Need the latest action camera? If you’re in the market for a rugged video camera that can go anywhere you’ll already have come across GoPro, but which model is the best for you? Is the latest really the greatest?
A powerful new processor, a new 5.3K 60 frames per second mode, an 8x slo-mo mode and some new ways of getting videos from a GoPro to a smartphone. That’s what the 2021 GoPro Hero10 Black offers, but how many of those features are exclusive to this camera and how many can be applied to the more affordable, now older 2020 Hero9 Black?
With the release of the Hero10 Black, the Hero9 Black has been discounted and the latter may be for you. Whichever model you choose, these small cameras are ideal for all outdoor pursuits and – whisper it – are becoming impressive stills cameras, too.
However, the Hero10 Black does continue and extend the trend that sees GoPro Subscription users get the best experience.
Note that the 2022 GoPro Hero11 Black has now been launched, so also check out our GoPro Hero 10 vs 11 Black comparison.
Here are the main differences and similarities between the GoPro Hero9 Black or Hero10 Black so you can make an informed buying decision:
GoPro Hero 9 vs 10 Black: price
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At launch in September 2021 the GoPro Hero10 sold for $399.98 / £379.99 with an included one-year GoPro Subscription or $499.99 / £479.99 without a subscription. Existing GoPro subscribers can purchase it for $399.98 / £379.99. Meanwhile, the GoPro Hero9 has been discounted – so if you are looking for the lowest cost option than the older model is the clear winner.
GoPro Hero 9 vs 10 Black: processor
This is the major difference between the new and old flagship cameras. The Hero10 Black is fitted with GoPro’s brand new GP2 processor. It replaces the GP1, which GoPro has been using inside all of its cameras since the Hero6 Black.
It’s claimed that the new Hero10 Black hosts faster boot ups, a more responsive touch interface and quicker captures.
GoPro Hero 9 vs 10 Black: size and weight
Both cameras have a near-identical chassis. That’s probably a bit of a relief for GoPro users with lots of relatively new accessories, many of which were rendered useless with the coming of the Hero9 Black in late 2020. That includes the 1,720 mAh battery, which is identical in both cameras.
Not that they’re completely identical; the Hero10 Black shaves off some body fat, weighing-in at 153g to the Hero9 Black’s 158g.
Otherwise, the only difference is that the newer camera has a blue GoPro logo instead of the grey logo found on its forebear.
GoPro Hero 9 vs 10 Black: lens cover
A new addition to the Hero10 Black is a removable lens cover that’s crafted from hydrophobic, water-shedding glass that's scratch resistant and reduces ghosting, but there’s no reason why it wouldn’t also work with the Hero9 Black. No word yet on whether it will be available as a separate accessory for Hero9 Black owners.
GoPro Hero 9 vs 10 Black: video
The new Hero10 Black is much more advanced for video, with that GP2 processor utilized for double the video frame rates across the same resolutions as the Hero9 Black is capable of. So while the older camera offers 5.3K video at 30 fps at 100 Mbps, 4K video at 60 fps and 2.7K video at 120 fps, the new Hero10 Black increases that across the board to 5.3K video at 60 fps at 100 Mbps, 4K video at 120 fps and 2.7K video at 240 fps (that’s 8x slo-mo). For both cameras the lowest quality video they capture is 1080p.
The Hero10 Black also boasts higher frame rates on the front LCD preview screen. That new GP2 processor also enables new video algorithms that apply local tone mapping and 3D noise reduction in low light during video capture.
As with the latest smartphones, low light performance should be better on the Hero10 Black; GoPro claims it’s most noticeable at dusk, sunset and in low-light outdoor settings such as forests.
GoPro Hero 9 vs 10 Black: video features
Hero9 Black saw the debut of both HyperSmooth 3.0 and TimeWarp 3.0. The latter is a stabilized time-lapse mode for endurance activities, such as hiking, that captures, say, an ascent but has a ‘speed ramp’ feature to revert to real-time speed and audio. That continues on the new Hero10 Black – as does HindSight, Scheduled Capture, Duration Capture and LiveBurst – though only the new camera includes HyperSmooth 4.0. This latest version of GoPro’s in-camera, gimbal-like image stabilisation tech works when capturing video at 5.3K 30 fps, 4K 60 fps and 2.7K 120 fps.
While the Hero9 Black features horizon leveling with a tilt limit of 27°, the Hero10 Black ups that to 45° when shooting in 4K 60fps, 2.7K 120fps and 1080p 120 fps.
GoPro Hero 9 vs 10 Black: webcam & streaming
With the onset of the pandemic and the associated Zoom obsession, it didn’t take long before the then-current Hero8 Black could be used as a 1080p webcam. The Hero9 Black included that possibility out of the box, adding HyperSmooth 3.0. The Hero10 Black takes that even further by adding the option to have HyperSmooth 4.0 switched on. Cue the smoothest possible 132º wide-angle video conferencing and tutorial-style live streams, complete with that front-facing preview screen for easy framing.
Both the Hero9 Black and the Hero10 Black can also be used to livestream 1080p video to YouTube, Twitch, Facebook Profiles and Facebook Pages.
GoPro Hero10 Black vs Hero9 Black: file offloading
Have you ever sat in a piste-side restaurant and pondered whether the battery-eating, time-sapping process of getting videos from GoPro to smartphone was worth it? If you have, you'll love one of the biggest new features of the Hero10 Black – cabled file offloading. An entirely new way to get content off a GoPro, in the box is a USB-C to USB-C cable (Android) and a USB-C to Lightning cable (Apple) that allow users to offload their videos directly into the GoPro Quik app on a smartphone. It’s something that can be done wirelessly, too, but although on the Hero10 Black it’s 30% faster, the new cable option is 50% faster again. It’s not clear whether this accessory will be available to use with the Hero9 Black.
However, the Hero10 Black comes with a new cloud mode; when charging it can automatically upload new content to a GoPro cloud account.
GoPro Hero10 Black vs Hero9 Black: photos
Would you use a GoPro as a still camera? After being rather frowned upon for photos, in recent years the GoPro’s resolution has taken a leap. That trend continues on the Hero10 Black on two fronts.
Once again capable of shooting in RAW and HDR, the Hero10 Black can capture stills in 23 megapixels (up from 20 megapixels) in Burst, Night Photo, SuperPhoto and RAW Photo modes.
It can also grab 19.6 megapixel stills from 5.3K 4:3 videos (up from 12 megapixels from 4K 4:3 video) and 15.8 megapixels from 5.3K video (up from 14.7 megapixels from 5K video). Both include Live Burst, a 1.5 seconds buffer on the shutter button for photos.
With faster frame rates, a new processor, a speedier user interface and a new offload feature, there are some tempting reasons why the Hero10 Black is the GoPro to go for, but the Hero9 Black remains an excellent value purchase. Which one will you choose?
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