GoPro HERO 9 Black vs GoPro HERO 10 Black: is the newest model worth the extra cash?

Small improvements across the board make the GoPro HERO 10 Black tough to beat for the older HERO 9 Black – can it pull off an upset?

GoPro HERO 10 Black and HERO 9 Black on some ropes on a beach
(Image credit: Mark Mayne)

In this GoPro HERO 9 Black vs GoPro HERO 10 Black face-off, we're going to take a closer look at how the action camera kings' two top offerings compare. The GoPro HERO 10 Black launched on 16 Sept 2021 globally, bringing with it a host of new features, many powered by GP2 chipset (the first new processor since the HERO 6 in 2017). Interestingly, though, it sticks to the old HERO 9 script in many areas. There's, as you'd expect, a price bump if you want the newest version, so is it worth it? 

While our GoPro HERO 10 Black review and HERO 9 Black review will walk you through the intricacies of each model individually, this article is here to highlight the differences between the two, to help you make a decision as to which one to buy. The HERO 10 might be the best GoPro (and in fact, the best action camera) by specs and features, but not everyone needs such power. 

Read on for our full GoPro HERO 9 Black vs GoPro HERO 10 Black showdown, in which we take a detailed look at what separates the two cameras, in terms of design, features, usability, video and still quality, and price. 

Alternatively, if you're not set on this particular brand, you can see how the H10 compares to two of the best GoPro alternatives in our GoPro HERO 10 Black vs DJI Action 2 and GoPro HERO 10 Black vs Insta360 ONE RS showdowns.  

GoPro HERO 9 Black vs GoPro HERO 10 Black: design

Although we've snapped several photos to show just how similar the two cameras are, it's hard to do justice to just how identical these two units are. The battery compartment, with inbuilt USB-C charger socket, Micro-SD card slot and battery slot is identical down to the screw threads. The battery compartment door is also the very same item, even the 1720mAh battery is identical, as is the size and shape of the removable lens cover. The two control buttons are also identical, as are the bunny ears -style lugs that flick down from the underside to attach either unit to a mount – backwards compatible, of course. 

GoPro HERO 10 Black and HERO 9 Black with bunny ears extended, lying on a beach

(Image credit: Mark Mayne)

Both the GoPro HERO 9 Black vs GoPro HERO 10 Black feature a rear touchscreen for navigating menus and framing shots, and both also feature a front screen, vital for selfie-action. 

There are physical differences between the GoPro HERO 9 Black vs GoPro HERO 10 Black though, most obviously the colour of the logo on the latter, which is now in tasteful blue. A hidden difference is the removable lens cover, which in the case of the GoPro HERO 10 Black is now hydrophobic. That might not sound like much, but it’s quite a boost, letting fingerprints and water alike slide off with ease. GoPro HERO 9 Black owners are stuck licking their lenses, or simply 'borrowing' the lens of a GoPro HERO 10 Black – they're visually indistinguishable. A final tiny gain for the HERO 10 is weight, down a fractional five grams over the older model.

GoPro HERO 9 Black and GoPro HERO 10 Black, side on

(Image credit: Mark Mayne)

If you want to pimp them further, both the HERO 9 Black and HERO 10 Black are also compatible with a wide range of accessories, including the GoPro Volta tripod/battery pack/remote control, GoPro Media Mod (with directional mic) and GoPro Light Mod

GoPro HERO 9 Black vs HERO 10 Black: features and usability

The changes that GoPro has made are almost entirely under the hood, and mainly linked to the latest GP2 SOC powering the GoPro HERO 10 Black. This offers twice the performance of the GP1 chipset in GoPro HERO 9 Black, which was launched in 2017 (so it has aged pretty well). However, the GoPro HERO 10 Black surges ahead here in a variety of areas, a more responsive touchscreen and snappier behaviour across the board are the most obvious benefits, but frame rates have been increased too. 

In addition, the GoPro HERO 10 Black banks improved stabilisation in the shape of HyperSmooth 4.0 (vs the GoPro HERO 9 Black’s HyperSmooth 3.0), and amped-up horizon levelling – up to 45 degrees in the HERO 10, compared to 27 degrees in the HERO 9. 

GoPro has sweetened the GoPro HERO 10 Black deal even further with some extra features over the older model, including auto-upload of video and stills while charging, faster wireless uploads, and a new wired upload function, all small but welcome enhancements. You’ll also get HyperSmooth 4.0 in webcam and livestream mode on the HERO 10, which may be a deal-maker for some.

GoPro HERO 9 Black vs GoPro HERO 10 Black: video and stills

To be fair, both GoPros pack a punch here by anyone's standards, the GoPro HERO 10 Black lifting frame rates and tweaking resolution up just a touch, mainly thanks to the new GP2 chipset. Indeed, the GoPro HERO 10 Black frame rates are doubled when compared to the HERO 9 Black, hitting 5.3K/60 as opposed to 5K/30, 4K120 compared to 4K60, and 2.7K/240 vs 2.7K/120. 

Frame grabs are boosted on the newer model too, you can grab up to 19.6MP stills from 5K 4:3 video with the GoPro HERO 10 Black, and mere 12MP stills from 4K 4:3 video on the HERO 9 Black. 

Photos receive a small improvement on the GoPro HERO 10 Black, up to 23MP from the GoPro HERO 9 Black’s 20MP. The GoPro HERO 10 Black also gets the newest version of HyperSmooth 4.0, leaving the older model stuck at just HyperSmooth 3.0, although both offer excellent stabilisation.

GoPro HERO 9 Black and GoPro HERO 10 Black

(Image credit: Mark Mayne)

GoPro HERO 9 Black vs GoPro HERO 10 Black: price and acessories

Both the HERO 10 Black and HERO 9 Black can be purchased direct from GoPro, or via third party retailers. In terms of sticker price, you save a fair chunk on either if you opt to buy with a 1-year GoPro subscription (Is a GoPro subscription is worth it?).  We don't tend to see GoPro deals on the top models, but you never know.

The RRPs are as follows. For the GoPro HERO 10 Black:

  • UK: £379.98 (with subscription) or £479.99
  • US: $399 (with subscription) or $499 
  • AUS: A$599.95 (with subscription) or A$749.95

For the GoPro HERO 9 Black:

  • UK: £329.98 (with subscription) or £429.99
  • US: $349.98 (with subscription) or $449.99
  • AUS: A$559.95 (with subscription) or A$699.95

Should I buy the GoPro HERO 9 Black or GoPro HERO 10 Black?

Assuming you’re set on buying a new GoPro at RRP with GoPro subscription, the relatively small extra cost is well worth it – it’s a better camera all round, and battery life aside sets out a strong case in nearly all areas, especially where responsiveness is concerned. The new chipset is clearly a huge improvement, and faster transfers, quicker boot times and general zippiness won’t leave you waiting around like the HERO 9 can at times. That said, the same battery is being asked to do a lot more in the HERO 10, and suffers accordingly. And if you're not intensely bothered about maxing out framerates, then the GoPro HERO 9 Black is a great performer. 

Mark Mayne has been covering tech, gadgets and outdoor innovation for longer than he can remember. A keen climber, mountaineer and scuba diver, he is also a dedicated weather enthusiast and flapjack consumption expert.