(Pocket-lint) – GoPro’s current flagship camera is called the Hero 10 Black. It looks very much like the Hero 9 that came before it but comes with a host of new features and capabilities.
When the company announced the Hero 9 Black in 2020, it came with a whole new design, a second colour screen and lots of great features. So it was unlikely GoPro would rip it all up and start again with another entirely new design. However, its new GP2 processor has enabled much more powerful performance with higher frame rates and better low light performance.
So what exactly has changed between the Hero 9 and Hero 10, and should you upgrade to the newer model? Find out more below.
- Hero 10: 153 grams
- Hero 9: 158 grams
- Both: Waterproof to 10m/33ft
- Both: Removable lens covers
- Hero 10: Hydrophobic and scratch-resistant lens cover
It’s in the design that we see very little difference between these two models. That’s unsurprising though, especially since the Hero 9 Black was the first major design change in a number of years.
With the 2020 model, GoPro made the camera bigger and added a colour display to the front so that you could use it for framing yourself. It also added a new removable lens cover, making it easier to swap it out for a different lens or a new one if the original one breaks.
Speaking of lens covers, the new Hero 10 cover has been redesigned to make it more durable. Not only is it more scratch-resistant than the Hero 9’s, but it’s also more hydrophobic so that water will glide off it more easily. You’ll also see reduced ghosting with video shot through it.
From a purely visual point, the only real difference is that GoPro’s logo on the front and the Hero logo on the side is bright blue instead of white. The outer frame of the camera is darker and has a slightly rougher texture, and it is about 5 grams lighter. Otherwise, it’s practically identical.
Both cameras are waterproof to the same 10 metre/33ft depth, and both have the same battery door design on one side and water channel on the other. Plus, they both have built-in mounting arms on the underside, meaning you don’t need any additional cases to mount them to GoPro accessories. What’s more, the Hero 10 is compatible with all Hero 9 Black Mods like the additional lights, microphones and display.
Video and photo capture
- Hero 10: 5.3K/60fps, 4K/120fps, 2.7K/240fps
- Hero 9: 5.3K/30fps, 4K/60fps, 2.7K/120fps
- Hero 10: 23MP photos and up to 19.6MP frame grabs
- Hero 9: 20MP photos and up to 14.7MP frame grabs
When it comes to video capture, GoPro’s latest camera boasts twice the performance of its predecessor. What that means is that – thanks in part to the new GP2 processor – it can shoot at twice the frame rate.
While the Hero 9 could record 5.3K video up to 30fps, the Hero 10 can shoot that resolution at 60fps. What’s more useful is that it can shoot 4K at up to 120fps, versus 60fps on the Hero 9. The larger sensor and processor also enable higher resolution still frame grabs.
For instance, if you shoot at 5K in a 4:3 ratio you can export a still 19.6-megapixel frame. Compare that to the 12-megapixel 4:3 frame grab from 4K on the Hero 9 and you get a lot more detail. In 16:9 at 5.3K resolution, it can frame grab 15.8-megapixels versus 14.7-megapixels on the Hero 9 shooting 5K.
GoPro says it’s also improved the low light performance so that noise levels are a lot lower on the Hero 10 too.
Stabilisation, features and battery
- Hero 10: HyperSmooth 4.0
- Hero 9: HyperSmooth 3.0
- Both: 1720mAh battery
- Hero 10: Horizon level tilt limit 45 degrees
- Hero 9: Horizon level tilt limit 27 degrees
As mentioned, the Hero 10 has been equipped with a new brain which GoPro calls the GP2. Hero 9 features the GP1. It’s enabled a few improvements, including a faster refresh rate display on the front of the camera for smoother real-time framing. As for the rear display, that’s got improved touch sensitivity, to make it more responsive.
It also means GoPro has been able to introduce what it calls HyperSmooth 4.0. This is the impressive electronic/algorithm-based stabilisation which makes footage smooth. HyperSmooth 4.0 is available in its “high-performance setting” when shooting 5.3K/30, 4K/60 and 2.7K/120 footage. It’s also enabled a much more capable horizon levelling feature, which can tolerate being tilted up to 45 degrees, compared to just 27 degrees on the Hero 9.
Both cameras feature stabilised time-lapse video and speed ramping, just like the Hero 9, and also features the ability to live stream and use it as a webcam. Both cameras also feature the same battery.
GoPro has said that wireless transfers to your phone are quicker now, though, and the Hero 10 can automatically upload to your GoPro Cloud.
- Hero 10: £379 with a subscription, £479 without
- Hero 9: £349 with a subscription, £449 without
The Hero 9 heralded a new way of buying a GoPro. If you purchased it alongside a GoPro subscription, you could save money on the initial outlay. Hero 10 is available the same way, but it is more expensive than the previous camera.
In the UK, the Hero 10 costs around £30 more to buy than the camera that came before it, so that spec boost comes at a cost.
It’s clear the Hero 10 Black has a lot more under the hood than the Hero 9 Black that came before it. With faster frame rates available at higher resolution, there’s a lot of flexibility in what you can do with it. Plus, with a hydrophobic lens and improved low-light performance, there’s a lot to love about it.
The Hero 9 Black is still a very capable action camera, though, and not to be overlooked. Especially now that it’s more than a year old because that usually means you can find it cheaper than when it first launched. And with the new camera costing more than the Hero 9 did at launch, that could still be a sensible option.
Writing by Cam Bunton. Editing by Luke Baker.