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

Now the GoPro HERO 10 Black has arrived, where does that leave our old HERO 9 Black? Which GoPro should you buy?

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

It's that time of year again: GoPro has presented the latest in a long line of incredible action cameras. The GoPro HERO 10 Black launched on 16 Sept 2021 globally, bringing with it a host of new features, but interestingly, sticking to the old HERO 9 script in many areas. 

While our GoPro HERO 10 Black review and HERO 9 Black review will walk you through the intricacies of each model, this article is here to highlight the differences between the two. Faced with a choice between GoPro HERO 10 Black vs HERO 9 Black, which action cam is best GoPro to buy? 

Bringing with it small improvements across the board, many powered by GP2 chipset (the first new processor since the HERO 6 in 2017), there's no doubt that the GoPro HERO 10 Black is the best action camera in town. However, this also means that the older flagship GoPro HERO 9 Black will see some discounting, especially when the Black Friday 2021 sales roll around, setting the scene for a battle royale of GoPro deals.  

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. 

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)

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

The GoPro HERO 10 Black launched with a UK RRP of £379.98 with an included one-year GoPro subscription or £479.99 MSRP without a subscription. This pushes the HERO 9 Black into second place at £329.98 with an included one-year GoPro subscription or £379.99 MSRP without a subscription.

Both GoPro HERO 10 Black and GoPro HERO 9 Black are compatible with the existing range of accessories for the HERO 9 Black, consisting of the Media Mod, the Display Mod, the Light Mod, and finally the Max Lens Mod. The latter will be supported in the GoPro HERO 10 Black via a post-launch firmware update.

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 extra £50 notes for the GoPro HERO 10 Black are well spent – 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.

However, if you can find a bargain that deepens that HERO 9 discount a little, and/or you’re not intensely bothered about maxing out framerates, then the GoPro HERO 9 Black is a great performer. Another way to look at it is that the GoPro HERO 9 Black is 13.16% cheaper RRP than the new GoPro HERO 10 Black flagship, which isn’t a bad starting discount on last year’s top dog. 

However, if you want the king of the hill and don’t mind laying out a shade more, then the GoPro HERO 10 Black is your go-to winner...

Mark Mayne
Mark Mayne

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.