GoPro MAX vs HERO8 (2020): Which GoPro Action Camera Is Better?

Officially made public in October 2019, the flagship GoPro MAX and HERO8 are the successors to the wildly successful GoPro Fusion 360 camera and HERO7 action camera. The GoPro MAX is a versatile 360 camera with all the bells and whistles. Meanwhile, the more affordable GoPro HERO8 Black is ideal for thrill-seekers whose GoPro is typically attached to their helmets, surfboards, bike handles, and the like. To find out whether it’s worth forking an extra 100USD for the MAX or if the features of the HERO8 is everything you need, keep reading our in-depth comparison below. 

GoPro MAX vs HERO8 Black Action Camera Comparison Chart

ModelGoPro MAXGoPro HERO8 Black
 GoPro MAX — Waterproof 360 + Traditional Camera with Touch Screen Spherical 5.6K30 HD Video 16.6MP... GoPro HERO8 Black - Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K Ultra HD Video 12MP Photos 1080p... 
PriceCheck Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon 
Special Feature/s

360 photos/videos

Higher-resolution standard videos/photos

Dimensions (WHD)
64  x 69  x 25  mm

66.3  x 48.6  x 28.4  mm

Weight

154 g

126 g

Max Image Resolution

360: 16.6MP Stitched

HERO: 5.5MP

12MP 

SuperPhoto Improved HDR

Max Video Resolution

360: 5.6K30

HERO: 1440p60/1080p60

4K60
Video Stabilization

Max HyperSmooth

In-Camera Horizon Leveling

HyperSmooth 2.0
Slo-Mo
HERO Mode 2x
8x
TimeWarp VideoMax TimeWarp (Spherical + Traditional)
TimeWarp 2.0
Rugged + WaterproofUp to 5m (16 ft)Up to 10m (33 ft)
Wind Noise Reduction6-Mic Processing3-Mic Processing
PowerPano270° 6.2MP Panoramic PhotoNo
Night Lapse VideoNoYes
LiveBurstNoYes
Battery1600mAh Lithium-Ion1220mAh Lithium-Ion
Year of Release20192019

Design and Build

The GoPro MAX is slightly bigger than the HERO8 and comes with a colored touchscreen

design and build
The GoPro MAX (left) has a larger footprint and is heavier than the GoPro HERO8 Black (right)

These latest iterations of GoPro cameras are equipped with handy upgrades from their predecessors. The GoPro MAX is more compact than the GoPro Fusion, reducing the gap between the size of the HERO8 action camera and the MAX 360 camera. As it now has a smaller frame, the MAX has just become more attractive for users with an active lifestyle as it doesn’t look as conspicuous as the Fusion when mounted on helmets or handlebars. The GoPro MAX also houses a colored touchscreen on the front that’s larger than the one in the HERO8 Black. 

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Just like the MAX, the GoPro HERO8 Black comes with functional upgrades as well. As the go-to action camera for athletes and adrenaline junkies, it is only fitting that the latest HERO8 Black camera is now equipped with a built-in mounting mechanism. For its older HERO siblings, you’ll need to purchase a separate mount so you can attach your GoPro HERO to your bike handle, helmet, and the like. GoPro further announced a line of HERO8 compatible mods that are perfect for filmmakers and content creators. These include the Media Mod, Light Mod, and Display Mod that you can attach to the GoPro HERO8 to kick your video taking up a notch. 

Image Quality

The GoPro MAX’s lenses and stabilization technology are more advanced than the HERO8’s

gopro max vs hero 8 (3)
Capture more of your surroundings through the GoPro MAX’s (left) 360 and Panoramic features. Right photo shows the difference between the HERO8 Black’s standard photo vs SuperPhoto HDR.

A quick glance at the comparison of their specifications above shows that the GoPro MAX can do most of what the HERO8 Black can, and more. However, the question remains: Are these features what you need? The GoPro MAX boasts 16.5MP 360 images, but on HERO mode, it can only shoot 5.5 MP photos. In addition, its wider lens can capture 6.2MP 270° panoramic photos. If you’re after taking stunning  360 photos, the MAX is what you’re looking for.

While the HERO8 can’t take 360 or panoramic images, its lens doesn’t slack either. The HERO8 Black’s 12MP sensor can capture realistic SuperPhoto Improved HDR photos that are impressively sharp and detailed. Even when shooting under low light, the HERO8 still delivers. In the standard photography department, the GoPro HERO8 outperforms the more expensive GoPro MAX by a mile. The MAX’s 5.5 MP HERO mode photos just can’t compete against the HERO8 Black’s 12MP images. 

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Video Quality

The GoPro MAX boasts higher resolution 360 videos, but on standard HERO shooting mode, the HERO8 Black wins

gopro max vs hero 8 (5)
(Top to bottom) Taken using the GoPro MAX 360 camera and HERO8 Black action camera

Your action videos will look stunning and the action shots fluid no matter which of the two you decide to get. They both offer topnotch video stabilization to complement their high-definition resolution. Dubbed “the world’s most stabilized HERO,” the GoPro MAX boasts MAX HyperSmooth paired with its In-Camera Horizon Leveling. The 5.6K 360 video resolution of the GoPro MAX slightly towers over the HERO8’s 4K resolution. However, on HERO mode, the MAX can only shoot up to 1080p Full HD videos.

Where the GoPro HERO8 Black edges over the MAX is in underwater use. The HERO8’s underwater shots are clearer and more detailed than the MAX’s as the latter’s lens is not designed for underwater use. Outside of the water, however, the GoPro MAX shines as its 5.6K 360-degree feature gives you an extra layer of creative perspective that you won’t get from the HERO8 Black. Another plus for the GoPro MAX is its 6-mic processing that results in better wind-noise reduction. The GoPro HERO8 Black features 3-mic processing, so you might want to add a Mic Mod to your shopping list if you require better audio quality. 

Battery Life and Additional Features

The GoPro MAX is equipped with a bigger battery, but the HERO8 Black has better water resistance and shoots LiveBurst and night lapse videos.  

battery life and water-resistance gopro max vs hero 8
The GoPro MAX (left) includes protective lenses for shooting in the water while the HERO8 Black can be used as is

Equipped with a 1600mAh and 1220mAh Lithium-Ion battery, respectively, the GoPro MAX and HERO8 Black let you shoot photos and videos for hours or up to a full day of intermittent shoots. If you’re traveling, make sure to pack their USB-C cable in case your camera runs out of juice while you’re out and about. Both feature GoPro’s TimeWarp, but only the HERO8 Black can capture night lapse videos. GoPro’s LiveBurst Mode, which is similar to Apple iPhone’s Live Mode, is only available in the HERO8 Black as well. 

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Just as the GoPro HERO8 Black‘ sensor wins against the MAX for underwater shoots, so does its waterproof rating. The HERO8 Black’s robust, waterproof case can withstand submersion of up to 10 meters (33 ft). This is double the 5-meter depth that the GoPro MAX can withstand. 

Verdict

If you don’t see yourself maximizing the 360 feature of the GoPro MAX, the GoPro HERO8 Black is the more ideal choice for you

These new GoPro cameras seem to be designed to complement each other as one offers a couple of features that are missing on the other. Those who are looking to capture and create 360 content should look no further than the GoPro MAX. Its ultra-high resolution in 360 mode and topnotch stabilization make it the go-to shooter of 360 content creators.

On the other hand, if you see yourself using the standard video and photography features more often, the GoPro HERO8 Black‘s features better fit your needs. Its 12MP sensor can capture finer details than the MAX’s 5.5 MP photos or 1080p videos on HERO mode. Plus, the GoPro HERO8 Black takes more stunning underwater videos, making it the better companion during your beach trips. 

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.