6 reasons to use a GoPro instead of a smartphone to record videos

Break through the limitations of your smartphone with cinema-ready results

under embargo until 2pm BST on 6th September, when the news embargo lifts./ GoPro launches HEro 12 Black Action Camera
(Image credit: GoPro)

Today’s smartphones go way beyond the basic remit of keeping us connected to friends, family and workmates - they are also gaming devices, video streamers, MP3 players and, perhaps more importantly, pocket digital cameras.

The temptation to ignore the incremental updates occurring in the digital photography world and simply snap away with a smartphone is real and ever-present, especially seeing as the modern smartphone is nearly always in a pocket, and it saves you the faff of lugging around additional equipment.

But despite the modern smartphone proving an extremely capable capturer of still images and high-resolution video, it still has its limitations, and this is where purpose-built, diminutive devices like the best GoPros come into their own.

And when we say GoPros, we mean action cameras in general, as although GoPro is synonymous with action cameras the same way Fitbit is with fitness trackers, there are other brands to consider before buying an action camera than just GoPro (although GoPros are pretty good).

With that in mind, we have mulled over six reasons why you should leave the smartphone behind and get creative with GoPro. Lights, camera, extreme action!

(Haven't got a GoPro yet? Check out T3's best cheap GoPro deals roundup to find an offer today.)

1. A GoPro is more rugged

The bottom line is that GoPros are built tough. Think about it, these cameras are designed to be attached to a helmet as that helmet (and human) jump out of a plane, ski off a cliff or leap over several buses on a motorcycle. The latest GoPro Hero 12 Black is pretty much indestructible straight out of the box, with things like a hydrophobic lens cover ensuring water shots remain crystal clear. All without the need to purchase additional cases and cover. 

2. There are lots of shooting modes to choose from

The GoPro as we know it is in its 12th iteration, and over that time, the company has tweaked and added features that make capturing the best shots easier. 

For example, Hindsight captures up to 30 seconds of footage before you start recording so you don’t miss a moment, while bespoke Night Effects make it simple to snare star trails and get creative with light painting.

Cleverly, GoPro also offers a number of lens angles and orientations, with everything from super-wide HyperView to more cinematic widescreen options and even vertical capture for direct posting to social media accounts.

3. It captures pro level image and sound

Even professional camera crews resort to GoPro when capturing the action, as the latest devices offer top-level frame rates and resolutions, as well as the ability to record video in 10-bit colour with GP-Log encoding.

It might sound like word soup, but it allows pro creators to make the most of advanced colour grading features in post-production. Similarly, still photography can be captured in RAW and at crazy resolutions, resulting in more detail and scope when getting creative in Lightroom, PhotoShop and other digital image manipulation software.

4. There’s fewer distractions with a GoPro

While a smartphone is the last word in convenience when it comes to grabbing and snaring the shot, it can also be very annoying when notifications come in and you get sidetracked with an email chain rather than capturing the moment.

A GoPro is designed to work alongside your smartphone, which should act as a secondary camera or the perfect place to throw together a quick video and/or stills image edit, leaving capturing duties solely to the action cam.

So, no more missing the moment while replying to an Instagram message or having a video ruined, thanks to an incoming call.

5. Editing masterpieces is Quik and easy

One of the biggest bugbears GoPro owners had with their devices was the issue of capturing gigabytes worth of excellent video footage but little knowledge, know-how or desire to edit it into something engaging.

The launch of GoPro’s Quik smartphone app made it far simpler to sync the technology (typically your phone and GoPro) and throw together neat little video clips from the footage captured by the action camera. 

What’s more, an Auto Highlight feature will bundle together what it determines as your best clips, making for a very quick and easy social share or a great starting point for your next masterpiece.

6. You can wear it

Have you tried attaching your precious smartphone to the handlebars of a motorcycle and shredding several laps of a motocross course? You have to be either very brave or very daft to attempt such an endeavour, as not only will the resulting footage probably look rubbish, but it will also likely result in a very smashed phone.

We’ve already mentioned the robustness of a GoPro, but its other USP is the vast array of mounts (both official and third-party) that are on offer. Extension poles, floating grips, bite mounts, chest straps and all manner of suction points make it easier to stick a GoPro anywhere you desire.

Leon Poultney

Leon has been writing about automotive and consumer tech for longer than he cares to divulge. When he’s not testing the latest fitness wearable and action camera, he’s out in a shed fawning over his motorcycles or trying not to kill himself on a mountain bike/surfboard/other extreme thing. He's also a man who knows his tools, and he's provided much of T3's drills coverage over the years, all without injuring himself.