We've tested four of GoPro's flagship action cameras. GoPro is practically synonymous with action cameras, and the company has continued to refine its offerings each year. That said, we haven't tested models like the GoPro Max, the company's latest 360-degree camera, due to limitations with our current test methodology since we don't currently test 360-degree cameras. Still, you can typically rely on GoPro cameras to have excellent build quality, high resolution and frame rates, and a solid companion app, making GoPros a sure bet if you want a high-quality action camera.
The GoPro HERO10 Black is the best GoPro that we've tested. This latest flagship model features the latest technology GoPro has to offer and has an upgraded processor that's advertised to give it smoother overall performance, as well as improve its low-light video quality. This camera can record high-quality 5.3k video at up to 60 fps and 4k up to 120 fps, and 2.7k and 1080p up to 240 fps. That means you can capture a wide array of footage, from smooth fast action to slow-motion, in a variety of resolutions. Its 'HyperSmooth' stabilization does an exceptional job smoothing out camera shake, although it does incur a slight crop to your footage. The camera also has a horizon-leveling feature that keeps your videos level even when tilting the camera from side to side. It's also advertised to be waterproof to a depth of 33 ft, and you can easily mount it to any number of action rigs, helmets, and objects, making it suitable for all kinds of extreme sports.
That said, it doesn't have any inputs and outputs aside from its USB-C port, though you can buy a GoPro media mod at an additional cost if you want a built-in directional mic and HDMI port to connect to an external display. The camera's battery life is also slightly worse than previous GoPro models we've tested, though it isn't bad overall, except the camera can sometimes overheat during longer sessions. However, battery performance can also vary depending on your settings and usage habits. Overall, this is the best GoPro camera you can get if you're looking for an action camera with all the latest features.
The best value GoPro is the GoPro HERO9 Black. While you can get older models for even less, this is the latest flagship GoPro behind the GoPro HERO10 Black and offers many of the same features, including a front-facing Live View screen that you can use to monitor yourself while recording and 5k video capability. It's advertised to be waterproof to a depth of 33 feet and, for the most part, has a very similar design and the same sturdy feel as the HERO10. Its 'HyperSmooth' digital stabilization feature does a fantastic job smoothing out camera shake, though enabling it does incur a noticeable crop. It offers several frame rate options, including 5k up to 30 fps, 4k up to 60 fps, and 1080p up to 240 fps, allowing you to shoot a range of video styles to suit your needs, from smooth, fast action footage to slow-motion video.
Unfortunately, however, the camera's video quality is a bit lackluster. Though it's largely better than most other action cameras, it doesn't perform well in low light due to the size of its sensor, particularly when compared to the HERO10, which has an upgraded processor that gives it better low-light performance. It also lacks ports and inputs, but you can purchase a GoPro 'Media Mod' at an additional cost if you want a built-in directional mic, headphone jack, and HDMI output. All in all, if you can live without the additional frame rate options and better low-light performance of the HERO10, this camera offers most of the same features at a lower price point, giving it a lot of value for its price.
The best budget GoPro camera that we've tested is the GoPro HERO8 Black. The predecessor to the GoPro HERO9 Black, this model performs very similarly and features an even smaller and lighter design, though only by a little. It feels remarkably well-built, and it's advertised to be fully waterproof. Its video quality is okay, particularly when shooting in 4k in brighter lighting conditions. It also has very good internal recording capability as it can output relatively high-quality 100 Mbps video files. It also offers a wide range of frame rate options in FHD and 4k, allowing you to capture smooth video of fast-moving action or generate slow-motion footage.
However, it doesn't have the secondary color display found on newer cameras like the GoPro HERO10 Black. Its video quality is poor in low-light environments. Its battery life is also just decent, though this can vary heavily depending on usage habits and settings. All in all, it's still a great option if you're mostly going to be using it for video, and its image stabilization feature does an incredible job of smoothing out camera shake when recording 4k or FHD video, although it does introduce a severe 1.5x crop. If you're looking for a reliable action camera that's remarkably lightweight and portable, this is a great option.
GoPro cameras tend to have much better video quality, support higher frame rates, and feel better built than AKASO action cameras. If you're looking for a basic action camera that delivers lots of value for the price, AKASO cameras typically come with a wide array of accessories in the box. This includes various mounts, cables, and even zip ties, so you can get out there and start shooting right away.
DJI is one of GoPro's biggest competitors, offering a solid alternative that competes with GoPro in build quality and affordability. That said, GoPro cameras tend to deliver higher-quality photos and video and better stabilization.
GoPro cameras deliver when it comes to features and performance, but brand recognition also comes with a premium price to match. While there are alternatives that can save you some money or come with more accessories right off the bat, GoPro cameras stand out due to their typically higher-quality video, greater photo capability, and impressive video stabilization.
Jan 04, 2022: Minor updates to text for clarity and accuracy.
Dec 10, 2021: Renamed the GoPro HERO9 Black to 'Best Value GoPro'.
Nov 08, 2021: Substantial article restructuring. Replaced GoPro HERO9 Black with GoPro HERO10 Black as 'Best GoPro'. Replaced GoPro HERO7 Black with GoPro HERO8 Black as 'Best Budget GoPro' due to current availability. Recategorized GoPro HERO9 Black as the 'Best GoPro For Vlogging'.
Sep 10, 2021: Minor updates to text for clarity and accuracy; no change to recommendations.
Aug 12, 2021: Reviewed accuracy and availability of picks; no change to recommendations.
GoPro originated the action camera, and the brand reliably delivers features like impressive video stabilization and fantastic build quality. While the video quality still leaves something to be desired, especially in low light, you can't go wrong with a GoPro if you're looking for a high-quality action camera.