GoPro Hero10 Black review: The best action camera available

Quick verdict: The GoPro Hero10 Black is the best action camera on the market and more powerful than ever. But the battery life still needs a lot of work.

Pros

  • Best image stabilisation technology around
  • Easy to use
  • New hydrophobic lens is great in the rain
  • Best in the business
Cons

  • Low light picture still isn’t great
  • Battery life is still short
  • They’re really pushing an unnecessary subscription service
  • Same small sensor as the Hero 9

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GoPro Hero 10 Black

Last year GoPro released the 10th generation Hero10 Black. Now, you'd think that such a huge milestone would be the time for a brave and dramatic redesign. GoPro decided to go another way with an incremental upgrade over the Hero9. That's not to say it's bad, the 9 was a fantastic camera, it's just not as exciting as I would have hoped for.

While GoPros are synonymous with action cameras, there are plenty of other brands out there ranging in price from $20 to $800. That said, there are really only 2 brands of action camera I've seen used on professional sets and by serious YouTubers: GoPro and DJI, and their camera ranges cost roughly the same. Where GoPro has the edge is the vast range of accessories that allow you to attach it to basically anything to get the shot, not to mention the ridiculous durability (but I'll get into that later).


Design

GoPro Hero10 Black Review

Image: Alice Clarke/Finder

In terms of design, the GoPro Hero10 Black looks like a GoPro. It's got a large, 2.27-inch touchscreen on the back, and a smaller colour screen on the front for when you're filming yourself. There's a big power button on the side and a big recording button on the top. I really appreciate the sheer bigness of the buttons, because while some shots are planned, others must be desperately fumbled for before the cool thing stops happening.

The body is the exact same size and roughly the same weight as the Hero9, so all your old accessories will still fit, which is great. I also think it strikes the right balance between being small and light, but still fitting nicely in the hand and being easily found in a bag. Small is good, but too small is how one of these things gets lost when you need it most.

The biggest external update is the hydrophobic lens. This is designed so people can comfortably take it surfing or mountain biking in the rain and have the water just bead off so they don't have to wipe it down between jumps. My wife takes the most advantage of it in our family because she uses the Hero10 for her baking videos, and it's survived being covered in a wide variety of edible liquids.

As always, the thing I'm most impressed about when it comes to GoPro is how durable it is. These things are nigh unkillable. I have dropped and run over (with a bike) so many GoPros over the years, and I still haven't had one die. Try not to run them over with your bike, drop it into the ocean or hurl it off a balcony. But, if you do, it'll probably be fine.


Performance

GoPro Hero10 Black Review

Image: Alice Clarke/Finder

While the body is unchanged, there is something of a revolution inside thanks to the brand new GP2 processor. It's much, much faster than the predecessor.

GoPro Hero10 Black with stabilisation on in linear mode

That extra performance is great for the little things, like making the menus more responsive and having the camera start up faster (which is especially important if you're using it for sports or babies).

But the most noticeable change is in the new HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilisation which uses the 5.3K video resolution to cut in a bit and make shaky footage more stable, and thus watchable.

Lots of cameras have auto-stabilisation now, but this is the most impressive I've ever seen. I held the Volta Battery Grip in one hand and rode by bike with the other, waving it around, and the footage came out fine. If I did that with any other camera, even some with stabilisation built in, it would have looked like unusable garbage. Viewers may even throw up. So, that's great for an action camera that will see people doing all kinds of athletic and unstable feats.

Some fun with the creator edition

Riding down the really bumpy bit of Swanston Street with stability on

Riding down Swanston Street with stability off

Low light stuff still isn't great. It's improved over the Hero9 to be sure, but it doesn't hold a candle to what iPhones, Samsung Galaxy S Series or Google Pixels have been doing the last year or two. If you're wanting to film in the dark, you'll be better off with a Light Mod than just hoping the camera will work it out.

Battery life

Unfortunately, as with other GoPro generations, the battery life needs improvement. I'm only getting 2 hours at most, but it's usually just the 1 hour. That's just not enough for most uses. I've recently been using the new Creator Edition ($820.33 with the subscription, $1274.74 without), which includes the Media Mod (microphone), Light Mod, Volta Battery Grip (tripod/selfie stick with extra battery built in), Hero10 Black, Battery and 32GB SD card, which is a great way to get some extra juice if you're not needing to attach the camera to anything other than the Volta grip.

Personally, I don't travel without an extra GoPro battery, or if I'm doing a timelapse or long shoot where I have the GoPro mounted on a tripod, I'll bring a big external battery pack (like the Cygnett ChargeUp Maxx 30K Power Bank). But it's still pretty rough that the regular battery pack's battery life hasn't been improved when the company had the opportunity to do so.

My battery died shortly after taking this video with stabilisation and horizon levelling on.

At least it's still really easy to change out GoPro batteries on the fly if you have somewhere dry to store and switch them. Still, it sucks that you have to do that so often.

The app and subscription

One big thing GoPro is pushing with the Hero10 is the GoPro Quik app and the GoPro subscription. The Hero10 is much, much cheaper if you get it while on a subscription (around $290+, depending on which package you choose), and clearly the company wants to be getting money from you on a long-term basis rather than just one-off camera purchases.

I find the constant move to having everything be subscription based to be utterly tedious and unnecessary. That said, the GoPro subscription does give you cloud uploads, no questions asked camera replacement, unlimited use of the Quik app and up to 50% off accessories. Most people will not need or use those features, but if they sound good to you, enjoy.

The Quik app is how GoPro wants you to get the footage off the camera instead of plugging it into your computer. That's fine. My iMac only intermittently recognises the GoPro Hero10 anyway, but it does add an extra step if you're wanting to edit the footage in Final Cut or something. Most people seem to find the app more convenient, it's just a personal preference thing.


Should you buy it?

  • Buy it if You want the best action camera on the market.
  • Don't buy it if You have a GoPro Hero9, or don’t think you’d use the extra Hero10 features over the Hero9 and want to save some money.

There's no question that the GoPro Hero10 is the best action camera available. The durability, quality of the footage, and how easy it is to use the camera just put it heads and shoulders above most of what else is out there. The accessories are also absolutely killer. I haven't yet thought of a shot that I would reasonably want to do that I couldn't find a GoPro mount that would work for it.

It is a bit rough that you have to subscribe to the GoPro subscription to get a decent discount off the camera, but given it'll save you around $300, it's certainly worth looking into.

If you're wanting to use the GoPro as an insurance policy on a bike (to prove an accident wasn't your fault), then you'll be fine with the cheaper Hero8. But if you're wanting to show off your adventures, make movies or capture your kid's early years, then the Hero10 is the way to go. Just make sure you look at the Creator Edition as well as the basic version with accessories to see which deal will work better for your plans.


Pricing and availability

RRP: $529.95/$819.94 (with/without the GoPro subscription)

GoPro Hero 10 Black

Specifications

Specs

Colour
Black
Megapixels
23

Features

Bluetooth
Yes
Card Reader
SD card reader
Face Detection
Yes
Rechargeable
Yes
Time Lapse
Yes
Touchscreen
Yes
Video Resolution
4K
Wifi
Yes

How we tested

I used the GoPro Hero10 for around 6 months to capture everything including nature bike rides, streetscape timelapses, and just so much baking. I was sent the GoPro Hero10 Black by GoPro PR.

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