In this GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini review, we’ll discover that there’s more to action cameras than front and rear displays. A trend in the last few years has been to add a front display to action cameras to capitalize on the vlogging/TikTok craze, but it’s added weight and complexity that some don’t want.
Cue the streamlined GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini, which takes away most of the displays usually found on the best action cameras but preserves the excellent video quality found on the flagship GoPro Hero 11 Black.
There’s more to this action camera than what it lacks. For starters, it’s got extra fixings to allow it to be mounted in new ways. The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini also differs from the GoPro Hero 11 Black in its battery choice. Here, the battery is built-in and must be recharged using a USB-C cable. That makes this diminutive product an action camera for making relatively short recordings of activities where the composition isn’t important – and that primarily means extreme sports.
(First reviewed May 2023)
GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini review: price and availability
The GoPro HERO11 Black Mini was announced in November 2022 and is available to buy now directly from GoPro UK, GoPro US and GoPro AU for $299.99/£299.99/AUS$499.95 for GoPro subscribers and $399.99. For the latest prices, check out the price widgets at the top and bottom of this review.
GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini: specs
- Weight: 4.7 oz/133 g
- Dimensions: 52.4x51.2x38 mm
- Video: 2.7K at 240fps (8x slo-mo), 4K at 120fps, 5.3K at 60fps (10-bit HEVC/120Mbps max. bit rate)
- Photo: 24.69MP photo frame-grabs from (8:7) 5.3K video
- ISO range: 100-6400
- Image Sensor: 1/1.9” CMOS
- FOV: 157º
- Aperture: f/2.8
- Connectivity: 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 and USB-C
- App: GoPro Quik
- Battery: 1,500mAh/2-3 hours
- Timelapse: TimeWarp 3.0, Star Trails, Light Painting, Vehicle Lights, Night Lapse (up to 5.3K)
- Slow motion: Up to 8x
- Waterproofing: 33ft/10m
- GPS: No
- Stabilization: HyperSmooth 5.0 and Horizon Lock
- Built-in storage: No
- Live streaming: Yes (via app)
GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini review: design and build quality
The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini’s design is all about form factor rather than being lightweight. At 4.7oz/133g it’s not much lighter than the flagship GoPro’s 5.5 oz/156g. However, it’s square and little more than half the width, and it’s very obviously made for handlebars and helmets. On the undercarriage are the regular GoPro fixings, but the extra real estate earned by sacrificing the rear-mounted LCD hasn’t been wasted. Here there’s an extra second set of fixings, meaning the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini can be mounted in new ways to keep it as low profile as possible. All of its folding fingers are magnetic, so stay flat when not in use.
GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini review: set-up and use
There’s the usual paucity of hard buttons on the outside of this GoPro, though the power switch and the record buttons can be used to navigate the only screen on the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini – a tiny 0.55”/ 13mm status-only display that’s almost impossible to read. At least it gives an extra way of controlling the device if you don’t want to use GoPro’s Quik app. However, it is the best way to operate the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini. If, for example, you want to use it to record a bike ride it makes sense to refine its position on a handlebar mount after checking a preview of its field of view via the app. In my test, I found the device easy and reliable to connect to via an iPhone, first via Bluetooth to establish a connection and then via the device’s own WiFi network for live previews. After the video has been recorded a low-resolution preview is immediately available in the app. Grabs from videos are instant and it’s also very simple to edit and upload videos straight to social media, including YouTube.
GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini review: performance
During my tests the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini behaved really well, producing first-class video across all settings. It did get rather hot after about 30 minutes of use, though the performance didn’t appear to be affected. It was a little cumbersome to keep checking back on the Quik app to alter the video settings, but in real-world use, it’s mostly going to be a case of set-and-forget – you choose the resolution, or the mode, and start recording. You then check the footage later. That’s what the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini is designed for, and it works so well. It may not have a front and rear screen for making composition super-easy, but I didn’t much miss them on the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini.
Perhaps the biggest design change to consider is its lack of a removable battery. If you’re used to using a GoPro for a few hours and then swapping out a fresh battery you’re going to struggle with this unit. The built-in battery lasts about two hours but can be topped up at any point – even while you shoot – using a portable battery cabled up via USB-C. It’s a messy workaround, but it might do the job depending on the shooting scenario. Either way it’s worth investing in one of the best power banks.
GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini review: verdict
The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini puts the action back into action cameras. It’s built all and only for use in tight situations where a set-and-forget approach can be taken, be it the handlebars of a bike, a body strap while skiing, or the edge of a surfboard. While vloggers, Tik-Tokers and filmmakers can choose the pricier GoPro Hero 11 Black for its multiple displays, this slimmed-down action camera is one for extreme sports – arguably the main target market for action cameras. Despite the inconvenience of not having a removable battery and its relatively short battery life, all-around excellent video quality makes the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini hard to fault.
GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini review: also consider
Most people choosing to buy the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini will have first considered the flagship GoPro Hero 11 Black, with the former’s lack of display and more affordable price tag the main considerations. However, while the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini might be unique in the GoPro arsenal it goes head to head with a couple of other extreme sports-centric action cameras.
The dinky DJI Action 2 has a similar form factor and a similar tendency to overheat and equally excellent image stabilization, adding a clever magnetic mounting and mod system. Alternatively, have a look around at T3's best cheap action camera guide for more affordable options.