GoPro Hero5 Black review: Forget the rest, this is the GoPro to get

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The Good The GoPro Hero5 Black is a true flagship camera with all the shooting options from its predecessor plus raw and wide dynamic range photo capture and linear field of view video, a touchscreen, a waterproof body, GPS, electronic image stabilization, stereo audio, voice control, the option for auto cloud uploads, and the best photo and video quality in a GoPro.

The Bad Battery life, especially with GPS, Wi-Fi and EIS on, is predictably short and the camera is not compatible with older batteries. Auto upload feature only works with GoPro's $5/month Plus service. Linear field of view and electronic image stabilization not available at all resolutions and frame rates.

The Bottom Line Combining everything great about the Hero4 cameras and then some, the GoPro Hero5 Black is a no-compromise capture device for the ordinary and extraordinary.

8.6 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Image quality 8

With the Hero5 Black, GoPro is selling more than a camera. It's a solution for shooting, editing and sharing video nearly anywhere. Whether that's done at the beach, on a mountain or in your backyard is up to you.

It's been more than two years since GoPro launched the Hero4 cameras and in that time, unsurprisingly, competitors caught up or surpassed them on features as well as price. Even the company's top-of-the-line Hero4 Black ($400 at Walmart) was missing an important feature -- a touchscreen -- that made it less attractive than the less expensive step-down Hero4 Silver.

The Hero5 Black corrects this, giving you everything you'd find in the Hero4 Black, including the best possible video and photo quality, plus a touchscreen and a whole host of new features for $399 in the US, £350 in the UK or AU$549 in Australia.


The Hero5 Black's touchscreen is bright and responsive.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

The new camera also does away with one of the things I liked least about them: the polycarbonate housing. The Hero5 is dustproof and waterproof to 10 meters (33 feet). You don't have to think twice about a little snow, mud, sand, rain or surf. There's no more muffled audio from being sealed up and the lens cover is easily replaced if it gets dinged. For those times when you do need more protection, there's a housing case good to depths of 60 meters (196 feet).

GoPro also ditched the three-button setup on prior models. Press the record button on top to power up and start recording, then press it again to stop recording and turn it off. There's also a small shooting mode button on the side that acts as a power button as well.

Don't have your hands free to work the camera? The Hero5 can be controlled with your voice. It works really well in general and I found myself using it when I didn't even have to.

Here's the full list of voice commands:

  • "GoPro, start recording"
  • "GoPro, highlight"
  • "GoPro, stop recording"
  • "GoPro, take a photo"
  • "GoPro, shoot burst"
  • "GoPro, start time lapse"
  • "GoPro, stop time lapse"
  • "GoPro, video mode"
  • "GoPro, photo mode"
  • "GoPro, time lapse mode"
  • "GoPro, burst mode"
  • "GoPro, turn off"

There are no voice commands for turning on and off wireless or the built-in GPS, which could save battery life if included. Also, in noisy environments like biking around New York, it worked sporadically. The GoPro Remo waterproof voice-activated remote fixes this, making it possible to ride through the city with the camera mounted on my helmet and control the camera hands-free.

All of the shooting options from the Hero4 Black are carried over, including video capture at up to 4K resolution at 30 frames per second as well as 1080p at 120fps. New options include 12-megapixel photos in raw format for more editing control, and there's also a wide dynamic range mode. GoPro also added a linear-view setting that corrects distortion in its wide-angle photos and videos as well as electronic image stabilization (EIS). Neither the EIS or linear field of view are available in 4K and can't be used with frame rates higher than 60fps.