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GoPro Hero 7 vs GoPro Hero 6: An In-Depth Comparison

Home / GoPro / GoPro Hero 7 vs GoPro Hero 6: An In-Depth Comparison

GoPro experienced one of its worst business years in company history in 2016, when the Karma drone was massively recalled off the market and its financial troubles resulted in a series of layoffs. Thus, when the GoPro Hero 6 first launched, the tech conglomerate had a lot to prove. Some time has passed since, and it saw the introduction of a brand new product.

Image Source: DepositPhotos

We’re talking about the GoPro Hero 7, of course. The new installment in the line was launched very recently, which is why it’s worth looking into. So, are the two much of the same action camera, or is one superior to the other? In this article, we will explore their features in-depth and decide which one is worth investing in at the end of the day. Let’s begin.

Design

GoPro Hero 6

As far as design is concerned, you can’t really tell the GoPro Hero 6 and its predecessor, the GoPro Hero 5, apart. The two sport an identical slate grey exterior with a small lighter spray-on grey text on the side. The Hero 6 measures 2.44 x 1.75 x 1.26 inches as the Hero 5 before it, and it weighs a mere 4.16 ounces. Needless to say, the nimbleness of the camera is a plus.

Although the gadget belongs to the Black line of action cameras, its color is anything but. This is a theme among the Heroes. It’s important to also mention at this point that the casing of the device offers 33 feet, or 10 meters, of water resistance. This means that you can safely use it in this environment unless you plan on diving in too deep.

Image Source: DepositPhotos

GoPro Hero 7

This is also true of the GoPro Hero 7. In addition to all the elements described above, the design of the newest model to hit markets is widely similar to that of the Hero 6, but its paint job clearly sets it apart from all previous models. For the first time in the history of GoPro’s Black line, the Hero 7 is actually black in color.

Other than that, its sleek and portable design is in tune with the tech company’s characteristic style, so no surprises there. Still, for those wondering when the gadgets will finally rise up to the promises made by their namesake, it comes as good news. As far as the exterior of the camera is concerned, the trained eye might notice another difference in build.

The microphone membrane has been completely redesigned to enhance the quality of recorded sound. Users have reported brighter mid-tones, as well as a more natural bass. This wasn’t a huge issue with the Hero 6 before it, but it certainly rubbed some people the wrong way. Thus, seeing it improved is another advantage for the Hero 7.

Processor

GoPro Hero 6

The GoPro Hero 6 might look a lot like its precursor, but that’s where the similarities with the Hero 5 stop. The model, introduced to the action camera market back in October 2017, features a much more powerful and capable processor than the brand had ever integrated into a product before. The silicon has been named GP1 by the company.

GoPro Hero 7

The processor in the GoPro Hero 7 is the very same GP1 the company designed to replace the already outdated chip that came with every single model until the Hero 6. It handles the task of running the device quite well, although it does have some lagging issues in the long run, especially when it comes to the newer features.

User Interface

GoPro Hero 6

The user interface on the 2017 GoPro Hero 6 keeps true to the company’s tried and tested design, including a touchscreen and all the classic menu options. However, it is worth mentioning that this gadget features a significant improvement when compared to its predecessors, in that pinch zoom was introduced to Hero 6.

GoPro Hero 7

The next noticeable improvement performed on the GoPro Hero 7 relates to its user interface. The company collected data on how customers interact with the menu of the device, then performed a few tweaks so that everything became more accessible. A new button introducing short clip mode has also been added, and it limits videos to 15 or 30 seconds in length.

But while the device’s UI has certainly been improved this time around, it still tends to lag sometimes. Furthermore, the GoPro Hero 7 heats up when shooting in 4K for extended amounts of time, so this is something to keep in mind. Battery life isn’t impressive with it either, but it is still a huge step forward for the company’s Black line.

Camera

GoPro Hero 6

For the first time ever, the Hero could shoot in 4K thanks to this nifty and novel addition. What is more, this can be pursued at a speed of 60 frames per second. While it is true that the common user doesn’t have much need for this robust feature, it is an advantage worth considering when you are a professional videographer.

Image Source: DepositPhotos

In fact, the regular camera enthusiast could very well use a smartphone for the same purposes, especially if they own a water-resistant model. It is clear at this point that the GoPro Hero 6 caters more to the needs of an expert crowd. Slow-motion and 1080p filming are also available at 240 frames per second, which creates an epic shot.

All this is possible to an innovative video codec system, namely High-Efficiency Video Coding, or H.265 for short. What you need to keep in mind is that some smartphones or other devices you attach the GoPro to might not be compatible with all its features due to an inconsistency in coding. Still, you will reap some of the benefits nevertheless.

When it comes to shooting video or taking pictures in low light, the GoPro Hero 6 could definitely do better. Still, it is a huge upgrade from the low-quality images produced by the Hero 5 in similar conditions, so we can’t really complain. As it is the case with most cameras, natural lighting will always produce the best quality videos and photographs.

GoPro Hero 7

Fast forward into the present, the GoPro Hero 7 sports the same features as the Hero 6. You can use it to shoot 4K or 1080p at 60, or 240 frames per second respectively. It produces 12-megapixel HDR photographs, which is something that the 6 did as well. However, when it comes to image stabilization, it shines.

If you are familiar with the intelligent auto mode on smartphones such as the relatively recent Huawei P20 Pro, then you will recognize what the third addition to the Hero 7’s roster of features is. It is called the SuperPhoto mode, and it automatically distinguishes the type of composition in the image so that it can apply just the right filter on it to enhance vibrancy and clarity.

The GoPro Hero 7 also comes with a brand new integrated live streaming option, which allows users to document their endeavors online at the highest possible image quality. Platforms such as Twitch, Facebook, Vimeo, and YouTube are already integrated into the feature.

What is more, GoPro promises to create a native platform so that its user base can share experiences among them and lay the foundation for a tight-knit community of amateur and professional videographers all around the world.

Image Stabilization

GoPro Hero 6

Another field in which the GoPro Hero 6 claims to be revolutionary, and actually is to some extent, is the area of image stabilization. While it is true that it uses the same mechanism as the Hero 5, namely Electronic Image Stabilization, the newer model does indeed perform better. Still, at the time that it came out, it was obvious that it still had a long way to go.

GoPro Hero 7

Image Source: DepositPhotos

The EIS on the GoPro Hero 7 rocks an improved Hypersmooth system, which places it way above the aptitudes of its forerunner. While it is true that the system behind it is still digital and not optical, the company boasts the action camera’s abilities to capture videos with the stability of a gimbal without the actual stress of having one incorporated into the device.

In addition to this, the GoPro Hero 7 sports four other entirely new features. The first one we want to discuss is related to the Hypersmooth EIS system, and it consists of an innovative time-lapse mode astutely named TimeWarp.

For the most part, it behaves just like a regular time-lapse, taking serial photographs of a moment and creating a high-speed montage. However, when the Hypersmooth sensor comes in, the resulting video promises to give the impression of taking a “magic carpet ride” through the recorded activities.

Battery Life

GoPro Hero 6

The GoPro Hero 6’s battery life is relatively disappointing. An untouched device lasts for under two hours, more specifically one hour and 40 minutes according to the company’s official statement. What is more, if you rock an old Hero 6, you could be looking at merely one hour of fun before it gets depleted, especially when weather conditions are unfavorable.

Even when the camera is in standby mode with GPS and Wi-Fi services switched off, it still gets drained. Popular quick fixes include turning off advanced features such as voice control, Protune, and the camera’s LCD display, as well as refraining from using the remote and always updating firmware when necessary.

Still, this hugely impacts the overall user experience you might have with the camera. Thus, the one true solution here is to always have a replacement battery on hand when you plan a long trip. It costs around 20 dollars, which is a small price to pay for this advantage. Once the original one runs out, you can simply pop the alternative in there and resume your adventure.

GoPro Hero 7

Unfortunately, the battery life of the GoPro Hero 7 isn’t drastically improved. Truth be told, this is an issue with most of the action cameras put out by the company, as their compact and portable nature simply cannot coexist with their robust features. Thus, if you want to get professional with it, always keep a spare on hand to avoid unpleasant situations.

Before we jump into the pricing, here is nice video review by Ben Schmanke.

Price

GoPro Hero 6

Finally, a discussion on price is in order, as this is a highly relevant aspect in our comparison. When the GoPro Hero 6 first hit stores, it came at quite the hefty price tag. The action camera retailed for around $499, but then its average price was lowered with $100. It still remained one very expensive gadget, but at least the cost was more realistic.

GoPro Hero 7

The cost of the GoPro Hero 7 is what truly makes the difference here. It was launched with the same price tag as the discounted Hero 6. Therefore, you have a visibly improved device at the same cost as its lower quality predecessor. No wonder many reviewers now recommend the new model over the old one.

What is more, the GoPro Hero 7 Black hit markets together with two less robust siblings, the GoPro Hero 7 Silver, and the GoPro Hero 7 White respectively. The former retails for around 299 dollars, while the latter can be yours for approximately 199 dollars. The differences in specs among them are visible off the bat, as neither sport the high-powered GP1 processor.

What is more, the two lower-end action cameras in the Hero 7 installment in the line shoot stills in just 10MP quality, instead of the 12MP HDR offered by the Black variant. They either shoot with less frames per second in 4K, or don’t have 4K integration at all, and their slow-motion speed is a considerably smaller 2x compared to the Black’s 8x.

On top of that, the three main special features of the Black we mentioned above, namely Hypersmooth Electronic Image Stabilization, TimeWarp time-lapse mode, and live streaming, are not available on the Silver and the White. Still, if you’re not a professional videographer, they can be worthy choices. After all, they get the job done in an affordable manner.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, the GoPro Hero 7 is the better value for money. It retails for a comparable, if not identical price depending on your source of choice, and it has more promising features overall. Besides the robust photo and video quality modes available on the GoPro Hero 6, the newly launched Hero 7 comes with five additional features that make it the better alternative overall.

The most notable one is its improved Electronic Image Stabilization system, known as Hypersmooth. The company claims this allows users to shoot videos with gimbal-like precision without the actual burden of having one integrated. What is more, the GoPro Hero 7 allows you to live stream your experiences, create refined time-lapse montages, and shoot incredible stills.

It still has its drawbacks. The battery life isn’t improved, the enhanced menu lags from time to time, and it can heat up when shooting 4K. however, it is the decidedly superior option for the given price. And if you want to spend less, choose one of the two lower-end variants that were launched with it. The Hero 7 line caters to everyone’s needs in a spectacular way.

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