Here’s the deal: action cameras are far and few and GoPro is synonymous with action itself. So if you’re an adventure junkie launching yourself out of a circus cannon with one GoPro mounted on your head/chest/leg, this time you can expect footage that will come out super smooth.
And while those weird angles stay unique to how you’ve used the previous GoPros, the mount remains common with the Hero7 Black as well.
So, it looks the same but costs significantly less than the GoPro Hero6 Black from its launch price and trots about social media claiming to be a gimbal-killer. Is it? Well, while most of its bits remain similar to the Hero6, the Hero7 brings really smooth software stabilization and a very interesting new camera mode called TimeWarp.
Here’s why the Hero7 Black is a worthy upgrade over the previous GoPro cameras and feels like a completely new camera.
The GoPro Hero7 Black is a beautiful action camera oozing with features and always ready for any kind of adventure. So to make it a bit more special, GoPro turned the carbon-black colour into a special Dusk-White colour so it blends in snowy winters and sunny summers. It's now selling for ₹35,500 from major offline and online retailers.
Design: Could be a football
There’s a tiny argument from the heads of non-GoPro users. Why drop ₹36,000 on an action cam when my smartphone (which costs upwards of ₹60K) could suffice? Or, I'd rather get an entry-level DSLR to capture crispier shots. Good argument, here’s why...
This dinky little camera is covered in a grippy rubber blanket and has ports that completely seal off for a good dunking in the pool. The backside has a 2in touchscreen that works fairly well thanks to GoPro’s easy UI and the front LCD display gives you a quick glance at battery life, current shooting mode and SD card space.
The size and weight of the GoPro Hero7 Black mean that it can take a beating without causing major damage. We juggled it on our foot like a football while it was recording. Can’t do that to your DSLR or expensive smartphone, can you?
Since it’s basically the same form factor as the previous Hero6, all your previous mounts and accessories will work perfectly with the Hero7 Black as well. You get a USB Type-C port and a Micro HDMI port to connect to a telly and watch your videos directly. The memory card and battery are in the same slot like the Hero6 as well.
Features: Same pinch
The similarity between the previous GoPro and our current Hero isn’t just physical. The innards are identical as well. The Hero7 Black uses the same GP1 chip as its brain and a 12MP sensor with the same resolution and frame rate options too.
You can record in 4K (up to 60fps), 2.7K (up to 120fps) and 1080p at up to 240fps, which also allows for 8x slo-mo. The GoPro app makes things nice and easy to scooch over your content seamlessly to your smartphone via Bluetooth and WiFi connect.
The UI has been polished to make it easier to deal with a puny 2in screen. Swipe up from the bottom to open the album and swipe down from the top to open settings. Swiping left to right changes camera mode. You can short press the power button to switch between camera modes as well.
You can even yell ‘GoPro take a photo’ and the camera will do the needful. There are 16 such voice commands it can recognise, though it’s largely a hit or miss.
Performance: A smooth criminal
The camera department is where the GoPro Hero7 Black does things slightly differently than its predecessor. The famed HyperSmooth feature on the GoPro Hero7 lives up to the hype so let us dive into that directly.
HyperSmooth basically uses some really smart software techniques to cut out 10% of the FoV Wide frame and stabilize the video like it was mounted on a gimbal. It can do so in 4K 60fps as well where most smartphones stumble with their OIS feature (if that’s your comparison). Note: You’re stuck with Wide FoV on 4K meanwhile 2.7K and below resolutions are able to record in Linear and SuperView FoV.
We rode an ATV, zip lined across Chandigarh hills and rode a horse in the middle of a forest while recording on HyperSmooth at 4K 60fps. Adventure thrills aside, the quality of stabilization is phenomenal for this dinky camera. It handles bumpy horse rides very well and can even pick up your voice audio over the rumbling noise of the ATV. We were really impressed by how well it can pick up your vlogging jabber over the surrounding noise.
The picture quality is really good too but the low-light shots are still a bit disappointing when it comes to simple point-and-shoot. You can juice out crispier low-light photos in Night mode which will fix the noise on your low-light images, but that’s a three second long process which requires your human subjects to stay still for 3 seconds. It’s an area where smartphones have long left the GoPro in the dust. Under good lighting conditions the GoPro delivers in spades. The images are crisp and clear with Superphoto and HDR handling the exposure levels brilliantly.
You can shoot in RAW and also have Protune at your disposal which is a manual mode for your photos and videos, so my complains about low-light are simply because of the need to point and shoot. The TimeWarp feature combines hyperlapse and HyperSmooth for buttery smooth hyperlapse videos while you move around with the GoPro with ease.
You can even go Facebook Live directly from the camera using the GoPro app. While it’s easier to post on your Facebook profile, there is no option to post on a page easily. You have to create an RTMP link and then feed it in the app from the Facebook page which is just a pain sometimes.
The GoPro Hero7 Black also supports portrait mode for your Insta-ready career. That and live-streaming along with gimbal-killing stabilization make this GoPro influencer-friendly. While an amazing mic that can pick up your voice over the loudest of city noise goes to show why we’re now comparing an action camera to the likes of a smartphone or a DSLR.
Aside from catering to adventure junkies there’s a lot in the new GoPro that makes it a worthy companion for a lifestyle vlogger that would otherwise rely on a not-very-smooth smartphone or a bulky DSLR. A quick word on the battery. This thing totally chews through it. It’s smart to carry spare batteries if you’re going for long hikes and specially recording in 4K.
GoPro Hero7 Black Verdict
The Hero7 Black is delivering the same amazing quality of the GoPro Hero6 Black which impressed us and we gave it full five stars. So now it’s just a matter of improvement and the Hero7 Black delivers.
The HyperSmooth feature is quite phenomenal and the TimeWarp makes use of that feature by adding new flavour that would otherwise require more than just one piece of equipment. Bye-bye gimbal. The audio quality is where the GoPro really amazed me, it was able to pick up clear audio even when surrounded in the noisiest situations.
While Facebook live is a good feature, we’d want an easier way than RTMP to post directly to a Facebook Page and probably on Instagram as well. Like GoPro’s UI, it should’ve been just a few taps. However it is still amazing to have and we can see why GoPro is now becoming an important camera in the hands of everyday users rather than just adrenaline junkies.