Review: GoPro Hero 11 Black – ratioed in the best way possible for both YouTube and Instagram
Apple's iPhone 14 Action Mode looms large, but the new GoPro Hero 11 Black turns it up to 11 with that taller 8:7 aspect ratio
Greetings from your friendly neighborhood Swider-Man in NYC 🕸️,
I’m all webbed up testing the iPhone 14, 14 Pro and Pro Max cameras tonight as Apple just released the new phones today. I have big plans for that 48MP iPhone 14 Pro camera test. Until then, I have a GoPro Hero 11 Black review below with 4 minutes of video footage – it took two weeks to fully test the new GoPro.
This new GoPro is fantastic, but as I mention below, Apple’s latest iPhones have a brand new Action Mode for video stabilization. I’m eager to see how it compares to the 👑 king of camera video stabilization and the No. 1 non-smartphone camera maker in the world, GoPro, later this week. (48MP camera test still coming tomorrow).
Now onto the show…
👨🔬 GoPro Hero 11 Black review
The new GoPro Hero 11 Black is here and GoPros are my favorite device to test every year because they allow me to get out from behind my desk to properly test an action camera – and go on an epic adventure or two in the process.
My testing time with the GoPro Hero 11 Black was two weeks. I have a four-minute video sample below – auto-compiled in the new GoPro Quick app and lightly edited by me – that demonstrates the quality of the footage that you can expect.
🛍️ Where to buy GoPro Hero 11 Black
⚙️ GoPro Hero 11 Black specs
📸 Larger 1/1.9-inch sensor
🖼️ 8:7 aspect ratio (a balance between 16:9 & 9:16)
😮 Easily resize the frame in GoPro’s Quik app
🦸♂️ HyperView is even wider than SuperView
🎨 10-bit color (up from 8-bit)
🎞️ 5.3K60fps, 4K120fps (slo-mo), 1080p240fps (super slo-mo)
📷 27MP photos (up from 23MP)
📳 HyperSmooth 5.0 with Auto-Boost (stabilization when you need it)
🔐 Horizon Lock (Max Lens mod add-on hardly needed)
🤔 Easy and Pro mode controls
🌠 New night effects (like vehicle light trails)
☁️ Auto-upload to the cloud (GoPro subscription needed)
🔜 Change digital lens after recording (coming soon)
👨👦 GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini = same performance (smaller & a bit less battery)
🔋 1,720mAh “Enduro” battery included in the box this time
🏆 Score: 5 out of 5 🏆
🥇 Award: Editor’s Choice
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Table of contents
❤️ What I loved
🧪 How I tested the GoPro Hero 11 Black
Here’s four minutes of GoPro Hero 11 Black video footage for a sample of the quality.
I took the GoPro Hero 11 Black on an adventure to really test its new features. By this, I mean I got to hang out of a 🚁 helicopter above the Manhattan skyline to capture 5.3K video, rocket around New York City on a 🚤 speed boat through the Hudson and East Rivers to test out Hypersmooth 5.0 stabilization, and barrel down a 💦 waterslide and play 🎾 tennis to see if new 8:7 camera sensor truly put “everything” in the frame.
Testing time has been nearly two weeks, and I’ll continue using it as my daily action camera to update this Hero 11 Black review.
☑️ Why trust my GoPro hero 11 Black review
I’ve reviewed, tested and/or written about every GoPro since the Hero 4 Black in 2015. GoPro provided me (and other tech journalists) with an early GoPro Hero 11 Black review sample as per usual along with the first two of four excursions I mentioned above. But I’ve bashed GoPro in the past when warranted (Hero 9 Black’s bad touchscreen) and will do so again if needed. They still invite me every year. 🤷♂️
Luckily, the GoPro Hero 11 Black has a good reason to exist this year. Here’s why.
🔨 GoPro Hero 11 fixes one big camera issue
The Hero 11 Black fixes more than just touchscreen issues – it fixes a giant problem among content creators when it comes to shooting in two aspect ratios: 16:9 for YouTube and 9:16 for social media. Cropping into 16:9 video for a resolution-deprived 9:16 TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts isn’t a great solution.
GoPro made its sensor taller for an unusual 8:7 aspect ratio and its GoPro Quik app offers a way to easily reframe videos. This is a game changer. The larger 1/1.9” sensor also enables a new HyperView digital camera lens, beating out the already-encompassing SuperView mode.
Good cameras tell your story – where you’re at and who you’re with and GoPro CEO Nick Woodman called HyperView “a cheat code” to capture everything in the frame. Great cameras of the future, will let you post to YouTube and Instagram Reels without having to reshoot or awkwardly crop into your video’s precious resolution.
The future – for GoPro – is now.
📆 GoPro Hero 11 Black release date
Today, September 14: Hero 11 Black + Creator’s Edition
Tuesday, October 25: Hero 11 Black Mini
The GoPro Hero 11 Black release date is today, Wednesday, September 14. You’re able to order both the standalone camera and the Hero 11 Black Creator’s Edition right now. Flagship GoPro Black cameras are on a yearly update cycle.
The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini isn’t coming out until next month, Tuesday, October 25, giving you time to acquainted with your “A” camera, the Hero 11 Black, before acquiring your B camera, the Hero 11 Black Mini.
I’ll have a separate Hero 11 Black Mini review soon.
💰 GoPro Hero 11 price: how much does it cost?
💰💰 The GoPro Hero 11 Black price is $399.98 when purchased alongside the $49.99 GoPro subscription (or renewing an existing subscription). Without the GoPro subscription, it costs $499.98. So you’re saving either $50 or $100 by buying the GoPro subscription, depending on how you look at things.
💰💰💰 The GoPro Hero 11 Black Creator’s Edition price is $579.98 with the GoPro subscription and $699.98 without it.
💰 The GoPro Hero 11 mini price will be $299.98 when is launched on October 25. Without the subscription, it will cost $399.98.
Is the GoPro subscription deal worth it?
I recommend the $50/yr GoPro subscription for three reasons. It’s a $100 savings on the camera (so you essentially save $50 after spending $50 on the subscription), you get 50% off the GoPro store (you’ll have access to reliable first-party accessories at third-party prices), and you’ll get unlimited full resolution cloud backups (hard to pass up). I haven’t not re-upped my yearly membership for these three reasons.
📸 Save $100 on new GoPro cameras
✅ Good for up to 3 cameras per year
🤪 Any more than 3 and you may have a problem
☁️ Unlimited cloud backups and auto-uploads at full resolution
✂️ 50% off GoPro online store accessories
🤕 Camera replacement (up to two per year)
What I loved about GoPro Hero 11 Black ❤️
👐 Tall 8:7 sensor is a game changer for content creators. The larger 1/1.9” sensor delivers a tall 8:7 aspect ratio – a middle ground between the 16:9 (for YouTube and widescreen TV formats) and 9:16 (social media and smartphone formats). Content creators who are stuck filming things twice will find balance in this full frame mode without losing resolution at 5.6K30fps or 4K60fps.
📽️ Larger 1/1.9” sensor enables HyperView. The sensor size also allows you to capture more with the HyperView, a new field of view that’s wider than the already-encompassing SuperView. This is what selfie videos should be all about – telling a story of who you’re with or what you’re doing, an especially important perk for action sports athletes and travelers who want to get in all of their equipment, clothes and fast-moving backgrounds in a shot.
💸 GoPro subscription knocks down the price. It’s hard to avoid this deal – you spend $50 on the subscription and save $100 on the GoPro. Easy. You get auto-upload of videos and creation of highlight reels, cloud-based video editing (coming soon to the GoPro Quik app), unlimited storage at original resolution, damaged camera protection and accessory discounts.
📳 Hypersmooth 5.0 and Horizon Lock make gimbals pointless. Remember when GoPro made a clunky gimbal? There’s less reason to ever own one thanks to the company’s use of a wide camera sensor and advanced in-camera stabilization tricks. The GoPro Hero 11 Black has far better stabilization than your smartphone and Horizon Lock takes it to the next level (pun not originally intended – but it is now). GoPro still sells the Max Lens mode add-on for in-camera 360-degree Horizon Lock used for its widest resolutions, but it’s not always needed to keep things smooth and level.
🎨 10-bit color + 📸 27MP photos. It’s the first GoPro with 10-bit color depth resulting in 1 billion shades of color (up to 8-bit and 16.7m shades of color) as well as 27MP photos (an upgrade over 23MP photos on the Hero 10). 10-bit color is more important, as the Hero 11 Black is a video-first camera, but the ultra-wide angle still photos do come in handy for large group photos.
🌠 Night effects are out-of-this-world easy. You can now capture star trails, lightpainting, and vehicle light trails without tediously configuring long exposures in the manual settings menu. This is ideal for experienced GoPro creators who want to save time, and novices who would just not create this type of content without these new modes.
⏩ TimeWrap is now in 5.3K. This hyperlapse mode – different from Time Lapse in which you stay still – has gotten the 5.3K resolution treatment, which makes editing in post easier, just in case you want to crop in.
🎞️ Format changes. The 16mm SuperView (one down from the new 12mm HyperView) is now available in 5K60fps and 4K120, while HyperView is now the digital lens with the 5K30fps and 4K60fps limitation.
✨ Highlight videos via improved Quik app. Edits quickly and auto-uploaded to the cloud when you charge the Hero 11 Black. You’ll have to do some light editing to make it perfect, but it’s amazing to see clips arranged in the right order to GoPro’s music (even if the music is meh). Time saver!
🪨 Durable camera. The design, size and weight haven’t changed much year-over-year, and that’s a good thing. You can still swap out the lens cover in case something goes wrong and insurance comes with the GoPro subscription.
💦 Waterproof 33ft (10m). It can go underwater without hosting. You’ll need an accessory to go down to 60m. But it’s not rated to go as far down as the new, scuba-ready Apple Watch Ultra at 100m.
🔋 Enduro battery included. The superior Enduro battery isn’t a GoPro extra this time around – it’s in the box. There are also now distinct battery modes – highest quality mode and extended battery mode – to maximize performance vs battery life.
⚙️ Fun accessories. To further extend the battery life, I highly recommend the GoPro Volta accessory that acts as an external battery grip, tripod and remote. But there are thousands of other fun GoPro accessories: chest mounts, wrist straps, helmet mounts, head mounts, Floatys, etc.
What I hated about GoPro Hero 11 Black 💔
🤼 Social media format wars: This isn’t just a GoPro problem, but video is meant to be edited natively in TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts to properly align with their variety of licensed music. That’s a harder job when trying to make cuts with any external video editor, even though GoPro has its own set of provided music. I haven’t found a good solution to time cuts in the GoPro Quik app with Instagram/TikTok/YouTube provided music in their respective apps.
📱 iPhone 14 video rival: It’s not Insta360 or DJI that’s GoPro’s biggest rival, it’s Apple. The iPhone 14’s new Action mode video stabilization eats into GoPro’s territory, and while Hero 11 Black makes it easy to transfer video and even auto-edits clips, it’s still an extra step to get things from the GoPro to your smartphone. Simply recording video on a 6.7-inch Apple ProMotion display is way easier. What Apple doesn’t offer is that tall 8:7 aspect ratio compromise – for now.
🤓 Gotta be a GoPro expert. The new Easy + Pro Controls is a nice step forward, but to get the most out of the GoPro, you have to know what you’re doing ahead of time. I’ve been in the wrong mode when wanting to capture footage during the best times – like sticking to linear mode during the entire helicopter trip. It’s too easy to do, even for someone who has used a GoPro before. It takes serious work to get seriously good GoPro footage. GoPro says it’s fixing altering digital lenses in post in a future update. When that happens, I’ll modify this portion of the Hero 11 Black review.
🎤 Microphones via the MediaMod are meh. The onboard microphones are fine in everything but heavy wind and echoey environments (like crowded coffee shops where you’re not the only dominant voice). GoPro’s MediaMod add-on wraps a frame around the Hero 11 Black to pick up better audio via an included shotgun mic and foam windshield. But it’s sometimes worse than the normal onboard mic in normal conditions. It does have one benefit: the wrap-around frame comes with a 3.5mm mic port for external mics and two cold shoe mounts (along with micro one HDMI-out and one USB-C port). But it’s about time GoPro builds in a dead cat to reduce wind noise or a cold shoe mount directly on the Gopro so I don’t have to spring for the subpar MediaMod.
What about GoPro Hero Black 11 Mini?
I did snag some very limited time with the GoPro Hero Black 11 Mini (I haven’t seen others play around with this). It’s smaller than the Hero 11 Black with the same performance, only in a more compact body. There’s no preview screen and just one button for ease of use. There is a small LED strip at the top to tell you the current mode and video format. There are also dual mounting fingers on the bottom and the rear of the camera. It’s very basic for a reason.
At 133g, it’s 20g lighter than the Hero 11 Black and has a slightly smaller built-in Enduro Battery (I’m told to expect 10% to 15% less battery life, but it’s the type of camera you use in spurts, just like the old GoPro Hero 4 and Hero 5 Session). It’s set up to be a great wearable camera or a B camera companion to the Hero 11 Black – without B-level video quality since it has the same key specs as its bigger brother.
Should you buy the GoPro Hero 11 Black? 🤔
✅ You’re a content creator who wants a jack-of-all-aspect-ratios camera
✅ You want an action camera that “captures it all” with HyperView
✅ You want to squeeze a camera into small spaces and not risk your phone
❌ You want a simple point-and-shoot camera without having to learn modes
❌ You’re satisfied with the Hero Black 10 and you just want that 11 Mini Black
❌ You can shoot with your smartphone without these fun bells-and-whistles
Your GoPro Hero 11 Black questions answered 👇
Leave questions in the comments or DM me. I’ll update this GoPro Hero 11 review.
Does the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini have a replaceable battery?
I knew this one would be the first question. No, it has a built-in battery. That said, GoPro mentions that this camera – like the Session before it – is often used in spurts, so even a 10% to 15% reduction in battery life compared to the bigger Hero 11 Black won’t feel very different. I have yet to test out its “slightly smaller” Eduro battery, however. Stay tuned.
❓Keep them coming!
Where to buy GoPro Hero 11 Black:
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