Tech Reviews - GoPro HERO10 Black front - Tech News

The GoPro Hero 10 Black is the newest in a long line of Hero action cameras that debuted in 2005. It’s the most polished and powerful GoPro ever, owing to the addition of the GP2 processor, but it’s still a pretty slight upgrade over the Hero 9 Black.

Occasionally, GoPros make significant advancements: the Hero 5 Black was waterproof without a case, and the Hero 7 Black introduced HyperSmooth stabilization. Contrary to its historic title, the Hero 10 Black is not one of those models. However, it refines (and fixes) the majority of the new capabilities introduced with the Hero 9 Black, while also providing a smattering of new shooting modes and improved usability.

The Hero 10 Black has the same 23MP 1/2.3-inch sensor as its predecessor and is waterproof to a depth of ten meters, but it is the new GP2 processor that unlocks the majority of the camera’s additional capabilities. Several additional shooting modes, including 5K/60p, 4K/120p, and 2.7K/240p, are included. The latter two are enjoyable slow-motion excursions that are ideal for social media cut-scenes or b-cam footage, even more so now that GoPro’s new Quik app will gladly handle some of the editing for you.

Other upgrades include a significantly more snappy touchscreen interface (the Hero 9 Black fell short here), a convenient new wired data transfer option for smartphones, and several under-the-hood image quality enhancements, including improved local tone mapping and low-light noise reduction. While this does yield some minor improvements to video quality, the Hero 10 Black is still limited by its relatively small image sensor.

For the majority of users, the fact that HyperSmooth 4.0 remains the best action camera video stabilization technology available will be more significant, while watersports enthusiasts will appreciate the effective new hydrophobic coating on the toughened-up lens cover.

It’s unfortunate that the Hero 10 Black does not feature a bigger sensor. Despite its modest changes, the GoPro Hero 10 Black beautifully refines the image-quality advancements made by the Hero 9 Black, and it’s the most user-friendly and powerful action camera available – if not the best value.

GoPro Hero10 Black Specs:

  • Photo : 23MP
  • 5.3K: 60fps
  • 4K: 120fps
  • Video stabalisation: HyperSmooth 4.0
  • Livestreaming: 1080p
  • LCD: Front and Rear (Touch screen)
  • Slow-mo: 8X
  • Waterproof: 33ft (10m)
  • Processor: GP2
  • Battery: Removable 1720mAh Lithium-Ion
  • Cloud compatibility: Auto upload to GoPro cloud (Sub required)
  • Voice control: Yes
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Design

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Physically, the GoPro Hero 10 Black is nearly identical to its predecessor. The only external change between the Hero 9 Black and the new model is the new model’s gorgeous blue front and side logos.

However, GoPro has made a few minor adjustments, the most noticeable of which being the redesigned lens cover for watersports enthusiasts. This lens cover now features a water-repelling hydrophobic coating that actually works — when we ran the Hero 10 Black and its predecessor under a tap, the new lens cover repelled water substantially better, leaving no droplets to obstruct your view.

Additionally, this lens cover appears to have increased scratch resistance. As with the Hero 9 Black, this lens cover is detachable and changeable if it sustains significant damage or if you choose to install ND (neutral density) filters.

The Hero 10 Black is actually 5g lighter than its predecessor, however, we’re not sure where GoPro saved the weight, and it serves no practical use. As before, the camera’s base features foldable ‘fingers’ for attachment directly to accessories. These were introduced with the Hero 8 Black and eliminate the need to bother with additional housing to secure the camera to your helmet or bike.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Hero 9 Black, here’s a quick refresher on the Hero 10 Black’s other design aspects. You get a 1.4-inch front LCD for vloggers, which GoPro claims is now somewhat smoother when displaying movement than previously possible because of the increased frame rates provided by the GP2 processor. Despite the fact that this screen is so little that we couldn’t identify the difference between it and its predecessor.

The upgraded 2.27-inch rear touchscreen is far more noticeable. Again, GoPro claims that this has “enhanced touch sensitivity,” but the true change is in the GP2 processor’s power. The Hero 9 Black’s sluggish, unresponsive rear screen was one of our primary criticisms, and while it improved slightly following a recent firmware update, it is still nowhere near as sensitive as the Hero 10’s touchscreen.

When you open the side door of the Hero 10 Black, you’ll discover the same 1,720mAh battery as its predecessor. As with the 1.4-inch front LCD, this was a change introduced with the Hero 9 Black, so keep this in mind if you’re moving from an older GoPro – your older 1,220mAh batteries will not function here.

A microSD card slot and a USB-C port are located on the sides of the battery cover. The latter is meant to charge the camera, but it may also be used to transfer footage directly to the Hero 10 Black (this is about 50 percent faster than wireless transfers). While the process is straightforward for Android phones, which require only a USB-C to USB-C cable, iPhone users will require the Apple Lightning-to-USB camera converter in addition to a conventional USB-A to USB-C cable.

Overall, the Hero 10 Black is a rugged pocket camera that is waterproof to a depth of ten meters and feels slightly more refined than its predecessor.

 

Features

Tech Reviews - GoPro HERO10 Black back - Tech News

The GoPro Hero 9 Black featured a new picture sensor last year. It used the same sensor size as previous GoPros (1/2.3-inch), but with greater quality, allowing the camera to shoot a 5K video for the first time. The Hero 10 Black retains this image sensor but adds a new GP2 processor that opens several useful new capabilities.

The GP2 processor is the first significant processing change in four years. The GP1 failed to keep up with the additional demands imposed by the Hero 9 Black’s dual screens and higher-resolution sensor, and its successor is largely responsible for the Hero 10’s improvements.

Along with the aforementioned improvements to startup speeds and touchscreen efficiency, there are several handy new frame-rate presets that expand the camera’s versatility. 

The high frame-rate options are the most noticeable video enhancements, but there are a few others as well. GoPro has been fiddling with its algorithms, and its GP2 chip extends local tone-mapping — a technique for enhancing dynamic range – from its photo mode to video.

This, in principle, increases the contrast in select sections of the video (rather than universally, across the entire frame). Similarly, GoPro claims to have enhanced its ‘3D noise reduction’ to improve Hero 10 Black’s low-light performance in dimly lit environments.

We did observe a notable improvement in the definition of tiny details (trees and grass, for example) when comparing the Hero 10 Black to the Hero 9 Black using the same settings. When compared to its predecessor, video from the latter appeared slightly smudged. This may be evident solely to pixel peepers, and the noise reduction enhancements were less noticeable. It’s a subtle distinction rather than a dramatic one.

The final GP2-related changes are probably more important to the majority of people: improved in-camera horizon leveling and HyperSmooth 4.0.

Automatic horizon leveling, which keeps your footage level even while you’re bouncing from side to side, was previously available only through the GoPro app. While the Hero 9 Black debuted an in-camera version, the Hero 10 Black’s horizon-leveling capabilities are significantly stronger, with the capacity to correct footage that is skewed 45 degrees, rather than just 27 degrees. This is a useful feature for mountain bikers and skiers who desire smooth footage that will not cause motion sickness in their viewers.

Additionally, HyperSmooth 4.0 adds the powerful ‘High’ mode of stabilization to Hero 10 Black’s most demanding modes (5.3K/30p, 4K/60p, and 2.7K/120p). While competitors such as the Insta360 One R 1-Inch edition may have surpassed GoPro with their larger 1-inch sensors, HyperSmooth remains the strongest type of stabilization on any action cam in our experience.

Finally, if you’re considering utilizing a GoPro as a livestreaming camera, the Hero 10 Black adds one more upgrade: HyperSmooth 4.0 stabilization.

Unfortunately, depending on your preferred platform, there are still a variety of restrictions on live-streaming with a GoPro – for example, Twitch is iOS-only, while YouTube requires a channel with 1,000 subscribers. However, you can only create a private livestreaming link to send to friends if you’re a GoPro subscriber. 

Naturally, the GoPro Hero 10 Black inherits all of the Hero 9 Black’s exceptional shooting modes. These include TimeWarp 3.0 (for creating stabilized timelapse films) and ‘Power Tools,’ which were initially teased in GoPro Labs. This collection of features, which seems a little ‘beta’ at the moment, adds some unique settings that are really handy when combined.

One of our favorites, ‘Hindsight,’ continuously buffers footage so that when you hit the shutter button, you may record the past 15 or 30 seconds; your dog’s spontaneous antics will no longer go unrecorded. Another ‘Power Tool’ is ‘scheduled capture,’ which enables you to leave your GoPro set up to capture the dawn; this isn’t revolutionary, but it all adds to the Hero 10 Black’s versatility. We should add, however, that many of these functions are also available on the earlier Hero 8 Black when the camera is flashed with the GoPro Labs firmware.

 

Performance

While the GP2 processor makes the Hero 10 Black a more polished and enjoyable camera to operate than its predecessor, several areas of its performance remain typical of a GoPro.

Unfortunately, one of these concerns battery life and overheating. The 10 Black uses the same battery as the Hero 9 Black, which is larger at 1,720mAh than prior GoPro batteries. However, a significant portion of that space is consumed by the Hero 10 Black’s more demanding dual-screen and high frame rate settings.

In our battery test, with the camera recording a continuous 4K/30p clip with HyperSmooth enabled and the screen brightness set to 50%, we got 72 minutes of recording from the Hero 10, which included two stops for overheating, during which the camera shut down under strain.

This is slightly less than the Hero 9 Black’s result, but comparable to the Hero 8 Black’s, demonstrating that the old GoPro adage is true: always take a replacement battery or two with you. During a real-world test at the beach, our fully charged Hero 10 Black lasted three and a half hours. That was a strenuous afternoon for the camera, with tons of menu swiping and frame-rate switching, but this is also a typical GoPro day out.

Another long-standing GoPro shortcoming, audio, hasn’t improved since the Hero 9 Black. In quieter areas, the microphones deliver adequate sound quality, while speech isolation and wind noise handling are unquestionably improved to prior GoPros. 

On the plus side, the Hero 10 Black’s new slow-motion modes (4K/120p and 2.7K/240p) are a lot of fun and an excellent way to spice up your social media movies. As is always the case with these modes, there is a noticeable quality loss when shooting in anything other than direct sunlight, but the versatility these modes provide, especially when combined with horizon-leveling and HyperSmooth stabilization, makes them one of the primary reasons to upgrade from an older GoPro.

 

Video and image quality

GoPro has made some adjustments to Hero 10 Black’s default video settings. The action camera manufacturer appears to have outgrown its prior distinctive saturated design, opting for a more natural look out of the box.

There are now three color settings available. Previously, you could choose between a ‘GoPro’ color profile (which generated vibrant, bright colors) or a ‘flat’ profile that could be graded later. However, there is now an additional ‘Natural’ profile that serves as the new default, and we are quite fond of it.

GoPro has also reduced the default ‘sharpness’ setting to medium. When compared to footage shot on the Hero 9 Black with the same settings, the results were comparable, but with slight improvements due to the new local tone mapping.

Nonetheless, the Hero 9 Black has previously made significant improvements in areas like detail over previous GoPros thanks to the upgraded sensor, and you’re unlikely to detect a significant change here unless you’re really pixel peeping. While the 5K/60p option is good to have, it is not optimal for action scenes due to the less robust stabilization available, but it’s the new slow-mo settings that are the most enjoyable.

While the Hero 10’s slower frame rates of 120p and 240p (particularly the latter) retain some softness in the footage, the ability to capture 4K/120p and 2.7K/240p elevates them from novelty to useable. Additionally, GoPro’s HyperSmooth technology remains the best available on an action camera, and the enhancements to horizon leveling are a great addition.

On the other hand, few people purchase a GoPro to capture still images – and while the Hero 10 is a capable, waterproof replacement for your smartphone, it has fallen behind rivals in this department.

The images are fairly crisp and vivid in excellent light, and SuperPhoto can help you recover some highlight elements from regions such as the sky. However, the Hero 9 Black’s 3MP resolution boost will be barely apparent to the majority, and in difficult settings – particularly low light – it simply cannot compete with Apple, Google, and Samsung’s processing pipelines.

You can shoot in raw, but only in the ‘wide’ fisheye perspective, and shadow recovery is limited due to the 1/2.3-inch sensor.

Perhaps a more rational approach to GoPro snapping is to simply accept the lower-than-smartphone quality and embrace the ease of ‘frame grabs,’ which now allow you to capture marginally improved 15.8MP stills from 5.3K video (or 19.6MP from 5K 4:3 footage). The type of images obtained this way are unlikely to appear in your phone’s camera roll, and the GoPro’s capacity to journey into perilous terrain remains one of the primary reasons to get one.

 

Price and availability

With an MSRP of $499, the GoPro Hero 10 Black appears to be quite expensive, especially when compared to the Hero 9’s introductory price of $449 a year ago. However, if you join up for a GoPro subscription, you can considerably reduce this cost. With the subscription included, the total cost is just $399, which is much more manageable, and you also get a year of access to all of the GoPro subscription perks.

After the first year, the subscription will cost $5 per month or $50 per year. Additionally, the subscription includes additional perks such as discounts and camera replacement in the event of damage.

For an additional $50, a bundle with the Hero 10 includes a shorty tripod, magnetic swivel attachment, spare battery, and 32GB microSD card.

 

Verdict

Tech Reviews - GoPro HERO10 Black bottom - Tech News

While the GoPro Hero 10 Black may appear to be a rehash of its predecessor, a closer examination reveals that nearly everything about this camera has been upgraded significantly. It’s challenging to build an engaging dedicated camera in an age where everyone has a decent smartphone. The Hero 10 accomplishes this by being rugged in areas where your phone is delicate, and by having an astounding degree of versatility that enables it to be used for a wide variety of various purposes. While the action is where it shines, the reality is that if you create videos of any kind, this is a device you should have in your toolbox.

If you’re looking for a new action camera, this is a no-brainer. For existing Hero camera users, the significant increase in slow-motion capabilities may be enough to justify the investment.

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