Tech Junkie Review: GoPro HERO7 Black

“GoPro” has become the “Kleenex” of action cameras.  People use the brand name to talk about any small HD action camera, even when it’s not an actual GoPro.  It’s a problem that is forcing the actual GoPro to do more.  To add more unique features that seperate their camers from the rest of the pack.  The newest GoPro HERO7 Black promises the smoothest video ever from an action camera without the need for a hand-held gimbal.  I took it for a test.

Hardware

The first thing any GoPro fan will notice is that the new GoPro HERO7 looks almost identical to pervious GoPro models.  This isn’t bad, it’s a familiar form factor that GoPro owners have come to love.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  On top of that, this means you can use the HERO7 is compatible with many existing cases and frames.

The rest of the hardware is also pretty standard stuff.  You’ll find the power button on the side, the shutter button on the top and a touchscreen on the back.  The flap on the side reveals an HDMI output and a USB-C port.  On the button the flap reveals the battery and micro-SD card slot.

GoPro promises that the HERO7 is durable and waterproof up to 33 feet underwater without a special case.

Secret Sauce

With so many GoPro knock-offs on the market (I’ve reviewed plenty of them) the secret sauce is baked into the software.  The GoPro HERO7 Black has voice activated commands, ProTune enhancements built-in and the brand new HyperSmooth video feature.  HyperSmooth is the software feature that promises to take that real-time mountain biking, snowboarding or jogging video and smooth it out in real-time.  This is done in realtime as you shoot video.  Sure, we’ve heard of image stabalization features before but GoPro is promoting this as something much better.

Bottom line… it is something better.  It’s the best real-time image stabalization I’ve ever seen in a video camera.  It won’t replace a gimbal or steadicam entirely but it does come close.  It somehow manages to smooth out video without the typical blur we see in post-processing stabalization.  I even taped a HERO7 and a HERO5 together to see the difference side by side.  You can judge for yourself.

Conclusion

Hypersmooth can not totally replace a gimbal or a steadycam.  It’s just not the same.  With that said, it’s pretty amazing.  For most people, it’ll more than enough.  The response from nearly everyone I showed the video to was “WOW!”  My only complaint about the Hypersmooth technology is that you have to buy the most expensive GoPro HERO7 to get it.  The $200 entry level HERO7 doesn’t have Hypersmooth.  You’ll have to fork over $400 to get the feature along with the ability to stream from your GoPro to Facebook live.  Worth it?  Totally.  You get what you pay for and with the GoPro HERO7 you are easily getting the best action camera on the market.

You can buy the new GoPro HERO7 Black right now directly from GoPro, on Amazon for $377.98 (Jan 2019) or at most major retailers.

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