In a world where viral action lurks around every corner, you need a camera that’s ready to record in all conditions. And if you’re shopping for a sturdy snapper, you can’t go wrong with a GoPro.
Handlebars, helmet or the harness of your hound: whatever you attach one to, the best GoPro cameras in 2023 can capture every leap, splash, climb and crash in crisp, stabilised clarity. Perfect for launching your career as a supermarket parkour star. Or enjoying your 15 seconds of fame as part of a YouTube fail compilation.
Holding out for a Hero? From cameras that can record stunningly steady 5K footage, to models that shoot in full 360 for maximum immersion, the list below covers the best GoPro action cams you can buy right now. We’ve tested each to the limit, so you know they’re hardy enough to survive an avocado avalanche in aisle three – and deliver the video evidence afterwards.
Additional copy by Ian Evenden
Is a GoPro Subscription worth it?
Planning to buy direct from GoPro? You’d be daft not to tick the Subscription box at checkout: it gives you an instant discount of up to £100/$100 on the cost of GoPro’s latest action cameras – for no additional fee. A GoPro Subscription also unlocks automatic upload and unlimited cloud backup of your video clips, as well as all the premium features in GoPro’s Quik editing app – plus free camera replacements (subject to Ts & Cs). Whether it’s worth paying £50/$50 to renew your membership after a year will depend on how much use you get out of those extra perks.
GoPro Hero 11 Black
There’s a new sensor in the GoPro Hero 11 Black, the latest chunky charcoal action cam from the GoPro production line. While it may look the same on the outside as those that have gone before, inside there’s an imaging sensor that’s almost square. With an 8:7 aspect ratio, it’s capable of recording a file that can fit the sizes demanded by different social apps, including vertical video. It also has support for 10-bit video, 5.3K at 60fps and 4K slow-mo at 120fps. It’s a versatile camera.
Having the same external appearance as its predecessors means most existing accessories will work with the new camera, and it’s capable of descending 10m underwater without the need for an additional waterproof case.
It’s not cheap, and the low-light performance is still lacking, but if you can give it what it needs this is the best GoPro, and one of the best action cameras, available right now.
Stuff says: ★★★★★
An innovative, easy to use, powerful action camera that’s excellent for creators and adventurers alike
Maximum resolution: 5.3K at 30fps • Stills resolution: 27MP • Weight: 153g • Waterproof: 10m • Battery: 1720mAh
GoPro Hero 10 Black
The 10 Black doesn’t break the mould: it’s still a little black box with screens front and rear, plus a lens housing that juts out. But under the hood, it’s got an engine that transforms the user experience.
GoPro’s GP2 processor powers an interface that’s nippier and more responsive than older models. It also boosts image processing performance, as well as giving the Hero 10 Black the ability to shoot 4K super slow-mo at 120fps.
Besides eerily effective HyperSmooth 4.0 image stabilisation, GoPro’s updated Horizon Levelling proves a phenomenal party trick: it can keep the scene straight, even if you tilt to 45 degrees.
Low-light results still aren’t the best and battery life borders on mediocre. But as a package, the Hero 10 Black is the most competent and polished GoPro action camera to date.
Stuff says: ★★★★★
With a nippy interface, high resolution and superb slow-mo skills, the latest GoPro is also the greatest
Maximum resolution: 5.3K at 30fps • Stills resolution: 23MP • Weight: 153g • Waterproof: 10m • Battery: 1720mAh
GoPro Hero 9 Black
Since usurped by the Hero 10 Black above, the last-gen GoPro remains a capable 5K action cam. Equipped with the same 23.6MP sensor as its successor, it can record detailed 5K footage at 30fps – although 4K video is limited to 60fps, so you’ll need to drop to 2.7K for proper 120fps slow-mo.
The first GoPro to feature a full-colour front display – handy for framing on the go – the Hero 9 Black also features a full complement of software tricks: besides Horizon Levelling and HyperSmooth Boost across all modes, HindSight allows you to save footage from up to 30 seconds before pressing record.
Although it’s marginally larger than the Hero 8 Black that came before it, the Hero 9 Black actually captures a slightly narrower field of view. But stump up for the optional Max Lens Mod and you can shoot with a 155˚ FOV at up to 2.7K resolution.
It can overheat during lengthy 5K recordings, but a firmware fix has at least addressed issues with auto exposure and touchscreen lag. With prices significantly reduced, the Hero 9 Black is well worth considering if you don’t need 4K slow-mo.
Stuff says: ★★★★★
A feature-rich 5K fiend that remains a very capable action camera – and better value than before
Maximum resolution: 5K at 30fps • Stills resolution: 23MP • Weight: 158g • Waterproof: 10m • Battery: 1720mAh
GoPro Hero 8 Black
Arguably the best bang-for-buck GoPro you can buy right now, the GoPro Hero 8 Black hits the sweet spot between affordable and feature-packed. It can’t record 5K footage, but 4K at 60fps will be more than enough for most people (especially if you’re sharing to social).
Battery life is solid at around 50 mins, while the fold-out feet make it easy to attach to all manner of mounts. HyperSmooth 2.0 image stabilisation isn’t the latest, but remains impressive in 2022, while modes like TimeWarp 2.0 add welcome creativity to the mix – as does easy smartphone connectivity.
The front display serves as a monochrome info panel – rather than a full-colour preview – and the rear screen could be bigger. That said, the touch interface is responsive enough and the whole package feels reassuringly well-built.
At 12MP, the sensor resolution is pretty much half what you get from more recent GoPro cameras. Despite that, video quality is still very good in the right lighting conditions. Low-light performance is poorer, but that’s an acceptable compromise given the heavily discounted price of this former flagship.
Stuff says: ★★★★★
No longer at the cutting edge, easy mounting and a comprehensive feature set mean the Hero 8 Black remains a solid 4K option for those on a budget
Maximum resolution: 4K at 60fps • Stills resolution: 12MP • Weight: 126g • Waterproof: 10m • Battery: 1220mAh
Action doesn’t always happen right in front of you. Luckily, the GoPro Max captures absolutely everything: using a pair of lenses pointing in opposite directions, this all-seeing camera records in full 360. It also doubles up as a 2.7K action cam, features six microphones for directional stereo audio and can work as a handy vlogging tool with the 1.7in touchscreen facing you.
Despite the twin-lens setup, the design and interface will be familiar to anyone who’s used a GoPro before – although it’s not quite as rugged as its siblings. It’s only waterproof to 5m and the lenses aren’t as scratch-resistant (and the protective lens guards can impact quality).
The Max shoots 360 footage at 5.6K, which can be easily cropped down to a watchable 720p. Detail is stronger in the centre of each lens, but colours are rich enough and video generally proves impressively steady.
Stitching lines are sometimes noticeable and the Max won’t match any of the Hero cams in this list for flat-frame results. But if it’s absolute versatility and editing flexibility you’re after, it’s tough to beat.
Stuff says: ★★★★★
It’s not the toughest nor the sharpest, but the GoPro Max is hard to beat if you need ultimate editing flexibility after the fact
Maximum resolution: 5.6K at 30fps • Stills resolution: 16.6MP • Weight: 154g • Waterproof: 5MP • Battery: 1600mAh