GoPro Hero6 Review: The Best Action Camera

GoPro has made some marked improvements with its latest action camera, the $499 Hero6 Black. While the outside looks almost identical to its predecessor, a faster processor inside means you can record 4K video at 60 frames per second (fps) and shoot slo-mo 1080p video at 240 fps. Touch Zoom has been added, which means you can get closer to the action just by moving a slider to frame your shot. Despite some small issues, the Hero6 is the best overall action cam you can buy.

Design

GoPro didn't make any updates to the body of the Hero6. Looks-wise, it's identical to the Hero5, measuring 2.44 x 1.75 x 1.26 inches and weighing only 4.16 ounces.

It still offers up to 33 feet (10 meters) of water resistance, which means you won't need to buy an additional case unless you're doing some serious diving. The included case is just as rugged, meaning it should survive a drop or two. In fact, you need to wrangle it a little just to get the top piece to unhinge and get the camera out of its case.

Ease of Use

Getting started with the GoPro Hero6 Black is easy enough if you're already familiar with older models. If you're new to the action-camera world, the touch screen may not be as intuitive as you'd expect. A tutorial offers you a tour of the basics, though, which is helpful. Swiping down from the top will open up the menu for preferences and settings. There, you can turn on Wi-Fi, reformat a microSD card and change settings. Swipe from the left to the right to get access to your media. Swiping right to left gives you options for auto controls, such as auto low light, wind reduction and more.

I found that most of the controls were responsive, but while I was scrolling through media, the tiny controls in the corners were a bit finicky and hard to use. Once you're familiar with the controls, it all becomes second nature.

Processor and Video Quality

If you're looking for the big upgrade of this new cam, it's in the processor. The Hero6 Black includes GoPro's new GP1 processor, which is far faster and capable of capturing video at 4K resolution at 60 fps. That's a big step up from the Hero5, which was limited to 4K/30 fps, and will result in much smoother video.

Slow-motion video is also more impressive now that you can shoot at 1080p resolution and 240 fps with the Hero6; the Hero5 was capable of only 720p and 240 fps.

The GoPro Hero6 shoots standard video at 4K/60 fps and slo-mo footage at 1080p, 240 fps.

In the videos I took while at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, you can see how smooth and sharp the resulting footage is. The sun was bright, but nothing appears washed-out in the videos I shot. Also, roller coasters are inherently shaky, which brings me to my next point.

Digital image stabilization is considered GoPro's bread and butter, and for good reason. Already an impressive feature of the Hero5, it's improved a bit for the Hero6. If there's bounce in your video, it's you, not the camera. Holding the camera in-hand is going to produce a bumpier ride, but if you attach the cam to a helmet, floating stick or a stabilizing mount, you'll have an even smoother result, thanks to the digital image stabilization. The 4K videos I shot while on an indoor coaster were excellent. Plus, lighting was not an issue. The camera responded well in darker conditions and transitioned well when light was suddenly present again.

Sound

GoPro hasn't inspired many to rely on the microphones in its Hero cams, but the Hero6 seems to have improved slightly compared with older generations. On the GoPro Hero6, background noises are suppressed slightly, so wind, passing cars and other sounds aren’t as noticeable. However, an external microphone is likely still needed if you plan to use sound recorded on your GoPro Hero6.

GoPro App and GoPro Quik

Perhaps even better than controlling the camera in hand is controlling it through the app on your smartphone. Just turn on the camera's Wi-Fi, connect your phone to the Wi-Fi while the GoPro app is running, and you'll have access to all the same controls and settings you'll find on the actual camera. Plus, you have a much bigger screen for previewing video.

Using GoPro Quik, you can create slow-motion videos, edit clips and browse a selection of music tracks to add to your videos. This is a quick (it's in the name) and easy way to share the video from your Hero6 to your social media platforms.

Although GoPro took away a few lower-end resolution and frame-rate options, it makes up for that with a zoom feature that makes more sense. You could always zoom with the Hero5, but only with preset zoom options. The Hero6 has a slider that lets you choose more precisely how far you'd like to zoom in. However, you have to choose your field of view (wide, linear, etc.) and adjust the zoom slider before recording. The feature works well for photos but not so well for video.

The Hero6 Black includes GoPro's new GP1 processor, which is far faster and capable of capturing video at 4K resolution at 60 fps.


The camera's Wi-Fi got a bit of a boost as well, so you can transfer your files over 5 GHz for faster uploads. This is good news considering you're likely to shoot more 4K videos, which are larger files.

Battery Life

The Hero6 Black's battery life is about the same as previous generations'. When I recorded video at 1440p and 60 fps, my battery lasted about an hour. That's pretty typical for most cameras, and the same as it was on the previous-generation camera. However, the Hero6 will suck up that battery juice quickly when you're using extras like voice commands, GPS and Wi-Fi. I'd keep a backup battery and charger on hand.

The Hero6 Black includes GoPro's new GP1 processor, which is far faster and capable of capturing video at 4K resolution at 60 fps.


Charging the camera took less time than I expected. I plugged the USB cable into my laptop and worked on a few other projects while it charged. Less than 3 hours later, it was ready to go. It charges more quickly on desktops or wall outlets. However, on a few occasions, I had to jiggle the battery to get it to start charging. Other GoPro users reported this same issue, and typically, removing the battery and putting it back in fixed it.

MORE: Best GoPro Accessories

Bottom Line

With its faster processor and ability to shoot at higher frame rates and a higher resolution, the GoPro Hero6 Black is an excellent successor to the already great Hero5 Black. It's nearly identical in other ways, though, which is a good thing. If you go for the upgraded Hero6, all your Hero5 accessories and batteries will be compatible.

Whether you're getting video of your family's vacation at a theme park, snorkeling in the Caribbean or recording tricks while you snowboard down the slopes, the GoPro Hero6 Black is a great action cam for capturing all of those moments.

Credit: GoPro

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  • onicgadget
    Yeah, GoPro 6 Hero is the best action camera for serious action filmmakers and photographers. It delivers incomparable quality, performance, and versatility which is unmatched by any other models on the market.