GoPro HERO9 vs 8 (2020): Should You Wait for the HERO9?

GoPro released the HERO7 and HERO8 in the fall of 2018 and 2019, respectively, so many are anticipating the HERO9 this year. While there’s no official release date yet, DroneDJ reports that a GoPro camera was tested by FCC in early spring this year. The model number of the GoPro camera that was tested is SPBL1, but many speculate this is actually the HERO9, the successor to the GoPro HERO8 Black. Here’s what we know so far about the GoPro HERO9 based on the FCC certification and the specs and features GoPro fans are hoping to see in the upcoming camera. 

We’ll keep updating this article as we learn more about the GoPro HERO9 so make sure to bookmark this page.

GoPro HERO9 vs HERO8 Black Action Camera Comparison Chart

ModelGoPro HERO9 BlackGoPro HERO8 Black
 TBAGoPro HERO8 Black - Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K Ultra HD Video 12MP Photos 1080p... 
PriceTBACheck Price on Amazon 
Dimensions (WHD)
TBA
66.3  x 48.6  x 28.4  mm
Weight

TBA

126 g
Max Image Resolution

≥12MP

12MP SuperPhoto Improved HDR

Max Video Resolution

≥4K60

4K60
Video Stabilization

TBA, but more likely HyperSmooth 2.0 or later

HyperSmooth 2.0 (All Modes)

In-App Horizon Leveling

Livestreaming
≥1080p
1080p
Rugged + Waterproof≥ 10m (33 ft)Up to 10m (33 ft)
Wind Noise ReductionTBA3-Mic Processing
Frameless MountYesYes
HERO8 Black ModsTBAYes
Night Lapse VideoYesYes
LiveBurstYesYes
Battery≥1220mAh Lithium-Ion1220mAh Lithium-Ion
Year of ReleaseTBA2019

Design and Build

The HERO9 Black is expected to be more compact and have an onboard mounting mechanism

gopro hero 9 vs 8 (1)
Here’s a look at how three HERO Black generations have evolved. Only the GoPro HERO8 (rightmost) comes with integrated mounting fingers

Many are hoping that GoPro will jazz their design up a bit on the GoPro HERO9. The top-of-the-line HERO action camera has always been the GoPro HERO Black, and some GoPro fans would like to see something different from the HERO Black’s matte black frames. While we have yet to see whether GoPro will deviate from its signature aesthetics, what we are confident in is that the upcoming GoPro HERO9 Black will also have onboard mounting fingers, just like the HERO8 Black. A larger touchscreen on the HERO9 won’t come as a surprise. 

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The GoPro HERO8 Black is significantly slimmer than the previous HERO7 and HERO6 models that require a separate mounting frame. Its lens also doesn’t protrude as far as the lens on the HERO7 and HERO7 does. It’s safe to say that the GoPro HERO9 will be more compact and lighter than the current flagship HERO8 Black. What will be interesting to see is the line of mods that will be compatible with the upcoming HERO9. To cater to bloggers, filmmakers, and content creators, the HERO8 currently has a compatible Display Mod, Light Mod, and Media Mod, and we won’t be surprised if these attachments will also work with the HERO9. 

Image and Video Quality

GoPro fans expect the GoPro HERO9 to sport a better sensor than the 12MP sensor found in the HERO8 Black

image and video quality gopro hero8 black
The GoPro HERO8 Black lets you take still photos in SuperView, Narrow, Linear, and Wide 

GoPro has not given us a revolutionary update on the lens in a while, thus many are hoping a better HERO9 sensor is on the horizon. Both the GoPro HERO8 Black and HERO7 Black still use a 12MP sensor that can shoot 4K60 videos. Although there have been some handy updates on the HERO8 Black, such as LiveBurst mode and night lapse videos, GoPro should kick its lens game up a notch and equip the upcoming HERO9 with a more powerful sensor. Since GoPro has doubled its frame rate every other HERO generation, it’s not farfetched to look forward to a HERO9 that can capture twice as many frames as what the HERO8 Black can.

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Just as we have seen an upgrade from the HERO7 and the HERO8 Black, the GoPro HERO9 will more likely boast better stabilization and TimeWarp features as well. With that said, the HERO8’s smooth footage and impressive stabilization are already hard to beat as they’re some of the best among action cameras on the market today. In terms of their live streaming quality, the HERO8 Black can stream up to 1080p HD videos, thus the HERO9 should at least offer the same, if not 4K videos. 

Battery Life and Additional Features

The GoPro HERO9 is expected to have a more powerful, battery-efficient processor for longer usage hours

gopro hero8 black battery life and features
The GoPro HERO8 Black is powered by the same GP1 processor that the HERO7 Black is equipped with

Thanks to the success of GoPro’s bespoke G1 processor, the California-based company catapulted itself amongst the elite when it comes to stabilization. Both the HERO8 Black and the HERO7 Black run on GoPro’s G1 processor, and if you compare their stabilization prowess to the HERO6, the oldest GoPro doesn’t stand a chance. Whether the GoPro HERO9 will be equipped with a more powerful GP2 processor is yet to be confirmed, but we’re willing to bet on it. 

A more advanced and battery-efficient processor can also pave the way for longer usage hours. Nothing has changed in the battery life of the HERO7 and HERO8, so a larger battery capacity on the HERO9 is something GoPro should consider.

More built-in mics for better audio will be a handy upgrade on the HERO9 as well. Currently, the HERO8 Black has an identical 3-mic processing function for wind-noise cancellation. If you require higher-quality audio, you can get a HERO8 Black-compatible Mic Mod. As GoPro has introduced its line of HERO8-compatible mods, we’re hoping the ones they will release will also work with the GoPro HERO9.  

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Verdict

The GoPro HERO9 will more likely come with significant upgrades from the HERO8 Black

If GoPro follows its trend of significantly upgrading every other HERO generation, we can surmise that the upcoming GoPro HERO9 will have major updates. The only noticeable updates on the GoPro HERO8 Black from the HERO7 Black are the integrated foldable mount, a new line of mods, and better stabilization and TimeWarp functionalities. With that said, these upgrades are enough to justify choosing the HERO8 Black over the older HERO7 Black. 

Even in 2020, the GoPro HERO8 Black remains one of the best action cameras in the market. Plus, GoPros do not depreciate easily, so even if you decide to get one right now, you will still get your money’s worth if you want to sell the HERO8 Black once GoPro unveils the HERO9. 

Last update on 2020-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rhodaline Escala-Phelps
Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

Managing Editor and Team Leader at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about people, product comparisons, culture, and current events.