- Up to 4K at 30fps
- Image stabilization
- Water resistant to 10ATM
- Voice commands
- LCD touchscreen
- Disappointing battery life
- Microphone not as good as Hero4
- New software can be buggy
- Does not float
The HERO 5 Black is very likely the best all-around action camera on the market.
If you ask us the GoPro HERO5 Black is the best action camera of 2017. To be clear, there’s a lot GoPro could make better on the HERO 5 Black and in certain categories we would prefer other cameras, but overall it is the best one out there. Not only does it shoot 4K up to 30 frames per second and is water resistant down to 10 meters (without an external housing unit), but also GoPro has added basic image stabilization and a voice commands feature to the HERO5. It also sports a larger LCD, color touchscreen than prior models, charges via USB-C, and has one-touch recording.
That’s the big stuff, but here are a few other items you’ll be into. It has a new Linear field of view to flatten the image out so you don’t see the warped edges that you’re used to with GoPro. It shoots slow motion footage at 1080p120 and 720p240. It has GoPro’s Protune feature so that you can adjust the ISO, white balance, sharpness, etc. It has Wi-Fi for pairing it with the GoPro smartphone app, which allows you to control the camera, share footage, and review prior shots. And the HERO5 Black is compatible with most GoPro accessories as well as the Karma Drone and Karma Grip Stabilizer.
Let’s go a little deeper now. We love having image stabilization, however, it is only digital stabilization as opposed to optical stabilization, which means it’s not quite as effect as other stabilizers out there. It’s certainly better than not having stabilization, but by itself it does not completely smooth out every shot. We also feel similarly about the voice commands feature. Really nice to have, but only practical sometimes and it does eat into battery life.
And speaking of battery life, it’s pretty average on the HERO5 Black. Obviously this depends on usage and settings, etc., but expect about 60-90 minutes of recording time. Again, one-touch recording, 4K, having the LCD screen on, Wi-Fi, etc. will all affect battery performance.
Now here’s something random that we like to bring up in our action camera reviews, the HERO5 Black does not record as clear of sound as the HERO4 Silver. The sound quality is okay, but it actually is quite superb on the HERO4 and noticeably better than the latest model. Odd. Luckily, however, the HERO5 does have multiple microphones and it will attempt to take the one with the best, most clear audio. This works sometimes, but often times it can filter out a decent amount of wind noise.
So that’s the major stuff with the HERO5 Black. Solid overall camera that we really enjoy using and, in fact, it’s the action cam that we use most often nowadays. At $400, it’s not cheap, especially if you’re planning on buying accessories, a MicroSD card, etc. We say if you’ve already got a HERO4 camera, stick with it, but if you’ve got something 3+ years old, you should really like the upgrade.