GoPro Hero 11 Black Review: Great Things Do Come in Compact Sizes


GoPro is a name that you might be familiar with if you are into content creation, outdoor sports or motovlogging. Even if you are someone who doesn’t do anything mentioned above, chances are you might have heard your favourite content creator on YouTube or Instagram mention the word GoPro at some point. For those new to the action camera scene, GoPro is a US-based company that has been making action cameras for many years. The company has launched several iterations of it’s Hero line of cameras over the years, with the latest one being the GoPro Hero 11 Black.

With the GoPro Hero 11 Black, the company has made some iterative upgrades over its recent predecessors. But if you are someone who is considering buying a GoPro for the first time or planning to upgrade from an older model, should you get the Hero 11 Black? Here is our review to help you decide.

GoPro Hero 11 Black price in India

The GoPro Hero 11 Black was officially launched in India for Rs. 51,500. The company does not have an official online store in India but you can buy it via online platforms such as Amazon. There is also the GoPro Hero 11 Black Creator Edition, which has been launched for Rs. 71,500. The Creator Edition kit comes with a few additional accessories which include the Volta battery grip, Media Mod, and the Light Mod, along with the Hero 11 Black camera.

GoPro Hero 11 Black design

The GoPro Hero 11 Black looks very familiar to the GoPro Hero 10 Black (Review) with its compact rectangular body. The only noticeable difference between the two is the branding on the left side of the camera. The left side continues to feature the mode button, which can be used to switch between Photo, Video and Time-Lapse modes. You can also use the same button to turn on the GoPro.

On the right side is a slot protected by a lid for the battery, microSD card and the charging port. If you are coming from a GoPro with an older design, you might find the new side-door mechanism a bit more assuring as it locks more securely and prevents water from seeping into the chamber. You have to push the flap down and then lift the lid to access the battery or the microSD card. There is also a USB Type-C port inside the same chamber to the charge the GoPro. The chamber might seem too cramped initially for all these ports but once you get the hang of it, it is all easy-peasy.

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The button on the top of the GoPro Hero 11 Black works as a shutter for capturing photos and videos

The top-edge of the GoPro Hero 11 Black has the shutter button which can turn the camera on and begin shooting after just a single press, and will automatically stop recording and turn the camera off if you press it again. On the back of the Hero 11 Black is the same 2.27-inch touch display. You also get a secondary 1.4-inch display on the front. Coming from my ageing GoPro Hero 5, I have to highlight how smooth and intuitive the rear display feels. The rear display is also a lot more vibrant and brighter in comparison, much like the GoPro Hero 10 Black.

Regarding mounts, the company has also launched a new one called the GoPro Gumby, which has flexible arms that can be attached almost everywhere. You can mount the GoPro on the Gumby and then hook the arms on any uneven surfaces such as fences, window frames, railings, etc. The Gumby mount is made out of rubber twist ties that are flexible enough to wrap around irregular objects, but sturdy enough to hold strong.

GoPro Hero 11 Black features

While not a lot has changed on the outside, the GoPro Hero 11 Black has received a couple of major upgrades under the hood. No, it is not the same GP2 processor which was first introduced in the Hero 10 Black. It is actually a new, larger sensor that GoPro has managed to pack without fiddling much with the form factor. In fact, the GoPro Hero 11 Black packs a larger 1,720mAh Enduro battery while weighing roughly the same as the Hero 10 Black.

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The GoPro Hero 11 Black has two displays

The new 27-megapixel sensor is 1/1.9 inches in size. In comparison, the Hero 10 Black came with a 23-megapixel 1/2.3-inch sensor. Theoretically, a larger sensor should help capture more details and light, especially in darker scenarios. More about the photos and videos in the later part of the review.

The GoPro Hero 11 Black also improvises the Horizon Lock feature with support for 360-degree locking. What this essentially means that you can literally tilt or rotate your camera in a circular motion but the horizon will continue to remain linear. For the feature to work better, GoPro has also upgraded its new HyperSmooth stabilisation system to HyperSmooth 5.0, which can be enabled through the AutoBoost feature. I kept AutoBoost enabled for almost all times to ensure that the videos I captured were super stabilised.

The new sensor also unlocks a new Full Frame mode with an 8:7 aspect ratio. The new aspect ratio lets you edit and adjust the video to 4:3 or even 9:16 aspect ratio for your Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts or any other vertical-first video content platform without having to worry about losing out on quality.

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Various presets that the GoPro Hero 11 Black supports.

Another minor, yet key improvement in one of the existing features is HyperView within the Full Frame mode. Previously, the GoPro Hero 10 Black offered a 16mm field of view (FoV), which it called SuperView. HyperView increased the FoV even further at 12mm. SuperView was already wide enough but if you wanted something even more wider, the Hero 11 Black has got you covered.

Just like previous GoPros, the Hero 11 Black is built to last up to 10m under water. I, unfortunately, am not a good enough swimmer to try and test that claim but I take the Hero 11 Black somewhere most of us might use it — a swimming pool. And yes, it is working just like how it was when we unboxed it for our first impressions.

If you are like me who is coming from quite an old GoPro, the user interface (UI) might feel different. After getting through the learning curve, I found the new user interface quite organised. The basic gestures remain the same as they were. A swipe-down gesture for the dashboard, swipe-up for viewing recorded content, and a swipe left or right to switch between Photo, Video and Time Lapse modes.

You can now record Star trails, Light Painting and Vehicle tail light trails in 5.3K resolution on the Hero 11 Black. These new timelapse modes are on top of the existing standard modes such as Time Lapse, TimeWarp and Night Lapse modes. The modes also give you the option to set the desirable trail length, shutter speed and even zoom in or zoom out.

GoPro Hero 11 Black performance

The GoPro Hero 11 Black’s new sensor does unlock many new features and along with support for more colours, the content created on this action camera looks a lot more vibrant and vivid. This does not mean that the colours look oversaturated but rather just pop a bit more than what it looks like in real life.

While I didn’t get to compare the Hero 11 Black to the Hero 10 Black, I did compare it to my old Hero 5, and the video recording performance is impressive and a huge leap from the older generation. The Hero 11 Black continues to offer video recording support up to 5.3K at 60fps across various aspect ratios. However, I preferred using the GoPro to record videos in 1080p, 2.7K and 4K as I felt these resolutions were more than enough for sharing on social, while still offering ample details.

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Users can record videos with up to 5.3K resolution

I did expect the bigger sensor to capture better low light footage and while it certainly offers better exposure, there is noticeable noise in darker portions of the frame. The camera, however, adjusts the exposure well enough to not blow out the highlights.

The polluted skies in and around Mumbai did not allow me shoot any star trails for testing the Hero 11 Black’s new feature. I did shoot a couple of ‘Vehicle Lights Time Lapse’ videos though. Once you understand the lighting situation, you can adjust the shutter and interval among other settings and record crisp trails. Keep in mind that whatever you are shooting is in the ultra-wide perspective and while phone cameras can shoot time lapse videos, the quality in comparison is not as good.

Not recording at 5.3K resolution all the time would also help save some battery. I managed to use the camera for about half a day while switching between various modes. Timelapse videos consumed the most amount of battery. I would recommend adding one more battery pack to your kit just to be sure that you do not run out of juice while recording your outdoor travel or adventure. In case you do not have a spare battery, you can connect the camera to a power bank but that would prevent you from using the camera under water or high moisture zones.

The GoPro Hero 11 Black does a decent job with photos too. The new sensor packs more pixels which helps shoot detailed and wider images. The dynamic range performance is above average as there were instances where the sky was completely blown out at the cost of retaining details around the subject. The dedicated night mode for photos takes a couple of seconds to process the output but captures decent ultra-wide images. Do note that the camera needs to be steady till the image is processed as even the slightest shake anywhere in between will result in a blurry night mode photo.

Shot on GoPro Hero 11 Black

Regarding the GP2 SoC powering the GoPro Hero 11 Black, it did feel quite snappy and I was able to record footage almost immediately without having to wait much for the camera to process the last-recorded video. The camera did get slightly hot while recording timelapses but did not seem to have any impact on the footage.

The GoPro Hero 11 Black supports up to 512GB of UHS-3 microSD cards. If you run out of storage and want to shift some data, you can subscribe to the GoPro Quik app’s subscription where for Rs. 499 a year, the app provides unlimited cloud backup for murals, premium editing tools, and access to the GoPro music library. This is not to be confused with the GoPro Subscription, which is not available in India. This service offers unlimited cloud backup for all the footage you capture from your GoPro. 

Verdict

The GoPro Hero 11 Black was launched in India for Rs. 51,500. However, the premium action camera is now available for a slightly lower price on e-commerce websites. Compared to the Hero 10 Black, the new GoPro camera unlocks many new features, courtesy of that improved sensor. While the difference in terms of image quality might not be as significant, the support for various kinds of modes and aspect ratios does enable greater flexibility for creators. 

The GoPro Hero 11 Black might not be my ideal primary camera for photos but for videos, it will certainly replace my ageing Hero 5. This does not mean that the camera shoots bad photos but most smartphone cameras, especially the ones which support optical image stabilisation, would certainly do a better job.

Yes, the new Hero 11 Black looks the same as the Hero 10 Black but why fix something that is not broken, right? But should you upgrade from the Hero 10 Black? Only if you think that the new modes, especially Full Frame, are something that could boost your content creation endeavours. For most others, upgrading from the Hero 10 Black to the new one might not necessarily offer the best value for your money.

If you have anything older than the GoPro Hero 7 Black (Review), I can certainly recommend upgrading to the new Hero 11 Black. You get better displays, much faster processing, more shooting modes, and that new high-resolution sensor.


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