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 HERO11 Black, the Mini is about 13% smaller, but a tad thicker.

Which one should you buy? Well, that depends.

Looking at the HERO11 Black Mini, it’s easy to think of it as the love child of the standard HERO11 Black and a GoPro Session. With similar one-touch recording/power features, a hardwired Enduro battery, and the noticeable absence of any LCD screens to keep the size and weight down, the Mini is designed for action sports geeks, particularly bikers.

Want a Larger Sensor on Your Action Cam? Try the GoPro Hero11 Black and Black MiniCredit: GoPro

Size & Mounting

The Mini is 20g lighter than the standard HERO11 Black, which weighs 153g.

The Mini is 52.4mm across and slightly thicker at 38mm. All in all, it’s about 13% smaller than its larger sibling. 

Hero11minipalmCredit: GoPro

But isn’t that true of the HERO11 as well? Sure.

However, with two different sets of mounting fingers, the Mini provides multiple angles for the camera to capture without having to remember to bring a hinged mounting adapter. A nice feature, for sure.  

The main mounting fingers aren’t recessed into the camera body on the Mini, as they are in the HERO11 Black. The second rear-mounted fingers, however, are and contribute to the Mini’s slightly thicker dimension. The back also has heat sink ribs to wick away heat.

Gopro11minihelmetCredit: GoPro

Different Sizes, Similar Engines

As for performance, the two cameras are extremely similar. Both enjoy the same oversized 24.7MP 1/1.9-inch image sensor and GP2 processor for capturing 5.3K video at up to 60 frames per second, and 4K video at up to 120 fps. Both cameras enjoy the same 10-bit color and dynamic range, fifth generation Hypersmooth, as well as the three new time-lapse effects including star trails, vehicle trails, and night painting.

Both cameras use the same lens with removable outer protective lens glass, and that means that the Lens Mod should work on both. This provides for what GoPro says is maximum stabilization and field of view, though the Mini is SuperView wide angle by default. Additionally, both cameras enjoy the same waterproof protection down to a depth of 33 feet (10 meters).

It Goes All the Way to 11

GoPro has labored hard to improve the audio quality of the HERO over the years, and both the HERO11 and the Mini enjoy three built-in microphones for capturing ambient sound. The HERO11 does have a leg up in this regard, however, in that it can record stereo sound, while the Mini is left with mono.  

Also, the Mini doesn’t support the Media Mod microphone, nor does it support the 3.5mm adapter cable for using an external microphone. So if you’re hoping to use it for vlogging as well as action shots, you’re going to be lacking unless you want to record audio separately and sync it up 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 Longer a Feature

But where the two cameras diverge is that the Mini has no photo stills mode. Some may consider this a head-scratcher, but users can always pull 24.7MP still grabs from the video, which offers pretty good quality, even if HDR is left out of the equation. 

Gopro_hero11_black_rear_screenCredit: GoPro

The other thing that is also missing is a screen. While the GoPro HERO11 Black has two touchscreen LCDs mounted fore and aft, the Mini forgoes any kind of touchscreen in favor of a single tiny black and white LCD on top that provides the user with data on battery life and remaining storage capacity.

Without an LCD to change settings, users have to look to the GoPro Quik app to make any adjustments as necessary. 

The camera can, however, cycle between three different preset resolutions with a press of the front-mounted mode button to improve battery life. The other more advanced features and shooting styles are available through the Quik app.

Gopro11minibackCredit: GoPro

Speaking of Battery Life...

As previously mentioned, though the stripped-down Mini uses a smaller, 1500mAh Enduro battery, it’s hard-wired into the camera, so users can’t swap it out when the battery is about to die.

In contrast, users of the HERO11 Black can replace the larger 1720mAh battery after about 80 minutes of recording and keep on filming.

Gopro_hero11_black_batteryCredit: GoPro

The hard-wired power cell is kind of a drag because, while the battery offers a usable recording time of 60 minutes, that means users have to take a break for the time it takes to recharge the battery.  Battery life can be extended slightly by shooting at a smaller resolution. The lower the resolution, the longer users can squeeze out of the battery, up to 10% more.

According to GoPro, the Mini will recharge to full battery in approximately 2 hours with a 5V/1A 5W charger. With any charger that is greater than 5V/1A 5W, the Mini can reach >80% recharge in about an hour.

Timing for the standard HERO11 Black is about the same—just a touch longer because the battery is slightly bigger.  However, users can also take the time to automatically upload any footage already captured during recharging. GoPro’s back end can then use its AutoEdit feature to assemble a highlight reel of what has been captured so far, for review and sharing through the Quik app. 

GoPro HERO11 Black Mini

Now Shipping
  • 24.7MP with Improved Performance
  • 5.3K60/2.7K240 Video
  • HyperSmooth 5.0 Image Stabilization
  • Two Sets of Folding Mounting Fingers
  • Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Connectivity
  • 33' Waterproof without Housing
  • 8x Slow-Motion Video
  • Internal Rechargeable Battery
Camera Only

Final thoughts

So looking at these differences, the Mini can easily be viewed as a secondary camera to grab another angle, or to mount as a second camera angle on a drone, since it’s smaller, lighter, and remotely operated.   The camera would be ideal if it’s going to spend the majority of its useful life mounted to a helmet or other mount that is used all the time.

Moreover, with its relatively smaller footprint, much like the Session, the HERO11 Mini can be put in more compact spaces. But it’s important to remember that in remote locations, like the slopes, one can’t simply swap out a battery on the Mini. Once the battery dies, the camera is a paperweight until it can be recharged, which means it’s lunchtime.

However, with its smaller price tag, especially with discounts available through a GoPro subscription, it’s easy to grab one to go along with a stock HERO that a user already has, or to pair with the newer HERO11 Black. Or if you simply want a more streamlined action camera that you can hit the ground running with. For those reasons, it can work as your primary action camera too.

Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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