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GoPro HERO9 vs 8 (2021): How are these GoPro HERO Black Cameras Different?

GoPro released the HERO7 and HERO8 in the fall of 2018 and 2019, respectively, so it was no surprise that the GoPro HERO9 Black was released in the fall of 2020 as well. How exciting are the upgrades found in the GoPro HERO9 Black? We compare the HERO9 to its predecessor, the GoPro HERO8 Black to help you decide whether you should save or upgrade your action camera.

GoPro HERO9 vs HERO8 Black Action Camera Comparison Chart

ModelGoPro HERO9 BlackGoPro HERO8 Black
 GoPro hero9 blackGoPro HERO8 black
PriceCheck Price

at GoPro.com

Check Price

at GoPro.com

Front DisplayFull-Colored LCD TouchscreenStatus Screen
Detachable LensYesNo
Dimensions (WHD) 71 x 55 x 33.6 mm
66.3  x 48.6  x 28.4  mm
Max Image Resolution

20MP

12MP

Max Video Resolution

5K30

4K60
Video Stabilization

HyperSmooth 3.0

with In-Camera
 Horizon Leveling

HyperSmooth 2.0 (All Modes) with In-App Horizon Leveling

Livestreaming
1080p
1080p
Rugged + WaterproofUp to 10m (33 ft)Up to 10m (33 ft)
Frameless MountYesYes
ModsYesYes
Night Lapse VideoYesYes
LiveBurstYesYes
Battery 1720mAh Lithium-Ion1220mAh Lithium-Ion
Year of Release20202019

Design and Build

Just like the HERO8 Black, the HERO9 Black has an onboard mounting mechanism, but it now includes a touchscreen front display

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 wanted to see something different from the HERO Black’s matte black frames. However, fans may be disappointed as GoPro did not deviate much from its signature aesthetics in the HERO9 Black. The HERO9 Black comes with a full-colored LCD touchscreen display on the front, a feature not available in the rest of the HERO Black line.

GoPro HERO9 Black also has onboard mounting fingers, just like the HERO8 Black, and the mods for the HERO8 are also compatible with the flagship GoPro action camera. To cater to bloggers, filmmakers, and content creators, the HERO8 currently has a compatible Display Mod, Light Mod, and Media Mod, and these attachments will also work with the HERO9. With the HERO9’s front display, however, the Display Mod will probably not be necessary for most users.  

Image and Video Quality

The GoPro HERO9 can shoot 20MP photos and 5K30fps videos while HERO8 has a 12MP sensor that can shoot up to 4K60fps videos

The GoPro HERO9 Black can capture 5K videos at 30fps

GoPro has not given us a revolutionary update on the lens in a while, thus the 20MP sensor on the HERO9 Black is a welcome upgrade. 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 kicked its lens game up a notch and equipped the upcoming HERO9 with a more powerful sensor. The new sensor on the HERO9 can shoot 5K videos at 30 fps.

Just as we have seen an upgrade from the HERO7 to the HERO8 Black, the GoPro HERO9 boasts 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. With the GoPro HERO9 Black’s HyperSmooth 3.0 and in-camera horizon leveling, GoPro once again made sure it’s the best choice out there if you want to shoot smooth action videos. In terms of their live streaming quality, the HERO9 and HERO8 Black can stream up to 1080p HD videos.

Battery Life and Additional Features

The GoPro HERO9 has 30% longer battery life than the HERO8

The GoPro HERO9 Black (left) comes with a 1720mAh Lithium-Ion battery

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.

The GoPro HERO9 is equipped with the same processor. However, its 1720 mAh Lithium-ion battery boasts up to 30% longer battery than the HERO8’s 1220mAh battery capacity.

Verdict

The GoPro HERO9 offers significant upgrades to the HERO8 Black

Overall, the upgrades to the GoPro HERO9 Black make it worth the investment. Its 20MP sensor, detachable lens, live front display, better stabilization, and longer battery life make it worth the slight price jump. It helps that the mods for the GoPro HERO8 Black also work with the HERO9.

With that said, we can expect price drops on the GoPro HERO8 Black and if you want to save, the 2019 GoPro model remains among the best action cameras in its class.

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Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

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