GoPro is Just launched Hero 9 Black is their latest action camera for 2020. This new model features brand new features such as a high resolution 23.6-megapixel sensor, a color display on the front, a larger battery and a lot of software tweaks.
GoPro is only launching Hero 9 Black this year, topping its portfolio. It will be launched in India in late October for Rs. 49,500. Hero8 Black will continue to be sold, followed by Hero7 Black as an entry-level model. GoPro is not updating Max this year, and will only continue its 360-degree camera offering.
I was able to get my hands on a unit, and these are my first impressions of the new GoPro Hero 9 Black.
GoPro Hero 9 Black: Compared to Hero 8 Black
Physically, the GoPro Hero 9 Black is larger and heavier at 158g than the Hero8 Black, weighing 126g. However, the main design elements are still similar to previous models. The Hero 9 Black has the same built-in mounting fingers at the bottom, which can be folded flush from the body when not in use. There is a power button on the right and a record button on the top, both larger and easier to use. A total of three microphones and two status LEDs are spread throughout the body.
A flap on the camera hides the battery compartment, microSD card slot and USB Type-C charging port. The GoPro Hero 9 Black is waterproof up to 10m and has a familiar rugged body like its predecessors. It is also compatible with all existing GoPro mounts, but not the Media Mod, which was introduced for the Hero 8 Black. GoPro is about to launch a new media mod, designed to fit the Hero 9 Black, which is said to feature an improved microphone design and weather resistant body.
GoPro has also changed the retail packaging of Hero 9 Black. Instead of shipping it in a plastic box, it will come in a reusable hard case.
GoPro Hero 9 Black: New Hardware Features
One of the biggest upgrades of GoPro Hero 9 Black is the new sensor. It has a higher resolution 23.6-megapixel sensor than the 12-megapixel used in previous models. It can now capture 5K video at 30fps and 20-megapixel still images.
The rear touchscreen is slightly larger, measuring 2.27 inches diagonally, and also features a new front-facing color display. This 1.4-inch LCD can be used to get a live preview from the camera, which is very useful when you point it out. The front display can be used as a monitor to frame your shot or status display, or it can be turned off.
The lens cover is once again removable on the Hero 9 Black, a feature that the Hero 8 Black dropped. Now you have the ability to swap it if your current gets damaged or you can replace it with the new Max Lens Mod. This accessory is said to offer a wider field of view and lets you use Max HyperSum stabilization and Horizon Lock software settings.
Finally, the Hero 9 Black has a larger 1,720mAh battery than the previous model’s 1,220mAh battery. GoPro says that it offers 30 percent better battery life on average in shooting mode, compared to the Hero 8 Black. While improved battery life is great news, it also contributes to the increased size and weight of the device, and means that you will need to buy new spare batteries because you cannot reuse existing ones.
GoPro Hero 9 Black: New Software Features
The main new software feature in GoPro Hero 9 Black is HyperSmooth 3.0. It is said to have offered better stabilization and you can now use boost mode for any resolution including 4K 60fps and above, which was not possible on the Hero 8 Black.
The new version of TimeWarp (3.0) now lets you switch hyperlap video speeds to real-time (with audio) or half-speed, by simply tapping the display for slow motion effects. The GoPro Hero 9 Black can now level the horizon within the camera, instead of relying on the GoPro app, and it works at resolution.
The new Hindsight function buffers 15 or 30 seconds of continuous footage, and saves what was captured right before pressing the record button. This seems like a very useful feature, but it can adversely affect battery life, which is what I have been eyeing the entire review.
Scheduled capture is another new feature, and as the name suggests, it lets you set a time when the GoPro Hero 9 Black should wake up and start recording. This sounds very useful especially if you plan to shoot a scene at odd times of the day or night. You can also specify a duration of 15 seconds to three hours for a clip, after which the camera will automatically turn off.
The GoPro Hero 9 Black has some really interesting features, which I’ll test in a couple of weeks, so be prepared for a full review coming soon.
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