GoPro Hero 11: Big upgrade with Black Mini version

GoPro has revealed its new Hero 11 Black camera, which has a bigger sensor than its predecessor. It is competent for shooting up to an 8:7 aspect ratio at 5.3K, “the most extensive vertical field of view ever on a GoPro.” 

It also permits you to shoot even more comprehensively in the more common 16:9 aspect ratio in a mode called “HyperView.” GoPro says HyperView will complete the action look even faster, hopefully allowing capture of how epic/scary a downhill descent or large wave ride was.

Ironically, the most important news with the Hero 11 is that it’ll come in a tinier, less expensive version next month. The Black Mini of GoPro Hero 11 is a tight action cam like the GoPro Sessions of old that lacks the touch and front-facing screens of the primary model and is maintained primarily through GoPro’s Quik app.

It does, however, include a tiny display next to the record button, which allows you to see which resolution and frame rate you’re firing at and how much record time and battery you have driven. It also seals most of the Hero 11’s specifications into a more diminutive space.

There’s a record button on the camera’s right side, and a black-and-white display displays the camera’s vital information to the left. The Mini is about 20g more lightweight at 133 grams than the Hero 11. So while it’s a few millimeters taller and deeper, it’s around 27 percent narrower than the regular-size Hero.

As a result, according to GoPro, the Mini is approximately 13 percent smaller in volume and weight. GoPro also completed the Mini a little more relaxed to mount — there’s an extra pair of fingers on the rear of the device, letting you attach it at greater angles.

The Mini is 51.2 millimeters tall, 38 millimeters thick, and 52.4 millimeters broad, compared to the standard camera’s 50.8 millimeter height, 33.6 millimeter depth, and 71.8 millimeter width. The Mini leaves the front and rear screens and rare grams.

When it arrives to shoot video, the Mini is almost similar to the regular-size Hero — it’s earned the same sensor and custom GP2 processor, the same 10-bit recording, and it supports virtually all the exact resolution and frame rate combos. It also arrives with GoPro’s upgraded HyperSmooth 5.0 system, which the company states can now be automatically applied when your footage gets shaky. So, for example, it offers a “dramatic improvement in stabilization” when shooting a 4:3 video corresponding to the HyperSmooth 4.0 system from the Hero 10.

Both cameras contain new time-lapse presets focused on shooting at night, for light painting, star trails, or capturing vehicle light trails if you’d instead shoot in the city than in disposition. The Hero 11 Black also now defaults to what the firm calls “Easy Controls,” which provides a simplified UI on the screen that won’t overwhelm you with information. If you want to adjust your settings quickly, you can use the Pro Controls mode, which carries you back to Hero 10’s interface.

Both cameras feature GoPro’s new “night effects.” Besides the screens, there are a few fortes the GoPro Hero 11 Mini doesn’t have compared to its bigger counterpart — its 1,500mAh battery is non-removable, doesn’t have a picture mode, and doesn’t feature GPS or stereo audio. There’s also no hindsight pre-recording feature, scheduled capture, looping video, or webcam mode.

Whether giving up all that is worth it for the weight savings will probably depend on what you do with the camera. But, of course, it also doesn’t assist that the more traditional model is now arriving with GoPro’s “Enduro” batteries, which charge quicker and last longer than the standard batteries that came with the Hero 10, especially in cold conditions. The Mini does supposedly use the same technology.

GoPro says the Mini is “optimized” for POV shots. As it has with its past few releases, GoPro is pushing its $50 / annual subscription service pretty hard. It gives you perks like steep discounts on cameras, a relatively inexpensive trade-in program if you manage to break one, and access to extra features like having your camera auto-upload footage to the cloud once you plug it in to charge. But, not to mention, subscription services aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.