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GoPro Hero 7 Black Review: The Best Action Camera Today

We review the Hero 7 Black!

While there are many companies that make action cameras, there’s only one name that most professionals consider when creating kick-ass content. GoPro practically invented the market, and their flagship Hero 7 Black is the best they’ve ever made. With a host of new features as well as class-leading in-camera stabilization that the competition can’t match, the Hero 7 Black is the best action camera you can get today if you’re serious about producing the best footage possible.

What is it?

It’s the latest iteration of GoPro’s action cameras. The Hero 7 Black is similar to last year’s model, with only a few distinct design changes to differentiate it on the outside. It still packs the touchscreen display on the rear and is still waterproof up to 10 meters without needing a separate housing.

How is it better than last year’s model?

There are quite a few improvements to the Hero 7 Black despite being aesthetically similar to last year’s model. Tweaks to the microphones, for example, has reduced ambient sounds when the camera is being fondled without diminishing its ability to cut down wind noise. And while the GoPro Hero 7 uses the same GP1 image processor as last year’s model, the company added more RAM to it, enabling the best in-camera stabilization solution available to the market today.

GoPro calls it Hypersmooth, and it does exactly what it says on the tin. The in-camera stabilization is all software based and doesn’t rely on hardware, which means its stabilization isn’t limited to the movement of the camera which is the case for hardware stabilization like OIS.

How good is that stabilization?

Very, very good. GoPro’s claims of “gimbal-like performance” for Hypersmooth isn’t an exaggeration, as it manages to smooth out bumps and shakes in the footage. In the test footage below, just take a look at how much movement the ATV in front of us make then compare it to how smooth the video is when we go over the same patch of ground ourselves.

What’s nice about Hypersmooth is that the camera isn’t artificially kept level which a hardware solution like a gimbal does, and doesn’t rob the footage you shoot of its sense of movement and momentum.

Hypersmooth allows the Hero 7 Black to pull off some other tricks as well. Timewarp is their version of Timelapse that allows you to pull off some wicked, super stable timelapse videos. Timewarp makes boring videos like traveling through a crowded market square or to a meeting place visually interesting.

What other features are there?

The Hero 7 Black also has improved HDR called SuperPhoto, which makes for better images all around even in high contrast situations. You can also shoot vertically as well, which makes sharing videos and photos to both Facebook and Instagram easier.

Speaking of sharing, the Hero 7 Black also has live streaming capabilities, and you can instantly stream to Facebook once you set up your account in the mobile app. Twitch and YouTube streaming takes a bit more work, but since the Hero 7 Black uses the RTMP streaming protocol it’s possible, but just takes more time to set up.

Shooting modes are 4K up to 60FPS, and you can shoot in full HD up to 240FPS. Take note that the camera doesn’t have enough memory bandwidth to run both hyper smooth and super slow-mo 240FPS so you’ll be stuck without stabilization if you want to shoot that way.

Is the UI still a nightmare to use?

Absolutely not. GoPro’s has massively improved the UI on the Hero 7 Black’s touchscreen display to be both intuitive and easy to use. There are voice controls embedded in the camera as well, so you can just say “GoPro, Start Recording” when you’re ready to go.

It can’t be all that great.

Well, the only thing we can complain about the Hero 7 Black is its battery life. It’s not bad but it’s not that great either, and honestly, it has about the same runtime as a Hero 6 Black if we’re being honest. The great thing about it is that the Hero 7 Black takes the same batteries as last year’s model, and is fully compatible with any and all GoPro accessories made for other cameras, which means there’s already a huge accessory market you can lean on if you want to buy one.

Verdict: buy it if you’re serious about making great content

GoPro put a lot of awesome features in the Hero 7 Black, and honestly from what we’ve experienced using it for around a week in Koh Samui and Bangkok in Thailand, it’s well worth the upgrade, even if you already have last year’s model. Hypersmooth really is a game changer, at least for action cameras, and the Php 24,690 asking price is more than justified for what you’re getting with the Hero 7 Black.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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