It’s easy to see that the GoPro HERO11 Black Mini would make a great secondary action camera for this different angle. But is it complete enough to be your daily driver?
GoPro has announced that the GoPro HERO11 Black Mini action camera is finally shipping. With a retail price that is $100 less than the larger one HERO11 Black, the Mini is about 13% smaller but slightly thicker.
Which ones should you buy? Well, that depends.
Looking at the HERO11 Black Mini, it’s easy to picture it as the love child of the standard HERO11 Black and a GoPro session. With similar one-touch capture/power capabilities, a hardwired enduro battery, and the conspicuous lack of LCD screens to keep the size and weight down, the Mini is designed for action sports geeks, bikers in particular.
Size & Mounting
The Mini is 20g lighter than the Standard HERO11 Black that weighs 153g.
The Mini is 52.4mm in diameter and slightly thicker at 38mm. All in all, it’s about 13% smaller than its bigger brother.
But isn’t that also true for the HERO11? Secure.
However, with two different sets of mounting fingers, the Mini offers multiple angles for the camera to shoot from without having to think about bringing a folding mounting adapter. A nice feature, for sure.
The main mounting fingers on the Mini are not recessed into the camera body like they are on the HERO11 Black. The second rear-mounted fingers are, however, and contribute to the Mini’s slightly thicker dimensions. The back also has heatsink fins to dissipate heat.
Different sizes, similar engines
In terms of performance, the two cameras are very similar. Both feature the same oversized 1/1.9-inch 24.7MP image sensor and GP2 processor for recording 5.3K video at up to 60fps and 4K video at up to 120fps. Both cameras feature the same 10-bit color and dynamic range, fifth-generation Hypersmooth, and the three new time-lapse effects including Star Trails, Vehicle Trails and Night Painting.
Both cameras use the same lens with a removable outer protective glass, and that means the Lens Mod should work on both. This offers maximum stabilization and maximum field of view, according to GoPro, although the Mini is SuperView wide by default. In addition, both cameras enjoy the same waterproof protection to a depth of 10 meters.
It goes until 11
GoPro has worked hard over the years to improve the HERO’s audio quality, and both the HERO11 and Mini have three built-in microphones for capturing ambient noise. However, the HERO11 has an advantage in this regard, being able to record stereo sound while leaving the Mini with mono.
Also, the Mini does not support the Media Mod microphone or the 3.5mm adapter cable to use an external microphone. So if you’re hoping to use it for both vlogging and action shots, you’ll miss it unless you want to record audio separately and sync it in post. In short, the audio is what it is.
But let’s face it, you don’t buy the Mini for the sound.
No feature anymore
But where the two cameras differ is that the Mini doesn’t have a photo still mode. Some might see this as a head scratcher, but users can still pull 24.7MP out of the video, which offers pretty good quality even with HDR left out of the equation.
The other thing also missing is a screen. While the GoPro HERO11 Black features dual touchscreen LCDs mounted front and rear, the Mini forgoes any type of touchscreen in favor of a single tiny black-and-white LCD on top that gives the user data on battery life and remaining provides storage capacity.
Without an LCD to change settings, users have to go into the GoPro Quik app to make adjustments if needed.
However, the camera can switch between three different preset resolutions with a press of the mode button on the front to save battery life. The other advanced features and recording styles are available through the Quik app.
Speaking of battery life…
As mentioned, while the stripped-down Mini does use a smaller 1500mAh enduro battery, that’s permanently attached to the camera, meaning users can’t swap it out when the battery is about to run out.
In contrast, HERO11 Black users can swap out the larger 1720mAh battery after about 80 minutes of recording and continue filming.
The hardwired power cell is a bit of a nuisance because while the battery offers 60 minutes of usable recording time, it means users will have to pause for the time it takes to charge the battery. Battery life can be slightly extended by recording at a lower resolution. The lower the resolution, the longer users can squeeze out of the battery, up to 10% more.
According to GoPro, the Mini will charge to a full battery in about 2 hours with a 5V/1A 5W charger. With any charger greater than 5V/1A 5W, the Mini can reach >80% charge in about an hour.
The timing for the standard HERO11 Black is roughly the same – just slightly longer because of the slightly larger battery. However, users can also take the time to automatically upload footage already captured while charging. GoPro’s backend can then use its AutoEdit feature to compile a highlight roll of the images captured so far, which can be reviewed and shared via the Quik app.
Looking at these differences, the Mini can easily be considered a second camera to capture a different angle, or mounted on a drone as a second camera angle because it’s smaller, lighter, and remotely controlled. The camera would be ideal if it is going to spend most of its useful life attached to a helmet or other mount that is in constant use.
Additionally, with its relatively smaller footprint, much like the Session, the HERO11 Mini can be placed in more compact spaces. But it’s important to remember that in remote locations like the slopes, you can’t just swap out a battery on the Mini. Once the battery dies, the camera is a paperweight until it can be recharged, meaning it’s lunchtime.
However, with its lower price point, especially with discounts available through a GoPro subscription, it’s easy to snag one to pair with a stock HERO a user already has, or with the newer HERO11 Black to pair. Or if you’re just looking for a slimmer action camera that’ll get you started right away. For these reasons, it can also act as your primary action camera.
Leave your thoughts in the comments!