenarios.

All the updates over the Hero 10 Black come on the inside – this model boasts the same size and shape as its predecessor. There’s a new, larger sensor that offers 10-bit Colour and the ability to record a huge 8:7 video, which can easily be cropped into both 16:9 and 9:16 aspect ratios for different social platforms.

This versatility makes the HERO 11 Black not just great for shooting action, but also for any social content creators. 

Looking down at the camera

Design

While the GoPro’s design may not have changed much (or at all) in recent years, there’s a reason for that. The design works.

You get a huge amount of camera in an exceptionally compact, lightweight, waterproof to 10 metres body.

There are two buttons on the GoPro HERO 11 Black. The shutter button on the top, and the power button on the side, which also cycles through the three key shooting modes: Photo, video and Timelapse.

There are also two screens on the camera. The rear 2.27-inch touchscreen LCD lets you control different settings and control the camera, while the front-facing 1.4-inch LCD gives you a clear view of the shot when you’re facing the camera.

Looking at the rear touchscreen of the HERO 11 Black

The camera itself offers 27 megapixels, with an image sensor in the unique 8:7 aspect ratio.

This means that the video you record in full-frame mode is pretty huge: 5312 × 4648 pixels, to be precise.

The benefit of this approach is clear for anyone who likes to create content for the web. You can easily crop that down to a 4K 16:9 aspect ratio for uploading to YouTube, or you can cut it the other way, going 9:16 for platforms like TokTok or Instagram.

What’s more, GoPro is pushing its subscription service, which will crop both versions for you automatically using the Quik mobile app.

You can still manually do things without the subscription, but the Quik app is rather offensive in how much it pushes for you to subscribe. Popups appear between pages constantly, interrupting your flow. And if you manually edit a video, it’s only when you go to save it in the app will tell you that you’ll need a subscription to use premium features.

I understand why businesses are pushing subscription models to drive revenue, but I hate it. And when a company like GoPro, which makes such strong products, tries to violently push you to a subscription plan as well, then it sours the experience.

Fortunately, you can get by without subscribing.

Side on look at the HERO 11 Black, with the power button

In addition to the two buttons and two screens, the only other notable design elements are the battery cover and the folding feet. 

On the battery side of things, the HERO 11 Black comes with the Enduro battery as standard, which offers 1,720mAh of life from a single charge. That won’t get you through the day, though, so you may want a second battery just in case.

The folding feet act as the camera’s connection to the wide range of mounts and accessories for the GoPro system. The camera comes with a basic helmet mount in the box, but you can get all kinds of attachments to help you connect to pretty much anything safely and securely.

Feature updates

In addition to the huge 8:7 image sensor, the HERO 11 Black includes a huge amount of new photo and video features that help it stand out from other action cameras on the market. 

First off, there are improvements to its Hypersmooth video stabilisation technology, so all your videos look incredibly smooth, no matter how bumpy the track or how wild you swing your arm while running.

A built-in horizon lock helps you capture epic video, keeping the horizon flat even if the camera itself rotates a full 360 degrees.

Holding the HERO 11 Black in my hand

The Hyperview function uses the 8:7 sensor to pull back, creating a super wide-angle experience in 16:9 ratio that gives a real FPV experience. 

There are three new nighttime Timelapse modes, including a dedicated star trail mode, a light painting mode, and the ability to capture vehicle light trails.

Scheduled capture lets you set the start and finish time of a Timelapse recording, so you can capture the sunrise without having to wake up early.

Hindsight captures up to 30 seconds before you hit record, so you can rest easy you won’t miss the perfect shot.

And if all that’s not enough, there’s also 10-bit Colour, 8x slow-motion and 24.7MP photos from video.

Performance

The camera mounted on a bike (and looking at a wall)

It mostly goes without saying that video quality is exceptional in good lighting.

The HERO 11 Black manages to capture a huge amount of detail thanks to the new image sensor. 

You can see some obvious bending of straight lines in the corner of the video when watching back full frame video. Power lines and trees seem to bend as you move.

The fact is that you’ll rarely be watching back the 8:7 video, though. The main reason to record in this way is to crop both horizontally and vertically, and when you do that, you lose the problematic bending areas.

Even when shooting a standard wide-angle 16:9 video, though, the image quality is great. There is a massive level of detail in each video, and the colour reproduction is bright and vibrant without being oversaturated.

The controls are also exceptionally easy to use. Cycling through the different recording modes is a simple press of the power button or a swipe across the touchscreen.

There’s a lot more depth for power users to get into the nitty-gritty of their recordings, which makes the camera great for pro users and novices alike.

I was also particularly impressed by the audio quality. Recording a short piece to the camera while riding my bike, my voice is clear and easy to hear, (as is my shortness of breath, but try to ignore that).

While you can buy additional accessories for even higher quality audio recording, for many people, the included microphones do a fantastic job.

The HERO 11 Black front angle with the front screen on

Battery life

The most difficult challenge with the GoPro 11 Black I found was battery life. Despite the inclusion of the Enduro battery in the box, you’re only going to get about 50 minutes to an hour worth of top-quality footage off a full charge.

You can drop the video quality to get more juice, but that would be like buying a sports car to exclusively drive to the supermarket. You want the video quality, and that comes at the expense of battery life.

Fortunately, extra batteries are well priced, with a two-pack retailing for $59.95 through the GoPro store.

Give yourself plenty of time, though because the batteries take about 3 hours to go from flat to full.

Verdict

I am extremely impressed by the Hero 11 Black. The quality of video from such a compact camera is exceptional, and that small, waterproof body gives it a wonderful versatility you simply won’t get from a camera phone, compact camera or DSLR.

With the right array of accessories, this could very well be the perfect camera for influencers and action sports enthusiasts. The ability to shoot once and customise for different platforms is brilliant.

It’s not a dealbreaker, but I really don’t like the push towards a subscription plan. While the GoPro Quik app does help turn raw footage into short, sharable videos effortlessly (and is useful in generating the different aspect ratios), it is too aggressive in pushing for its annual subscription. Furthermore, what is offered just isn’t enticing enough, in my opinion. 

Fortunately, you can plug in a USB port and export your videos to your computer to edit them there. 

Overall, if you’re looking for a camera to capture regular video, then the HERO 11 Black is a brilliant option. You don’t even need to be a wild sporting enthusiast. This camera is offers video that is good enough for almost any situation.

Buy the GoPro HERO Black 11 online

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Product disclosure

GoPro supplied the product for this review.

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

    View all posts
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