GoPro Hero 12 Black vs Apple iPhone 15: Action Test!

For those not subscribed on YouTube, just a quick heads up that I dropped the above video today, which is a comparison between two totally different cameras, yet ones that also have significant overlap. And in this case, focusing heavily on Apple’s “action mode”, which is in all editions of the iPhone 15. This mode significantly stabilizes the image, while concurrently cropping in a bit.

Like last year, I went side-by-side with a slate of different scenarios, including but not limited to:

  • All-out running sprint tests with my wife
  • Cannonball slow-mo testing
  • Chasing cyclists on a dark rainy night in Amsterdam
  • Trying to put the iPhone atop a very small drone
  • Mountain biking
  • Road cycling
  • …and a bunch more.

Give it a play, up above, I’m reasonably sure you’ll probably find it entertaining – as well as informative. It’s been interesting to see the responses on YouTube in the comments section, with people split on which camera is the ‘winner’ in various scenarios.

Thanks for watching!




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  1. Alex McCoy

    This was my favorite DCR video in a long time. All the review videos are useful and I watch all of them, but this one was a joy to watch and genuinely surprising. I found i almost always preferred the video footage of the iPhone 15, except for the mountain biking video, and I definitely preferred the iPhone audio in every case.

    I read a comment by another reviewer who said Apple is inching closer and closer to replacing all your other devices. After gunning for Garmin watches (Apple Watch Ultra), the Garmin inReach (satellite SOS calling on iPhone), most point-and-shoot cameras, etc, this video makes it clear they’re coming for GoPro too.

    I’m picking up my iPhone 15 tomorrow and I’ve been shopping for an action cam. Honestly? Based on this video I’m going to use my iPhone 15 until I see a reason to upgrade my old GoPro.

    • Thanks Alex!

      Yeah, I think in many cases Apple covers the ‘bulk’ of a competitive scenario well, but might fall short around the edges. Take Satellite SOS for example – that covers the emergency side really well for outdoors folks (and the new breakdown feature in the US with AAA for automotive side). But it’s not quite the same as the text/etc messaging of the Garmin inReach for non-emergencies (which Apple doesn’t do). But for those that just want emergency stuff (which is most people), that works great.

      Sorta the same thing with the iPhone/GoPro. For true action stuff, mounting a phone to your whatever is still tricky (like, nobody is mounting a phone atop a car or plane). But for day to day stuff, the iPhone nails that generally better than a GoPro.

    • Angstrom

      Exactly. I do a lot of riding and hiking in areas with no cell coverage, so the InReach non-emergency tracking and messaging gets frequent use and works well for me.

  2. Elliot

    Awesome video! I am surprised how grainy the iPhone 15 is.

  3. Volker

    The quality of the iPhone pictures on the MTB (action mode) are significantly worse than those of the GoPro – if you want good pictures, you shouldn’t use the iPhone.

  4. Matt

    I wonder how much the pro vs non-pro impacted your low light videos. Don’t the pro versions have larger sensors?

  5. Sipke Bijlsma

    With my use case, windsurfing, I think I would not dare to try the Iphone.
    The hydrophobic coating on the Gopro lens is such a huge advantage !

  6. Dirk

    Colours seem to be better in the GoPRO-Videos. What do you think?

  7. TedP

    Awesome video. You’re a funny guy!

    GoPro wins.

  8. Heiko

    i wonder if an iphone with action mode could replace a GoPro for occasional trail running footage. Advantage is certainly to carry only one device. On the other hand, i better not slip and drop my phone. Also, i have the nice GoPro shorty stick which is great on the trail – is there even an equivalent for the iPhone?

    • Definitely, I do it quite a bit. But, then I also use the GoPro in the woods for trail running and remember how smooth it can be.

      For the iPhone, I use this mount (link to, which you can attach to various shorty stick options, either tripod connected mini ones, or with a GoPro adapter (but that’s kinda overkill).

  9. Great video.
    Nice that there is a challenge for GoPro to improve; no competition no improvement.

    I think the size of the GoPro and the mounts are an advantage.
    I would be curious how iPhone handles the physical stress/vibrations in the long term.

    On adventurous activities; if my GoPro breaks, I have the phone for emergency calls.

  10. Magnus

    I liked the video a lot.
    Just wanted to send a note that I tried Bluetooth with my Sony linkbudsS to GoPro 12 and I normally only use one ear buds at a time to save battery and move between left and right to load battery on one when using the other, but my note is that I didn’t notice any problem to record video with sound quality from my linkbudsS. Maybe there was a firmware update on GoPro or maybe the trick is to only use one ear when recording sound via Bluetooth?
    I can both record sound and listen to the video afterwards with the linkbuds.
    Maybe try same with apple airpods if two ears are too much for GoPro. I only made a quick test today in the morning in one test video and not verified in many tests.

    • Magnus

      and in my test I had lens mod 2.0 attached, if maybe that make any difference.

    • Magnus

      and no other device connected with Bluetooth in parallel to the Linkbuds.
      I tried again and for me the Bluetooth sound recording has good quality. Or maybe I’m just lucky with my GoPro device. :-)

    • Magnus

      I liked your video a lot. Only one more comment on GoPro Bluetooth because I probably wrote misleading about my device in my previous comments. After more testing with my GoPro Bluetooth, I also noticed problem now. I notice problem in recording when I talk louder or when I move away to another room. GoPro shouldn’t mentioned the Bluetooth feature if it’s not working. It’s beta test or cheap chip. There is also a constant low noise sound in my headset as soon as it’s connected to GoPro. I was really hoping this Bluetooth feature should be good.

  11. Tharindu harshana

    Very nice an informational video. Thanks you very much! And can i know 1thing please. Which drone you using on this video i mean which brand and model?

  12. Tim Carb

    For those interested in an alternative iPhone mounting option I can recommend the Peak Design Slimlink mounting system. I just used it in a 200-mile gravel race through the desert where it performed flawlessly (as in it was easy to connect/disconnect the phone and never disconnected). link to