For nearly two decades, the name GoPro has been synonymous with action and adventure — so much so that people often refer to any action camera as simply a “GoPro.” When looking for the best GoPro cameras, keep in mind that the current GoPro lineup continues that legacy, thanks to premium video features like class-leading resolutions and frame rates up to 5.3K at 60 frames per second and arguably the most sophisticated image stabilization ever put into an action camera: HyperSmooth. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss who might need the extra power newer models provide, as well as those who would be better served with a less expensive — though fully capable — model. We’ll also go over what to look for when shopping for the best GoPro cameras, including which features to prioritize and which to disregard.

— Best Overall: GoPro HERO10 Black
— Best for Beginners: GoPro HERO7 Black
— Best for Vlogging: GoPro HERO9 Black
— Best for 360 video: GoPro MAX
— Best Value: GoPro HERO8 Black

How We Picked the Best GoPro Cameras

With the notable exception of the GoPro Max, the current roster of available GoPro cameras are all part of the HERO Black series. That series starts with the beginner-friendly HERO7 Black and ends with the current king of all action cams, the HERO10 Black. Each generation of HERO camera offers something new, something more advanced than its predecessor, though those upgrades don’t automatically mean the newer generations of HERO cameras are better than the older they’re just more powerful.

Normally, when we review action cameras, we prioritize features like video quality and stabilization to separate the good cameras from the not-so-good. However, because every current GoPro camera offers both high-quality video quality and highly effective digital stabilization, we refined our review process to consider how important those features were to specific use-cases and popular applications (e.g., what is the best GoPro for vlogging). Here are the features we looked at and how we judged them.

Video Quality: Because every current GoPro camera delivers high-quality, digitally stabilized video, we judged their video quality by how relevant it was to a particular category or use. For example, when we were looking for “the best GoPro overall,” we went with the model that has the very best video quality, the HERO10 Black. Our thinking was that the best GoPro should be the one with the best video footage. For categories where having the very best video quality wasn’t as relevant to the use (e.g., “the best beginner GoPro,”), we didn’t rank video quality quite so high.  

Rugged Design: Like any good action camera, a GoPro needs to be tough and reliable. It needs to stand up to the elements, to survive the impact from a steep fall, and to withstand a reasonable level of water and/or dust immersion. We reviewed each GoPro camera using this criterion; we also judged the vulnerability of their more sensitive components, such as the camera lens and display.

Battery: Having enough battery to support recording high-quality video for at least an hour is critical. Bonus points if the battery is removable, so you can swap it out for a fresh one when necessary.

Live Streaming: Although its relevance changes from use-case to use-case, the ability to effectively transmit live footage is something we looked at when reviewing the GoPro lineup. Specifically, we considered how well a particular GoPro could stream live video when judging its potential as a vlogging camera or webcam. Learn more about the best GoPro accessories.

Best GoPro Cameras: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: GoPro HERO10 Black

All-Around Winner. GoPro

Why It Made the Cut: Featuring best-in-class resolution, frame rates, and image stabilization, the HERO10 Black is the most advanced GoPro camera you can buy and our pick for the best GoPro camera overall.

Specs:
— Video Resolution: Up to 5.3K at 60fps
— Photo Resolution: 23MP
— Image Stabilization: Digital
— Battery Capacity: 1720mAh

Pros:
— 5.3K60/4K120/2.7K240 Video
— New GP2 Processor
— HyperSmooth 4.0 Image Stabilization
— Waterproof to 33 feet without Housing
— Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity

Cons:
— Premium features mean a premium price

Though it bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor, the GoPro HERO10 Black is a far superior device. The secret to its superiority is the HERO10 Black’s powerful new processor, the GP2, which allows it to shoot 5.3K video at up to 60 fps — that’s double the frame rate of its predecessor. Along with its upgraded CPU, the HERO10 Black also features a new 23MP image sensor and the latest version of GoPro’s signature stabilization tech, HyperSmooth 4.0. Both of these features are notable improvements over the previous gen.

Sheer power alone isn’t the only reason the HERO10 Black is the best GoPro overall. It also boasts the most features and is the most accessible, meaning it has the widest appeal. For example, not only is the GoPro HERO10 Black a world-class action camera, it’s also a great webcam solution thanks to its 1080p Live Streaming feature. The ability to live-stream in Full HD, coupled with the HERO10 Black’s new front-facing display, also make it a great camera for vloggers.

Though it features several new hardware elements, the HERO10 Black uses a near-identical design, which means many of the accessory mods that worked with its predecessor are also supported by the HERO10 Black. Not only that, but all of the fan-favorite features and popular video modes of earlier models are built into the HERO10 Black’s software—many of which have been updated to utilize the new processor and stabilization tech.

That extensive list of new and upgraded features, combined with the enhanced processor, image sensor, and video quality, make the HERO10 Black the most sophisticated action camera on the market, and the best GoPro overall.   

Best for Beginners: GoPro HERO7 Black

Get In on the Action. GoPro

Why It Made the Cut: The GoPro HERO7 Black pairs a low price point and easy-to-use interface with high-quality 4K video, making it a great entry point for action cam users, and the best camera for beginners. 

Specs:
— Video Resolution: Up to 4K at 60fps
— Photo Resolution: 12MP
— Image Stabilization: Digital
— Battery Capacity: 1220mAh

Pros:
— Video Resolution: Up to 4K at 60fps
— Photo Resolution: 12MP
— Image Stabilization: Digital
— Battery Capacity: 1220mAh

Cons:
— Far less features than newer models

While it’s no longer part of the current GoPro lineup, the GoPro HERO7 Black still packs a ton of great features that make it especially suitable for beginners. Among those highlights is the ability to shoot stabilized 4K60 video, which is generally considered the standard of high-quality video for action cameras.

While it lacks many of the advanced features of the newer HERO models, the HERO7 Black’s clean and easy-to-access interface make it a breeze to navigate and use. Beginners will no doubt appreciate how streamlined the menus and operations are, especially those that just want to get out and start shooting.

Although it doesn’t have all the software bells and whistles of the later models, the HERO7 Black is every bit as rugged. Featuring a compact design that is waterproof down to 33 feet and every bit as tough as the future models, the HERO7 Black offers the signature ruggedness the GoPro brand is known for — a trait that beginners, especially young ones prone to dropping things, will appreciate. Read a full review of the GoPro HERO7 Black.  

Best for Vlogging: GoPro HERO9 Black

Video Standout. GoPro

Why It Made the Cut: Thanks to a new front-facing color display and across-the-board upgrades, the HERO9 Black is one of the best GoPro cameras for vloggers.

Specs:
— Video Resolution: Up to 5.3K at 30fps
— Photo Resolution: 20MP
— Image Stabilization: Digital
— Battery Capacity: 1720mAh 

Pros:
— 5.3K30/4K60/2.7K120 Video
— 1080p Live Streaming & Webcam Mode
— HyperSmooth 3.0 Image Stabilization
— Waterproof to 33 feet without Housing
— Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity

Cons:
— Bulkier than predecessor  

The GoPro HERO9 Black introduced several enhancements to the HERO lineup, including a new front-facing 1.4-inch color display that allows users to frame shots using its live-view feature, making the HERO9 a great option for vloggers.

In addition to the upgraded display, the HERO9 Black also features a new 23.6MP image sensor capable of shooting video up to 5K at 30 fps — a notable step up from its predecessor, which maxes out at 4K60 (the HERO9 can also shoot 4K60). Supporting the HERO9 Black’s new sensor and 5K video capability is HyperSmooth version 3.0, which adds gimbal-like stabilization to all your video, regardless of resolution or frame rate.

Top those features off with a powerful new battery that promises 30 percent more life than its predecessor and you’re looking at an action cam that lasts longer, shoots better footage, and features a handy front display that’s perfect for framing your next shot or live stream.

Now, although the GoPro HERO9 Black isn’t as powerful as the current flagship model, the HERO10 Black, it is significantly less expensive. On top of that, the HERO10 Black’s powerful hardware is likely overkill for conventional vlogging, making the HERO9 Black the best GoPro for vloggers.

Best 360 camera: GoPro MAX

Top Performer. GoPro

Why It Made the Cut: Though it is only one of two 360 cameras ever produced by GoPro, the GoPro Max outranks and outperforms its predecessor in every single category, making it the best 360 camera you can buy.

Specs:
— Video Resolution: 5.6K at 30fps (Spherical); 1440p60 (Standard)
— Photo Resolution: 16.6MP (Spherical); 5.5MP (Standard)
— Image Stabilization: Digital
— Battery Capacity: 1600mAh

Pros:
— 5.6K30 Spherical Video
— Captures Spherical and Standard (Wide-Angle) Video and Stills
— Max HyperSmooth Image Stabilization
— Waterproof to 16 feet without Housing
— Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity

Cons:
— No 4K video in HERO mode

As the only current GoPro camera that can shoot spherical video, the GoPro MAX is the obvious choice if you’re looking for the best 360 GoPro. However, just because the GoPro MAX is the only spherical shooter GoPro currently offers, that doesn’t mean it’s light on features. 

The GoPro MAX outputs 360-degree video at a resolution of 5.6K30 and standard HERO-style video at 1440p60. Stabilized with GoPro’s proprietary Max HyperSmooth software, the MAX’s video footage ranks among the very best in the 360 camera category. A third video option is using the GoPro MAX for live streaming. Capable of transmitting live video in 1080p, the GoPro MAX is great for vloggers or anyone who wants to live broadcast to social media. 

In addition to excellent video and versatility, the GoPro MAX offers almost everything you could want in a 360 cam. Its rugged build is designed to withstand the rigors of even the most harrowing adventures, including being submerged in water down to 16 feet deep. Its companion editing software gives you full creative control over all your footage, allowing you to cut together dynamic clips and action-packed scenes. 

While it’s true that the GoPro MAX is the only 360 camera GoPro currently offers, it’s important to know that the MAX can stand toe-to-toe with any 360 camera out there, and likely come out on top. Excellent video quality, best-in-class stabilization, sturdy design, and versatility help make the MAX the best 360 GoPro you can buy, and one of the very best 360 cameras in the world.

Best for the Money: GoPro HERO8 Black

Budget Friendly. GoPro

Why It Made the Cut: With its relatively modest price tag and long list of advanced features, including 4K60 video and HyperSmooth 2.0, the GoPro HERO8 Black is the best GoPro for the money.

Specs:
— Video Resolution: Up to 4K at 60fps
— Photo Resolution: 12MP
— Image Stabilization: Digital
— Battery Capacity: 1220mAh

Pros:
— 4K60/2.7K120 Video
— 12MP SuperPhoto with HDR Support
— HyperSmooth 2.0 Image Stabilization
— Waterproof to 33 Feet without Housing
— Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity

Cons:
— No front-facing display

With the ability to shoot professional-grade video in resolutions up to 4K at 60 fps and 1080p at 240 fps, the GoPro HERO8 Black offers flagship-worthy performance at mid-tier price, making it our pick for the GoPro that offers the best value. 

In looking for the best GoPro cameras, we compared the video quality of the HERO8 Black against its successor, the HERO9 Black. On paper, the HERO8 Black’s 4K video can’t keep up with the 5K footage of the HERO9 Black. 

In practice, however, the difference between the two cameras’ max resolution video is hardly striking, and in some cases, mostly undetectable. Similarly, the HERO8 Black’s HyperSmooth 2.0 isn’t as sophisticated as the HERO9 Black’s HyperSmooth 3.0 stabilization, but the difference isn’t as noticeable as the difference in price would lead you to believe.

The extra difference in cost, then, seems the result of the HERO9 Black’s new front-facing display and larger battery, which can last up to 30 percent longer than the HERO8 Black. For vloggers, the new display adds some serious supplemental value to the HERO9, but because it’s more of a niche use case, it’s quite enough to tip the scales. 

Improved battery life, on the other hand, is something that every GoPro owner wants and values. And although 30 percent is a major boost in runtime, we still didn’t see it as enough of an increase to warrant changing our pick. In terms of what you get for what you pay, the HERO8 remains our top choice.   

Things to Consider Before Buying a GoPro

When shopping for a new GoPro, it’s tempting to just go with the latest and greatest. After all, the undisputed king of the GoPro cameras, the HERO10 Black, can do just about everything better and faster than any other GoPro. However, it’s important to remember that the best GoPro overall isn’t necessarily the best GoPro for you. Before purchasing your new GoPro, take some time to consider what you plan to do with your camera, as well as these important factors:

Video Resolution and Speed: Regardless of how you plan on using your GoPro, you no doubt want the video quality to look smooth, sharp, and vibrant. Two factors responsible for determining the video quality are the resolution (measured in pixels) and the speed (measured in frames per second). The current GoPro HERO roster is great because every model supports at least 4K video at 60 fps, which is your baseline for high-quality video. Certain GoPro models offer even higher resolutions and frame rates — up to 5.3K at 60 fps — enabling the highest video quality possible.

Stabilization: Of course, high video resolution and fast frame rates won’t mean a thing if the camera shakes without any kind of image stabilization. Luckily, GoPro pioneered one of the most effective digital stabilization platforms ever used in an action camera: HyperSmooth. What you need to know about HyperSmooth is that the original version was an effective digital stabilizer that helped fix shaky footage. We’re now on version 4, and it’s gotten better. When shopping GoPros, consider how turbulent your adventures might be, and choose the appropriate level of stabilization. 

Ruggedness: When it comes to action cameras, one word marketers love to use is rugged (ruggedness, ruggedized, etc.) — to the extent it’s lost some the original meaning. However, even though overuse has diluted what it means to be rugged, you should always consider the build quality of the device you’re shopping for to ensure that it can withstand whatever adventures you have in mind. Ruggedness might not be a quantifiable measurement, but rugged characteristics are. Check to see if the device has an IP rating, whether it’s waterproof, dustproof, and/or shockproof. Consider the form factor as well: Is it designed to withstand some abuse or are there obvious points of structural weakness and vulnerability? Accurately considering a device’s ruggedness will prevent you from having to consider it again when it doesn’t survive your next extreme endeavor.

Live-Streaming: Though it doesn’t determine how well a GoPro can capture video, the ability to livestream footage is an important feature to consider for anyone interested in vlogging or using the GoPro as a webcam or teleconferencing device.

Related: Best video cameras of 2022

FAQs

Q: Which GoPro is easiest to use?

The HERO7 Black is the easiest GoPro to use — if for no other reason than it doesn’t have as many features or the extensive settings options of the other GoPro cameras. 

Q: Which GoPro is best for water?

All current GoPro HERO Black models are waterproof down to 33 feet (10 meters), meaning each can be considered the best GoPro for water. 

Q: Which GoPro has the best battery life?

The GoPro HERO9 Black has the best battery life. Both the GoPro HERO10 and HERO9 Black feature a rechargeable 1720mAh battery. However, because the HERO10 Black has more powerful hardware and stabilization tech, it draws more battery power, making its battery life shorter in some instances. The difference isn’t major, but it’s enough to give the HERO9 Black a slight edge in the battery life category.

Q: How many hours can a GoPro camera record?

The amount of hours a GoPro camera can record depends on several factors, including the model of camera, battery life, video resolution, etc. Generally speaking, any of the current GoPro cameras can record between 1 and 2 hours on a full battery.

Q: How much does a GoPro cost?

The cost of a GoPro varies depending on the model. Beginner models, like GoPro HERO7 Black typically cost in the $250 range, while the current GoPro flagship, the HERO10 Black, costs upward of $500.

Q: How can I recycle my old camera?

GoPro no longer offers any kind of trade-in or recycling program. However, several companies will take certain GoPro models off your hands if you want to sell or donate them. Selling old GoPro cameras on websites such as eBay is also a viable option. 

Final Thoughts on the Best GoPro Cameras

Thanks to its powerful new image sensor and GP2 processor, the HERO10 Black outperforms every other GoPro model. It records 5.3K video at double the frame rates of its predecessor, the HERO9 Black, and its HyperSmooth 4.0 is arguably the most sophisticated digital stabilization ever put in an action cam. Simply put: the HERO10 Black is the best GoPro camera you can buy.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.


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