Do you need a GoPro Subscription? After a few years of a soft-sell, the maker of the best action camera has gone supernova on its subscription service – also known as GoPro Plus – offering its flagship Hero10 and Hero9 Black cameras at a lower price if you also take out GoPro Subscription along with a few other features exclusive to members. Is it worth it?
Apparently GoPro Subscription is a massive success with over a million members, but are you suspicious that you’re being locked-in to something you don’t want? What else does a GoPro Subscription actually get you and is it worth it?
Here’s everything you need to know about the pros and cons of a GoPro Subscription:
GoPro Subscription: costs
A GoPro Subscription saves you significant money on a new GoPro. A basic GoPro Hero10 Black sells 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.
However, a GoPro Subscription doesn’t come cheap after the first year. Since it costs $49.99/£49.99/AU$69.99 per year per year, the maths is pretty simple; if you subscribe for two years that initial saving you made on the hardware is nullified.
In pure money terms GoPro is hoping you let your GoPro Subscription auto-renew … which it will unless you actively cancel it. However, you can cancel your subscription after a year.
GoPro Subscription: replacing a broken camera
GoPro subscribers can’t replace a damaged GoPro for free. The exact wording GoPro uses is: “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 hang on…
Firstly, we’d question whether you should really need any kind of insurance for a waterproof, drop-proof product like GoPro action camera (though screens do smash). It’s also worth knowing that if you lose it you can’t have it replaced; this is about breakages only.
Secondly, it’s not quite as liberal or as free a policy as it seems, with the small print explaining 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 only.” Yup, it costs you extra money. This is how much.
GoPro Subscription: cloud storage
You get unlimited cloud backup and auto uploads, but not quite for everything. Surely one of the best reasons to go for a GoPro Subscription is for its unlimited cloud storage option. You can then upload everything (videos and photos) from your camera to the cloud via the GoPro Quik app (on auto-upload when you’re on WiFi – even when the Hero10 Black is recharging), via the GoPro website, or via 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 that the GoPro cloud storage isn’t going to work if you use a hub on the cloud to store all your videos and photos. It’s also worth knowing that GoPro’s Quik for Desktop software doesn’t support the GoPro Fusion or GoPro MAX.
GoPro Subscription: live streams
Those with a Hero7 Black and later, or a GoPro Max, can use them to live stream in 1080p quality to YouTube, Facebook Profiles, Facebook Pages and Twitch. You do need to pair it with a smartphone with the GoPro app, and even then it’s a bit fiddly. Not for GoPro Subscription members, who can live stream from their GoPro camera to their account at GoPro.com, then text a private live stream link to whoever they want.
GoPro Subscription: the Quik app
We’re fans of the reimagined GoPro Quik app, which makes it easy to produce slick-looking auto-generated highlight videos and also works well as a decent content feed. The good news is that GoPro announced mid-2021 that a GoPro Subscription now comes with unlimited cloud storage in Quik.
That’s handy because with the launch of the Hero10 Black the Quik app is an integral part of the GoPro ecosystem. For example, you can now cable-up a GoPro to your smartphone – Android and iOS – 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 servicep. 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 or DSLR camera. It’s all stored in Quik’s mural feature, 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/UK£9.99 per year or US$1.99/UK£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.
GoPro subscribers get everything for free, though they do have to log back into their account to access content on the cloud.
GoPro Subscription: discounts on GoPro.com
“Up to 50% off at GoPro.com” says GoPro. Oh no, not the dreaded ‘up to’ phrase. As usual, such promises are overstated, with a GoPro Subscription actually offering you 50% on some – but not all – mods, mounts, cases, batteries and lifestyle gear. The full list is here, but as a rule of thumb the 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 or Surfboard Mounts, though plenty get just 30% discounts). Elsewhere there’s 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.
Lifestyle products are offered at a 30% discount – such as the new Mezcal floating sunglasses, Weekender 30-litre backpack and all clothing. You’re also limited to discounts on a maximum of 10 items per subscription anniversary year.
However, the big draw to get a GoPro Subscription in the first instance is surely that big discount on buying a GoPro. 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 – though whether you should renew it after the first year really depends on how much you use its other features.
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