GoPro Hero12 Black review

The GoPro Hero12 Black stays true to its roots as a durable, compact action camera capable of capturing stunning footage. However, this model stands out with significant upgrades: a battery capacity that has doubled, a versatile ¼-inch thread for mounting, Bluetooth connectivity for external devices, and improved filming features, notably the 8:7 aspect ratio. 

But what stands out here is GoPro’s shift towards offering more freedom from its traditionally exclusive and costly ecosystem. Including a ¼-inch thread means users can opt for third-party mounts instead of pricey GoPro alternatives. Furthermore, the need for the GoPro Media Mod is eliminated with the option to use any Bluetooth microphone for voiceovers. This move towards openness is uncommon in the tech industry, and I love it. 

However, the device has its drawbacks. The touchscreen’s responsiveness remains an issue, and the Quik app’s sluggish performance can be frustrating. However, despite these areas needing improvement, the GoPro Hero12 Black excels as an action camera, with its extended battery life alone making it a worthy upgrade. 

Pros

  • Doubled battery capacity.
  • ¼-inch thread for versatile mounting.
  • Bluetooth for external devices.
  • Enhanced filming features with 8:7 aspect ratio.
  • Custom presets in Quik App for ease of use.

Cons

  • Unresponsive touchscreen.
  • Slow Quik App performance.

Price 

The Hero12 Black costs $750. This is on the higher end of the price range but it is competitive. The Insta360 Go 3 Action Camera costs $860, while the DJI Action 2 Camera costs $530.  

The GoPro Hero11 Black now costs $640. 

GoPro Hero12 Black review

So, what’s new? 

The Hero12 Black has improved battery life, with GoPro claiming it will double the run time. It now features Bluetooth capability, allowing users to connect Bluetooth devices, eliminating the need for the Media Mod and a compatible microphone.  

8:7 ratio filming is now compatible with TimeWarp, TimeLapse and Night effects. 

GoPro claims it has improved High Dynamic Range (HDR) for brighter colours and darker darks, and it has a 1/4 inch thread on the bottom so you can attach it to standard tripods/mounts. Also, GPS functions have been removed, helping save battery life.  

Design 

GoPro has maintained its tried-and-true design here. It’s just as sturdy, made out of the same polycarbonate plastic, waterproof down to 10m (on its own, no case needed), and compact, measuring 5.08 by 7.11 by 3.30 centimetres as its predecessors. And it looks almost identical.  

It has a 2.27-inch, 552 x 368 LCD touchscreen on the back and a 1.4-inch front screen. A shutter button on the top, a mode change/power button on the left, which flicks from video, photo and time-lapse mode, and the fold-down wings at the bottom for mounting the camera.  

The touchscreen is still frustratingly unresponsive; navigating the device is slow and cumbersome. Often, I have to press the screen multiple times for it to respond, and I have to push it hard. Don’t expect the responsiveness of the best phones on the market here.  

The most significant change in the design is the ¼ inch thread at the bottom of the device. This allows the GoPro to be mounted on any standard mount. It is easier and allows third-party mounts to be used, so you’re not forced to use expensive GoPro accessories. It’s a nice improvement.  

It’s also nice that the Hero12 Black is compatible with old accessories. Some are being released specifically for the Hero12, like the Max Lens Mod 2.0, but if you’re looking to upgrade to the latest model, most standard GoPro attachments should work.  

GoPro Hero12 Black review

Filming 

The GoPro Hero12 has extensive filming capabilities, and there’s a lot of options. Boasting a 27MP sensor, the Hero12 Black is compatible with various resolutions, framerates and ratios. You can see a table of the capabilities here:  

Resolution Frame Rates FPS Aspect Ratio 
5.3K (8:7) 30/25/24 30, 25, 24 8:7 
5.3K (16:9) 60/50/30/25/24 60, 50, 30, 25, 24 16:9 
4K (8:7) 60/50/30/25/24 60, 50, 30, 25, 24 8:7 
4K (9:16) 60/50/30/25 60, 50, 30, 25 9:16 
4K (16:9) 120/100/60/50/30/25/24 120, 100, 60, 50, 30, 25, 24 16:9 
2.7K (4:3) 120/100/60/50 120, 100, 60, 50 4:3 
2.7K (16:9) 240/200 240, 200 16:9 
1080 (9:16) 60/50/30/25 60, 50, 30, 25 9:16 
1080p (16:9) 240/200/120/100/60/50/30/25/24 240, 200, 120, 100, 60, 50, 30, 25, 24 16:9 

This is a massive number of options, and higher-resolution footage looks brilliant.

It can be tricky figuring out what’s compatible with what, though. There’s a whole range of options, and not every feature is compatible with all the others. Specific filming modes are only compatible with certain zooms or “digital lenses”, of which there are five: HyperView, SuperView, Wide, Linear, Linear + Horizon Lock / Leveling, and when you take into consideration Horizon Lock, and slow-motion only being compatible with specific frame rates, it gets even more confusing.

Fortunately, you can now name your custom presets. You can set up a preset and call it Horizon Lock Slo-Mo or 1080p for Insta, so you know exactly what you’re filming. This is done in the Quik app on your phone, and it’s easy. But you will have to do some tinkering to determine what is compatible with specific features. Here are a few more tables to help:

HDR Compatible 

Resolution Aspect Ratio Frame Rates 
5.3K (16:9) 16:9 30/25/24 
4K (8:7) 8:7 30/25/24 
4K (16:9) 16:9 60/50/30/25/24 

Slow-Mo compatible 

Slow-Mo Factor Resolution 
8x 2.7K; 1080p 
4x 4K 
2x 5.3K 

Horizon Lock 

Resolution Frame Rates 
5.3K 30/24fps 
4K 60/30/24fps 
1080p 120/60/30/24fps 

A standout feature here is the 8:7 aspect ratio. This provides a tall field of view, allowing for more cropping options in post-production. It captures more vertical detail, meaning you can easily crop the footage for social media platforms like TikTok or Instagram while simultaneously allowing you to crop the footage for 16:9 aspect ratios like the ones found on YouTube or Facebook.   

This feature was available on the previous GoPro. However, it’s now compatible with TimeWarp, TimeLapse and Night Effects, which is a nice improvement. 

GoPro Hero12 Black review

The Quik App 

For someone like me who doesn’t do extreme sports but loves the capabilities of the GoPro for home footage, there’s always a tradeoff between using the GoPro and using my phone. It’s much easier to film something on my phone and share it on my WhatsApp chats or social media pages than with a GoPro. 

The Quik app is designed to address that. Available on mobile and desktop, it’s designed to quickly import GoPro footage, edit photos and videos, and share them. It has a built-in video and photo editor, you can adjust the settings on your phone, you can auto upload your footage to the cloud while the GoPro is charging, and it even comes with a selection of music you can add, but the results are a bit hit and miss.  

To get the most out of the app, you will need to upgrade to a paid subscription, which is relatively cheap at $50/year. This will give you all editing tools in the editor, unlimited cloud storage for your GoPro footage and 25 GB for non-GoPro footage (stored at 100% quality) and automatic uploads while your camera charges.  

This is a good deal, especially the cloud storage stored at 100% quality. 5.3k video files are massive.  

The problem is, the Quik app is slow. Using the app for editing takes work. When trying to piece footage together, it would constantly buffer and lag, sometimes completely missing up to five seconds of footage, making it hard to select where I wanted to make edits.  

The app makes its own “suggestion” videos, adding footage together and making a montage automatically; however, I would like more customisability here. Frustratingly, you can’t manually change the transitions; you can only select a theme, of which there are a few, but they’re all primarily extreme sport-related with spinning camera wipes and fast-paced colour changes. It needs a more subtle video editing approach.

The other issue I had with the Quik app is that footage takes a very long time to upload. I have excellent internet speeds, 939.40 download and 520.43 upload and it took over 25 minutes for my GoPro to upload three 1080p videos to my Quik cloud storage. This takes away from the app’s usefulness; in the end, I resorted to taking the microSD card out and transferring files directly to my computer instead.  

Of course, you don’t have to use the Quik app. You can just as easily take footage off your camera and use a different video editor like Premiere Pro or Sony Vegas. I like the fact that GoPro doesn’t lock you into its ecosystem. But if I wanted to film a quick video and share it with my family, I avoided the hassle of using the GoPro. 

GoPro Hero12 Black review

Battery/Audio 

Because of their small form factor, action cameras have notoriously poor battery life, and this was one of the critical issues I had with the GoPro Hero10 Black.  

The Hero12 Black’s battery capabilities have been improved, boasting a two-time longer runtime than the Hero11 Black. This is thanks to the redesigned power management system and the 1720mAh Enduro battery that’s included. The Hero12 is compatible with standard GoPro batteries as well.  

It’s a vast improvement and is the most welcome one introduced by the new device. It lasts longer when filming in 4K, meaning I don’t have to worry about charging a battery while filming.

You can now connect Bluetooth devices to the GoPro, such as wireless microphones and headphones. It’s just as easy as connecting headphones to your phone. It’s nice not being forced to use a GoPro accessory to record a voiceover. The audio recording quality will depend on the Bluetooth device you use. 

Verdict 

What I like most about the Hero12 Black is it feels like GoPro is going away from locking its customers into its ecosystem. If you don’t want to use the Quik app, you can easily import footage with the MicroSD card, you can now use third-party microphones via Bluetooth, and if you don’t want to buy an expensive GoPro accessory, you can now attach the device with a ¼-inch thread. These are decisions we don’t see much in the tech space these days. And I love it. 

At $750, the GoPro Hero12 Black may seem pricey, but it delivers on critical fronts such as a much-needed doubling of battery life and the convenience of Bluetooth audio, which cuts down on extra gear.  

The unchanged design now includes a versatile ¼ inch thread for mounting, and its filming capabilities are broad, highlighted by the 8:7 aspect ratio for varied platform content. 

But there’s still room for improvement. The touch screen isn’t very responsive, the interface could be more user-friendly, and the Quik app is slow and cumbersome.  

But even with these issues, this is the best GoPro on the market. You’ll be able to achieve amazing footage with this device, and it will handle anything you throw at it. 

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Price
Design
Performance
Battery
Innovation
Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.
gopro-hero12-black-review The GoPro Hero12 Black stays true to its roots as a durable, compact action camera capable of capturing stunning footage. However, this model stands out with significant upgrades: a battery capacity that has doubled, a versatile ¼-inch thread for mounting, Bluetooth connectivity for external...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here