GoPro Hero 11 Black

GoPro Hero 11 Black specs

Sensor: 1/1.9in (8:7 aspect ratio)
Video (max resolution): 5K/60p
Video (bit-rate): 10-bit or 8-bit
Video (slo-mo): 4K/120p
Photos: 27MP
Stabilization: HyperSmooth 5.0
Battery: GoPro Enduro
Processor: GP2

The GoPro Hero 11 Black is the new flagship model in an action camera range that dates back to 2005. It isn’t a huge upgrade on the Hero 10 Black, which will remain on sale for the lower price of $349.98 / £349.98 / AU$549.95 with a GoPro Subscription. But the Hero 11 Black’s new 1/1.9in sensor does bring some new tricks that’ll make it particularly appealing for social media creators and those who like to color grade their videos.

That new sensor is mainly on board to boost the Hero 11 Black’s versatility, rather than its image quality. Because it has an almost square 8:7 aspect ratio, you can export videos in various formats – like 9:16 for TikTok and Instagram, for example – without losing any quality or resolution. This makes the Hero 11 Black, and potentially its incoming Hero 11 Black Mini sibling, the best action camera around for shooting social media videos.

That unusual sensor aspect ratio supports some other new effects, too. There’s a new super-wide ‘HyperView’ digital lens, which gives you the equivalent of a 12mm focal length. And even more useful is the arrival of Horizon Lock, previously only possible with the Max Lens Mod, which keeps the horizon in place even when you rotate the camera through 360 degrees. Well, as long as you aren’t shooting in modes like 5.3K/60p or 4K/120p, when it’ll apply Horizon Leveling instead.

The Hero 11 Black’s other new headline feature is support for 10-bit video. This feature is usually only found in the best video cameras, so is an impressive first for a GoPro. A video’s bit-depth describes the total possible number of color gradations, with 10-bit offering far more than the standard 8-bit seen in previous GoPros. This makes it easier for video editors to fine-tune footage and avoid issues like color banding in skies, particularly when shooting in GoPro’s ‘flat’ color profile.

(Image credit: Future)

In other respects, the Hero 11 Black is more a tweaked version of its Hero 10 Black predecessor. There are handy new ‘Easy’ and ‘Pro’ modes in the menus, with the former making it more of a point-and-shoot experience. You can also now shoot TimeWarp 3.0 videos (which are effectively timelapses with HyperSmooth stabilization) in 5.3K resolution, rather than 4K. And aside from the new aspect ratio options (you can choose from 16:9, 4:3 or 8:7 in-camera, or others using the Quik app) the resolutions and frame-rate options are the same as before. This means you can shoot 5.3K/60p or 4K/120p slo-mo videos.

Still, the Hero 11 Black does bring some new timelapse tricks. You can now find Star Trail, Light Painting and Vehicle Lights options in the timelapse menus, which help you produce shareable clips on those themes. And it also comes with GoPro’s Enduro battery as standard, which was previously an optional extra. This helps boost recording times by up to 38% over GoPro’s previous battery, depending on which mode you’re using, and makes it more reliable in extreme cold. We haven’t experienced any major overheating issues with it either, which some users reported when using a standard battery in the Hero 10 Black.

Overall, then, the Hero 11 Black isn’t a dramatic leap up from its predecessor. It’s the most feature-packed, user-friendly action camera you can buy, and the best one around if you shoot a lot for different platforms (with different aspect ratios) like YouTube and TikTok. But it also has some familiar limitations, like low-light performance and pretty average on-board audio. We’re looking to do some more testing before we deliver our final verdict, but here’s our early GoPro Hero 11 Black review. 

GoPro Hero 11 Black price and release date

The GoPro Hero 11 Black is available to buy now for $399.98 / £399.98 / AU$649.95 (if you buy it with a GoPro Subscription), or for $499.99 / £499.99 / AU$799.95 with no GoPro Subscription.

You can check out our in-depth guide to the GoPro Subscription, but the short answer is that it’s a no-brainer, for the first year at least. You can cancel at any time, but GoPro’s hope is that you’ll become tied into its cloud features, like automatic backups and highlight videos. 

After that first year, the Subscription will cost $49.99 / £49.99 / AU$69.99 per year, so you’ll need to decide how important its features are to you before it auto-renews. But that up-front saving certainly makes it worth getting the Subscription bundle in order to find out.

GoPro Hero range prices
ModelPrice (with GoPro Subscription)Price (without GoPro Subscription)GoPro Hero 11 Black$399.98 / £399.98 / AU$649.95$499.99 / £499.99 / AU$799.95GoPro Hero 11 Black Creator Edition$579.98 / £579.98 / AU$929.95$699.99 / £699.99 / AU$1,099.95GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini$299.98 / £299$399.99 / £399.99 / AU$649.95GoPro Hero 10 Black$349.98 / £349.98 / AU$549.95$449.99 / £449.99 / AU$699.95

Unusually, the Hero 11 Black will be available in two other flavors at launch. If you’re a vlogger, you can buy the Hero 11 Black Creator Edition, which includes a battery-grip (promising over four hours of 4K recording per charge), plus a directional microphone, external mic input, HDMI port, an LED light and two cold-shoe mounts for mounting accessories. This Creator Edition costs $579.98 / £579.98 / AU$929.95 (with a GoPro Subscription) or $699.99 / £699.99 / AU$1,099.95 (without a Subscription).

But the more interesting option is arguably the Hero 11 Black Mini. This is effectively a standard Hero 11 Black without a front or rear screen. Unfortunately, it won’t be available until October 25, when it’ll cost $299.98 (with a GoPro Subscription) or $399.99 without a Subscription.

If you’re looking for an even cheaper GoPro, the new ‘entry-level’ model will be the Hero 10 Black, whose price has now dropped to $349.98 / £349.98 / AU$549.95 (with a GoPro Subscription) or $449.99 / £449.99 / $699.95 without one. That’s a decent drop on its previous Subscription price of $399 / £379 / AU$599.95.

GoPro Hero 11 Black: design

Exactly the same size and design as the Hero 10 BlackLens has same impressive scratch-resistanceHandy new ‘Easy’ and ‘Pro’ modes in the menus

If you’re having a tough time distinguishing between the Hero 11 Black and its predecessor, there’s a good reason for that – they look identical.

For the first time in a while, GoPro hasn’t made any notable design changes to its flagship action camera. The Hero 10 Black at least delivered a new water-repellent lens coating with improved scratch-resistance. But the only design tweak this time is the inclusion of GoPro’s Enduro battery as standard.

This has been available as an optional extra for the Hero 10 Black and Hero 9 Black since November 2021, so isn’t exactly a new feature. But it is a welcome addition, given its ability to boost battery life in some settings by up to 38% and reliably start up in extreme cold. We found these claims to ring true in our GoPro Enduro review.

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But otherwise, the Hero 11 Black is physically the same GoPro we’ve come to know and love for the past few generations. To recap, this means you get a tough little camera that’s waterproof down to 10m without a case. There’s a 1.4-inch front LCD for vloggers, which is now smoother than when it first appeared on the Hero 9 Black, thanks to the frame-rates unlocked by the GP2 processor. And round the back is the usual 2.27-inch rear touchscreen, which is responsive if a little dated.

This touchscreen experience is a vast improvement on the sluggish Hero 9 Black, which is again largely thanks to the GP2 processor that appeared in the Hero 10 Black. And the UI does now benefit from the inclusion of new ‘Easy’ and ‘Pro’ modes. 

Flip the Hero 11 Black into ‘Easy’ and you effectively get a point-and-shoot experience, with no control over resolutions and frame-rates. Seasoned GoPro users, though, will want the ‘Pro’ experience, which includes the host of presets and ProTune controls that let you decide bit-rate, color profiles and, yes, switch to that lovely new 10-bit mode (when shooting in 4K resolution and up).

(Image credit: Future)

Our experiences with the Hero 11 Black have found it to be a polished, charming companion. It’s ready to go within five seconds of pressing the power button, which is the same as the Hero 10 Black and three seconds speedier than the Hero 9 Black. The lens does indeed have pretty great scratch resistance – during a mountain bike ride, we roughed up the Hero 11’s casing and the glass remained completely unblemished.

The Hero 11 Black is also super-easy to mount on bikes and helmets, if perhaps not quite as slick as the DJI Osmo Action 3 in this regard. Those who mainly want to head-mount their action cam may also be more interested in the Hero 11 Black Mini, which offers the same shooting power in a smaller, screen-less bundle. We’ll update this review when we’ve had a chance to take it for a spin.

GoPro Hero 11 Black: features

Larger 1/1.9-inch sensor has 8:7 aspect ratio for better vertical videosNew 10-bit color mode gives editors more color grading flexibilityHorizon Lock feature now available in some video modes

The big differences between the Hero 11 Black and its predecessor are under the hood. And the most significant of these changes is GoPro’s new 1/1/9-inch sensor, which has an unusual 8:7 aspect ratio.

The new sensor now serves up 27MP still photos, rather than the 23MP ones produced by the Hero 10 Black. But this change is less about image quality and more about the added flexibility that its almost-square aspect ratio brings.

In a similar way to cameras like the Panasonic Lumix GH6, the shape of the Hero 11 Black’s sensor makes it much better for producing videos of all kinds of aspect ratio from one shot, particularly vertical videos for TikTok and Instagram.

(Image credit: Future)

GoPro has effectively added 4MP of vertical resolution to the Hero 10 Black’s sensor, with both cameras sharing the same horizontal resolution. This means GoPro’s new flagship still shoots standard 5K/60p videos in 16:9 or 4:3, but also lets you shoot in a ‘full-frame’ 8:7 mode and export clips later in other formats like 9:16 using the Quik app.

The benefit of this approach is that, rather than taking a crop from a horizontal frame, you still maintain very high image quality with the vertical exports. For example, if you shoot in 8:7 and export a 9:16 vertical video from that footage, its resolution will be about 20% higher than 4K. So this feature is certainly a big boon for social media creators, particularly those posting on platforms that are stylistically different like YouTube and TikTok.

The extra headroom of this ‘taller’ sensor also brings a few more advantages. There’s a new HyperView digital lens, which works particularly well for immersive ‘point-of-view’ footage. And a new Horizon Lock feature (previously only available with the Max Lens Mod) now also keeps your footage perfectly level, even when you spin the camera through 360 degrees.

(Image credit: Future)

Horizon Lock isn’t available when shooting 5K/60p, 4K/120p, 2.7K/240p or 1080/240p video, when the Hero 11 Black will default to Horizon Leveling (which can only correct the horizon up to a 27-degree angle) instead. You also need to shoot with the Linear lens, which has a relatively narrow field of view versus GoPro’s traditional fisheye look. But the feature is very impressive and a big bonus if you do a lot of rotational movements, like during a wingsuit flight.

The Hero 11 Black’s stabilization has also improved in 4:3 aspect ratio video and includes a new AutoBoost setting, which only applies HyperSmooth when the camera detects enough shake to justify it.

The biggest new feature alongside the new 8:7 sensor, though, is the inclusion of 10-bit video recording on the Hero 11 Black. This is a first for a GoPro and a useful addition for experienced shooters who like to color grade their videos afterwards. Rather than producing an instant improvement to video quality, 10-bit video is more about letting you make finer adjustments in post-production thanks to the extra shades of color available (10-bit has over one billion shades of color, compared to 16.7 million in 8-bit).

(Image credit: Future)

Given GoPro is renowned for point-and-shoot simplicity, this feature is therefore a little niche. It’s also slightly at odds with the fact that GoPro doesn’t offer any desktop editing software, and is instead funneling everyone towards its Quik app instead. But it’s definitely something that’ll please pro shooters who are looking to drop GoPro footage into a timeline shot by more advanced video cameras.

The final improvements of the Hero 11 Black over its predecessor are in timelapses. In the menus, you’ll find new ‘night effects’ including Light Painting, Star Trails and Vehicle Lights. We’ve only had time to try the former so far, but it’s a fun setting that gives the Hero 11 a little more versatility. If you’re a fan of GoPro’s TimeWarp mode – which is like a super-smooth timelapse with HyperSmooth stabilization applied – you can also now shoot these in 5.3K resolution, rather than just 4K.

These new features are all well and good, but what’s still missing on the Hero 11 Black? Well, the audio options are the same as before, which means they’re pretty limited. If you want anything approaching decent audio, you’ll need to invest in either the Pro 3.5mm mic adaptor or, better still, GoPro’s Media Mod.

Despite its larger sensor, it’s fair to say the GoPro Hero 11 Black still isn’t a great low-light camera either. That’s because that extra sensor real estate is mainly on hand to give you extra aspect ratio options, rather than dramatically improving the camera’s light-gathering powers. If you need an action camera that’s stronger in low light, check out the Insta360 One R 1-Inch Edition.

GoPro Hero 11 Black: video and image quality

Same maximum 5.3K/60p and 4K/120p resolutions as predecessorHigher 120Mbps maximum bit-rate (100Mbps on Hero 10 Black)Live-streaming still limited to 1080p

Aside from that new 10-bit color mode, the Hero 11 Black doesn’t bring any major image quality improvements over its predecessors, but there are a couple of other small tweaks.

Firstly, the camera’s maximum bit-rate has been boosted to 120Mbps, up from 100Mbps on the Hero 10 Black. That doesn’t necessarily mean any noticeable boosts to video quality, as other factors like resolution and frame-rate will have a bigger effect, but it does give the Hero 11 Black a higher ceiling that could help in more complex scenes.

You can also now take 24.7MP photo frame-grabs from the Hero 11 Black’s 5.3K 8:7 video, compared to its predecessor’s 19.6MP stills from 5K 4:3 footage. But more noticeable to your final output will be added features like the ability to shoot TimeWarp timelapses in 5.3K resolution.

While 10-bit is an improvement for those who are happy to shoot in GoPro’s ‘flat’ color profile and color grade the resulting footage, the reality is that most GoPro fans want a simple point-and-shoot experience. And like the Hero 10 Black, this new model has fine-tuned the ‘out of camera’ default settings to create a more natural, pleasing style out of the box.

The ‘Natural’ profile, which sits alongside the punchier ‘GoPro’ one and the ‘flat’ one for graders, produces good results without too much saturation, while the sharpness is now down to ‘medium’ by default (another good move). Overall, the video produced by the Hero 11 Black is still along the best you’ll find on an action camera, and it’s joined by what is undoubtedly the best user experience for beginners.

While it’s tempting to whack up the resolution to 5K/60p, it’s worth bearing in mind the limitations this brings when it comes to stabilization modes and overheating. Still, we haven’t encountered any major overheating concerns during testing, with the Hero 11 Black lasting a decent 58 minutes and 12 seconds when shooting 5K/30p continuously with no airflow. And while higher frame-rates like 4K/120p can cause the Hero 11 Black to run hot, you’re unlikely to need to shoot these continuously.

Those slow-mo settings do still produce pretty soft-looking video, but they’re certainly still usable if you shoot in decent light. And it’s effects like Horizon Lock and HyperSmooth that are arguably more important to the end result, given their ability to help you create videos that simply aren’t possible on smartphones, even if the iPhone 14 has introduced a new ‘action’ mode.

GoPro Hero 11 Black early verdict

Last year, we called the GoPro Hero 10 Black “the ideal social media workhorse”, but it’s now undoubtedly handed that title over to its Hero 11 Black successor. 

GoPro’s latest flagship doesn’t hugely raise the bar in terms of image quality, but it is the most versatile Hero model we’ve tested thanks to its new sensor. The ability to export videos in various aspect ratios without compromising on quality means it’ll particularly appeal to those who post across multiple social media platforms.

(Image credit: Future)

It’s a slight shame that the Hero 11 Black hasn’t brought any real improvements to audio or low-light performance. But it’s undoubtedly the most polished, user-friendly action camera around – and despite the useful addition of a 10-bit video option, it’s still most at home being a near-indestructible pocket camera for beginners.

We’re looking to spend a little more time using the Hero 11 Black, particularly with the updated Quik app that brings new features like automatic video edits, before delivering our final verdict and star rating. But so far, there’s a good chance that it’ll rise to the top of our best action cameras guide and become the best GoPro for most people, despite the price drop on the Hero 10 Black.

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