The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini is a small action camera designed to be mounted, especially on bicycle and motorcycle helmets.
This is a classic use case for GoPro action cameras, but over the past few generations they have likely become less suitable for this scenario. Sure, image quality, stabilization, and performance have improved, but these cameras also got much bigger in 2020 with the GoPro Hero 9 Black.
They’ve gotten a bit bulky, and the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini is here to bring you back in style without compromising on performance. It’s also cheaper than the standard Hero 11 Black, although we don’t recommend buying this model just for the price drop – the dual screens and greater flexibility of the normal Hero 11 Black are worth the extra $ 100 / £ 100 / $ 150 for many.
Go Pro Hero 11 Black Mini price and availability
The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini was announced in September 2022 along with the Hero 11 Black siblings. There is no immediate predecessor. In 2021, when the Hero 10 Black came out, there was no Mini model.
It is a bit cheaper than the Hero 11 Black and also smaller. It costs $ 299 / £ 299 / AU $ 499 when purchased with a GoPro subscription, or $ 399 / £ 399 / $ 639 without a subscription. This subscription offers a replacement if you break your camera, unlimited cloud storage, and accessories purchased directly from GoPro.
For comparison, the standard Hero 11 Black will set you back $ 399.98 / £ 399.98 / $ 649.95 with a GoPro subscription, or $ 499.99 / £ 499.99 / $ 799.95 without one.
GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini Project
You can think of the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini as a GoPro Hero 11 Black without two screens. There is a small display at the top, but you can preview the image without using the Quik app on your phone.
We’ve seen other action cameras without a display, such as the original Insta360 Go. But this one is high-end as it has the same basic hardware as the Hero 11 Black. This includes the relatively large 1 / 1.9 inch sensor and GoPro GP2 processor.
The Hero 11 Black Mini weighs 133 g, making the standard GoPro Hero 11 Black 15% heavier. And it’s especially narrow at 52.4mm.
The casualties are probably worth it if you’ll be using your GoPro almost exclusively mounted on something like a bicycle handlebar or helmet. In such situations, the preview image of the material will still have a limited use.
If you plan on using the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini with a selfie stick, we think you’re going to miss screens too much. Instead, get the standard Hero 11 Black.
There are also other trade-offs. The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini has a non-removable battery that will be a huge shutdown if you usually carry two or three spare ones with you to extend your shooting time.
GoPro calls it an Enduro battery, but its 1500mAh capacity is actually less than that of the GoPros since the Hero 8 Black. Obviously there are no big and bright displays to power, but the battery saving effect won’t be as noticeable in set and forget situations and so fairly quickly.
You’ll need to charge your GoPro 11 Black Mini with an external battery during the photo shoot, and GoPro doesn’t make any unusual claims about charging speed.
The lack of hot-swappable batteries can reduce the appeal more than the lack of a suitable screen for the intended audience. But you will get a super streamlined and simple experience here.
The small display on top of the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini shows the basic parameters. You will see the battery life, the amount of free space on the memory card and the currently active mode.
The side button allows you to switch between three presets – 5.3K, 4K and 1080p – all filming with SuperView FOV at 60fps. GoPro suggests that you should choose between them based on the battery life you’ll get, not anything else. You’ll likely see at least 50% more runtime when recording at 1080p than 5.3K. Of course, 5.3K offers a much better editing range and better image quality.
To use the other modes, which are many, you need to wirelessly control the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini using the Quik app on your phone.
GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini features
In most other areas, the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini matches the standard Hero 11 Black. It can record 4K video up to 120fps, 2.7K at 240fps and 5.3K at up to 60fps.
There are also advanced low-light video modes that use longer exposure times to capture high-quality timelapse. You can paint in thin air with a light source such as a flashlight, turn car headlights into streaks of light, and shoot at night to see the path of the stars crossing the sky.
However, there is no dedicated photo mode. Instead, GoPro allows you to capture high-definition shots from 5.3K footage. There is no obvious technical reason why GoPro couldn’t add photo capture. More likely, it seemed like modes like this would weaken the Mini’s direction and the camera would not offer the best shots. 24.7MP still images are extracted from capturing high definition video, so you probably don’t lose too much with Hero 11 Black’s HDR photo mode.
The Hero 11 Black Mini has the latest GoPro Hypersmooth 5.0 stabilization technology that allows you to lock the horizon when the camera turns up to 27 degrees in the highest modes. And 360 degree full rotation in modes below the highest frame rate at each resolution. In all cases, you must use the linear field of view, as otherwise there is not enough backup image information around the frame to make this possible.
Either way, you can expect excellent stabilization from the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini. You can thank the unusual shape of the 8: 7 sensor.
GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini Early Thoughts
For some, the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini won’t make much sense. It strips the GoPro Hero 11 Black down to the essentials, forcing you to control the camera via a phone app if you want more than just the basics.
However, it makes sense if you mount a sports camera on a helmet 95% of the time, which puts the standard GoPro dual screens on a load.
You don’t lose any basic video modes. And while anything beyond the basics has to be accessible via the phone app, the simplified style ensures you don’t end up with 30 minutes of footage in the wrong mode thanks to the wrong screen swipe.
The biggest problem for the right type of sports camera user is the battery. It’s non-removable, meaning you’ll be limited to the runtime of your Enduro cell – and many current GoPro users carry a few spare batteries to keep them firing longer.