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Home > New Gear > GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS: Which shoots sharper?
GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS: Which shoots sharper?

GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS: Which shoots sharper?

By  Adan Flannigan 2019-09-12 11572 0

iPhone XS and GoPro Hero 7 Black, both are fit into your jacket pocket, and they are convenient to snapshot or taking a video. However, the devices differed significantly from each other. Does the GoPro deliver better quality images? After all, the current generation of iPhones is equipped with a highly upgraded camera technology. So does the smartphone keep up with the GoPro Hero 7 Black with a pure pocket clip?

GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS  

GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS: differences

iPhone XS and the GoPro Hero 7 Black differ from each other in numerous aspects. First, the price. iPhone XS is starting at $999, while GoPro Hero 7 is from $199. That is because iPhone XS offers much more functions than GoPro Hero 7 just taking pictures. Surfing the net, sending mails, playing music, chatting and much more. However, the quality of the cameras is the focus of this practical test.

GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS: camera specification



GoPro Hero 7 Black

iPhone XS

Main camera



Video recording

HD: 1920 x1080

4K: 3840 x 2160


HD: 1920 x1080

4K: 3840 x 2160


Digital Video Format

H.264, H.265, HEVC

H.264, MPEG-4, M-JPEG


10 m

2m, IP68

Widescreen Video Capture







From the table, we can see both models have 12 MP camera, and iPhone XS has dual back cameras. While GoPro Hero 7 has two optional wide-angle modes,"Wide" and "SuperView". Those can be activated depending on the resolution and frame rate. The two lenses on the back of the iPhone XS cameras do not offer these fisheye or super wide-angle optic.


Moreover, the iPhone lacks (without additional apps) some adjustment possibilities for determining the ISO value and white balance, that are standard in the GoPro. HDR, on the other hand, can be activated on both cameras.


Advantages of the iPhone XS is that it offers the possibility to conjure a depth of field (bokeh effect) into a portrait image, for example - even retrospectively via the camera app. The GoPro cannot change the image section any more than it can by (double) optical zoom. And only iPhone XS owners can select the best snapshot from a several-second "Live Photo" using the key photo function. The GoPro also lacks a flash. What they're both good at: Time lapse and slow motion recordings. The devices use the space-saving H.265 format for 4K videos. This is especially useful in the case of the iPhone XS, because you can't just swap the memory card on your mobile phone - it stores videos, pictures, apps, games and other files.

GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS: Who can do the quick start

The iPhone XS clearly is the winner. The camera can be called up in fractions of a second via its locking screen. And GoPro Hero 7 takes 3 seconds.

iPhone XS versus GoPro Hero 7 Black: image stabilization

GoPro primarily promotes the outstanding image stabilization of the Hero 7 Black - and rightly so, as has been shown in practice. Thanks to the outstanding electronic anti-shake protection, the shots appear extremely quiet. Especially with 1080p shots it seems as if the filmmaker screwed a gimbal under the camera during the recording. This also applies to time-lapse videos (TimeWarp). As the comparison shows, the iPhone XS's shots look much more unsettled, especially with fast movements.

GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS: colors and dynamic range

The photos taken with the iPhone XS are bright. With enhanced HDR (Smart HDR) functionality, they offer more dynamics than iPhone X images - and more vibrant colors. The latter even turn out a bit richer and more lifelike than the GoPro snapshots, which show scenes and motifs a bit paler overall. Apple's mobile phone also scores in terms of dynamic range - the bandwidth between the darkest and brightest points of an image. Shadow drawings, for example, are somewhat more visible. Clear differences can also be seen in the example image:

GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS  

         GoPro Hero 7                                 iPhone XS

GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS: the image sharpness

The pictures and 4K videos of both devices are crisp. However, a direct comparison is not possible because the GoPro Hero 7 Black records with a wider angle than the iPhone XS even in "linear" mode. Thus the details are clearly blurred with enlargement by 400 per cent with the Action Cam photographs - which does not speak however against the GoPro. The following image comparison is therefore only for the sake of completeness:

GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS  

      GoPro Hero 7                                iPhone XS

iPhone XS versus GoPro Hero 7 Black: video performance

Especially during fast movements, it is noticeable in videos that the iPhone XS regularly has to adjust the focus so that the subject is sharp in the picture. The whole thing takes only fractions of a second, but is sometimes disturbing. With the GoPro Hero 7 Black, focusing is not necessary, as the camera always has the entire image in focus thanks to the fixed focus lens - as long as a subject is not too close in front of the lens. Corresponding macro recordings are again only possible with the iPhone. Also noticeable with the Apple smartphone: camera technology and software allow - as described at the beginning - depth of field effects that are not possible with the GoPro. Chic bokeh effects that blur the background are popular and potentially a plus from the point of view of many amateur photographers.

GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS: performance in the dark

While mobile photos usually shine in daylight and bright sunshine with chic pictures, they are difficult to take in poor lighting conditions. iPhone XS and GoPro Hero 7 Black are no exceptions. However, the results of the two devices show differences: When shooting in twilight and indoors, it becomes clear that Apple has enlarged the sensor of the XS by a third compared to its predecessor, it should be able to capture up to 50 percent more light. The result: In terms of white balance, the snapshots are for the most part warmer than those of the GoPro. The pictures of the Action Cam also show more noise and grain, two examples:

GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS ​ 

GoPro Hero 7                                iPhone XS

GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS: devices for extreme action

Theoretically both devices can be used as cameras during dives, both the iPhone and the GoPro are waterproof. However, Apple's smartphone can only be used to a depth of 2 meters and is not allowed to dive for more than 30 minutes (IP68 certification). The GoPro Hero 7 Black, on the other hand, is waterproof to a depth of 10 metres without an additional housing - the manufacturer does not specify a time limit. In any case, the Action Cam is the better choice for athletes and adventurers. During the test run, the device withstood many a fall and impact - except for minor scratches on the case - without a protective case. For this, owners have to accept limitations in battery life: The GoPro Hero 7 Black will turn off the lights after about 60 minutes of use. The iPhone lasts much longer. But all this is only marginal.

GoPro Hero 7 Black vs iPhone XS: conclusion

Of course, the current iPhone generation delivers outstanding snapshots. However, with the image stabilization the GoPro clearly has the nose ahead.

 You may also want to read:
 How to control the music by Amazfit GTS?
 GoPro Hero 8, what’s new upgrades and worth buying?
 How to reset the i11 TWS wireless Bluetooth earphones?

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