Probably the standout feature (at least visually) this year is the addition of a 1.4-inch front-facing screen similar to the one found on DJI’s Osmo Action. The new screen is there so you can create the perfect selfie or make sure the whole family is in frame before clicking record.
The new screen is not touch enabled, but you can choose what to display. Your options are: Full screen (a zoomed-in view that fills the entire screen), Actual screen (a direct preview of what the camera sees with black mailbox bars, and only status (current state, battery life, etc.). The first two options also show this data, just less.You can also turn off the screen completely if you want.
Larger rear fender
Hero 9 is a shade larger than Hero 8 (with 5- or 6 mm on each side), it is also 32 grams heavier. Part of the reason is to accommodate a larger 2.27-inch screen and a new battery (more info below). The larger screen also means that the buttons on the screen are a shadow larger than before, making them easier to stick.
New sensor / 5K video
This is a great one. For the first time ever, you can now record 5K video with a GoPro (at 30 or 24 fps). Photos also get a megapixel bump from 1
Hero 8 saw (re?) Introduction of mods for GoPro. The same mods are back to Hero 9 with some minor improvements ($ 80 media mod is now weatherproof and comes with a removable foam window). The display mod (an expandable rear screen) also returns for $ 80, and the same Light mod ($ 49) from before is also compatible with the Hero 9.
Most exciting of all is the introduction of a “Max mod” for Hero 9. This introduces some of the best features from Max to the “normal” Hero 9. This means far superior HyperSmooth (stabilization), a much wider field of vision (equivalent to Max’s SuperView) and 360-degree horizon lock. It also means you will be able to add filters to Hero 9 again – something you could not do on Hero 8. Whether there will be more official lens mods or third-party options, you have to see. Max mode actually sits on top of the regular lens, so it’s not like changing lenses on a DSLR.
The new Media and Display mods are available today, with Max mod coming next month (Light mod is the same one already available).
That sound? The chorus of GoPro users saying “hallelujah.” The battery in the Hero 9 is both physically larger and with more capacity. Out with the 1,220 mAh limit from before, in with the new 1,720 mAh cell. GoPro claims that the new battery is good for an average of 30 percent more use, see how it fairs in real life in our review. GoPro also claims that the new battery is optimized for colder conditions.
Both HyperSmooth and TimeWarp get a little update and earn them for the “3.0” title. In practical terms, this means improvements in camera stabilization (HyperSmooth) and a new “half-speed” option when recording TimeWarps – just like the existing “real-time” mode, just … slower.
Both HyperSmooth and TimeWarp are compatible with the new horizontal leveling in the camera. It is only available in linear mode for video, but it ensures that your horizon remains stable during hard turns if you mount your camera unlucky. It is not able to lock the horizon 360 degrees as Max can, but straightens up to about 45 degrees, after which the camera adjusts back to the current angle you shoot at.
Have you ever wanted to be able to set your GoPro to turn on and start recording on a specific date / time? Now you can with Scheduled Recording. Do not want to record hours of recordings? Duration Capture allows you to tell it when to turn off. Basically, you do not even have to be at the camera anymore to turn it on, record and turn it off again.
Another new tool is HindSight, which is a fusion of the existing loop recording option (where the camera records for a certain amount of time on repeat without eating your memory card) and LiveBurst (which takes pictures before you press the shutter button). As the name suggests, it allows you to capture something that happened just before you hit the record.
Not a fan of the clumsy plastic you bought old GoPros in? Good news, Hero 9 not only comes in plastic-free packaging, but it has now been replaced by a carrying case that you can take on adventures. The nylon, zip-up bag keeps your camera and any accessories safe on the road and you now have one less thing to throw away.
GoPro is trying something different this year. Typically, new Hero Blacks cost around $ 400. The Hero 9 technically costs $ 450 at launch. But (and this is a big but) in reality it only costs $ 350. The deal is that if you sign up for a year of the company’s cloud-based Plus (for storing unlimited videos, discounts on accessories, etc.), you get the camera and the subscription for $ 150 less than if you bought them both separately. Or $ 100 less if you just shopped for the camera. What’s more, existing Plus subscribers will receive a coupon for the same discount.
If it’s not listed here and Hero 8 does, it’s almost certain that Hero 9 will. This includes the recently announced webcam mode, 1080p live streaming, digital lenses, voice control and more. So now you know you can go to our full review to find out how all these new tricks and tools work in real life.