GoPro vs iPhone Comparison: Which is the Better Product?

gopro vs iphone

Looking to take some action videos: capture an underwater scene, record the view as you zip line across a lake, mount it to a moving skateboard, or maybe even record baby's first steps from their perspective? If you're thinking about this, you're also probably trying to decide on a GoPro vs iPhone. Is it okay to keep using the iPhone you already own and add a few accessories or is your best option to dig into your pocket and invest in a GoPro Camera

If smartphones are the jack-of-all-trades, the iPhone sets the standard. Today's devices can do a lot of things we used to get from multiple sources, and they do them fairly well. But how do they fare in functionality against a leading device designed with specific functionality and purpose? Here, we're talking about the GoPro action camera. 

We get asked the GoPro vs iPhone questions all the time regarding video quality, durability, costs, and a lot of other variables that most consider in deciding which is better. So, we've addressed all of your questions to help you pick a side in the GoPro vs iPhone debate.

Assuming you're already an iPhone owner, the real question is whether to purchase a GoPro. In that case, this post is just what you need to help make the best decision. We'll cover both devices individually from cost to how it's used.  Then we'll examine the top ten features that are most important to you in making this decision. We'll end with our recommendation based on real data to determine if buying the GoPro is worth it. By the end of the post, you'll know the answer to the GoPro vs iPhone debate without question, and if investing in a GoPro is worth it for you.

GoPro Camera

GoPro Hero7 Black — Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K...
  • HyperSmooth: Get gimbal‑like stabilization—without the gimbal. HERO7 Black corrects for camera shake to deliver...
  • TimeWarp: Capture super stabilized time lapse videos while you move about a scene. Increase the speed up to 30x to turn...
  • Live streaming in 720p: Share while you’re there. Live stream in 720p on social, get HyperSmooth stabilization as you...


On the surface, it would appear as though the GoPro is just a luxury item reserved for those who have money to burn, especially when you consider the advanced camera and video functions of most smartphones, particularly the iPhone. After all, the phone you may be holding right now is most likely capable of capturing photos and videos with specs similar to a GoPro. But a closer look will reveal the true difference in these products and why you may need to consider the benefits that come with having a separate, dedicated camera designed to get rough and rugged.

It's the best video recording option if you plan to be near water, mud, snow or engaging in an active outdoor lifestyle, especially extreme sports. It's also easy for kids to use and you won't have a fear of them dropping it.  

GoPro Hero7 Black — Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K...
  • Cost
  • Features
  • Accessories

GoPro cameras are dedicated video recorders built to get down and dirty and record memorable events for those with an active lifestyle. They are categorized as a waterproof digital action camera for travel with a touch screen (1080p HD video and 10MP photos). Its tiny size and light weight make it versatile and portable for capturing extreme sports, high-speed activities and hands-free self-recorded videos. The GoPro can be mounted to most stationary or movable objects, such as vehicles, a drone, a bicycle helmet, even on your dog. They’re known for their rugged durability to withstand damage from water, wind or dropping.

A few key specifications include:

  • ​12-megapixel sensor
  • Water resistance to a depth of 10m
  • 4K recording at 60 frames per second (fps)
  • Voice control using simple voice commands like “GoPro, start recording” and “GoPro, take a photo”
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities allowing you to control your camera remotely and review what you've captured on the spot
  • Half-speed slow-motion playback at 30 fps for extra smooth playback
  • Capable of shooting 1080p video at up to 240 fps

iPhone Camera

Apple iPhone 7 Plus a1661 128GB CDMA Unlocked (Renewed)
  • 5.5-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels at a PPI of 401 pixels per inch
  • Apple A10 Fusion chip with embedded M10 motion coprocessor
  • 12-megapixel primary camera on the rear and a 7-megapixel front shooter for selfies.


What’s great about an iPhone is you've already paid for it. All the latest versions are equipped with features like 4k recording capabilities and optical image stabilization so your videos won't look choppy. With this, you have access to high-quality video and picture taking options. Even though it has an automatic focus, with the tap of your screen, you can manipulate the focus capability or even adjust exposure. The HD camera, combined with a selection of video-editing apps, means you can record, edit, and upload your stunts all from the same device, rather than depending on two devices to handle the job.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus a1661 128GB CDMA Unlocked (Renewed)
  • Cost
  • Accessories
  • High-quality video
  • Slow motion video capability
  • Built-in image stabilization
  • Better battery life (even the worst phones equal GoPro's battery life)
  • More accessories are available to incalude wide-angle lenses and remotes
  • Display screens to adjust the angle of your shot before recording
  • Ability to watch your videos right after recording
  • Upload and share instantly
  • Which Camera is Best?

    It used to be that people were questioning purchasing a DSLR vs iPhone. The bulkiness and inconvenience of the DSLR as compared to the small size and functionality of the iPhone made the iPhone the natural go-to camera for the needs of most people and activities. Unless you're a photographer or a DSLR buff, most iPhone results are more than acceptable for the average Joe. When the GoPro was introduced with similar photo-taking and video-recording capabilities, plus equally convenient portability, the debate shifted. The truth about the GoPro vs iPhone controversy is not as difficult as it may appear. If you ask yourself a few questions and compare the features that are most important to you, your answer will quickly be revealed.


    Let's look at the top ten features that matter to you most in deciding between the GoPro vs iPhone and see exactly how they stack up.

    1. Waterproof 

    One of the driving factors in purchasing the GoPro is that it is waterproof on its own. That means, unlike most of its competitors, GoPro does not need an additional case of protection against water of any type, even snow. It can be used while mountain biking in the rain, snow skiing, or snorkeling underwater, without fear of leaks or damage. The iPhone, however, requires an extra case to make this camera waterproof. An extra case translates to extra costs and extra storage requirements.

    For the Waterproof feature, GoPro does what it is designed to do 

    2. Overall Durability and Ruggedness

    gopro drop

    Have you ever dropped your iPhone? Whether your screen is cracked is more of a question of "when" not "if." Not only that, without iPhone insurance, screen-replacement costs are pricey. The GoPro is super tough. There are YouTube videos of the GoPro being dropped from a car while traveling at 40mph without damaging the device. Try this with your iPhone and see if your results are as favorable.

    In overall durability, GoPro takes the gold hands down

    3. Size and Weight


    The small and lightweight size of both devices make both portable and suitable to slip easily into a purse or backpack, and neither will weigh you down. On the other hand, the sleekness of the iPhone also allows it to fit comfortably in the pocket of your jeans, while the bulkier shape of the GoPro makes storing it in the larger pocket of your jacket more reasonable. 

    For size and weight, the win goes to the iPhone.

    4. Wearability


    Beyond the small size and lightweight nature, other elements that make a device easy to wear have to do with attachable accessories, specifically wearable mounts. These hands-free mounts make the difference in enjoying your activity instead of controlling your camera. The GoPro has wearable mounts that can be attached to anything—dogs, the side of your car, or your baby's head.

    On the other side, the iPhone has a fair share of mounting accessories to help create the action camera effect. The downside is that some of these wearables are flat out cumbersome, like the velocity clip chest mount. To get similar results, you must purchase too many additional parts and deal with transporting them while on the go.

    For wearability, GoPro kicks butt.

    5. Still Photo Quality

    Although it is most recognized for shooting videos, GoPro cameras can also take still photographs. At 12 megapixels, the images are good. The print quality holds even when enlarged up to 24'x36". The downside is that low-light situations reveal the limitations of this feature, requiring you to hold the camera still to reduce distortion. The iPhone offers higher megapixels, more exposure controls, and better low light performance. Any concerts or dance recitals in an auditorium for example—your iPhone will run circles around your GoPro. This results in brighter indoor pictures, but may not greatly impact outdoor shots.

    In comparing still photo quality, iPhone gets the job done indoors, but for outdoor use, GoPro footage is more natural.

    6. Wide-Angle

    Go Pro's wider angle works wonders when you are shooting video of yourself or working alone. The iPhone still requires the annoying extended arm to get yourself fully in the frame when taking a video of yourself, or maybe even a selfie stick, which is another accessory that requires storage space and extra cost. 

    Regarding the wide-angle feature, GoPro comes through in a crunch.

    7. HD Video Capabilities

    Over the years, iPhone has been known for faster fps (frames per second), more video quality control (if you are worried about running out of memory), built-in image stabilization, and now even better quality slow motion video. Just when you need it most, the GoPro has cranked up their HD video capabilities to keep in pace with the top performers. Action video is what the GoPro does best. This camera is dedicated to high-quality video recording.

    For HD video capabilities, GoPro is the crown jewel for capturing extreme sports.

    8. Ease of Use

    GoPro quickly and easily can change settings on the go without the need of an app, while the iPhone is the king of apps, and may require multiple apps for different purposes to operate like an action camera. On the other hand, the GoPro has a fixed lens, meaning no zoom feature. To make up for it, there's a narrower field of view mode, but that's not an optical zoom--it's just cropping the image. The iPhone's HD camera, combined with a selection of video-editing apps, means you can record, edit, and upload your stunts all from the same device, rather than depending on two devices to handle the job.

    Ease of Use depends on what you are using it for. In the GoPro vs iPhone debate, this one is a tie.

    9. Battery Life

    This is a biggie. You will spend a lot of time managing the battery life of your GoPro. In ideal conditions, you might get 1.5-2 hours of continuous use if you’re lucky. But if you're recording the same videos on your iPhone, you'll have access to about 8 hours of battery life.

    When considering Go Pro vs iPhone battery life, iPhone outlasts the competition.

    10. Sharing

    The big area where iPhone trumps GoPro is in the ability to share your photos quickly and easily. With the click of a button, your pictures can be in the hands of your closest friends and relatives on social media, while your GoPro neighbor is still heading to the office to connect to his computer. GoPro has been putting a lot of effort into this area, and it's now much easier to share footage or photos from a GoPro. They now offer a much more connected experience using mobile apps and their Plus cloud service (which is a paid subscription service)., but you'll still need access to a smartphone to benefit from this feature.  

    iPhone is the undisputed leader in sharing pictures and videos. 


    Winning outright in 5 out of 10 (and tying in 2) feature comparisons between the GoPro vs iPhone, the result is clear. The GoPro is in a class by itself.

    Among other reasons, the GoPro comes out on top in the GoPro vs iPhone debate because of its ruggedness, video capabilities and overall ability to do what it says it will do. This single-purpose action camera sets the standard for extreme video recording and is preferable even when you’ve got an iPhone in your back pocket.

    Features like the one-touch recording capabilities, expandable storage potential with an SD card, and the self-contained waterproof encasement make choosing the Go Pro vs iPhone a no-brainer. Why take the risk with an easy-to-damage, expensive-to-repair imposter tucked in a bulky case that doesn't stand a chance against nature's elements and the rugged terrain that GoPro is designed to endure?

    Grab it and go. Drop it, no problem. Take it underwater or even set it down in the sand, and you'll enjoy the same level of performance as when you first unwrapped it from the box

    If money is a concern, you'd be better off saving your dollars and investing in the real deal, than trying to makeshift a product and getting an inferior result. It's not the pictures you will sacrifice, but even the action pack (which is often recommended to make your iPhone more like a GoPro) will still run you $400. By the time you finish purchasing all the other recommended mounts and accessories, you could have cut to the chase and bought what you really wanted all along.

    Where you land on the GoPro vs iPhone debate depends more than anything on how much you want to spend and for what purpose you intend to use it. Overall, we have concluded that in the GoPro vs iPhone challenge for best action and extreme recording, GoPro is the best in the business. Nobody comes close.


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