Tech

GoPro Hero 11 Black review: Great things come in a compact size


GoPro is a name you might be familiar with if you enjoy content creation, outdoor sports, or motorcycle logging. Even if you’re someone who hasn’t done anything mentioned above, chances are you’ve heard your favorite content creator on YouTube or Instagram mention the word GoPro at some point. For those who are new to action cameras, GoPro is a US based company that has been making action cameras for many years. The company has launched several versions of its Hero series of cameras over the years, with the latest being GoPro Hero 11 Black.

With the GoPro Hero 11 Black, the company has made several iterative upgrades over its recent predecessors. But if you’re someone considering buying a GoPro for the first time or planning to upgrade from an older model, should you buy the Hero 11 Black? Here’s our review to help you decide.

GoPro Hero 11 Black price in India

GoPro Hero 11 Black is releasing already in India for Rs. 51,500. The company doesn’t have an official online store in India but you can buy it through online platforms like Amazon. There is also the GoPro Hero 11 Black Creator Edition, which was launched at Rs. 71,500. The Creator Edition kit comes with a number of additional accessories including a Volta battery grip, a Media Mod and a Light Mod, plus a Hero 11 Black camera.

GoPro Hero 11 Black Design

GoPro Hero 11 Black looks very familiar GoPro Hero 10 Black (Review) with a compact rectangular body. The only noticeable difference between the two is the branding on the left side of the camera. The left side continues to have a mode button, used to switch between Photo, Video and Time Lapse modes. You can also use the same button to turn on the GoPro.

On the right side is a slot protected by a cover for the battery, microSD card, and charging port. If you’re coming from an older GoPro, you might find the new side door mechanism a bit sturdier as it locks more securely and prevents water from seeping into the compartment. You have to push the cover down and then lift it up to access the battery or microSD card. There’s also a USB Type-C port inside the same chamber for charging the GoPro. The chamber may seem too cramped at first for all these ports but once you get the hang of it, things become easy.

GoPro Hero 11 Black 5 GoPro Hero 11 Black

GoPro Hero 11 Black’s top button acts as a shutter for taking photos and videos

The top edge of the GoPro Hero 11 Black has a shutter button that can turn the camera on and start shooting with just one press, and will automatically stop recording and turn off the camera if you press it again. On the back of the Hero 11 Black is the same 2.27-inch touchscreen. You also get a 1.4-inch secondary display on the front. Coming from my old GoPro Hero 5, I have to highlight the smooth and intuitive feel of the rear screen. The rear screen is also a lot more vibrant and brighter, just like the GoPro Hero 10 Black.

As for the mount, the company has also launched a new one called the GoPro Gumby, which has flexible arms that can be attached almost anywhere. You can mount your GoPro onto Gumby and then hook the arms to any uneven surface like fences, window frames, railings, etc. Gumby brackets are made from flexible enough rubber twist ties. to wrap around irregular objects but still sturdy enough to hold steady.

Features of GoPro Hero 11 Black

While not much has changed on the outside, the GoPro Hero 11 Black has received some major upgrades inside. No, that’s not the GP2 processor first introduced in the Hero 10 Black. It’s actually a new, larger sensor that GoPro has managed to pack without much change in the form factor. In fact, the GoPro Hero 11 Black has a larger 1,720mAh Enduro battery while weighing the same as the Hero 10 Black.

GoPro Hero 11 Black 3 GoPro Hero 11 Black

GoPro Hero 11 Black has two screens

The new 27-megapixel sensor measures 1/1.9-inch. For comparison, the Hero 10 Black comes with a 23-megapixel 1/2.3-inch sensor. Theoretically, a larger sensor should help capture more detail and light, especially in darker situations. More on the photos and videos in the later section of the review.

The GoPro Hero 11 Black also improvises the Horizon Lock feature with support for 360-degree locking. This basically means that you can tilt or pan your camera in a circular motion but the horizon will continue to remain linear. To make this feature work even better, GoPro has also upgraded its new HyperSmooth stabilization system to HyperSmooth 5.0, which can be enabled via the AutoBoost feature. I keep AutoBoost on almost all the time to make sure the videos I shoot are super stable.

The new sensor also opens up a new Full Frame mode with an aspect ratio of 8:7. New aspect ratio lets you edit and adapt videos to 4:3 or even 9:16 aspect ratio for Instagram Stories, YouTube Shorts or any vertical preferred video content platform without having to worry about quality loss.

GoPro Hero 11 Black 1 GoPro Hero 11 Black

The different presets that GoPro Hero 11 Black supports.

Another small but important improvement in one of the existing features is HyperView in Full Frame mode. Previously, the GoPro Hero 10 Black offered a 16mm field of view (foV), called SuperView. HyperView has increased the FoV even further at 12mm. The SuperView is already wide enough, but if you want something even wider, the Hero 11 Black will meet your needs.

Just like previous GoPros, the Hero 11 Black is built to work up to 10m underwater. Unfortunately, I’m not a good enough swimmer to try and test that claim but I took the Hero 11 Black to a place where most of us could use it – a swimming pool. And yes, it still works the same as when we unboxed it first impressions.

If you’re like me, who comes from a fairly old GoPro, the user interface (UI) might feel different. After getting through the learning phase, I found the new user interface to be quite organized. The basic gestures remain the same. Swipe down for the panel, swipe up to view recorded content, and swipe left or right to switch between Photo, Video, and Time-lapse modes.

You can now record Star Trails, Light Painting and Tail Light Trails at 5.3K resolution on the Hero 11 Black. These new timelapse modes sit on top of existing standard modes like Time Lapse, TimeWarp, and Night Lapse modes. The modes also give you the option to set your desired trail length, shutter speed, and even zoom in or out.

GoPro Hero 11 Black Performance

The GoPro Hero 11 Black’s new sensor unlocks many new features, and with support for more colors, content created on this action camera looks a lot more vibrant and lifelike. This doesn’t mean that the colors look oversaturated, but just stand out a bit more than they actually are.

While I couldn’t compare the Hero 11 Black to the Hero 10 Black, I compared it to my old Hero 5 and the video performance was impressive and a huge leap over the older generation. The Hero 11 Black continues to offer support for video recording up to 5.3K at 60 fps across a variety of frame rates. However, I prefer using the GoPro to record videos in 1080p, 2.7K, and 4K because I feel these resolutions are more than enough for social sharing while still providing plenty of detail.

GoPro Hero 11 Black GoPro Hero 11 Black

Users can record videos at up to 5.3K . resolution

I would have expected the larger sensor to capture better low-light scenes, and while it certainly delivers better exposure, there’s still noticeable noise in the darker parts of the frame. However, the camera adjusts the exposure well enough not to lose the highlights.

The polluted sky in and around Mumbai didn’t allow me to capture any star trails to test the Hero 11 Black’s new feature. I did shoot a few ‘Car Lights Time Lapse’ videos though. Once you understand the lighting situation, you can adjust the shutter and interval among other settings and capture sharp trails. Keep in mind that whatever you’re shooting is at an ultra-wide angle of view, and while your phone’s camera can record time-lapse videos, the quality isn’t as good.

Not always recording at 5.3K will also save battery life. I managed to use the camera for about half a day while switching between different modes. Timelapse videos consume the most battery. I recommend adding an extra battery pack to your kit to ensure that you don’t run out of battery while documenting your travel or outdoor adventure. In case you don’t have a spare battery, you can connect the camera to a power bank but that will prevent you from using the camera underwater or in high humidity areas.

The GoPro Hero 11 Black also does a great job with photos. The new sensor has more pixels to capture more detailed and wider images. Dynamic range performance is above average as there are cases where the sky is completely blown out and at the expense of retaining details around the subject. The photo-specific night mode takes a few seconds to process the output but captures decent ultra-wide shots. Please note that the camera needs to be steady until the image is processed as even the slightest shake anywhere will result in blurry night mode shots.

Shoot on GoPro Hero 11 Black

Regarding the GP2 SoC that powers the GoPro Hero 11 Black, it feels pretty snappy, and I was able to shoot footage almost instantly without having to wait long for the camera to process the last captured video. The camera does get a bit hot when shooting timelapse but it doesn’t seem to have any impact on the footage.

GoPro Hero 11 Black supports microSD cards UHS-3 up to 512GB. If you run out of memory and want to change some data, you can subscribe to the GoPro Quik app for Rs. 499 a year, the app offers unlimited cloud backup for murals, premium editing tools, and access to the GoPro music library. This should not be confused with GoPro Subscription, which is not available in India. The service offers unlimited cloud backup of all the footage you capture from your GoPro.

judgment

GoPro Hero 11 Black has been launched in India for Rs. 51,500. However, the premium action camera is now available for a slightly lower price on e-commerce sites. Compared to the Hero 10 Black, the new GoPro camera unlocks many new features thanks to that improved sensor. While the difference in image quality may not be significant, supporting a wide variety of modes and aspect ratios gives creators more flexibility.

The GoPro Hero 11 Black might not be my ideal primary camera for photography but for video it will definitely replace my aging Hero 5. This is not to say that this camera takes bad photos but that most smartphone cameras, especially those that support optical image stabilization, will certainly do a better job.

Yes, the new Hero 11 Black looks like the Hero 10 Black but why fix something that isn’t broken, right? But should you upgrade from the Hero 10 Black? Just when you think the new modes, especially Full Frame, are the things that can boost your content creation efforts. For most others, upgrading from the Hero 10 Black to the new version may not necessarily provide the best value for money.

If you have anything older than GoPro Hero 7 Black (Review), I can definitely recommend upgrading to the new Hero 11 Black. You get a better display, much faster processing, more shooting modes, and a new high-resolution sensor.


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