GoPro Hero 11 Black vs Hero 11 Black Mini: which action cam is best?

GoPro Hero 11 Black
(Image credit: Future)

Choosing a GoPro action camera just got harder, but our GoPro Hero 11 Black vs GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini comparison will help you make the right decision.   

The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini represents a new fork of GoPro’s action camera family. It's an extra-small camera, optimized for mounted use and ideal for those times when you don't need to intermittently check the preview image on the screen. 

It doesn’t have a display — well, not a typical action camera one anyway — and is smaller and lighter than the standard GoPro Hero 11 Black. The latter model, meanwhile, is the latest version of GoPro's class-leading full action cams.

The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini is less of an all-rounder action camera, then, but may be the better one to buy if your GoPro will spend most of its life mounted to a bike helmet. Or something similar. We’re going to look at all the key differences to find out whether the Mini is going to appear mighty through your eyes.

GoPro Hero 11 Black vs Hero 11 Black Mini: Price and availability

  • Mini considerably cheaper than standard Hero 11 Black
  • Some key features missing from Mini 

GoPro’s Hero 11 Black and 11 Black Mini were announced together in September 2022. 

There’s a $100 / £100 disparity in their prices. The GoPro Hero 11 Black costs $499 / £499/ AU$799, or $399 / £399 / AU$649 if you sign up for a GoPro subscription. 

The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini costs $399 / £399 / AU$639, or $299 / £299 / AU$499 with a GoPro subscription involved. It’s a fairly hefty price drop, but you do lose some important key features that you may not want to give up.

GoPro Hero 11 Black vs 11 Black Mini

(Image credit: Future)

GoPro Hero 11 Black vs Hero 11 Black Mini: Mounts

  • Smaller Mini is geared towards bikers
  • No need for a hinged mount adapter, cutting down on bulk

The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini is, no surprise here, the 'small' camera in the 2022 line-up. It also demonstrates how much GoPro’s approach differs from rival Insta360. That company’s small camera is the Insta360 Go2, ideal for attaching to a t-shirt. The Hero 11 Black Mini will seem much more at home on a bike helmet, made for extreme sport more than urbanite influencers.

It’s 20g lighter than the standard Hero 11 Black at 133g, and significantly less wide; it measures 52.4mm across, compared to the 11 Black’s 71.8mm. Thickness increases slightly, 38mm to the 11 Black’s 33.6mm, but this is very much a nugget of an action camera like the old GoPro Session

It’s still instantly recognizable, not exactly stealthy, but GoPro says it is optimized for helmet mounting. It will get in the way less, and simply look better. 

The Mini also has two sets of mounting fingers. One pair sits on the bottom, as in the GoPro Hero 11 Black. The other lives on the back. This means you’re unlikely to need to use a hinged mount adapter that, you guessed it, would add bulk. Smart work, GoPro. 

The fronts of the GoPro Hero 11 Black (left) and the GoPro Hero 11 Mini

The fronts of the GoPro Hero 11 Black (left) and the GoPro Hero 11 Mini (Image credit: Future)

GoPro Hero 11 Black vs Hero 11 Black Mini: Screens and displays

  • Smaller Mini has one tiny monochrome display only 
  • Hero 11 Black has color touchscreen
  • Modes accessed via smartphone for Mini

The main sacrifice made for a smaller footprint in the Mini are obvious: it has no 'proper' screen. 

GoPro’s Hero 11 Black is much like the last two generations of GoPro action camera. Full-color displays sit on the front and back of the body, for image preview whether shooting normally or in vlog-style. 

In their place you get one tiny display up top in the Mini, next to the shutter button. This is monochrome, and shows the battery level, the current mode and how much footage you can record in that mode before your microSD card is filled. 

On the GoPro Hero 11 Black you use the touchscreen to select various modes. The Mini cycles through a very stripped-back selection of presets using the mode button on the front. And you use the GoPro Quik app on your phone to access the wider range of shooting styles. The Mini can use almost all the same modes as the Hero 11 Black, just not without a little extra help from your phone.  

Other aspects of the hardware remain intact, though. Both cameras have 33ft/10m water resistance, and the outer protective lens glass is removable.

GoPro Hero 11 Black

The GoPro Hero 11 Black (left) next to the GoPro Hero 11 Mini showing the differences in screens/displays (Image credit: Future)

GoPro Hero 11 Black vs Hero 11 Black Mini: Stills capture

  • No stills capability for the smaller Mini 
  • Same video capability for both models
  • No HDR Photography options

The stripped-back design of the Mini has not lead to a lower ceiling in its video capture. These two cameras have the same 1/1.9-inch sensor, use the same Hypersmooth 5.0 stabilization and run on the GP2 processor. Both can capture 5.3K video at up to 60fps, and 4K at up to 120fps. 

However, the Mini loses almost all of the stills skills of the GoPro Hero 11 Black. There’s no stills capture mode at all, but you can grab 24.7MP stills from video when shooting with the full 8:7 sensor view. 

You could therefore say the Mini doesn’t lose out all that much, at least in some situations. However, the lack of a proper stills mode rules out HDR photography, which has its own mode in the GoPro Hero 11 Black. 

GoPro Hero 11 Black vs Hero 11 Black Mini: Audio 

  • Both models feature three microphones
  • Hero 11 Black can record stereo audio 
  • Mini has no support for 3.5mm socket adapter cable

Both of these cameras have three microphones, but the Hero 11 Black can record stereo audio. The GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini can’t, perhaps thanks to the limited distance between the mics, or the way they are oriented internally. 

There’s no media mod for the Hero 11 Black Mini either. This is an accessory that adds a shotgun mic, and lets you plug in a much higher-end microphone using a 3.5mm socket. GoPro also says the Mini doesn’t support the 3.5mm socket adapter cable, which acts as a bridge between a camera’s USB-C port and a microphone. 

Of course, this all fits with the Hero 11 Black Mini’s image. It’s a small low-fuss camera for folks who don’t want their tech to get in the way too much. And if you do find yourself needing higher-quality audio further down the road, you can record audio separately and then sync it up manually in your editing software. 

GoPro Hero 11 Black vs Mini

The GoPro Hero 11 Black (left) next to the GoPro Hero 11 Mini  (Image credit: Future)

GoPro Hero 11 Black vs Hero 11 Black Mini: Battery

  • Mini has non-removable battery (so no spares)
  • Battery life figures not yet available 

The battery is perhaps the most contentious parts of the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini. It has a non-removable battery. You can’t pull the classic GoPro fan move of bringing several batteries along on busy shooting days. 

GoPro’s vanilla Hero 11 Black has a removable battery, an Enduro cell. It’s a 1720mAh unit, to the Mini’s 1500mAh. Despite also being called an 'Enduro' battery too, its capacity sits somewhere between the Hero 11 Black’s and the old 1220mAh battery GoPro used back in the Hero 8 Black days. 

The effect of the disparity in capacity is going to be minimized by the screen situation. No large screens to power means lower battery draw in general operation, and this will have a greater impact if you shoot shorter clips rather than super-long ones — where the screen with automatically time out after a few seconds anyway.

GoPro says the Hero 11 Black can last up to 70 minutes of 4K60 video capture, compared to 57 minutes using the Hero 10 Black. We don’t yet have figures for the Mini, but they are likely to be a chunk lower as these particular tests don’t show up display power draw all that much. 

GoPro Hero 11 Black vs Hero 11 Black Mini: Early verdict

Most folks are going to find the GoPro Hero 11 Black more enjoyable to use than the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini. It is better suited to mixed styles of shooting — casual use, vlogging, and a more careful kind of capture where you actually frame a scene before you hit the shutter button. 

However, if you need an action camera for use almost exclusively attached to a helmet, or another object that rules out any significant use of the screen, it’s ideal. The Mini is lighter, less bulky, and will record video of the same quality as the standard GoPro Hero 11 Black. 

Do consider the battery style before buying, though. The Mini has a non-removable unit, a major issue if you plan on recording for more than around 50 minutes per session. 

Andrew Williams

Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.