Another year and there’s finally a new GoPro that just might help you ‘go pro’. The GoPro Hero 12 Black just launched worldwide, but I’ve had it with me for almost a week. GoPro hosted a fun little event for some media in India where we got to test the Hero 12 Black in its elements. As always, the older Hero 11 Black remains available in India but at a discounted price. The new Hero 12 Black is priced at Rs. 45,000 for the basic kit, while the Creators Edition will cost you Rs. 65,000.
While the full review will take a little longer, here are my first impressions of GoPro’s new action camera.
There isn’t much new about the GoPro Hero 12 Black compared to the Hero 11 Black, especially in terms of hardware. It uses the same GP2 processor, a 1/1.9-inch image sensor with support for the larger 8:7 aspect ratio, and offers some of the same features as the Hero 11 Black. In terms of design, it looks largely the same as its predecessor, but now features blue dots on the body. The dimensions are also the same as those of the Hero 11 Black, so every accessory for the Hero 11 Black fits on the Hero 12 Black.
The GoPro Hero 12 Black still offers water resistance up to 10 meters, which requires additional housing. It gets a 2.27-inch touchscreen on the back and a smaller 1.4-inch non-touch color screen on the front. The lens cap is removable and now supports the Max Lens Mod 2.0. You also get the mounting fingers on the bottom, but this is now paired with a universal tripod thread mount between the two folding feet.
On the right side, the Hero 12 Black features the not-so-easy-to-open battery cover, which is still a hassle to open and close. Come on GoPro, I think we all deserve a better designed flap by now, don’t you? Below that you will find the USB Type-C port and the microSD card slot.
On top of the camera you will find the recording button and a microphone. There’s a mode button on the left side and another microphone on the bottom with the mounting feet. Like the Hero 11 Black, the new GoPro Hero 12 Black also comes with the Enduro battery, which offers longer battery life. However, GoPro now claims that the new Hero 12 Black can offer up to twice the battery life compared to the older model thanks to more efficient hardware and software optimizations. I’ll have to test this claim, but during my first go at it I managed to get about 7-8 hours of on and off recording with 30 minutes of continuous video recording in 4K 8:7 mode .
Speaking of video recording, the GoPro Hero 12 Black now offers an HDR video mode. HDR video is available in resolutions up to 5.3K, but only when recorded in 16:9 mode. In the 8:7 aspect ratio, HDR video is limited to 4K at 24 fps or 30 fps. Meanwhile, slow motion videos are limited to 2.7K at 240 fps. There are a ton of other video recording options you can play with, including timelapse, night video, and Star Trails, which now supports 8:7 recording.
I will test all of these in the full review. Photos are taken at a resolution of 27 megapixels, while you can also export 24.7 megapixel photos from videos. There is also a vertical recording mode, support for GP-Log with LUTS and TimeWarp 3.0.
In addition to the new HDR video mode, the GoPro Hero 12 Black also comes with a much-requested feature that allows you to use any Bluetooth earphones/headphones to record audio. This is an excellent feature in my opinion. You can now connect your AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones and record audio wirelessly. The Hero 12 Black can record audio from both Bluetooth headphones and the internal microphones.
The GoPro Hero 12 Black now comes with HyperSmooth 6.0 stabilization along with the Auto Boost option that was introduced with the Hero 11 Black. GoPros are known to have the best stabilization in the industry and the new Hero 12 Black delivers on that. The new action camera takes over most of the features that were present on the Hero 11 Black, but improves on them.
I will be spending more time with the GoPro Hero 12 Black and trying out its new features such as HDR video, Bluetooth audio recording and others. Will it be a worthy upgrade over the Hero 11 Black? I guess we’ll find out in the full review.
Disclosure: GoPro sponsored the correspondent’s flights and hotel for the trip to Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu.