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GoPro Hero12 Black review: The best action cam

Published Sep 25th, 2023 5:30PM EDT
GoPro Hero12 Black Front
Christian de Looper for BGR

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Hero12 Black

Rating: 4.5 Stars

The GoPro Hero12 Black doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does add tons of subtle improvements — and it’s the best action cam out there.


  • Rugged design
  • HDR video
  • Vertical video mode
  • Good quality images
  • Standard camera mount


  • A little pricey
Buy FromList PriceSale Price
$399$399See It

GoPro has long been synonymous with action cams, but like in many areas of consumer gadgets, the dust has settled a little — and for the most part, innovation seems to have stagnated a little. GoPro, however, continues to soldier on, and its latest release comes in the form of the GoPro Hero12 Black.

The GoPro Hero12 Black does have a few tricks up its sleeve, though. The camera, like most new GoPros, adds a number of extra camera tricks, plus it continues to build on the battery life and adds some professional-level features like timecode syncing. Is it an iterative update? Sure, but those new features could make it an easy buy for those who need them.

We’ve been using the GoPro Hero12 Black to find out just how great it really is.

GoPro Hero12 Black design

The overall design of the GoPro Hero12 Black isn’t much of a surprise if you’ve seen a GoPro camera in the past. That’s not a bad thing — GoPro has spent years perfecting the action cam design, and it shows. Modern action cams offer a durable build, and they offer features like both a front-facing and rear-facing display.

On the back of the Hero12 Black can be found the main touchscreen, which is about as big as previous-generation GoPro cameras. The same can be said for the Hero12 Black’s front-facing display — which is still a great way to get a preview of your footage when you’re filming yourself. On the top can be found the main shutter button, while on the right side is the power button.

GoPro Hero12 Black TopImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

There are some super helpful changes to the Hero12 Black’s design though. Perhaps the best of these is the addition of the standard 1/4-20 camera mount on the bottom, which adds a ton of flexibility to mounting the camera. Using GoPro’s own mounts will still make for a more stable experience — but being able to use standard gear is a huge bonus.

The model of Hero12 Black we’re reviewing also came with the Max Lens Mod 2.0 accessory, which can replace the main lens, and means that you can film at 177 degrees in 4K. We’ll get into the quality of that footage later, but swapping the lenses was generally easy — and done simply by twisting the old lens off and twisting the new one back on.

The GoPro Hero12 Black may not reinvent the wheel in terms of design, but that’s not a bad thing. The design here is tried and true.

GoPro Hero12 Black interface

The software on the GoPro Hero12 Black also remains largely unchanged, but that’s also not a bad thing. If you’ve used a previous GoPro camera before, you’ll find it relatively easy to navigate the interface here.

On the main screen, you’ll see information like the speed of recording, the zoom level that you’re using, and so on. You can swipe through photo, video, and time-lapse modes, and tap on the buttons around the screen to change things like framerate and resolution.

GoPro Hero12 Black Rear DisplayImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Accessing more advanced settings is done by swiping down from the top of the display, and here you can do things like customize presets, see your storage, and more.

Overall, you’ll find it very easy to navigate the software of the GoPro Hero12 Black. I recommend spending a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the software when you first get the camera, but that won’t take long.

GoPro Hero12 Black Quik app

The Quik app is pretty easy to navigate too. Through the Quik app, you can do things like change settings, start recording, and more — plus, you can access the media that you’ve recorded on the device itself. This means that you don’t have to constantly take the MicroSD card out of the camera.

As you might expect, the Quik app also lets you automatically upload your footage to the cloud, and there’s a setting to be able to automatically wipe the SD card after the video has been uploaded. Of course, this will require a subscription fee, which currently costs $49.99 per year.

Like the interface of the Hero12 Black, the interface of the Quik app is easy to navigate overall. You may or may not integrate it into your workflow — but if you do, you’ll find that it’s feature-packed and quite easy to use.

GoPro Hero12 Black Video

The GoPro Hero12 Black both adds and removes a few features to make the overall experience of using an action cam better. Notable, GoPro has removed the GPS from the Hero12 Black. According to GoPro, GPS isn’t a feature that many people used anyway, and it’ll contribute to a better overall runtime. I find this to be a worthy trade-off — though some users may disagree.

GoPro Hero12 Black BottomImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

There are plenty of big upgrades to recording in the Hero12 Black though. Perhaps the biggest of these is the fact that the camera can now record HDR video — rather than just being able to take HDR photos like it could in the last-generation model. HDR video can be shot at 4K/60 and at 5.3K/30. Generally, I found the results to look great — with much more depth to the colors than SDR content. The Hero12 Black supports 10-bit color, and GP-Log encoding with available LUTs — so it’ll be a better choice for professionals looking to alter the colors of the footage after recording. And, there’s now wireless timecode syncing, which you’ll use by scanning a QR code in the Quik app, and that will sync all of your Hero12 Black cameras.

The Hero12 Black is also better for vertical video creation. Now, you can shoot vertical video without having to tilt the actual camera — so you can mount the camera and still shoot vertical video, which is super helpful. In vertical mode, you can shoot a 9:16 video at 1080p or 4K, with both offering 60 frames per second.

GoPro Hero12 Black SideImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The Hero12 Black even makes it easier to use your earbuds as microphones. GoPro devices have long offered Bluetooth connectivity, but now you can connect wireless earbuds to your camera and use the microphones in them. It’s a pretty neat trick that will instantly make your audio better, and GoPro didn’t even have to actually include better microphones to enable it.

The Hero12 Black is a great camera, and it makes shooting high-end content even easier. It still does generate some heat though — especially when you record at a higher resolution. Eventually, the camera won’t be able to keep recording — but with the extended continuous recording times, I think most will be happy with what’s on offer here.


The GoPro Hero12 Black is an excellent example of the types of updates that make GoPro devices such great products. Do you need one? Probably not, especially if you have another recent-generation GoPro product. But if you’re in the market for a new action cam, the GoPro is still the best choice — and it’s that much better than it was just a few weeks ago, thanks to improvements like the addition of a standard camera mount and HDR support when recording video.

The competition

GoPro remains the best action cam company. The GoPro Hero12 Black is the best camera that the company has ever released, thanks to things like HDR video and vertical video options. There is some competition — but even if you don’t want to spend the cash for the GoPro Hero12 Black, just get a used older-generation GoPro instead.

Should I buy the GoPro Hero12 Black?

Yes. It’s the best action cam out there right now.

Christian de Looper Senior Reviews Editor

Christian de Looper is based in sunny Santa Cruz, California. He has been expertly reviewing tech products for more than 8 years, and brings experience in deep technical analysis of consumer electronics devices to BGR's reviews channel.

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