The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini is a small action camera designed for mounting on bike and motorcycle helmets. This is a common application for GoPro’s action cameras, but they’ve arguably become less well suited for it in recent generations. Sure, image quality, stabilisation, and performance have improved, but with the GoPro Hero 9 Black in 2020, these cameras also got a lot bigger. They’ve gotten a little bulky, and the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini is here to bring back a more compact design without sacrificing performance.
It’s also less expensive than the standard Hero 11 Black, though we wouldn’t recommend purchasing this model solely for the price difference; the dual screens and greater flexibility of the standard Hero 11 Black are easily worth the extra $100/£100/AU$150 for many.
Price and Availability
The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini and its sibling, the Hero 11 Black, were announced in September 2022. There is no direct forerunner. When the Hero 10 Black debuted in 2021, there was no Mini model. It’s a little cheaper and smaller than the Hero 11 Black. It costs $299 / £299 / AU$499 with a GoPro subscription, or $399 / £399 / AU$639 without one. This subscription includes a replacement if your camera is damaged, unlimited cloud storage, and money off accessories purchased directly from GoPro.
The standard Hero 11 Black costs $399.98 / £399.98 / AU$649.95 with a GoPro subscription, or $499.99 / £499.99 / AU$799.95 without.
Consider the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini to be a GoPro Hero 11 Black without the two screens. There is a small display at the top, but there is an image preview available without having to use the Quik app on your phone. Other display-less action cameras, such as the original Insta360 Go, have been seen. However, this one is more expensive because it uses the same core hardware as the Hero 11 Black. This includes a fairly large 1/1.9-inch sensor as well as GoPro’s GP2 processor.
The Hero 11 Black Mini weighs 133g, which is 15% heavier than the standard GoPro Hero 11 Black. It’s also quite narrow at 52.4mm. If you plan to use your GoPro almost exclusively mounted to something like bike handlebars or a helmet, the sacrifices will most likely be worthwhile. In these cases, a preview image of your footage will be of limited utility.
We don’t think you’ll miss the screens if you use the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini with a selfie stick. Instead, get the standard Hero 11 Black. There are also other compromises. The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini has a non-removable battery, which is a big deal if you’re used to carrying two or three spares with you to extend your shooting time.
Although GoPro calls it an Enduro battery, its 1500mAh capacity is less than that of GoPros since the Hero 8 Black. The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini has a small display on top that shows basic parameters. You’ll see the remaining space on your memory card, as well as the mode that’s currently active.
A side button allows you to switch between the three presets — 5.3K, 4K, and 1080p — all of which shoot at 60fps using the SuperView FOV. GoPro recommends that you choose between them based on battery life rather than anything else. Shooting at 1080p rather than 5.3K will almost certainly result in a 50% increase in run time. Of course, 5.3K provides much more editing flexibility and image quality.
To use any of the other modes, which are numerous, you must wirelessly control the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini via the Quik app on your phone. In most other respects, the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini is identical to the standard Hero 11 Black. It can record 4K video at up to 120 frames per second, 2.7K at 240 frames per second, and 5.3K at up to 60 frames per second.
There are also advanced low-light video modes that take advantage of longer exposure times to capture high-quality timelapses. You can paint in the air with a torch, turn car headlights into light streaks, and shoot at night to see the path of stars as they cross the sky.
There is, however, no dedicated stills mode. Instead, GoPro allows you to take high-resolution photos from 5.3K footage. There are no obvious technical barriers to GoPro adding stills capture. It’s more likely that it felt such modes would dilute the Mini’s direction, and that the camera wouldn’t provide an adequate stills experience. However, 24.7MP still images are extracted from the high-resolution video capture, so you’re not missing out on much other than the Hero 11 Black’s HDR photo mode.
The Hero 11 Black Mini features GoPro’s latest Hypersmooth 5.0 stabilisation technology, which allows for horizon locking in top models at up to 27 degrees camera rotation. In modes below the top frame rate in each resolution, you can rotate 360 degrees. In any case, the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini will provide excellent stabilisation. You can thank the sensor’s unusual 8:7 ratio.
To some, the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini will make little sense. It reduces the GoPro Hero 11 Black to its essentials, forcing you to use a phone app to control the camera if you want more than the basics. However, if you mount your action camera to a helmet 95% of the time, the standard GoPro design’s dual screens are useless. You do not lose any essential video modes. While anything beyond the basics must be accessed via the phone app, the minimalist design ensures you won’t end up with 30 minutes of footage in the wrong mode due to an ill-timed screen swipe.
The battery is the most important issue here for the right type of action camera user. It’s non-removable, so you’ll be limited to the Enduro cell’s run time — and many current GoPro users keep a couple of spare batteries on hand to shoot for longer.