GoPro HERO7 Black Review

An amazing action camera that takes great 4K video

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4.3

GoPro HERO7 Black

GoPro HERO7 Black

Lifewire / Jeff Dojillo

What We Like

  • Compact

  • Waterproof

  • Records 4K at 60 fps and 1080p at 240 fps

  • HyperSmooth Video Stabilization

  • Live streaming features

  • Touchscreen

What We Don't Like

  • Fixed lens

  • No microphone input

  • No manual exposure features

The GoPro HERO7 Black is an amazing creative tool in a compact package that delivers amazing 4K video.

4.3

GoPro HERO7 Black

GoPro HERO7 Black

Lifewire / Jeff Dojillo

The GoPro HERO7 Black is the result of multiple refinements since the original model, and through its many iterations, it’s become one of the most popular and high-tech action cameras on the market. From insanely advanced image stabilization to live streaming capabilities, the HERO7 Black is built for more than just action shots. 

We recently got our hands on this tiny powerhouse to see if the improvements in software and video quality are worth its asking price.

GoPro HERO7 Black
Lifewire / Jeff Dojillo 

Design: Classic action camera design 

The GoPro HERO7 Black measures in at 2.4 x 1.3 x 1.8 inches, so it’s super compact and almost a cube. The device is all black with a very nice rubber casing around the unit that makes it feel soft to the touch. 

The design is very minimal. The power button is located on the right side of the camera and a record button at the top. On the side, there is a door that hides the USB and HDMI ports, and another door on the bottom that conceals the battery and MicroSD port. The front of the camera has a small screen that displays the current settings. 

All these doors protect the camera’s ports from the elements and give it a tough outer shell that’s rugged enough to survive rough falls and submersion in up to 33 feet of water. The HERO7 Black is a great travel camera that can be taken on exotic trips where water adventures and rough terrain are a part of your itinerary.

While testing the GoPro HERO7 Black we noticed that the body of the device becomes very hot when used for long periods of time. We tested it for a few hours nonstop and noticed it was still very warm even when it was not recording. This can be a big concern if the device is used for long recordings in hot temperatures.

Display: Bright and visible

The back of the GoPro HERO7 Black has a two-inch touchscreen that is bright and easy to read. While testing the camera, we were able to navigate through the menus with the single touch of a finger, which are intuitive and easy to adjust. Simply tap to select.

GoPro HERO7 Black
Lifewire / Jeff Dojillo 

Setup: Updates out of the box

The GoPro HERO7 Black did not have much battery life out of the box. Once we powered it on, we set the date, time, and location. It then prompted us to update the software, which required a blank memory card and fully-charged battery to complete. 

The HERO7 Black has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatibility, which makes it easy to pair with a smartphone that has the GoPro App downloaded. We were able to make the camera discoverable in the Preferences menu, and then the app could automatically scan and connect to the camera when it was opened. 

GoPro HERO7 Black
Lifewire / Jeff Dojillo 

Sensor: Small but mighty 

The GoPro HERO7 Black boasts a 1/2.3-inch 12-megapixel sensor that is built for action. The new and improved image processor now has the ability to stabilize footage through electronic image stabilization technology called HyperSmooth. This feature works by tracking unwanted motion in your videos and algorithmically correcting shake. It makes your footage impressively stable even when filming handheld or while riding on rough terrain. 

We took the GoPro out and recorded some handheld video as we walked around, which would normally have some shake to it. The footage from the HERO7 Black was smooth and it did not contain any camera shake, almost as if we’d been using a gimbal. 

It makes your footage impressively stable even when filming handheld or while riding on rough terrain.

Lens: Great for video

The fixed lens on the GoPro HERO7 Black shoots wide or in SuperView mode, the latter of which is an extra-wide field of view and can sometimes give a kind of distorted fisheye effect to your footage. This distortion can be frustrating, but there are ways to work around it during editing, including using video editing software to correct. And when shooting at a lower resolution, the camera can shoot with a linear field of view which reduces the distortion of the lens. The SuperView is not available when shooting in a 4:3 aspect ratio.

Video Quality: Amazing 4K quality with variable frame rates

The 4K video quality of the GoPro HERO7 Black is gorgeous. Content creators and travel vloggers will absolutely appreciate this camera’s recording capabilities. 

While testing the GoPro HERO7 Black, the 4K video looked its best when recording in bright lighting conditions. In lower light, the quality began to degrade and grain started to form in the shadow areas of the scene.

New to the GoPro HERO7 is the ability to create a TimeWarp video. This feature allows the user to create super smooth time-lapse videos with HyperSmooth technology, so the camera doesn’t have to be stationary. This opens up the ability to be more creative when making time lapse videos. 

The ability to capture 1080p video at 240fps is also a game-changer. The slow-motion feature of this camera is stunning, producing beautiful smooth footage, especially when used in bright lighting conditions. If you’re an athlete looking to record and analyze footage of yourself, the HERO7 Black gives you a great way to slow down footage and study movement. 

The GoPro HERO7 also has a live stream feature. Using the GoPro app, you can set up a live video feed by connecting to your Facebook, YouTube, and various other social media networks. Once connected to the desired account, you will be able to go live within minutes. 

GoPro HERO7 Black
Lifewire / Jeff Dojillo 

Photo Quality: Nothing to brag about

The photo quality on the GoPro HERO7 Black is average, though it does have the ability to create HDR (High Dynamic Range) images. 

Due to the lens distortion, the images that this camera produces have a specific look that you may either love or hate. It also has a fixed lens that does not zoom, so that limits its functionality compared to typical point-and-shoot cameras. 

But generally speaking, the GoPro HERO7 Black is not a camera known for its stunning photographs—it is known for its stunning video capabilities. It’s not for someone that wants to use it specifically for still photographs.

Sound Quality: Sensitive to the touch

The GoPro HERO7 Black’s microphones are sensitive and record ambient noise easily. The microphones are located on the body of the camera and any slight touch becomes audible in your video. When taking some handheld footage, we accidentally covered up the microphones with our fingers, which caused the audio to sound muffled in our video. 

The ability to add external microphones turns the GoPro HERO7 Black from an action camera to a high-quality video camera.

The internal microphones are useful if the sound is not a priority in your videos, but if great audio is a necessity, it is best to invest in an external microphone. You can connect one to the HERO7 Black through the USB connection, which opens up possibilities for external microphones, lapel mics, and digital audio recorders to enhance sound recording capabilities. 

The ability to add external microphones turns the GoPro HERO7 Black from an action camera to a high-quality video camera. Pairing the 4K resolution with great audio quality, this camera becomes a powerful tool in the hands of the right content creator. 

GoPro HERO7 Black
Lifewire / Jeff Dojillo

Connectivity: Speedy Wi-Fi and Bluetooth pairing

Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity is a breeze with the GoPro HERO7 Black. Once we installed the GoPro app on our smartphone, the camera connected instantly. The app also gave us a much larger and easier-to-read interface, plus a live view function that allowed us to use our phone to frame and compose videos and remotely control the camera.

Inside the app, there are also options to edit mode settings, change the original set up, review camera info, changed Wi-Fi remotes, as well as monitor the battery level and SD card capacity. It also makes it easier to review footage and images that the camera captures. 

Battery Life: High-res video drains it quickly

When recording 4K video at 60 fps, the HERO7 Black’s battery only lasts about 50 minutes, so if you’re going to be shooting all day, it would be smart to have a few extra batteries available.

Another option to extend shooting time would be to connect the GoPro HERO7 Black to an external battery pack via the USB port. 

Price: Fairly priced for what you get

Retailing for $400 but often selling for less, the GoPro HERO7 Black is reasonably priced for its amazing features. 4K recording, HyperSmooth image stabilization, high frame rates, Bluetooth connectivity, a waterproof body, and live streaming features make this camera well worth the asking price. 

Perfect for adventurers, filmmakers, and vloggers that need a rugged and compact camera to create content on the go.

The portability of the GoPro HERO7 Black is perfect for adventurers, filmmakers, and vloggers that need a rugged and compact camera to create content on the go. 

Competition: Less rugged, but better with still photography

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II: The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II retails for $700, and though it usually sells for between $600 and $650, it’s still considerably more expensive than the GoPro HERO7 Black. For those who are considering the GoPro as a vlogging camera, the PowerShot is another great option. It records video at 1080p rather than 4K, but it has a larger 20.3-megapixel sensor and a 180-degree articulating LCD touchscreen display that’s perfect for self-recording.

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II utilizes an advanced DIGIC 7 Image Processor, which creates better photographs than the GoPro HERO7 Black. This image processor also provides better video stabilization and autofocusing for video, though it’s admittedly not as advanced as the GoPro’s HyperSmooth feature.

Comparing this to the GoPro HERO7 Black, the Canon is much more user-friendly. It’s a better fit for those that want a versatile camera that they can grab and use easily, without having to maneuver through menus on a tiny screen. 

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS: Retailing for $400, the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is right on par price-wise with the GoPro HERO7 Black. The PowerShot is also capable of recording 4K video, but it lacks the frame rates that the GoPro HERO7 Black is capable of. It’s also capable of capturing photos without distortion, which makes it a more versatile camera.

The PowerShot SX740 HS is geared toward someone that wants a little bit of everything. It can shoot 4K and take photographs, but it doesn’t quite live up to the excellent video quality of the GoPro. The PowerShot is also a more user-friendly device that is suited for people familiar with standard point-and-shoot cameras. 

The camera also has a 180-degree adjustable LCD screen, which makes it an even more powerful tool for vloggers.

Final Verdict

A rugged and compact action camera with fantastic video stabilization.

Between the amazing video quality and the enhanced HyperSmooth electronic image stabilization, the GoPro HERO7 Black is perfect for adventurers who want to record or even live-stream their most rugged expeditions. It produces beautiful videos with enhanced color and sharpness and is small enough to wear or mount somewhere without it getting in the way.

Specs

  • Product Name HERO7 Black
  • Product Brand GoPro
  • MPN CHDHX-701
  • Price $399.99
  • Product Dimensions 2.4 x 1.3 x 1.8 in.
  • Sensor 12MP, 1-Chip CMOS
  • Video Up to 4K at 60 fps, or 1080p at 240 fps
  • Audio Format WAV
  • Photo ISO Range 100 - 3200 (Auto)
  • Burst Photos 30 photos/sec
  • Output 1 x micro-HDMI (Type D)
  • Video ISO Range 100 - 6400 (Auto)
  • Input 1 x USB 3.0
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