GoPro Max review: the most fun you've had with a GoPro in years

GoPro Max review: the most fun you've had with a GoPro in years

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GoPro Max is designed to shoot 360-degrees around you at all times (Image: GOPRO • EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Every so often, a new gadget comes along and really leaves you speechless. Like, genuinely speechless. That’s not a slight on some of the other gadgets we’ve tested in recent months – sure, the new is nicely designed, takes some supremely handsome photos, and the is a great way to boost your home broadband. But they aren’t exactly gobsmacking gadgets.

Whereas GoPro Max really is.

We’ve been testing the GoPro Max for a few months now – trying our hand at some e-Mountain Biking with the camera following our every move, as well as barrelling down the slopes with the action camera strapped to a selfie stick in front of us. Here are all of our thoughts on the Max…

GoPro has become so synonymous with the action camera category that most people use its brand name as a catch-all term for all similar devices, à la Sellotape and Hoover. In fairness, GoPro is deserving of that reputation, thanks to its comprehensive range of accessories, mounts, and unrivalled mobile app to help edit your footage and immediately share the results on social media.

With its latest hardware refresh, which debuted towards the end of last year, GoPro launched a new entry in its Hero camera series – the GoPro Hero 8 Black – with a few tweaks to the design, drastically improved video smoothing, and better low-light performance. These upgrades are important …but pretty much exactly what we would expect from the industry-leading brand.

What we didn’t expect during the same hardware showcase was a successor to the US company’s first 360-degree camera, GoPro Fusion. Rebranded as GoPro Max, this follow-up action camera shows just how much GoPro has learned a lot since its first foray into the category back in September 2017.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE GOPRO MAX

GoPro Max Review

GoPro achieves a lot with just two fisheye lens on either side of the gadget (Image: GOPRO)

GoPro Max review: Design

From the outside, GoPro Max is a nice extension on the award-winning formula seen on other cameras from the brand. Given the expansive 360-degree viewpoint you get from this camera, you’d expect more cameras than the two bulbous lens on either side of the gorgeous rounded cuboid design.

But believe it or not, those two fisheye lens bulging from the camera are all the clever software needs to let you pan a full 360-degrees around every scene captured on the GoPro Max. Unfortunately, due to the shape of the lens, GoPro does warn these cameras can be more susceptible to scratches, especially when compared with other GoPro cameras launched in recent years.

To help protect the glass, GoPro bundles lens covers in the box with your brand-new GoPro Max. In our time with the camera, we’ve found that you don’t need to be overly cautious – we left the camera on a selfie stick in the side pocket of our backpack for a few hours between filming without any problem, for example – but don’t expect the GoPro Max to be able to handle quite the same level of wear and tear as you’d be able to get away with the Hero8 Black.

If you’ve got proven butterfinger credentials, you might be best sticking with the latter.

The GoPro Max is made from soft-touch plastic, which feels premium and durable. It’s also grippy enough that you’ll never feel like you’re about to drop the camera when lining-up the perfect shot, which is the most important.

Like the Hero8 Black, the GoPro Max comes with built-in folding fingers (what GoPro calls the little prongs used to secure the camera to mounts) which means you won’t need to lock the camera in a case to connect it to any of the accessories you’ve got lying around from older GoPro cameras. Max is also waterproof without a case down to 16ft, although GoPro doesn’t recommend using it to film underwater. Instead, it should stop you having to worry about taking out your shiny new 360 camera in the pouring rain of the British summer.

GoPro Max Review

By splicing together footage from both sides of the camera, you can add context to your shots (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

GoPro Max Review

…But you can also crop-in and publish footage that looks identical to what you’d get from the likes of the GoPro Hero8 Black (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

GoPro Max Review

GoPro Max lets you get really creative with your stills – and the video footage (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

GoPro Max Review

The software does an outstanding job of erasing the selfie stick or mount beneath the 360-degree camera (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS )