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Best GoPro alternative 2023: The top budget and flagship action cams

Get adventure-ready with our roundup of the best GoPro alternatives

GoPro may be synonymous with the action cam space but it certainly isn’t the be-all and end-all of small, lightweight and tough cameras. For anyone after a camera tailored to suit a specific need, fit a particular budget, or that’s a little different, there are plenty of quality GoPro alternatives worth considering.

DJI and Insta360 have long been nipping at GoPro’s heels when it comes to top-flight specs and features. Newer, smaller firms, meanwhile, are increasingly offering capable, competitively priced cameras for those who can’t stretch to flagship prices. As a result, there’s never been a better choice of quality action cams to pick from.

To help you find the best action camera for you, we’ve selected our pick of the best GoPro alternatives on the market today. So, whether you’re looking to produce professional-quality 4K videos, immersive 360-degree content or simply want to capture some casual holiday footage, you’ll be sure to find a camera that suits.

The best GoPro Alternatives: At a glance

How to choose the best GoPro alternative for you

Why purchase a GoPro alternative?

For well over a decade now, GoPro’s flagship Hero line has defined the action camera genre. And, while we’re certainly fans of GoPro’s current camera lineup, the firm rarely strays far from its tried and tested formula. The best GoPro alternatives offer a different take, with specifications, features and designs that may better cater to the kind of subjects you plan to film or the environments you plan to record in.

Moreover, with the discontinuation of GoPro’s more entry-level focused Hero White, Silver and Session product lines, the firm’s current lineup is also on the more expensive end of the spectrum. If you only intend on recording casual clips you may not need to splash out on the latest and greatest Hero 12 Black.

READ NEXT: The best GoPro action cameras

How much should I spend?

Similar to other tech gadgets, the more you spend, the better the camera is likely to perform. There are, however, diminishing returns once you get into flagship-level prices and so you don’t necessarily need to break the bank in order to get a decent camera.

Our recommendation, however, would be to avoid the uber-cheap models. While Amazon is chock-a-block with bargain-priced cameras, they often fail to deliver on their advertised specs with poor-quality video, ineffective stabilisation and buggy software.

Do I need a 4K camera?

4K cameras have really come down in price in recent years, to the point where even budget action cams are offering high-resolution video. 4K recordings are crisper, more detailed and offer more flexibility in editing. This does come at the cost of file size; 4K files will eat up space on memory cards much faster than 1080p files and you’ll also need a more powerful computer to edit the clips. Fortunately, all 4K cameras are capable of shooting in Full HD as well, so you can switch back and forth depending on your specific needs.

How important is image stabilisation?

Effective image stabilisation is the secret sauce that separates action cams from more conventional cameras. High-quality image stabilisation can transform even the jerkiest footage into smooth, cinematic-looking videos. Some cameras even offer horizon levelling, ensuring your videos stay both smooth and level. Image stabilisation performance will, however, vary significantly from camera to camera and it’s usually a case of the more you pay, the better the onboard image stabilisation.

What about mounts?

Mounts are a big deal as these determine how and where you can affix your camera. If you plan on using your camera on a bike, for example, you’ll want to make sure that a compatible handlebar or helmet mount is readily available.

Cameras like the Insta360 One RS and Akaso Brave 7 are compatible with standard GoPro mounts, giving them access to a wide range of first- and third-party helmet mounts, chest mounts and grips. Other cameras may only offer standard 1/4in thread tripod sockets which may limit your native options (although action camera mount adapters are available).

Are all action cameras waterproof?

If you intend on filming in or around water then water resistance is essential. Most modern action cameras offer some degree of water resistance straight out of the box but we’d always recommend being conservative with depth limits and following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Many manufacturers sell accessory watertight cases which can greatly extend a camera’s underwater range while also adding some additional protection. These are well worth looking into if you plan on spending extended periods of time in the water.

How we test GoPro alternatives

All of the GoPro alternatives featured in our roundup have been comprehensively tested to judge their performance, as well as their overall user-friendliness.

We capture still photos and video samples under various lighting and environmental conditions in order to gauge image quality. We assess the onboard image stabilisation, in-built microphones, and any special creative functions. We also examine the features of any specialist companion apps or software and we take the time to evaluate each camera’s battery performance, as well as look out for any potential limitations.

Finally, our methodology involves making side-by-side comparisons against both the cameras’ direct competitors and their predecessors.

READ NEXT: The best action camera accessories

The best GoPro Alternatives you can buy in 2023

1. Insta360 One RS: The best GoPro Hero 12 Black alternative

Price: £223 (4K lens edition), £425 (Twin lens edition) | Buy now from Amazon

With its fully modular design, the Insta360 One RS is one of the most versatile action cameras money can buy. Comprising core, battery and interchangeable camera modules, the One RS can be used as a 4K or 360 camera and modified on the fly.

Using the standard 4K Boost module the RS offers 4K video recording at up to 60fps as well as a 6K24 widescreen mode that records in a cinematic 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Switching to the dual-lens 360 module, the RS supports full 360-degree video at 5.7K30 which can be exported to playback in 360 or reframed to 16:9 1080p using the Insta360 Studio smartphone or desktop app.

Both the 4K and 360-degree lenses produce crisp, vivid footage and Insta360’s FlowState stabilisation is effective at taming even the jerkiest of clips. The One RS even offers full-360-degree horizon levelling – although this does require applying after the fact using Inst360’s app.

If you’re looking for a flagship action camera that can do it all, few devices come close to matching the flexibility of the Insta360 One RS.

Read our full Insta360 One RS review for more details.

Key specs – Sensor: 1/2in (4K build), 2 x 1/2.3in (360 build); Sensor pixels: 48 megapixels; Max recording resolution: 6K (25fps) or (5.7K 30fps in 360 build); AV connections: USB-C; Size(WDH): 70 x 33 x 49mm (4K build) or 70 x 43 x 49mm (360 build); Weight: 126g (4K build) or 136g (360 build); Waterproof: 5m (60m with case)

2. DJI Osmo Action 3: The best mid-range GoPro alternative

Price: £309 | Buy now from Amazon

Offering competitive specs at a competitive price point, the DJI Osmo Action 3 is an excellent alternative to the traditional GoPro Hero. While it can’t quite match the GoPro’s top-end 5K recording options, with 4K video capture at up to 120fps, it’s certainly not far behind.

Onboard it packs DJI’s latest stabilisation tech. Highly effective, it’s able to keep your recordings smooth and steady even under some of the most extreme activities. There’s also a 360-degree HorizonSteady function, ensuring your clips remain nice and level too (although this is limited to 45 degrees of correction whilst recording in 4K).

The Action 3 also offers several features that set it apart from its competitors. It employs an innovative quick-release system, allowing for easy switching between accessories without the need to screw and unscrew the mount each time. One-upping GoPro, both its front and rear-facing displays are touch-sensitive and it offers 16m of water resistance without the need for an external case.

If you’re looking for a high-quality, keenly-priced GoPro alternative, the DJI Osmo Action 3 is the real deal.

Read our full DJI Osmo Action 3 review for more details

Key specs – Sensor: 1/1.7; Sensor pixels: 12 megapixels; Max recording resolution: 4K (60fps); AV connections: USB-C; Size (WDH): 44 x 77 x 33mm; Weight: 145g; Waterproof: 16m

3. Insta360 One X3: The best GoPro Max alternative

Price: £459 | Buy now from Amazon

The Insta360 One X3 is as good as consumer 360 cameras get. Combining footage from a pair of wide-angle lenses, the One X3 near-seamlessly stitches together detailed 5.7K 360-degree clips in-camera. It’s even able to make selfie sticks disappear entirely, so as not to obstruct your full-360 view.

While older 360 cameras had a reputation for being difficult to work with, the One X3 makes working with your 360 clips very easy. Bringing your clips into Insta360 Studio, either on your desktop or phone, you can apply FlowState stabilisation, tracking and lock in your horizon level. You also have the option to publish your videos as full 360-degree clips that viewers can pan and zoom around in, or “reframe” your footage.

Reframing allows you to pick out which parts of the 360-degree scene you want to focus on and crop standard 16:9 1080p videos. You can take full control over where the camera looks and moves, mimicking the effect of having multiple different cameras.

The Insta360 One X3 can also be run in a more traditional single-lens mode for capturing 4K clips at up to 30fps. It’s also capable of creating impressive 72-megapixel photospheres.

Read our full Insta360 One X3 review for full details.

Key specs – Sensor: 2 x 1/2in; Sensor pixels: 48 megapixels; Max recording resolution: 5.7K (30fps); AV connections: USB-C; Size (WDH): 114 x 46 x 33mm; Weight: 180g; Waterproof: 10m

4. Akaso Brave 7: The best budget GoPro alternative

Price: £160 | Buy now from Amazon

Akaso may not carry GoPro’s brand recognition, but the firm’s affordable line of action cameras has built up a cult following in recent years.

Retailing for comfortably under £200, the Akaso Brave 7 supports 4K video recording at up to 30fps, offers electronic image stabilisation and captures 20-megapixel stills. It packs both front and rear colour displays – a feature you’d need to shell out close to twice as much for on a GoPro – and even comes bundled with a pair of batteries, a dual battery charger and a selection of mounts so you can start shooting right away.

As you might expect at this price, there are a few compromises. While its image quality is decent for the money, you’ll need to stick to well-lit environments to avoid excessive grain creeping in. There are no built-in mounting points and so it needs to sit within a cage. And, the in-built microphone is rather weak and not a patch on the latest crop of GoPros.

Despite these weaknesses, however, the Akaso Brave 7 is a cracking budget camera, generously appointed and could be all the camera you need.

Key specs – Sensor: N/a; Sensor pixels: 20 megapixels; Max recording resolution: 4K (30fps); AV connections: USB-C; Size (WDH): 64 x 34 x 45mm; Weight: 149g; Waterproof: 10m

5. Insta360 Go 2: The best small GoPro alternative

Price: £294 | Buy now from Wex

When it comes to small, lightweight cameras, few devices come close to rivalling the Insta360 Go 2. Little larger than a thumb and weighing a paltry 27g, the Go 2 can go places that more traditional action cameras simply can’t.

The included mounts enable you to easily clip or stick the camera onto different surfaces, while a pendant mount allows you to wear it around your neck. The camera itself is magnetic, which opens up a whole world of additional mounting possibilities, while the Go 2’s charging case, which incorporates plastic tripod legs and a 1/4in tripod mount lets you trigger the camera from afar.

The Go 2 records 1440p video at up to 50fps, can create 4x slow-motion clips in Full HD and there are dedicated modes for timelapses and hyper-lapses. Insta360’s FlowState electronic stabilisation is on hand to keep the videos nice and steady and a neat horizon levelling function ensures your shots are level no matter how you orient the camera.

Its form factor does present a few limitations: you’ll need to pair the camera with your phone for accurate framing or playback, onboard storage is limited to 32GB and there’s no 4K recording.

Read our full Insta360 Go 2 review for more details.

Key specs – Sensor: 1/2.3in CMOS; Sensor pixels: 9 megapixels; Max recording resolution: 1440p (50fps); AV connections: USB Type-C; Size (HWD): 60 x 24 x 21mm (total); Weight: 27g; Waterproof: 4M

Buy now from Wex

6. DJI Pocket 2: The best gimbal-stabilised GoPro alternative

Price: £339 | Buy now from Argos

The DJI Pocket 2 is a fully stabilised camera that, as its name suggests, is small enough to fit in your pocket. While it can’t rival GoPro’s flagship Hero cameras for toughness – it isn’t even waterproof – its built-in three-axis gimbal truly sets it apart. This mechanical stabiliser enables it to produce super-steady shots, cinema-smooth camera movements and it can even track moving subjects.

Video recording is supported up to 4K60, stills can be shot up to an impressive 64-megapixels and there are creative modes for producing hyperlapses, timelapses and panoramas. The camera can be used standalone or you can connect it directly to your smartphone to take advantage of your phone’s larger display. DJI’s smartphone app also allows you to share and edit your clips on the go.

While the standard version of the DJI Pocket 2 is certainly very capable, if your budget can stretch to it, it’s worth picking up the Pocket 2 Creator Combo. The combo includes the DJI Do-It-All-Handle, which adds both wireless support and a speaker, a wireless microphone transmitter, a mini tripod and a wide-angle lens.

Read our full DJI Pocket 2 review for more details.

Specs – Sensor: 1/1.7in CMOS; Sensor pixels: 64 megapixels; Max recording resolution: 4K (60fps); AV connections: Apple Lightning output, USB Type-C output; Size (HWD): 125 x 38 x 30mm (total); Weight: 117g; Waterproof: No

Buy now from Argos

7. Insta360 One RS 1-inch 360 Edition: A premium GoPro Max alternative

Price: £809 | Buy now from Wex

Built off of Insta360’s modular One RS platform, the RS 1-inch Edition is the firm’s most capable consumer 360 camera yet. Featuring a pair of 1-inch imaging sensors and lenses designed in partnership with Leica, the 1-inch 360 Edition supports 360 video recording at up to 6K30 and can capture 360 still images at up to 21MP.

The One RS 1-inch 360 Edition’s image quality is excellent, with the larger 1-inch sensors providing a noticeable detail boost over the older One X2 in lower light situations. The camera’s image stabilisation is also superb and there’s support for full 360-degree horizon levelling.

The camera is compatible with the standard Insta360 One RS Core module, so existing One RS owners can save by pairing the 1-inch camera, battery and handle modules with their existing Core.

The Insta360 One RS 1-inch 360 Edition is certainly not going to appeal to everyone. It’s larger and heavier than the Insta360 One X2, offers limited IPX3 water resistance and carries a hefty price tag. For demanding users looking to bump the quality of their 360 videos, however – especially those already invested in the Insta360 One R and One RS ecosystem – it’s well worth considering.

Read our full Insta360 One RS 1-inch 360 Edition review for more details

Key specs – Sensor: 1 x 1in; Sensor pixels: 21 megapixels; Max recording resolution: 6K (30fps); AV connections: USB-C; Size (WDH): 53 x 50 x 129mm; Weight: 239g; Waterproof: No (IPX3 only)

Buy now from Wex

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