The Hero 7 Black (review), launched in 2018, has been my go-to action camera to record adventure strides, scenic landscape time lapses, and fast-moving everyday city life. However, my brief experience with the newly launched Hero 11 Black makes me think of upgrading. Among the reasons to like the new GoPro is the new camera sensor of tall 8:7 aspect ratio, support for 10-bit colours, improved performance in extreme environments, and the addition of three new night effects time lapse presets. On top, there are ‘Easy’ and ‘Pro’ controls, cloud-based auto-highlight videos feature, and built-in horizon lock.
The Hero 7 Black is a good action camera in its own right, and so are the two generations that came afterwards. The Hero 11 Black, however, is different for two reasons – it is easy to use and has the potential to reduce dependence on smartphones. Starting with ease of use, the Hero 11 Black has a familiar interface to make existing GoPro users feel at home. Besides, there are pre-set configurations to help users make the most from the camera in different environments. This further simplifies the experience and makes everyday use easy and fun. For first time users, there is an option to switch to ‘Easy’ controls, which provides fewer settings and capture choices leaning towards simple point-and-shoot experience.
Familiar interface, easy controls, and pre-set configurations are all in the right direction, but it is the auto-highlight videos and three new night effects time lapse presets that the Hero 11 Black has going for it. Reason being these two features alone reduce dependence on smartphones by a fair margin. The auto-highlight videos feature works in the background to get you social media ready short videos after an eventful day. It cuts the clutter of scrolling through the video feeds, editing, processing, inserting music tracks, etc. and leaves only the fun part for you to play on the smartphone. Thus, it not just reduces dependence on smartphones but also cuts down the screen time significantly.
Next is the three new night effects time lapse presets – light painting, star trails, and vehicle light trails. These have been part of camera experience in smartphones, but a first in a GoPro. Not that the previous models were inadequate in capturing such time lapses, but one had to fiddle with a lot many settings to make it work. With the presets available, capturing the light painting, star trails, and vehicle light trails time lapses have become simple, easy and straightforward processes that both amateurs and pro users would appreciate.
The GoPro Hero 11 Black is a major step forward in terms of utility and features, but I will reserve my verdict about the product for in-depth review. It is because I am concerned about the legacy issues with the Hero Black series. My Hero 7 Black struggles in extreme environments. The Hero 9 Black (review) was an improvement, but incremental. GoPro promises better experience in extreme environments with Enduro battery, which ships with the Hero 11 Black. You will know if it is worthy of your money in the review, so stay tuned!