Should you get a GoPro Subscription? Previously known as GoPro Plus, this service has been around for a few years, but for the last two years, the makers of the best action cameras (opens in new tab) have been pushing it hard. Notably, you've been able to get GoPro's Hero10 and Hero9 Black cameras for a lower price if you also take out GoPro Subscription. So is doing so worth it?
Many people seem to think so, as the service has been a huge success, the number of subscribers doubled in 2021 and at the start of this year there were 1.6 million members. But what does a GoPro Subscription actually get you, and is it worth it? Read on, and we'll reveal all...
How much does a GoPro Subscription cost?
A GoPro Subscription will cost you $49.99/£49.99/AU$69.99 per year. You need to pay that money upfront at the start of the year.
However, if you're buying a new GoPro, a GoPro subscription won't cost you money; in fact, it will actually save you cash. A basic GoPro Hero10 Black (opens in new tab) sells for $349.98 / £349.99 with an included one-year GoPro Subscription, or $459.99 / £529.99 without a subscription.
There are similar massive discounts when buying the Hero9 Black, Hero8 Black or the GoPro Max, for those taking up the GoPro Subscription deal. (Also note that if you're already a GoPro subscriber, you can still buy the cameras for the reduced price).
If you decide to continue for another two years, then that initial saving on your camera will basically be wiped out. That said, if you want to cancel your subscription after the first year, you're perfectly entitled to do so.
GoPro subscription benefits #1: cloud storage(opens in new tab)
One of the best reasons to go for a GoPro Subscription is for its unlimited cloud storage. You can then upload all your videos and photos from your camera to the cloud in one of three ways. These are: using the GoPro Quik app (opens in new tab) (on auto-upload when you’re on WiFi – even when the Hero10 Black is recharging), via the GoPro website; or using the GoPro software called Quik for Desktop. Crucially, photos and videos are stored in their original quality.
The cloud storage service is pretty easy to use, and its unlimited and auto-upload nature is tempting, but there are a couple of caveats. Users of the regular GoPro cameras won’t have any trouble uploading linear video, but if you’ve got a GoPro Fusion then you can’t upload its (extremely high-res) files.
You also can’t upload anything taken with your smartphone or any other action camera, which means the GoPro cloud storage isn’t going to work if you use a hub on the cloud to store all your videos and photos. Note, too, that GoPro’s Quik for Desktop software doesn’t support the GoPro Fusion or GoPro MAX (opens in new tab).
GoPro subscription benefits #2: camera replacement
Another thing a GoPro subscription includes is a “no-questions-asked camera replacement.” That sounds like a good deal considering that you’re probably planning to take your GoPro skiing, cycling and general adventuring. But is it, really?
Firstly, we’d question whether you should really need any kind of insurance for a waterproof, drop-proof product like a GoPro. Okay, screens do smash, so if you're worried about that, this might help put you at ease. However, be aware that if you lose your GoPro, you can’t have it replaced; only if you break it.
Also, note that this replacement is not free. The small print explains that you can “exchange up to two cameras per year for the same model (GoPro Fusion and Hero5 or later). Fees apply. Available in these countries (opens in new tab) only.” Yes, you read that right: it costs you extra money. This is the full table (opens in new tab) telling you how much, but the fee for a Hero9 or Hero10 is $99.
GoPro subscription benefits #3: live stream by private link
If you have a Hero7 Black (opens in new tab) and later, or a GoPro Max (opens in new tab), you may want to live stream in 1080p quality to YouTube, Facebook Profiles, Facebook Pages and Twitch. Normally, you need to pair your camera with a smartphone via the GoPro app, and even then it’s a bit fiddly. Not for GoPro Subscription members, though, who can live stream from their GoPro camera to their account at GoPro.com, then text a private live stream link to whomever they want.
GoPro subscription benefits #4: premium editing tools
The GoPro Quik app (opens in new tab) makes it easy to produce slick-looking auto-generated highlight videos, and also works well as a decent content feed. And so it's great that a GoPro Subscription comes with unlimited cloud storage in Quik.
That’s handy because with the launch of the Hero10 Black, the Quik app has become an integral part of the GoPro ecosystem. For example, you can now cable-up a GoPro to your Android or iOS phone, to transfer your videos straight into the Quik app.
Quik is hardware-agnostic, so you don’t actually have to own a GoPro camera or subscribe to GoPro’s service. You could, for example, use it for videos taken on your smartphone as well as your GoPro or any other footage transferred to your phone from another action camera, mirrorless camera (opens in new tab) or DSLR camera (opens in new tab). It’s all stored in Quik’s mural feature (opens in new tab), a kind of ‘best of’ area that’s backed-up to the cloud automatically at full capture resolution.
A standalone subscription to Quik costs US$9.99/£9.99 per year or US$1.99/£1.99 per month, largely for the 25 filters and 18 royalty-free music tracks, but also for a suite of editing tools as well as tools for slo-mo, fast and freeze. As a GoPro subscriber you'll get everything for free, though you will have to log back into your account to access content on the cloud.
GoPro subscription benefits #5: discounts(opens in new tab)
With a GoPro Subscription, you can get "up to" 50% off some (but not all) mods, mounts, cases, batteries and lifestyle gear sold via GoPro.com. The full list is here (opens in new tab), but as a rule of thumb, the full 50% discounts apply largely to protective housings and roll cages, replacement parts like doors, fingers and lens caps, and mounts, such as a Hand & Wrist Strap, Suction Cup and Surfboard Mounts.
There’s also a slightly annoying bias towards bigger discounts for older products. For example, you’ll get 30% off batteries for the Hero8 Black, but only 20% for the Hero9 Black and Hero10 Black.
Meanwhile lifestyle products, such as the new Mezcal floating sunglasses, Weekender 30-litre backpack and all clothing, are offered at a 30% discount. You can get discounts on a maximum of 10 items per subscription anniversary year.
Of course, the highlight discount you can get with a GoPro Subscription is the one you'll get on a GoPro itself. The good news here is that it actually applies to up to three new GoPro cameras per year.
GoPro Subscription: verdict
A GoPro Subscription and the Quik app together is an ecosystem designed to take away a few pain-points of owning and heavily using a GoPro, specifically through no-fuss replacements and cloud storage for all of your videos. And if you're buying a new GoPro, then a GoPro subscription is a no-brainer; well, at least in the first year, when it will actually save you money.
Whether you should renew it after the first year really depends on how much you use its other features. The important thing is to put the date for renewal in your calendar right away, so you don't forget to cancel if you decide to do so!
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