GoPro Hero6 Review
GoPro Hero 6
- Improved stabilization
- Large selection of slow-mo options
- Durable, waterproof body
- Slick 4K video at 60fps
- Great mobile app
- Pricier than the Hero 5 at launch
- No update to the design
- HEVC video is very demanding
GoPro Hero6 Review – Twice the performance. Slo-mo pro.
With its all-new GP1 chip, GoPro HERO6 Black delivers 2x the performance of HERO5 and our best image quality yet.
Get the shot, then kick back as your footage moves to the GoPro app and transforms into an awesome video—automatically.
4K60 and 1080p240 video enable stunning slow-motion playback of your highlights.
Go for it. HERO6 Black is waterproof without a housing down to 33ft (10m).
So, it’s hardly a surprise that the Hero 6 is better than the Hero 5. But it’s better in important ways, rather than just “lots” of (less important) ways. Voice control and other auxiliary features are nice, but it’s good ol’ photography that really matters, and there’s enough improvement here that I think it warrants the upgrade.
That said, the Hero 6 is pricier than the Hero 5, which retains its $399 launch price to this day. You’ll have to cough up an extra $100 for all the features I mentioned above, making the Hero 6 an expensive investment for most people. Most of the features mentioned here are available on rival cameras, but with trade-offs. Sony’s $400 X3000 has better (OIS) stabilization but lacks many of the higher framerate options. The budget Yi 4K+ cam ($300) offers 4K/60, but the GoPro still bests it for slow-mo at most other resolutions, but it’s always worth looking at those to see if they suit your needs too. But at the end of the day, if you want a GoPro, the choice is clear, even if it comes at a price.
As you might expect, the GoPro Hero6 Black builds on all the things that made its predecessor an excellent camera. The image stabilization and video quality alone make it easy to recommend for anyone upgrading from a Hero3 or 4. And if you’re buying your first GoPro, it’s definitely the way to go, assuming you have the cash. If, however, you don’t need the higher frame rates or EIS, the Hero5 Black is still a great choice, has a lot of the same features and is $100 less.
The GoPro Hero6 Black instantly becomes the best action camera you can buy based on the specs. 4K at 60fps and super-slow-motion 240fps at 1080p footage in such a small, versatile action camera make it a cinematic marvel.
At $500 / £500 / AU$750, though, the Hero6 Black is $100 / £100 more than its now reduced-in-price predecessor, the Hero5 Black. And that’s before you factor in all of the mount accessories you’ll want to buy.
Is slow-motion video worth the extra money? No, not for most people. But everyone will be able to take advantage of the improved image stabilization, wider dynamic range and better low-light performance, while the faster transfer speeds and small file sizes are a good universal perk as well. Those things are worth the step up in price, even if everything looks the same on the outside.
I was initially taken back by the GoPro Hero6 Black’s $499/£499 price tag. That’s around the same price as the Sony FDR-X3000R Action Cam, a camera that impressively managed to miniaturise optical image stabilisation. But if I had to make a choice between the two, I know which camera I prefer.
While there’s a $100/£100 premium between the Hero 5 Black and Hero 6 Black (the former will remain on sale as the cheaper alternative), the newer model is worth the extra outlay if you want the absolute best.
In fact, I’d argue that the electronic image stabilisation is so good that a gimbal is no longer as necessary – so you can factor that saving into the equation. The overall image quality is also markedly improved, making the GoPro Hero 6 Black absolutely the best action camera you can buy today.
The Hero6 is an excellent action camera, a true class-leading flagship and a significant refinement of the Hero5. But getting back to the question of whether or not it is worth $500.
In an ideal world, we would have seen the Hero6 introduced at $400 and the Hero5 would have dropped to $300. (Again, the Yi 4K+ is around $340 right now.) Early adopters with cash to spare will be very happy with the Hero6 (and remember, the Hero4 Black launched at the same price) but the rest of us should examine our video needs and decide whether the Hero6 Black is a must, or the less expensive Hero5 Black can satisfy.
The Hero6 brings many new features to the table, but 4K at 60fps isn’t something most people need, while the image quality improvements are more modest than GoPro claims. The real selling point is the incredibly impressive image stabilization, but this may not be worth a $100 premium for the average user.
Still, there’s a lot that we like, and no action camera maker combines hardware and software as elegantly as GoPro. So, we have no problem saying the GoPro Hero6 Black is the new action camera to beat, and after having used one, it would be hard to go back.
The GoPro Hero6 Black is the company’s answer to challenges it has been facing in the marketplace. Competing cameras have offered similar video quality and, in some instances, more robust video capture. The Hero6’s new image processor bumps frame rates to deliver ultra-smooth 60fps video at 4K, and extreme slow-motion at 1080p—and it also adds solid digital stabilization.
At $500 it sits toward the higher end of the action cam market. The YI 4K+ undercuts GoPro in price, and also supports 4K at 60fps. But its stabilization isn’t as good, it isn’t waterproof without a case, and you’re on your own when it comes to software. You can also still buy a Hero5 for $100 less, but I think it’s worth it to spend the extra money on the Hero6. It doesn’t look at all different from its predecessor, but a number of internal upgrades work together to deliver a palpably better product. It’s our new Editors’ Choice for premium action cams. Budget shoppers can take a look at the SJCam SJ6 Legend, which doesn’t do as much, but sells for around $150.
But all this condensed tech goodness comes at a price: battery life. I found that the GoPro Hero6 Black had shockingly short battery life. Even when not rolling video, I found just keeping the Hero6 on in my pocket led to alarmingly fast battery drain. I tried to stop the bleeding by turning off non-essential services like GPS and Wi-Fi, but it didn’t seem to help. Thankfully, replacement batteries only cost around $20 a pop.
As good as this camera is, I’m not completely sold on the price. For your first action cam, I’d recommend you try the previous flagship Hero5 Black. It’s almost as capable in ways that you’ll be able to fully exploit now, and you’ll get its awesome HD and 4K/30p capabilities for $100 less. If cutting-edge 4K is of the utmost importance to you, and your workflow is totally ready to make the most of HEVC and 60p, the Hero6 Black is an impressive package that lives up to the GoPro Hero legacy.