(Pocket-lint) – The GoPro Hero 10 Black is the latest and greatest offering from the brand synonymous with action cameras.
And while the Hero 9 brought with it a dramatic redesign, the Hero 10 Black is – at least on the surface – more of an iterative update.
Despite the familiar looks, though, GoPro indicates that plenty has been put into the new Hero, billing it as the most powerful option it’s ever made.
We’ve been testing out the camera to see how much these tweaks improve on what was already the best action camera on the market.
Is this still the one to beat, or are competitors beginning to close the gap?
If you want the best image quality possible from an action camera, the GoPro Hero 10 Black is without a doubt the camera to buy.
GoPro hasn’t reinvented the wheel with this release, but it has taken the best action camera available and improved on almost every feature. HyperSmooth stabilisation is the best in its class, and, if you love slow-motion, the blisteringly fast frame rates on offer here will delight you to no end.
As with the Hero 9 that came before it, we wish it wasn’t quite so bulky, but the size is understandable given the features and resolutions on offer.
Given all of the unique designs coming to the action camera market from the likes of DJI and Insta360, it’s also a little disappointing to see the same chassis used by GoPro. But, again, this tried and tested housing is very durable and the front screen often comes in handy. It just doesn’t quite have the wow factor of some of the competition.
Ultimately, cameras are about one thing above all else – image quality. In that department, the GoPro Hero 10 Black delivers in spades.
GoPro Hero 10 Black
4.5 stars – Pocket-lint recommended
- Maximum frame rates doubled in most resolutions
- Menus are much easier to navigate
- HyperSmooth is better than ever
- Hydrophobic lens coating actually works
- Same bulky chassis as the Hero 9
- Prone to overheat at higher settings
- Battery life could be improved
- App connection is finicky on Android
- Weight: 153g
- Waterproof up to 10m / 33ft
- Replaceable hydrophobic lens cover
The GoPro Hero 10 Black is almost identical to the Hero 9 Black, as we mentioned up top. The only visual changes are the blue logos on the front and side of the camera, which were grey on its predecessor.
It’s lost a marginal amount of weight, too, coming in a few grams lighter than the Hero 9. In practice, you’re unlikely to notice much of a difference, though we’re happy to see that the weight is coming down, as GoPro cameras have had a tendency to get heavier with each generational release.
The lighter weight hasn’t made the camera feel any less durable, either. It feels dense and solid in the hand, and we can imagine it standing up to some serious abuse – though, admittedly, we haven’t thrown ours off of a cliff just yet.
There’s now a hydrophobic coating on the lens protector, as well, which is designed to repel water droplets when filming in wet and wild conditions. We initially thought this was a bit of marketing nonsense, but it actually makes quite a big difference. Given how often GoPro cameras are often used for filming surfing, skiing and the like, this could come in very handy. The lens cover is the exact same size as the Hero 9’s, so if you were desperate for that hydrophobic coating, you could always pick up a replacement lens and stick it on your 9.
Elsewhere, everything remains the same. You have a large side door that latches securely and covers the battery, USB-C port and micro SD card slot. Two metal mounting tabs fold out from the base, and you have a large touchscreen on the rear, as well as a smaller screen on the front of the camera.
Video and photo capture
- Video resolution: 5.3K/60fps, 4K/120fps, 2.7K/240fps
- Photo resolution: 23MP
- HyperSmooth 4.0 and up to 45-degree horizon levelling
The largest upgrades to this camera come in the form of frame rates. Across all resolutions, the maximum frame rate has essentially doubled. This means you can film 120fps slow motion at 4K or a staggering 240fps at 2.7K. You can also now film at 24 fps across all resolutions, a feature that was unavailable at launch and has since been added in firmware updates – very handy for those mixing footage with traditional cameras.
The image produced is a familiar one, with the signature sharpness and saturated colours we have come to expect from GoPro’s colour profiles. There are more options than ever before when it comes to tweaking this image, though.
Previous Hero cameras allowed us to select between GoPro Colour and Flat profiles, but the Hero 10 changes things up a bit, instead offering the choice of Vibrant, Natural and Flat. The Natural profile was the most pleasing image to our eyes, as, like the name suggests, it looks quite natural. Vibrant is akin to the old GoPro Colour option and Flat is designed to capture the maximum dynamic range for editing in post. All in all, the video footage looks very similar to the Hero 9, just with more options for different resolutions and frame rates, and that works just fine for us.
One area that has noticeably improved is image stabilisation. HyperSmooth 4.0 does a truly superb job of stabilising video footage, even in the toughest conditions. It does so smoothly, too, gradually ramping up the corrections in order to avoid robotic-looking movements. It’s amazing to think that a few years ago, producing footage like this would involve carrying around a cumbersome gimbal, which still rarely performed as well HyperSmooth does today. Horizon levelling has improved quite drastically, as well, now able to maintain a lock at steeper inclines than ever before.
In the photo department, we get a 3-megapixel boost over the last generation, and both HDR and RAW shooting options remain present. Images come out looking sharp and detailed, provided you have sufficient lighting. That said, low light is still a weak point on the Hero 10. You can also pull 19.6MP stills from your 5.3K 4:3 video footage, which allows you to select the perfect moment from a once-in-a-lifetime stunt.
Last but not least, there is an abundance of time-lapse and hyper-lapse options with stabilisation and horizon levelling support. These don’t appear to have changed dramatically since the last generation, with the exception being that TimeWarp can now take advantage of the Hero 10’s superior HyperSmooth stabilisation.
Features and battery
- Swappable 1720mAh lithium-ion battery
- Live streaming functionality
- GP2 processor
Thanks to the new GP2 processor, the responsiveness of the touchscreen on the Hero 10 Black is leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor. Navigation is so much more fluid, and the initial startup time is a bit quicker, too. It’s not quite at smartphone level, but it’s a much-needed improvement on the comparatively clunky-feeling menus on the Hero 9. We also noticed that the front screen is much less prone to frame-drops while recording, which, while it’s not the most important thing, does add a layer of refinement to the device.
The Hero 10 uses the same batteries as the last generation, which is both a positive and a negative. On one hand, those upgrading can continue to use their existing batteries to keep the Hero 10 powered up.
But, on the other hand, there’s definitely no battery life improvement. In fact, it might be a little bit lower due to the more power-hungry chip inside. It would seem that GoPro is aware of this, and, in the time since its release, has begun to offer an extended Enduro battery pack as an optional add-on. It would have been nice for that to have been included in the box, but, hey, perhaps it will with the Hero 11.
Speaking of things included in the box, there’s now a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-C to Lightning cable in there. This is to allow for the wired transfer of clips to your smartphone, which is much faster than the wireless option and a godsend for anyone who’s ever had to fiddle around with the Quik app in the middle of nowhere.
You can also live stream to Twitch, YouTube and Facebook using the GoPro Quik app, which could be a convenient option for content creators on the go. However, in our experience, the wireless connection between Android phones and the Hero 10 (or any GoPro camera) is rarely painless, and relying on that for a live stream seems less than ideal.
GoPro hasn’t broken much new ground with the Hero 10, instead choosing to build on all of the aspects that made the Hero 9 so good. This collection of improvements adds up to create the best GoPro experience to date. The image quality is the best you’ll find from any action camera, the added frame rates allow you to create some epic slow-motion shots, HyperSmooth is the best it’s ever been and the touchscreen interface is now buttery smooth. If you want the best action camera money can buy, the GoPro Hero 10 Black is exactly that.
Writing by Luke Baker. Editing by Conor Allison.