Another year, and another new GoPro is finally here to perhaps help you 'go pro'. The GoPro Hero 12 Black has just launched globally, but I've had it with me for almost a week. GoPro arranged a fun little event for some of the media in India where we were able to test the Hero 12 Black in its elements. As always, the older Hero 11 Black will continue to be available in India, but at a discounted price. The new Hero 12 Black is priced at Rs. 45,000 for the basic kit, whereas the Creators Edition will cost you Rs. 65,000.
While the full review is going to take a bit longer, here's my first impressions of the new action camera from GoPro.
There's not a whole lot that's new with the GoPro Hero 12 Black when 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 taller 8:7 aspect ratio, and offers several of the same features found on the Hero 11 Black. In terms of design, it mostly looks the same as its predecessor, but now features blue specks on the body. The dimensions are also the same as the Hero 11 Black, which means that any accessory for the Hero 11 Black will fit the Hero 12 Black.
The GoPro Hero 12 Black continues to offer waterproofing up to 10 metres with additional casing needed. It gets a 2.27-inch touch display at the back and a smaller 1.4-inch colour non-touch screen at the front. The lens cap is removable and now supports the Max Lens Mod 2.0. You also get the mounting fingers at the bottom, however, this is now accompanied by a universal tripod thread mount between the two collapsible feet.
On the right hand side, the Hero 12 Black features the not-so-easy to open battery flap, which is still a hassle to open and close. Come on GoPro, I think we all deserve a better engineered flap by now, don't you? Underneath, you'll find the USB Type-C port and the microSD card slot.
At the top of the camera, you get the record button and a microphone. There's a mode button on the left hand side and another microphone at the bottom with the mounting feet. Just as the Hero 11 Black, the new GoPro Hero 12 Black also ships with the Enduro battery, which offers more battery life. However, GoPro now claims that due to more efficient hardware and software optimisations, the new Hero 12 Black can offer up to twice the battery life compared to the older model. I will have to test this claim, but during my initial time with it I did manage to get about 7-8 hours of on and off recording with a 30-minute continuous video recording in 4K 8:7 mode.
Talking about video recording, the GoPro Hero 12 Black now offers an HDR video mode. HDR video is available in up to 5.3K resolution, but only when shot in 16:9 mode. In 8:7 aspect ratio, the HDR video is limited to 4K at 24fps or 30fps. Meanwhile, slow motion videos are limited to 2.7K at 240fps. There are a bunch of other video recording options that you can play around with, including timelapse, night video, and Star Trails, which now support 8:7 recording.
I'll be testing out all these in the full review. Photos are captured at 27-megapixel resolution, while you can also export 24.7-megapixel stills from videos. There's also a vertical capture mode, support for GP-Log with LUTS, and TimeWarp 3.0.
Apart from the new HDR video mode, the GoPro Hero 12 Black also comes with a much requested feature that lets you use any Bluetooth earphone/headphone to record audio. This, in my opinion, is an excellent feature. You can now connect your AirPods or any Bluetooth headphones and record audio wirelessly. The Hero 12 Black can record audio from both Bluetooth headphones and from the internal microphones.
The GoPro Hero 12 Black now comes with HyperSmooth 6.0 stabilisation along with the Auto Boost option that was introduced with the Hero 11 Black. GoPro's are known to have some of the best stabilisation in the industry and the new Hero 12 Black lives up to that. The new action camera carries over most of the features that were present with the Hero 11 Black, but improves upon it.
I'll be spending more time with the GoPro Hero 12 Black and trying out the 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.