Are you looking for a new GoPro camera, but are unsure which one is the best for your needs? This handy guide is here to help you.
There are plenty of different GoPro models around. But choosing the right one for you can get quite overwhelming. It’s because GoPro (like many other camera makers) introduces new models from time to time, but keeps its older models on sale too (the most recent ones), at a steadily declining price. So, while the latest models like GoPro Hero 8 & Max have all the newest features, the previous ones like Hero 7 Black provide a fantastic bargain.
Now, the question arises:
Which is the best GoPro?
Well, the best GoPro camera for you depends on various factors, like- what your budget is, or whether you really need the latest model or 360 degree imaging ability!
We believe that the Hero 8 Black is currently the best GoPro around, with its sophisticated HyperSmooth 2.0 image stabilization system, an improved design and many other wonderful features.
However, Hero 7 is also still available, and can be picked up for a great price. It costs $100 less than the Hero 8, but offers many of its great features like voice control, Full HD video quality and more.. It’s a good choice for anyone looking to capture sports & adventures like surf, ski, bike etc. So, if you’re willing to compromise on certain features for a great action camera that suits your budget, Hero 7 Black is actually a great deal!
Other than these two, the new GoPro Max is a huge step forward by GoPro from the previous version Fusion. If you need a camera with 360 degree photo and video ability, GoPro Max is what you must go for! It’s great both in terms of ease of use and the results you get.
Review of the best GoPros
Here’s the detailed review of the three best GoPro models.
GoPro Hero 7 – Best for Price/Specs
|Specs||GoPro Hero 7 Black|
|Max video resolution||4K/60fps|
|Still photos||12-megapixel (HDR)|
|Special features||Hypersmooth, TimeWarp, Livestreaming,|
What we like: GoPro Hero 7 supports digital image stabilization ‘Hypersmooth’ to deliver supreme quality shake-free footage, even when shooting at 4K/60fps at full resolution. We love the timewarp feature as well. Just like magic, when timewarp is enabled along with hypersmooth, it lets you shoot time-lapse. You can record anything and everything while in movement, say while driving, biking, hiking, running etc. The camera also has an amazing new option called SuperPhoto which can be enabled from Settings. It calculates the best White Balance, minimum and maximum ISO levels, sharpness and colour to create an HDR photo that has a dynamic, natural look.
Hero 7 Black has a new and improved user interface. Portrait mode has been added, allowing you to shoot vertical photos and videos for platforms such as Instagram Stories or IGTV. The camera has many more attractive as well as user-friendly features. It’s amazing how easily and quickly we can now transfer data from our action cams to our smartphones. The work has now become totally hassle-free!
What we don’t like: As seen in all GoPro models, the battery life does remain to be a major drawback. While there are a few hacks which you may follow to overcome them, the issue still remains! The battery of Hero 7 lasts only for about 1.5 – 2 hours. The quality of image is also not very good in low-light conditions. And, although the voice control has improved a bit, it’s still somewhat unreliable. There’s a wide scope of fixing it!
All GoPro users know about the not so good in-built voice quality of GoPro cameras. Although Hero 7 Black has an improved internal voice control, it still doesn’t have a mic-jack. Instead it supports a USB-C and micro HDMI ports. GoPro does offer a mic-jack adapter as a solution but it is expensive and a bit bulky.
👉 For a much more detailed review of GoPro Hero 7, have a look at this article.
GoPro Hero 8 – Latest Model & Best Specs
|Specs||GoPro Hero 8|
|Special Features||HyperSmooth 2.0, Liveburst, Integrated Mounting Fingers, Media Mod|
What we like: GoPro Hero 8 features some great design changes. The new, improved design has integrated mounting fingers. So, you don’t need to attach an extra piece to be able to use the accessories. It also means carrying less equipment! The exterior is tough with the sensor and secondary display on the front, and a big touchscreen on the back. The lens is now made of Gorilla Glass which makes it twice as tougher than the previous models. The battery door has now been moved from bottom to side, which means convenience of accessing the memory card and battery without having to first remove a frame or detaching the cam from the mount. The video quality has also considerably improved as compared to Hero 7. GoPro has upped the bitrate of 4K footage from 78 mbps to 100 mbps in both 4K and 2.7K on this model.
The Media Mod functionality makes the Hero 8 more flexible and versatile. The new mod accessories are latest and super attractive. Media Mod attaches directly to the camera. It has two cold-shoe mounts and an HDMI port. They can transform your camera into a vlogging and story-telling tool. The Hero 8 also guarantees ultimate image/video quality with upgraded features like Hypersmooth 2.0 which captures smooth, absolutely shake-free videos while in movement. You can stabilize the video even more by enabling the Boost mode. Another great feature: Timewarp 2.0 adds a couple of new hacks. It allows you to capture dramatic scenes by one calculating the time-lapse speed based on the amount of camera motion. Two, you can slow down to real time with the tap of an on-screen button, and then speed back up into hyperlapse with a second tap.
What we don’t like: Although now the camera lens is made of a much stronger material (as described above), the fact that it cannot be removed or replaced unlike the previous models is a sure con. The battery life too remains to be a problem, as with other GoPro models. You get only about 1.5-2 hours playtime.
The Hero8 has a limited field of view to work with (only horizontal-axis), so extreme horizon levelling will result in a noticeable crop to the footage. Horizon Levelling only works on videos recorded with 200 frames per second or less.
For a much more detailed review of GoPro Hero 8, have a look at this article.
GoPro Max – Best for 360 degree videos
|Battery||1600 mAh, removable|
|Waterproofing||Up to 16ft/5m|
|Resolution||Videos: 6K / stitched to 5K|
Photos: 18MP / stitched to 16.6 MP
|Special Features||Max Hypersmooth, Max Timewarp, 4 Digital Lens sizes, 360 Audio|
- Three Cameras in One: Maximize your creative freedom. With MAX you can shoot...
- Max HyperSmooth: MAX gives you unbreakable stabilization by using 180-degree capture...
- Live Streaming in 1080p: Shoot in HERO mode and share while you’re there. Live...
What we like: It is clear that a lot of thought has been put into the design of Max, both in terms of software as well as hardware. Being lightweight, it is much more suitable for extreme sporting scenarios than Fusion. The easy touch-screen interface and two physical buttons make this camera extremely user friendly. It offers wonderful image stabilization (Max Hypersmooth) even in 360-degree mode, with its great horizon levelling feature. Audio quality of the footage shot by Max is also top-notch!
GoPro Max has a single MicroSD card for the twin opposite-side lenses. Therefore, stitching can be done in-camera instead of in-post. Once stitched together, the 360-video file comes in an awesome 5.6K resolution! And with the GoPro app for Android and iPhone, it takes a very little effort to transfer the shots and videos to your phone and edit the footage, change view or angle, add transitions etc.
What we don’t like: If you compare Max with Hero 8 Black, it is noticeably larger and heavier; therefore making it a less desired choice for many rapid adventure sports. While we agree that stitching is a great feature, it has been offered in much cheaper 360 cams like Rylo and Insta360 for years! We also felt that in-camera stitching on Max is not very accurate and has some flaws. Doing it on a desktop gives much better results.
The fact that GoPro Max doesn’t have a subject tracking feature is also a major disappointment. Lastly, I’d say that while Max Timewarp is amazing, but it is also a battery-killer! In fact, I noticed that the battery drains quite significantly while shooting a timewarps.
👉 For a much more detailed review of GoPro Max, have a look at this article.