GoPro Hero 9 vs Hero 8: Want to know how this year’s GoPro action camera stacks up against last year’s entry? Here’s our official breakdown comparing the GoPro Hero 9 Black and the GoPro Hero 8 Black.
It’s a testament to just how well GoPro’s action cameras are made that when it comes to buying the latest model, the concern isn’t usually with how it stacks up against the competition, but rather how it compares to last year’s model. With the updated GoPro Hero 9 Black now readily available online and in stores, it’s only fair that we give it the rundown it deserves and to see if GoPro has outdone itself this time around.
To help you make the optimal buying decision that’s right for you, we’ve broken down this comparison into five key sections, letting you know exactly how these GoPro cameras differ and which model reigns triumphant in each major category.
Read this: Trusted Reviews’ GoPro Hero 9 Black Review
Front-facing Display – the GoPro Hero 9 is better for vloggers
One of the biggest features missing from the GoPro Hero 8 was a proper front-facing display. Sure, there was a small screen for basic information, but it wouldn’t let you see what was being recorded, feeling ancient in comparison to the DJI Osmo Action. It seems as though GoPro’s finally listened to this feedback, as a 1.47-inch display can now be found on the front of the Hero 9.
Having a front-facing screen allows for a more user-friendly experience where vlogging is concerned, as it’s no longer up to guesswork for whether your wonderful face is framed correctly in relation to the backdrop. Of course, if vlogging isn’t your main reason for buying an action camera, then you’ll get on just fine with last year’s model.
Price – the GoPro Hero 9’s cost might put some people off
It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to know that there is a price hike with the GoPro Hero 9 Black, but it could end up being the key factor in deciding which action cam to go for. At £379, last year’s GoPro Hero 8 was noticeably more expensive than most other action camera on the market. The GoPro Hero 9 won’t be any easier on the purse strings, coming in at a hefty £429.99.
While there’s a case to be made that the Hero 9 represents a far more significant upgrade than the Hero 8 ever did, it’s still hard to ignore the now staggering price difference between the Hero 9 and similar products like the DJI Osmo Action and the DJI Pocket 2. It’s also worth noting that the GoPro Hero 8 now carries an RRP of £279 and can be found for even less during major sales events like Black Friday.
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Video quality and stabilisation – a massive leap for the GoPro Hero 9
One of the biggest new features of the GoPro Hero 9 is the jump to 5K, as the camera now has a maximum recording quality of 5K 30fps. This new ceiling tops the GoPro Hero 8’s highest tier of 4K 60fps, giving the latest model an extra layer of future-proofing as displays beyond 4K become the norm.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Hero 9 also features an updated version of GoPro’s industry-leading stabilisation software. The new HyperSmooth 3.0 packs horizon levelling, a feature previously reserved for the GoPro Max, letting you gain a better understanding of how you should be framing your shots.
Lens – The GoPro Hero 9 brings back a fan-favourite feature
One of the most egregious changes on the GoPro Hero 8 was its adoption of a fixed lens set-up, meaning that users were no longer able to swap out lenses like before. Not only was this an issue for creatives who enjoyed mix and matching lenses for different effects, but it also meant that gaining a scratch on the lens was a death sentence for the entire kit.
GoPro clearly saw this as a misstep as that design choice is nowhere to be seen on the GoPro Hero 9. Users can now swap out the Hero 9’s lens whenever they see fit, and even increase the camera’s field of view with compatible add-ons.
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Battery life – no need for a second battery with the GoPro Hero 9
The GoPro Hero 9 is just a tad larger than its predecessor, but with that extra retail space users can expect to get a lot more filming done with GoPro’s latest kit. GoPro quotes 101 minutes of filming in 1080p, a sizeable 30% increase on the Hero 8’s performance.
One of the biggest drawbacks with the GoPro Hero 8 was its battery life, making a second battery pack a necessity, so it’s a huge improvement to see GoPro kick things up a notch here.
Verdict – Which GoPro should you buy?
GoPro’s made some huge upgrades with new Hero 9 Black, including a jump to 5K, a longer battery life and a new front-facing screen, making the action camera a far easier recommendation for vloggers and true action enthusiasts over its predecessor.
If price is your key concern however, then the GoPro Hero 8 will still tick enough of the boxes for you to have a near-industry leading experience. After all, the Hero 8 can now be bought for nearly £100 less than the Hero 9, and that’s without considering any additional discounts that might turn up during major sales events.