Taking a Hard Look at the GoPro HERO9 Black (and the GoPro Subscription, as well)

Table of Contents:

  1. GoPro Hero9 Black Specs and Features
  2. What’s New with the Hero9 (versus the Hero8)
  3. The Quirks of the GoPro Hero9 Black
  4. GoPro Subscription: what it includes
  5. Conclusion

They say that “bigger is better.” Nevertheless, these days one can upgrade all your gadgets and get professional quality … and in smaller packages. In the fast-paced digital world we live in today, there is a greater demand for smaller devices that can do everything and more than their counterparts could do. In point of fact, it is so much in demand that it takes quite a bit of doing to keep track of all the new developments. 

Take cameras, for instance. They are being designed to be smaller and more compact whilst still retaining all of their features and being versatile to boot. We’re able to do vast amounts more with something that can literally fit into our pocket. This is especially true when it comes to action cameras!

We used to need rough and tumble phones to take along on ski trips, mountain climbing expeditions and cycling tours. Today, though, there is a rough and tumble action camera ready to accompany even the most intrepid adventurer wherever the call may take them. 

A great action camera will capture the energy and excitement of any trip and it is definitely something that you will want to have with you, whether it is to document a family holiday or a racing event. 

It is also fabulous to have a camera which takes uninterrupted video footage for instant news reporting, which is great for journalists. Including the fact that still photos can be taken from the video footage for that exclusive news bulletin. Not to mention, wouldn’t it be great to be able to use your camera as a webcam as well for all those business meetings from your home office? 

Never has it been truer than with the new GoPro HERO9 Black. This new flagship GoPro has got more screens, increased battery life and so much more. Notwithstanding, is it better than its predecessor? Does it have any quirks that make it less user-friendly? In this article we will take a good hard look at the new GoPro HERO9 Black and dig into all the pros and cons surrounding it. 

GoPro Hero9 vs Hero8: is it worth the upgrade and price?

GoPro Hero9 Black Specs

Before we dive headfirst into comparisons, let’s first take a look at the nitty-gritty of what the new GoPro HERO9 Black is comprised of — have at it:

  • A new image sensor – 23.6 megapixels
  • Video – 5K30, 4K20, 2.7K120, 1440p 120, 1080 p 240 (and more)
  • 20MP photos
  • A new 1.4 inch front color display, including live preview and status modes
  • A bigger 2.27 inch rear touch display with a touch zoom
  • Extended battery life (30 percent more than previous versions)
  • Improved cold weather performance
  • Removable and rechargeable battery
  • HyperSmooth 3.0 with in-camera horizon leveling
  • TimeWarp 3.0 that features Real Speed and Half Speed
  • 1080p Live Streaming
  • 1080p Webcam mode
  • RAW photos
  • Digital lenses
  • HindSight, LiveBurst, Scheduled Capture and Duration Capture, SuperPhoto and HDR Nightlapse video
  • Voice control with 14 commands in 11 languages (including 6 accents)
  • Three microphones that have advanced wind-noise reduction
  • Stereo and RAW audio
  • Larger speaker for improved audio playback
  • Removable lens cover
  • Storage – MicroSD
  • Weight – 5.6 ounces (158 grams)
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled
  • Built-in folding mounting fingers
  • More rugged and waterproof up to 33 feet (ten meters)
  • Compatible with Max Lens Mod, LightMod, Display Mod and also Media Mod for HERO9 Black

As you can see, quite a lot is jammed into this rugged little dynamo!

One feature that is especially amazing is that you can shoot 5K video and then extract high quality still images later on from the video footage. 

What’s the Difference?

So what makes the latest GoPro different from its earlier siblings? Well, there are a few differences, one of which is size. The HERO9 is larger and a little bulkier than the GoPro HERO8, but although it is a bit more beefed up, it is by no means overweight. 

The larger battery, for starters, does add to its increased weight. This new flagship GoPro has a battery that is a third more powerful than all of its predecessors. It is also rated at 1,720mAh, which is definitely an improvement on previous batteries. Due to the fact that it is larger, it won’t fit into any of the former GoPro versions. Not that this is a bad thing, all things considered. 


The other reason for it being slightly bulkier is because of the two new displays. The display on the front is a 1.4 inch screen which can be used to view a selfie image etc. The display on the back is 2.27 inches in size, which is 16 percent bigger than on the HERO8. That is quite the difference.

A big upgrade that has been made is the 23.6 megapixel sensor. This allows the HERO9 to shoot higher resolution videos of up to 5K! This is the first upgrade on the sensor side since the HERO3 debuted in 2012, so it is quite a big deal. 

Another new feature is the removable glass lens protector, which allows for third party filters, such as the GoPro Max Lens Mod accessory (which will become available in October), to be used. 


This amazing Max Lens Mod has the ability to provide Max HyperSmooth, enabling the HERO9 to take unbreakable, stabilized video with an ultra-wide 155 degree FOV digital lens.

This is the widest lens ever on a HERO camera. In addition to this, the horizon lock will keep both the horizontal and the vertical shots steady and level, even if the camera is mounted off-center or even rotating while recording. 

The Max Lens Mod is also waterproof up to five meters when installed on the HERO9 Black, although image can be rather distorted under water. It also includes Max TimeWarp, taking the smoothest TimeWarp videos to date. It is also easy to install and remove, which is a definite bonus! 


This new feature is definitely going to make shooting videos much more fun! 

The Quirks

It’s not all sunshine and roses, though. There are a few things that users do find a little irksome on this new GoPro. The first thing is that the touch screen is just a tad unresponsive.

While it isn’t the end of the world, it does make a difference to the more eager photographer or videographer. In saying that, there is apparently a firmware update on the way which should fix this quirk.

Another quirk is that the battery tends to get pretty heated. And due to the bigger battery and extra accessories, this GoPro is heavier than the others. That said, the few extra grams is a small price to pay for all the extra delights. 

Added to all that, it isn’t compatible with previous Mod accessories due to the upgrades which it has undergone. The Mic input and HDMI output require optional accessories into the bargain. 

While these quirks may seem to be a reason not to purchase the GoPro HERO9 Black, they don’t really cause any problems in day to day running of this camera. There are also far more reasons why one ought to invest in this camera. 

GoPro Subscriptions

Scared of breaking your GoPro HERO9 Black? With the current subscription which GoPro is offering, you no longer have to worry about it. GoPro is offering unlimited cloud storage and full replacement, with no questions asked! 

At the moment, the offer is that you can buy a GoPro Plus subscription along with the new GoPro HERO9 for just $350 and then you will receive unlimited cloud storage of all your footage at 100 percent quality, along with the promise to replace your GoPro (no questions asked) should you break it on one of those adventures.

Not to mention that you will get 50 percent off all mounts and accessories for your camera. That is quite the bargain, to be sure, and definitely worth investing in. 

After the initial year subscription, the annual renewal fee is a mere $50 and you get to keep all these perks. If you don’t want to stay on the subscription, then you can just cancel it before the annual renewal date. 

The End of the Matter

It is now time to decide whether or not it’s time to upgrade or invest in this new flagship GoPro HERO9 Black…or whether to just stick with what you already have. 

While it may seem to be overpriced at $449.99 (yes, it costs more if you buy it without the subscription), it has all the features necessary to really appeal to even the most casual of photographers.

There is definitely something to be said for its ruggedness and the longer battery life. This is always an enormous bonus as nobody likes it when their battery dies. Especially when one isn’t anywhere in the vicinity of a charger!

The end of the matter is this – the GoPro HERO9 is by far the most powerful action camera to date and well worth the asking price. It is, in every way, more robust and able to deal with any outdoor terrain. 

It is easy to use with incredibly user-friendly controls and the new features even allow for this GoPro to be used as a webcam when needed. Simply attach it via the USB-C cable, install the GoPro Webcam app on your desktop and you’re good to go. 
This versatility is just another bonus point – particularly since so many are now working from home and attending Zoom meetings instead of boardroom meetings. As always, if you still want to learn more about the GoPro HERO9 Black or the pros and cons of a GoPro subscription, consider reaching out to HelpCloud Technicians for remote support.

Your Personal IT Team, Anytime, Anywhere!

24/7 Support

Explore Services

Get 24/7 Peace of Mind With Remote Tech support

We’ll help you with any question, concern or issue.

Get Specialist Assistance

About the author

Photo of Erik Fullmer

Erik Fullmer

Erik was raised in many places but has long since called Utah home. Rooted in mountains, he spends a lot of time with his dogs in the mountains and in the winter he skis… a lot.

Erik is actively earning the necessary certifications and training to become a certified AMGA Ski Guide.

With over a decade of content writing experience, Erik finds passion when writing for the tech and outdoor recreation industries.