GoPros have long been held as the gold standard of action cameras. The American manufacturer was crucial in popularizing portable, rugged cameras for recording up-close-and-personal sports and travel videos and currently produces a range of feature-dense models. That said, other companies have made strides in this arena, with some offering many of the same functions at a substantially lower cost and others branching out into building cameras with novel features, like integrated three-axis gimbals.
We've tested over 70 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best GoPro alternatives to buy. These picks were selected not only based on their overall performance but also their feature set and price. For more options, see our recommendations for the best action cameras, the best sport video cameras, and the best cameras for vlogging.
The best GoPro alternative that we've tested is the DJI Osmo Action. Like the GoPro HERO9 Black, this compact action camera has an additional screen at the front of the camera that you can use for Live View recording, which is helpful if you want to see what's being recorded when it's pointed at you. It also feels remarkably robust and is rated as waterproof to a depth of 11 meters and resistant to temperatures as low as -10C.
This camera can record 4k video at up to 60 fps without incurring a crop, which is great for shooting high-quality action video and has a maximum frame rate of 240 fps in FHD, allowing you to produce smooth slow-motion clips. Video stabilization performance in FHD and 4k is excellent, so videos recorded handheld shouldn't be overly shaky. However, using its digital stabilization feature does incur a noticeable 1.3x crop. Battery performance is good overall, and the camera can be charged while in use via its USB-C port.
Unfortunately, video quality is unimpressive, especially in low light due to the camera's small image sensor and the lens' narrow aperture. While it does have a burst shooting mode to capture stills of fast-moving subjects, it only lets you snap seven shots before the buffer fills, which can slow you down. That said, photography isn't this camera's intended use. Overall, if you're looking for a feature-packed alternative to most GoPro models, this is a good choice.
If you don't want to spend as much on an action cam with a front-facing screen, then check out the AKASO Brave 7 LE. It doesn't offer as many frame rate options as the DJI Osmo Action and outputs smaller video files, but it comes with a ton of accessories in the box and features a front-facing screen that you can use to monitor yourself in Live View. It has an IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning it's waterproof to a depth of 1m for up to 30 minutes, but it also comes with a protective case that's advertised to make it waterproof to a depth of 131 ft. Its video quality is similarly middling, but that's to be expected from an action cam in this price range. Unfortunately, however, it can only shoot in 4k at 30 fps, and it tops out at 120 fps in 1080p, though that should still be suitable for smooth action video and generating slow-motion footage. It also offers comparable video stabilization performance when running or moving quickly, though it's not as effective at reducing camera shake when walking.
Go with the DJI if you want more frame rate options and slightly better internal recording capability. If you're looking for a capable action camera at a cheaper price point, the AKASO is a decent alternative.
The best handheld GoPro alternative that we've tested is the DJI Pocket 2. This camera features a three-axis gimbal that lets it lock onto a subject and follow their movement automatically. It helps reduce camera shake to a remarkable degree, which is great for vloggers who prefer shooting on the move. It's decently comfortable to use and feels very well-built. However, it isn't rated as being water-resistant, which could be disappointing if you plan on using it in adverse weather conditions.
This camera can shoot 4k video at up to 60 fps for capturing smooth action footage. It can record at 120 or 240 fps in FHD, but only in its dedicated 'Slow-Mo' mode, which plays back footage recorded in those high frame rates at 30 fps. It also has an HDR shooting mode that lets you capture a wide range of detail in your videos, but you can only record at 24 or 30 fps in this mode, which incurs a severe 1.74x crop. Its menu system is very easy to use, and while its display is very small, you can pair the camera with your smartphone to use the latter as a larger screen.
However, this camera can become very hot with prolonged use, especially when recording 4k video. Its lens also has a fixed focal length and aperture, which can be somewhat limiting. Otherwise, its superb stabilization performance and effective autofocus tracking capability make it one of the best cameras for YouTube we've tested.
The best GoPro alternative we've tested for those on a budget is the AKASO V50X. It's lightweight and portable, and it feels solidly built, with a rubberized outer coating that provides a more secure grip and a screen that's bright enough to overcome glare. It comes with several mounting accessories in the box, as well as an additional protective case that's advertised to render it waterproof.
This camera has a fantastic video stabilization feature that effectively smooths out camera shake whether you're shooting in 4k or 1080p and whether you're moving quickly or slowly, although enabling it does incur a significant crop on your videos. It delivers okay video quality when shooting in 4k in brighter lighting conditions, though it's comparable to other GoPro alternatives and performs worse in 1080p and dimly-lit conditions.
Unfortunately, its frame rate options are limited. It can only shoot at 30 or 60 fps in 1080p, which is suitable for capturing fast action but less suited to generating slow-motion footage, and the camera is limited to 30 fps in 4k. On the upside, it has a decent battery life in video, and you can keep using it while it charges via USB. Despite its limitations, this action cam offers a lot of value for its price.
Nov 16, 2021: Renamed the AKASO Brave 7 LE as 'Cheaper Alternative' to the DJI Osmo Action and moved the AKASO V50X to the 'Best Budget GoPro Alternative' spot.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best GoPro alternatives for most people to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the US).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our action camera reviews. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.