(Pocket-lint) – GoPro’s latest flagship, the Hero 11 Black, looks identical to its predecessor, the Hero 10 Black. In fact, both use the same chassis as the Hero 9 Black, so at first glance, it appears that very little has changed.
However, when you look at what each camera is capable of, the truth is that GoPro has implemented many features that may tempt you toward the latest model.
Whether you’re buying your first action camera, or considering upgrading, you’re in the right place. We’ve compared the models head-to-head to see which one is deserving of your hard-earned cash. Let’s dig in.
Design, software and battery
- Both: 153 grams
- Both: Waterproof to 10m/33ft
- Both: Removable hydrophobic and scratch-resistant lens covers
- Hero 11: 1720mAh Enduro battery
- Hero 10: 1720mAh standard battery
When it comes to outward appearance, there’s not much to talk about. All that has changed with the Hero 11 Black is that it now has “11” printed on the side. This means that both cameras benefit from fold-out mounting tabs, front and rear displays and replaceable lens covers.
The hydrophobic lens coating that was introduced with the Hero 10 has made its way over to the Hero 11 Black, too. It’s a minor upgrade in the grand scheme of things, but it does make a pretty big difference to your footage, especially if you make a lot of water or snow sports videos.
The Hero 11 comes with GoPro’s Enduro battery in the box, which was sold as an optional upgrade for the Hero 10. This battery has the same capacity as the standard battery, but uses a different chemistry, allowing it to last longer, particularly in cold climates.
Another big change with the Hero 11 is the way the menu system works. It now ships in Easy Mode which aims to simplify the user experience for newcomers. In this mode, you simply select between prioritising the highest quality or the best battery life, and the GoPro will figure out the rest. Of course, full manual controls are still available in the new camera, and switching to Pro Mode brings back the extensive options GoPro users are accustomed to.
Video and photo capture
- Both: 5.3K/60fps, 4K/120fps, 2.7K/240fps
- Hero 11: New HyperView lens and SuperView at up to 5.3K/30fps
- Hero 10: 23MP photos and up to 19.6MP frame grabs
- Hero 11: 27MP photos and frame grabs, RAW capture in all modes
The difference in video specs between the Hero 10 and 11 isn’t quite as clear-cut as the jump from 9 to 10. However, in our opinion, the changes are often more significant to the final results with this generational leap.
The biggest change is that the Hero 11 uses a new 8:7 sensor, which is an unusual, almost-square, aspect ratio that isn’t common on most cameras. While you’re unlikely to use an 8:7 format for final delivery, the new sensor unlocks some very interesting and useful capabilities.
Firstly, recording in an 8:7 ratio allows you to crop your video to 9:16 for TikTok, 1:1 for Instagram and 16:9 for YouTube after the fact, with zero quality loss. It’s extremely handy for content creators that use multiple platforms.
The new sensor format also meant that GoPro could create the HyperView digital lens. This works like SuperView but with significantly more height captured, as well as additional width, resulting in an extremely wide FOV with lots of distortion. It works fantastically with chest-mounted cycling videos, capturing significantly more of the surroundings and creating an energetic sense of speed.
The Hero 11 is also capable of recording 10-bit colour, which is a game changer for anyone that likes to colour grade their footage. It’s more of a professional feature, and casual users are unlikely to benefit much, but for those who can take advantage, it’s a serious step up.
The larger sensor also gives us a slight bump in photo resolution. The Hero 11 offers 27MP snaps, compared to the Hero 10’s 23MP. What’s more crucial, though, is that photos also utilise the entire 8:7 sensor, allowing for the same cropping freedom as 8:7 videos. Again, perfect for social media aficionados.
Stabilisation and features
- Hero 11: HyperSmooth 5.0 with AutoBoost
- Hero 10: HyperSmooth 4.0
- Hero 11: Full horizon lock at up to 5.3K
- Hero 10: Horizon level tilt limit 45 degrees
HyperSmooth 4.0 on the Hero 10 Black was the best stabilisation we had seen on an action camera, then, with the release of the Hero 11, GoPro once again bumped things up a notch.
With AutoBoost activated the GoPro will automatically, and smoothly, zoom in to the footage when it detects severe shaking to add more stabilisation. It works fantastically and it’s definitely the best in-camera stabilisation that we’ve tested. That said, the Hero 10 is still impressive, it just depends on how much smoothing you need.
The 8:7 sensor has one more trick up its sleeve, too, and that’s that it allows for full 360-degree horizon locking. This is something that could only be achieved with the Max Lens Mod on previous cameras. Comparatively, the Hero 10 Black is limited to tilting up to 45 degrees before it gives up.
In addition, the Hero 11 adds some brilliant long-exposure night photography modes. Our favourite is the new light painting mode, which automatically creates an animation of your sparkler or torch-drawn artwork, it’s great fun to mess about with.
- Hero 11: $499.99 or $399.98 with a GoPro subscription
- Hero 10: $449.99 or $349.98 with a GoPro subscription
The Hero 11 continues GoPro’s subscription-based sales discount, whereby opting for a GoPro subscription allows you to save on the initial cost of the camera.
Whichever way you choose to purchase, you’re looking at around a $/£50 price difference in the US and the UK.
The right camera for you is all dependent on your needs. For us, the new features unlocked by the 8:7 sensor are well worth the additional outlay. We especially enjoy using the new HyperView lens and the flexibility afforded by full-frame clips.
On the other hand, the Hero 10 Black still produces an absolutely superb image with excellent stabilisation and offers the same frame rates and resolutions as the Hero 11. Though, it’s worth noting that SuperView is available in higher frame rates on the new model, if you like that FOV.
At full retail pricing we’d suggest going for the Hero 11, however, if you see a good discount on the Hero 10, it’s still a top-notch action camera that’s well worth picking up.
Writing by Luke Baker.