You may notice that our site does not have many ads and all of our content is free. Instead, if you make purchases through certain links that we provide, we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). We appreciate your support. You can learn more here.If you make purchases through certain links that we provide, we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). We appreciate your support. Learn more here.
The new GoPro HERO6 Black looks virtually identical to the HERO5 Black, however, under the hood, there are significant changes. Whether these improvements are worth the extra $100 for the HERO6 is up to you. With an MSRP of $400, the HERO5 already is teetering on expensive and at $500 the HERO6 is pretty much professional grade. Also, for your reference, here’s the link to our GoPro HERO6 Review.
GoPro HERO6 Black – New Processor
The HERO6 has a new GP1 processor that was built just for GoPro. It will supposedly make the camera 2x faster and improve image processing. It indeed does make the camera much faster, but not sure if it’s really 2x faster. Even more, stabilization has been vastly improved thanks to the new processor. GoPro says that it will virtually replace the need for a gimbal. It’s much better, but it still cannot completely erase the need for a gimbal. As much as we love our GoPro Karma Grip, it would clearly be simpler to just use the camera, but that gimbal still is the best way to get smooth shots.
For most people the improvements to video and photo quality will be overkill, but for hardcore users, the upgrades will be welcomed with open arms. The HERO6 now shoots 4K at 60 frames per second, which is stunning. It also shoots 1080p at 240 frames per second for ultra slow motion footage. All of this can be recorded at a higher bit rate of 78Mb/s and the compression is better now that GoPro uses HEVC (or H.265 codec). All this means is improved video quality.
Breakdown of video resolutions from GoPro.com
The HERO5 Black used an H.264 codec and only recorded at 60Mb/s. While the HERO6 can do this as well, the upgraded codec and bit rate should surely make for better video. In fact, we think the video is actually noticeably more clear and has more accurate colors. There’s almost no comparison between the HERO6 and 5. The HERO6 takes far better video.
GoPro HERO 6 Black – Adds 5GHz Wi-Fi
The big problem with GoPro is that you take amazing footage, but hardly any of it is shared with friends and family because there are frictions related to editing videos. GoPro is hoping to make huge strides here by adding faster Wi-Fi to the HERO 6 Black so that your footage transfers to your phone quicker. From there, the GoPro app has a QuikStory feature to automatically create you a video based on the footage that you’ve recorded.
Screenshot of the QuikStory sharing process.
The GP1 processor allows the camera to better analyze faces and combining this with other factors, GoPro is better able to analyze which clips are the most important. We already saw that on the HERO 5 Black, GoPro would would highlight if you cursed because they saw that as a memorable moment. They’re taking this idea to the extreme, hoping that you will share more GoPro videos. To be fair, however, we saw a similar feature years back with the TomTom Bandit [see on Amazon], but I’m hoping that GoPro executes far better than TomTom did. Almost certainly, they will.
More sharing, less editing…that’s the plan.
GoPro HERO 6 Black – Zoom & Microphones
For the first time ever with a GoPro, you have the ability to zoom in (though not yet in 4K). GoPros obviously have different field of views, but never have you been able to zoom. We’ve seen wide, medium, narrow, then SuperView, then Linear, and now the ability to zoom. Pretty neat stuff.
Also, now the audio quality is much better on the HERO6 than it is on the HERO5. It is night and day. The audio is simply better with more clarity on the HERO6.
GoPro HERO6 Action Camera – Photos
The HERO6 is still taking 12MP photos just like the HERO5, however, in additional to JPEGs, it takes RAW and HDR images. We don’t use our HERO5 much for images, but if that’s your thing, RAW and HDR are a major upgrade.
With that said, the low light performance is far better with both photos and video on the HERO6, as demonstrated in the picture above. The colors are more accurate, the picture is sharper, and our subject here (Dillon) is noticeably brighter and more visible. Also, notice the clarity of the brick in the top right. It’s far more clear and defined with the HERO6.
Verdict with the GoPro HERO 6 Action Cam
This is a professional grade action camera…and priced as such. For nearly everyone, the HERO5 Black will be just fine, however, you get the best of the best with the HERO6. The HERO6 is demonstrably a better camera. It really is fantastic, even compared to the HERO5, which is pretty dang good by itself. 4K at 60fps is huge and the slow motion will be unbelievable with 1080p240. We’re particularly excited about the zooming, faster processor, and QuikStories. Hopefully those will be features we see on all of the action cameras to come.
The HERO5 Black has been our go-to action camera for the past year. The only real reason, however, that you would get the 5 is that it’s cheaper…much cheaper. In fact, while the MSRP is $400, we regularly see awesome deals on it to where it’s well under $400.
HERO6 looks virtually identical to this HERO5 Black camera.
Other than that, the HERO 6 has all the features of the 5 and then some. Both cameras are durable as heck and water resistant down to 10 meters without an external housing unit. Both have the same batteries with three microphones. Both are compatible with the Karma Drone. Both work with basically all GoPro accessories. Both support voice commands, which is supposedly getting even better now on the HERO6. And both have the 2″ touchscreen on the back for preview and viewing media as well as changing settings. In short, the HERO6 is a supercharged HERO5 with a new processor and more 4K…overall, it is definitely the better camera. And the best action camera to date.