Many years ago buying a GoPro was a simple matter of scraping together enough cash, picking your model and clicking the 'buy’ button. Sure, you’d consider the timing carefully, maybe opt for an older model if times were tight, and check for GoPro deals before committing, but it was pretty straightforward stuff.
Then it all changed, and GoPro started offering subscriptions, which compile a bunch of benefits throughout the year with a headline saving off a new GoPro camera – including the GoPro Hero 10 Black – an interesting proposition by anyone’s standards. So, what exactly do you get for a year's GoPro subscription, and does it stack up?
How much is a GoPro subscription?
The GoPro subscription (as of late 2021) will set you back $49.99/yr (US), £49.99 (UK) or $69.99 (AUS), and is structured as an annual direct debit, so you pay the full whack upfront, and again in 12 month’s time unless you cancel. Although that’s a fair chunk of change, it’s a shade over 4 quid ($4 US dollars, $5.8AUS) a month, which compares favourably to a Premium Spotify or Netflix subscription.
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GoPro subscription: what discounts do you get?
For those at 'purchase' stage, the big and wildly obvious benefit of a GoPro subscription is a sizeable discount on your new GoPro camera. The latest GoPro HERO 10 Black with accessory bundle would see a considerable $150 US, £150 GBP or $220 AUS discount on the full retail price, although it’s worth considering that in real terms you’re actually getting a $100 US, £100 GBP and $185 AUS discount once the cost of the GoPro subscription is factored in. It’s worth keeping your eyes out for deals though.
GoPro thinks the deal is so attractive that you can include the sub during the purchase of a new camera, at which point the discount is automatically added to your basket. A standalone GoPro HERO 10 Black or GoPro MAX unit will see a $100 US, £100 GBP or $185 AUS discount, while the still-decent GoPro HERO 9 Black breaks even on buying the subscription at a lesser $50 US, £50 GBP or $92 AUS.
That’s not all though, as GoPro also offers subscribers ‘Up to 50% off GoPro.com’ – a deal that makes the phrase ‘up to’ work nearly as hard as one might expect. Without going into the entire kit list individually, the respective deals are: batteries for older models and MAX get 30% off, HERO10 and 9 get 20% off. Mounts get 50% or 30% off variously, and Mods get a 30% cut, as do bags and cases and clothing lines.
Finally, protective housings and the like vary between 50% and 30%, depending on the flavour. Digging through the small print, you’re restricted to up to 10 discounted mounts per year, so you can scrap that plan to supply all your mates.
GoPro subscription: perks and added camera features
The side of the subscription that GoPro itself is celebrating the most is the unlimited cloud storage for your video and stills, all backed up at 100% quality. If you've got the HERO 10, you'll also be able to set it to auto-upload your day's snaps and footage to the cloud when you plug your GoPro into the wall to charge. This auto-backup being particularly useful for the busy.
You’ll also unlock premium editing tools in the Quik app, including the Speed tool for slow-motion, fast and freeze, as well as premium filters, themes and GoPro Originals Music to prevent content copyright strikes. Last but not least, you’ll be able to stream video directly to Facebook Live, YouTube, Twitch or other platforms using a unique private link.
GoPro subscription: free replacement cams
Speaking of protection, the GoPro subscription does offer a significant safety net, something that’ll be appreciated by daredevil GoPro enthusiasts as well as the casually clumsy: free replacement for broken GoPros. This might sound like a deal too good to be true, and indeed there are some caveats; you can exchange up to two cameras per year for the same model (Fusion and HERO 5 or later), according to GoPro, and rather ominously the official site notes that ‘Fees apply’. In the US, these fees are considerable: $99 for HERO 10 / HERO 9 and MAX, $79 for HERO 8 Black and Hero 7, and $69 for older models.
Is a GoPro subscription worth it?
The GoPro subscription is a pretty robust package overall, and for buyers shelling out for a brand new HERO 10 Black and accessories, that $100 US, £100 GBP and $150 AUS discount is a bit of a no-brainer. For standalone cameras, the discount is still decent for the HERO 10 standalone, but the HERO 9 starts to look a little weak. That said, you wouldn’t need to buy many mounts or mods to break even, but many folk will already have a drawer or two of mounts from older models.
The trade-in element of the package is certainly a bonus, although the fees are high enough to discourage doing it in anything but the worst situation. It’s better than having a dead GoPro on the shelf, although seeing it as ‘insurance’ isn’t quite accurate – there’s no cover for theft or complete loss.
Elsewhere, the unlimited cloud storage is nice to have, as are the other sweetener benefits, but not worth getting too excited about (unless you’re perennially cursing having to backup your footage). It’s easy to see how useful this is for the power user though, taking care of a chunk of admin completely painlessly.
GoPro is pushing the subscription model hard, and overall it’s a very attractive package for anyone planning a big splurge on a HERO 10 and accessories. The less spendy and more canny bargain hunters will want to keep a keen eye on sales events such as Black Friday and New Year to see if they can squeeze the discount still further.