With product recalls and significant layoffs, the past year has been less than stellar for the GoPro company. Since many of the new smartphones (more about those at our brother site, Digital Trends) provide impressive waterproofing and high-quality cameras, an action cam isn’t necessary to get amazing footage even in inclement conditions.
With that said, the new GoPro HERO6 Black does offer advantages over other devices. Its primary strengths lie in its compact design and ability to go anywhere, making this GoPro’s most capable camera yet.
At first glance, the HERO6 Black looks just like its predecessor, the HERO5 Black. It’s the same small size, its also waterproof up to 33 feet, contains identical ports, external controls, and touchscreen.
So, if it looks and feels similar, what does it have that justifies it costing $100 more than the previous generation?
We’re glad you asked. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. Just check out my ziplining footage above.
In the past, GoPro utilized existing processors for its action cams. For the latest generation, the company custom-designed its own GP1 Processor, which for twice the video frame rates. That means HERO6 Black boasts the improved image quality, low-light performance, and video stabilization over previous generations of HERO. The custom designed processor allows GoPro to add all of these enhancements while maintaining the same size body at the HERO5. Most importantly, GP1 takes the guess work out of which settings to use by automating all of these features.
One of our favorite things is the QuikStories function that converts your footage into a short videos and shares them to social media. The HERO6 is optimized with faster Wi-Fi to rapidly transfer footage from you GoPro to your phone, where the GoPro app can automatically create these videos.
The only downside we found with the performance of the HERO6 is the a shorter battery life (70 to 120 minutes, depending on the quality of video). Perhaps all of the new extra features comes at a price. However, replacement batteries cost approximately $20 each and are well-worth the expense to ensure you never miss that great video opportunity. Because, if you weren’t rolling, it didn’t happen.
Having used GoPro cameras in inclement conditions since the company’s early generations, I often had to place the waterproof case around the camera. Aside from the muffled audio, it was difficult to ascertain whether the camera was on or not. Thanks to the HERO6 Black’s waterproofing, you don’t need a case and the audio is just amazing. Additionally, we love the voice commands (which works in 10 languages) which I utilized while rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and zip-lining, all hands free-without ever questioning if I was getting the shot.
The company has kept the same mounting hardware, so I was able to use accessories from previous generations of GoPro cameras. Our final thoughts? If you have $500, go with the HERO6 Black.
Featured image courtesy of Daven Mathies/Digital Trends.