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The Best GoPro 2021: Which GoPro Should You Buy Today?
This page was translated using AI and machine learning.
(Pocket-lint) - GoPro is pretty much the standout name in the action camera world and has been at the top of the game for years. New models are constantly being released to keep up with technological developments and user expectations.
While there is more competition now, GoPro still has arguably the best all-round action camera ecosystem. And thanks to some product lines that have been updated in recent years, the number of options has decreased to make it easier to choose. Which GoPro should you buy?
What GoPro offers
The entire GoPro range has been streamlined and completely updated over the past few years. While various models, including an inexpensive, tiny session, were offered in previous years, the company only offers versions of the flagship Hero series and the 360-degree Max.
In 2018, the product line expanded significantly to achieve this streamlining, and in 2019 it was further downsized with the introduction of the Hero 8 and Max. This process was further refined in 2020 and now only offers 9 Black, Max, 8 Black and 7 Black. However, older models are available from third-party suppliers.
That makes four cameras total, but between them you should be able to easily find something that works for you within your budget. Additionally, you can still find some of the previous flagship cameras at much lower prices than when you started out.
GoPro also offers a range of accessories, from small hand brackets that double as tripods to floating cases and handles. It also has a great easy-to-use mobile app for editing. An ecosystem is pretty much unbeatable.
Our pick of the best GoPro action cameras
GoPro Hero 9 Black
GoPro's newest all-action hero is the culmination of years of improvement in stabilization algorithms. HyperSmooth 3.0 builds on the features of the Hero 8 by automatically stabilizing shake and jerking in your footage and making it incredibly fluid. Change direction suddenly and it will pan smoothly by using a smart algorithm.
However, there are two major improvements over previous cameras that make it very attractive to any buyer. One of them is undoubtedly the larger battery that lasts much longer than its predecessors. The other is that there is now a really useful screen on the front that you can use to frame yourself when looking at the lens. It's no longer just a black and white screen with basic information.
GoPro also improved the audio by adding a better microphone to the front of the camera and adding a water outlet duct to further improve water resistance over the older models.
Video capabilities include 5K recording at 30 frames per second, 4K images up to 60 frames per second, 1080p live streaming and slow motion at 240 frames per second, and a range of time-lapse and hyperlapse recording modes, including night-lapse Photo option.
It's arguably one of the most affordable Hero flagships out there too, with a starting price well below some of its predecessors when you buy it with a GoPro subscription.
GoPro doesn't want you to think of the Max as a restart of the Fusion, but in many ways. It is not the same in many ways. It's a 360-degree camera, that's true, but it's more than that, and GoPro has fundamentally changed the way you edit video from it.
You can record with one of the two 180 degree cameras alone and it offers even better stabilization than the Hero8. Not only does it use the standard camera's HyperSmooth technology, but it also uses its extremely wide lenses to automatically level the horizon. Not only does this make all of the footage smooth, it also keeps it balanced.
It also has a better microphone than the Hero8 and performs similarly to the shotgun microphone you can buy for the Hero8. In total, it has six microphones that offer 360-degree audio.
Of course, you can also record with both cameras in 360 and then just use the GoPro mobile app to remodel the footage you have captured in a way that is much more user-friendly than the method offered by Fusion. You can also use a TimeWarp feature that allows you to speed up and slow down the footage as you pan the 360-degree footage.
Like the Hero, it has built-in mounting arms so you never need a case to attach to any of your handles. Plus, it's only $ 100 more than a device with a camera.
GoPro Hero 8 Black
Not only did GoPro improve the action camera capabilities when it launched the Hero 8 Black, it also brought a new, more practical design with it. It's a bit bigger and heavier than its predecessor, but that extra size and weight means there is now room for built-in mounting arms, and that means there is no additional clip-on frame. It is mounted on everything by itself.
As you'd expect, it's waterproof and can hold up to 4K resolution. A variety of frame rates and resolutions are available depending on the type of footage you want to capture. The big news in video performance is the improvement in the company's HyperSmooth stabilization algorithms. It's called HyperSmooth 2.0 and it's available for all resolutions and frame rates. So it doesn't matter what you ingest, it's buttery smooth.
- 4K wide - 60, 30, 24 fps
- 4K SuperView - 30, 24 fps
- 4K Linear - 60, 30, 24 fps
- 4K (4: 3) wide - 30, 24 fps
- 2.7 K wide - 120, 60, 30, 24 fps
- 2.7K SuperView - 60, 30, 24 fps
- 2.7 K linear - 60, 30, 24 fps
- 2.7 K narrow - 60, 30, 24 fps
- 2.7 K (4: 3) wide - 60, 30, 24 fps
- 2.7 K (4: 3) linear - 60, 30, 24 fps
- 2.7 K (4: 3) narrow - 60, 30, 24 fps
- 1440p wide - 120, 60, 30, 24 fps
- 1440p linear - 60, 30, 24 fps
- 1440p narrow - 60, 30, 24 fps
- 1080p wide - 240, 120, 60, 30, 24 fps
- 1080p SuperView + Linear - 120, 60, 30, 24 fps
- 1080p narrow - 60, 30, 24 fps
One of the biggest improvements to the Hero 8 Black is the redesigned exterior and port layout: Mods. GoPro has introduced three new mod add-ons that allow for a more professional vlogging experience. Simple: you can now plug in a shotgun microphone, LED light, and display mod to illuminate yourself in darker environments, get better audio recordings, and see yourself when you're recording with the camera.
It is easily the most successful standard GoPro action camera to date. Please see our review below for more information.
Read the full review:GoPro Hero 8 Black Test
GoPro Hero 7 Black
- 4K video at 60 fps
- 1080p at 240fps
- HDR photos
- HyperSmooth + HyperLapse
- 10m waterproofing
It might have been launched in 2018, but the Hero 7 Black still has a lot to offer and is even cheaper than ever now that the retail price has been lowered.
On the front is a camera that can capture HDR still images as well as 4K video at up to 60 frames per second and 1080p footage at up to 240 frames per second for impressive slow motion. It is also equipped with very advanced digital stabilization that acts like a 3-axis gimbal to compensate for shake and vibration. It's called HyperSmooth and it almost completely eliminates bumps and jolts in the footage.
In addition, the general picture quality is much more natural and qualitatively better compared to its predecessor. All of this is thanks to the new custom upgraded GP1 processor that has enabled these hardware improvements that are largely the same as those on the previous model. It offers the following resolutions and fields of view:
- 4K wide - 60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps
- 4K SuperView - 30, 25, 24 fps
- 4K (4: 3) wide - 30, 25, 24 fps
- 2.7 K wide - 120, 100, 60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps
- 2.7K SuperView + Linear - 60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps
- 2.7 K (4: 3) wide + linear - 60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps
- 1440p wide + linear - 60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps
- 1080p wide - 240, 200, 120, 100, 60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps
- 1080p SuperView + Linear - 120, 100, 60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps
- 720p wide + linear - 60, 50 fps
It is waterproof up to 10 meters, fits the same accessories and brackets as the Hero 5. It also has the same 1220 mAh battery.
What's particularly interesting here is that it was the first GoPro with the built-in ability to analyze cues from telemetry, audio, and facial recognition, and better choose where to take action. That said, when it comes to creating a QuikStory, the camera should be better able to select the important parts than previous cameras.
You can control Hero 7 as usual using the buttons or touchscreen, or use voice commands to make your camera take photos and record videos by simply instructing it.
Read the full review:GoPro Hero 7 Black Test
GoPro Hero 7 white
- 1440p video at 60 fps
- 10MP still images
If you are looking for a powerful action camera at no cost, there is the GoPro Hero 7 White. It is currently no longer on offer, but even when it launched it was half the price of its highest spec sibling. It was launched in 2018, effectively taking over the features of the 6 month old hero and transforming them into a new design.
It doesn't have 4K video recording, but it has many of the same features as the old Hero 5 Black. For example, you get voice control, QuikStories, video stabilization and water resistance up to 10 meters. It even has the 3 mic noise reduction system. And unlike the session cameras it replaces, it has a screen so you can see what you're filming and interact with the controls using touch sensitivity. It lacks the small monochrome screen on the front and the battery cannot be removed.
If you can live without the 4K resolution video, the 60fps 1080p recording from the stabilized hero should be more than enough to capture your best outdoor exploits. All resolutions, frame rates and fields of view are available here:
- 1440p wide - 60fps
- 1080p wide - 60 fps
- 15/1 burst rate 10MP still pictures
It's a much simpler offering from GoPro that should prove very easy to use for those considering trying a GoPro camera if you can still find one.
Which GoPro should you buy?
If you want the best of the best, the Hero 9 Black is the easiest recommendation. Not only does it film 4K resolution at 60 fps, it is waterproof, can do 240 fps slow motion at 1080p resolution, and has impressive digital stabilization while recording. The overall image quality is great too.
With this in mind, the GoPro Max is also a solid argument in its own right, as it not only offers high-end hero performance, but also improved stabilization and horizon adjustment, as well as 360-degree coverage.
If you want high-end recording capabilities in the smallest possible package, the Hero 5 session is a really good option, even if it's no longer offered. It's compact, waterproof, and can shoot almost at the same level as the Hero 5 Black, and it doesn't cost the earth.
Ultimately, it comes down to weighing what is important to you in an action camera. You can find more information about GoPro and its products in our GoPro Hub.
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