If you’re after an action camera and only the best is good enough, you’ll have come across GoPro’s flagship product, the GoPro Hero 11 Black, and its step-down sibling, the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini. Both are capable action cameras with similar specs but aimed at very different markets. Which of the two is the best action camera for you, and what kind of action camera user do you want to be?
They may be small and ideal for capturing the highs of extreme sports, but the best GoPros can also be used for creative filmmaking.
Our first contender is the Hero 11 Black, the follow-up to the GoPro Hero 10 Black, which adds a new, larger 8:7 CMOS sensor to bring more resolution (5,599 x 4,927 pixels, to be precise), 10-bit HEVC colour depth, better HyperSmooth 5.0 video stabilisation an even wider field of view.
These core video features are exciting, but you’ll also find them – as well as and 5.3K/60 frames per second video recording – on the spec sheet of the step-down Hero 11 Black Mini. So how do you choose between them?
A third contender, the Hero 11 Black Creator Edition, is also available, but since it’s merely a bundle that adds GoPro’s Volta Hand Grip, Light Mod and Media Mod, here we’re just comparing the Hero 11 Black and the Hero 11 Black Mini. Let’s look at how they compare to help you make that all-important buying decision.
GoPro Hero 11 Black vs Hero 11 Black Mini: design and build
Despite being cut from the same cloth, these two cameras look significantly different. While the Hero 11 Black measures 2.8x2.17x1.34”/71.8x50.8x33.6mm and weighs 5.5 oz/154g, the Hero 11 Black Mini measures 2x1.49x2/52.4 x 38 x 51.2mm and weighs 4.7 oz / 133 g. That’s a 15% difference in weight. While the former is rectangular, the latter is square and palm-sized.
The flagship has one pair of folding fingers fixed to its undercarriage with both front-facing 1.4” and a rear-facing 2.27” LCD screen, while the Hero 11 Black Mini has an extra pair of folding fingers on the back and does away with screens altogether. Well, not quite – there is a tiny LCD screen on the top, but it’s merely to show the user what the device’s current mode and status is.
Perhaps the biggest physical difference between the two products is the battery. While the flagship uses removable 1,720mAh Enduro batteries that can be swapped out when necessary (cue a couple of spares in your pockets when you head out on a long bike ride), the Hero 11 Black Mini has a built-in 1,500mAh Enduro battery that has to be recharged in-situ using a USB-C cable.
Both cameras have USB-C, but only the flagship offers an HDMI output for connecting to a display and/or GoPro’s Media Mod accessory. Both cameras are as rugged as each other and are waterproof down to 33ft/10m.
WINNER: Draw. Whether you want two LCD screens or two sets of folding fingers will depend on what you want to primarily use a GoPro for.
GoPro Hero 11 Black vs Hero 11 Black Mini: video and sound
For almost all users, the two cameras have identical video capabilities, though there are some features lacking on the Hero 11 Black Mini. Both offer TimeWarp 3.0, Star Trails, Light Painting, Vehicle Lights and Night Lapse (up to 5.3K), though the Hero 11 Black Mini has no dedicated Photo mode. The latter arguably isn’t an issue since it’s very easy to grab 24.69MP photo frame grabs from 5.3K video.
Only on the Hero 11 Black can you get into the details for time-lapses, such as toggling between digital lenses (wide and linear), tweaking the intervals and setting to record in raw quality. HindSight (a kind of loop recording), scheduled capture and duration capture also remain exclusive features.
The flagship also does slightly better with live streaming, offering 1080p60 w/HyperSmooth 4.0, while the smaller camera offers only 720p quality. It’s also alone in working as a webcam.
Overall the Hero 11 Black Mini lacks a few advanced controls – there’s no exposure control and no 3.5mm microphone input for upgrading its audio, for example – though we’re not convinced that any of these differences are actual shortcomings.
WINNER: Hero 11 Black has a more refined and customizable experience when it comes to video and sound, but mostly on features that won’t be relevant to many users.
GoPro Hero 11 Black vs Hero 11 Black Mini: price and extras
The GoPro Hero11 Black went on sale globally in September 2022 for $399.98/ £399.98/AUS $649.95 for GoPro Subscribers and $499.99/ £499.99/AUS $799.95 MSRP. A couple of months later, the GoPro Hero11 Black Mini was launched for $299.99/£299.99/AUS$499.95 for GoPro subscribers and $399.99/ £399.99/AUS$649.95 MSRP.
Unless you go for a version bundled with accessories, you’ll get a curved adhesive mount, mounting buckle, USB-C cable and thumb screw in a hard-shell camera case, though with the Hero 11 Black; you also get an extra rechargeable Enduro battery.
Another feature that differs is GPS; while the Hero 11 Black offers connection to GPS, GLONASS and GALILEO, the Hero 11 Black Mini doesn’t offer any kind of satellite connectivity.
WINNER: Hero 11 Black Mini sees a significant saving over the Hero 11 Black, which considering there is no sacrifice in terms of video quality, is hard to ignore.
GoPro Hero 11 Black vs Hero 11 Black Mini: Which should you buy?
Whether the Hero 11 Black or the Hero 11 Black Mini will better suit your purposes depends on what kind of user you are or intend to be.
If you want to shoot sequences from the handlebars of a bike, a ski helmet or from a skateboard, surfboard or vehicle then the Hero 11 Black Mini is aimed squarely at you. After all, you’re likely going to deactivate the Hero 11 Black’s front and rear-facing screens to save battery. That is, unless you can’t live with the Hero 11 Black Mini’s lack of removable and replaceable battery.
If you’re more into vlogging, making TikTok shorts or any kind of creative filmmaking then the Hero 11 Black Mini is for you. As well as those screens for composing shots – including a piece to camera – it’s got slightly more in the way of creative tools and, as a bonus, a dedicated photo mode.
The good news is that whatever you choose doesn’t have to mean a sacrifice in terms of video quality, which will mean your adventures and content can always reach 5.7K and 10-bit color – and that’s why we love both the Hero 11 Black and the Hero 11 Black Mini.