Best Action Cameras 2023: The five toughest picks

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If you’re looking for a new action camera, the first company that comes to mind is probably GoPro. However, there are actually a few competing brands that specialise in these compact and rugged cameras. We’ve brought together all the best action cams that we’ve reviewed in this guide. 

There are a number of qualities you’ll want to consider when choosing an action camera. First, you’ll want a camera that can withstand any extreme weather conditions or diving sessions that you plan to put it through. You’ll also want to think about battery life, as you definitely don’t want your camera dying in the middle of the action. 

Of course, there’s also image quality to consider, including low-light performance. Many action cameras now make it easy to record in aspect ratios that fit the specifications of popular platforms like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, so that’s definitely something to consider if you plan to share your adventures on social media. 

Finally, a handful of the cameras in this best list are capable of recording 360 content. If you’re looking to capture large fields of view, you’ll want to pick up a camera with 360 capabilities. 

If you’re looking for a more standard camera to record vlogs, make sure to check out our guide to the best vlogging cameras. We also have a range of other photography best lists, including the best cameras, best mirrorless cameras and best camera phones. 

Best action cameras at a glance: 

How we test

Learn more about how we test cameras 

We test every camera we review thoroughly. We use set tests to compare features properly and we use each entry as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.

GoPro Hero 11 Black

Best overall

Pros

8:7 sensor perfect for content creationA rich range of accessoriesExcellent dynamic range for an action camera

Cons

Mediocre low-light performanceMounting doesn’t best DJI’s magnetic systemPricier than the main competiton

The GoPro Hero 11 Black is the best action camera we’ve tested, combining impressive video quality, excellent features and best-in-class stabilisation. 

The successor to the Hero 10 Black has the exact same dimensions as its predecessor and works with the same mods too. 

Like the Hero 10, the Hero 11 Black also has two displays – a 2.27-inch touchscreen with a 5:3 aspect ratio on the back and a 1.4-inch display without touch capabilities on the front. If you’re looking for an action cam with a front touch display, you may want to check out the DJI Osmo Action 3. 

The GoPro Hero 11 Black is also waterproof up to 10m, though the Osmo Action 3 has the GoPro beat in this area with an ability to dive up to 16m. 

The Hero 11 Black is capable of recording up to 5.3K video and capturing up to 27-megapixel images with an 8:7 aspect ratio thanks to a new 1/1.9-inch sensor. Content creators can easily crop videos in the GoPro Quik iOS and Android apps, which is handy for sharing content on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. 

The camera is versatile too, allowing you to shoot 5.3K/30fps or 4K/60fps with the full 8:7 sensor, or 5.3K/60fps, 4K/120fps or 2.7K/240fps at 16:9. 

There’s support for 360-degree horizon levelling in 5.3K with no mod necessary, as well as fantastic image stabilisation. 

The battery lasts longer than that in previous GoPros and, when it comes to audio, volume levels are amplified to ensure everything is picked up. However, those who are serious about sound may want to pick up the Media Mod to add a mini boom mic to their action cam set-up. 

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Reviewer: Basil Kronfli
Full Review: GoPro Hero 11 Black

Insta360 X3

Most versatile action camera

Pros

New, larger touchscreen is a game changerMe Mode can obtain some really impressive shotsFast UI with easy to read menus and icons360-degree and single lens footage looks incredible

Cons

Single lens shooting still bested by GoPro, but only justProfessionals will still want to use an external mic

The Insta360 X3 is a dual-lens camera with a 360 mode, making it a versatile piece of kit for any vlogger looking to shoot VR-ready content. 

The camera looks similar to the One X2 with a design that prioritises function over fashion and a texturised grip for handheld filming. The camera is a little thicker and heavier than its predecessor but it’s still very much pocket-sized.

The physical buttons have been given a redesign, making it faster to cycle between different modes and presets. The USB-C port is also easier to access, making the process of charging the action cam easier than it was on the One X2. 

There’s a large and bright 2.29-inch vertical display, similar in size to the main touchscreen on the GoPro Hero 11, which we found to be a joy to use and a huge step up for Insta360’s cameras. 

The UI has also been given a major upgrade to make use of the larger screen space, including bigger menu icons and faster performance, though not quite as rapid as that on the GoPro. 

There are new 1.2-inch sensors, which capture the same 5.7K 360 and 4K single-lens footage as its predecessor but with the ability to let in more light. We found this allowed for more vibrant and colourful shots. 

Along with standard capture, stills and Loop Recording, there’s also ‘Me Mode’. This allows you to position the Insta360 X3 a distance in front of you and have the device capture images from both cameras, merging them together to create a drone-like effect. 

There are four mics for recording stereo sound, along with decent stabilisation and a much larger battery compared to the X2, offering over 80 minutes of 5.7K 360 footage from one charge. 

Reviewer: Thomas Deehan
Full Review: Insta360 X3

Insta360 One RS 1-inch 360 Edition

Best for 360

Pros

6K 360-footage looks incredibleA genuine competitor to the GoPro MaxCutting-edge stabilisationEasy editing in the Insta360 app

Cons

Eye-watering priceScreen-tearing evident when zooming in

The Insta360 One RS 1-inch 360 Edition is the best action camera for 360 filming, combining 6K resolution and near-flawless stabilisation. 

The action camera looks more like the Insta360 X3 than the One RS that came before it. Gone is the red battery pack and the horizontal design, and the buttons can now be found on the side of the camera. The 1.5-inch screen is quite small compared to that of competitors, such as the GoPro Hero 11 Black. 

The battery also has a larger capacity than the vertical one found in the Insta360 One R, meaning it annoyingly isn’t compatible with the newer camera despite the two batteries being the same size. The camera can also get quite hot, which is something to consider during longer filming sessions, such as when capturing time-lapses. 

The Insta360 One RS 360 Edition is capable of recording up to 6K footage, putting the camera in line with the GoPro Max when it comes to video quality. We found footage captured with this camera to be vibrant with greens that pop and plenty of bright blues. 

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The mic boasts excellent quality too, with voices picked up clearly even on windy days. There’s also a separate mic adapter available for those looking to attach a more professional set-up. 

The Insta360 app and Insta360 Studio make editing footage less daunting, even for newbies, with features like Snap mode making it easy to change the angle and zoom level during playback. This allows you to set a route for the viewers’ perspective or choose a specific subject for the video to follow. 

Image stabilisation is also next-level, improving upon the FlowState stabilisation found on the One RS.

If you can stomach the high price of the Insta One RS 1-inch 360 Edition, you’ll struggle to find a better 360 action camera. 

Reviewer: Thomas Deehan
Full Review: Insta360 One RS 360 Edition

DJI Osmo Action 3

Best for underwater filming

Pros

Better mounting system than GoProImpressive 16m waterproof depthExcellent battery life

Cons

Still overheats despite improvementsCan’t match top-end GoPros for image quality

The DJI Osmo Action 3 is an excellent choice for underwater filming and a great action camera in its own right, bested only by the GoPro Hero 11 Black. 

DJI has switched out the modular design it debuted on the Action 2 in favour of a more standard GoPro-esque action camera template. However, DJI hasn’t completely ditched the old design, keeping the magnetic clamp and using it to create a fantastic quick-release system for attaching the camera to first and third-party mounts. 

This means you can unclip the camera from mounts instead of unscrewing it as you might with a GoPro, making it much faster to change. There’s even a second mag-lock mounting point on the side of the protective case for easy filming in portrait orientations for TikTok or Instagram Reels. 

Even without the case, the Osmo Action 3 is capable of surviving drops of up to 1.5m and water as deep as 16m. This depth extends to 60m when used with the optional waterproof case. You can also replace the lens so if it does get damaged, there’s no need to replace the entire camera. 

Both the 1.4-inch front and the 2.25-inch rear screens are touch-capable, which puts DJI one step ahead of GoPro when comparing the two front displays. Physical buttons are limited to one large shutter button and a power/quick select button for cycling through modes which we found lacked a bit of travel. 

When it comes to video quality, the Osmo Action 3 is capable of capturing 4K video at 120fps, meaning there’s no 5.3K option like the one found on the GoPro Hero 11 Black. However, the FOV is wider at 155-degrees. 

We found footage to be sharp, detailed and well-exposed during the day, though the quality did fall off in trickier lighting conditions, with images and videos suffering in low-light environments. 

Image stabilisation is extremely impressive, but both the stabilisation and horizon levelling features do come with a crop. Likewise, 360-degree horizon levelling is also only supported when recording at 2.7K or lower, which is a pretty dramatic difference next to the GoPro Hero 11 Black’s 5.3K 360-degree horizon levelling support. 

Despite these caveats, the DJI Osmo Action 3 remains a rugged and very affordable action camera. 

Reviewer: Sam Kieldsen
Full Review: DJI Osmo Action 3

DJI Osmo Action 4

Best for low light

Pros

GoPro-beating low-light performanceHigh level of default waterproofingEffective, versatile image stabilisation

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Cons

GoPro Hero 11 still better in good lighting Have to physically rotate 90º for 9:16 content

The DJI Osmo Action 4 is our favourite action camera for shooting in low light and a worthy alternative to the GoPro Hero 11 Black. 

We love the 2022 GoPro, but low light performance has never been the camera’s strong suit. This is where DJI steps in with its large 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor and 4K resolution promising better performance in low lighting and a higher level of waterproofing out of the box. 

The new sensor is bigger than both the 1/1.9-inch sensor in the Hero 11 Black and the 1/1.7-inch one in the Osmo Action 3. Larger pixels allow the sensor to take in more light, making the Action 4 a stronger choice for capturing evening and late-night adventures where you can’t rely on daylight to get a clear shot. That said, if you do shoot primarily in daylight, the Hero 11 Black does offer more punchy and detailed 5.3K videos. 

Visually, the Osmo Action 4 looks identical to the Action 3 with the same dual touchscreens, top-mounted shutter button and Horizontal-Vertical Protective Frame which allows users to quickly switch between orientations for shooting TikToks and Reels. This isn’t as elegant as GoPro’s method for shooting vertically but it’s a good solution nonetheless. 

The Action 4 does have the GoPro and the Action 3 beat on waterproofing, allowing you to plunge the camera up to 18m with no additional protection. 

Upgrades that arrived with this generation of the Osmo Action include support for larger 512GB microSD cards and improved image stabilisation with Rocksteady 3.0+. However, battery life, connectivity, screen resolution and shutter speed remain unchanged from the previous generation. 

The Action 4 includes several forms of electronic image stabilisation that give GoPro a run for its money, along with HorizonSteady which helps to ensure the frame remains level with the horizon up to 45-degrees. 

It’s important to note that GoPro recently announced the GoPro Hero 12 Black, though we haven’t shared our final verdict on the 2023 GoPro just yet. 

Reviewer: Sam Kieldsen

Full Review: DJI Osmo Action 4

We also considered…

DJI Action 2

A bold attempt not only to catch up with GoPro’s Hero line, but to offer something a little different

FAQs

What is horizon levelling?

Horizon levelling keeps your shot lined up with the horizon no matter which angle you tilt the device at, which is very handy for assisting in stabilisation.

UK RRP

USA RRP

CA RRP

AUD RRP

Manufacturer

Video Recording

IP rating

Battery

Size (Dimensions)

Weight

ASIN

Release Date

First Reviewed Date

Autofocus

Screen

Image stabilisation

Bluetooth

Number of Memory card slots

USB charging

GoPro Hero 11 Black

£499.99

$499.99

CA$900

AU$799.95

GoPro

Yes

Not Disclosed

1760 mAh

71.8 x 33.6 x 50.8 MM

153 G

B0B9D6FD9R

2022

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

1

Yes

Insta360 X3

$449.99

Insta360

IP57

180 G

B0BBL8WC72

2022

08/09/2022

Insta360 One RS 1-inch 360 Edition

£809.99

$849.99

Insta360

B0B4DK8S1G

2022

02/09/2022

DJI Osmo Action 3

£309

$349

AU$519

DJI

Yes

No

1770 mAh

44.2 x 70.5 x 32.8 MM

145 G

B0B7X2LXQ6

2022

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

1

Yes

DJI Osmo Action 4

£379

$399

AU$629

DJI

Yes

IP68

1770 mAh

70.5 x 44.2 x 32.8 MM

145 G

B0C783YNW7

2023

14/09/2023

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

1

Yes

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