GoPro's Hero9 camera update, out Wednesday, is its largest model yet, while still tiny, with a longer lasting battery and the ability to shoot higher-resolution 5K video.
Plus, there is a small preview "selfie" screen on the front of the camera, for the first time, to appeal to vloggers and selfie fans who want to be in the shot.
GoPro cameras are aimed at sports and action enthusiasts who bring the tiny cameras with them for surfing, skiing and other sports, places where a smartphone wouldn't fit, and could be damaged.
The manufacturer, which has struggled with layoffs and a company repositioning to a direct to consumer model, has come up with a sweet $50 discount deal to get you to subscribe to the GoPro subscription service. Itoffers online backups of your footage and up to 50% discounts for accessories.
The new camera is $449, but if you agree to subscribe for $50 yearly, the price drops to $349. So you've actually spent $399 for the Hero9.
Unlike past years, GoPro has only one new edition of the camera, the Hero9. Last year's Hero8 is still available, at $349, or $299 with a one-year subscription to GoPro Plus.
With the Hero 8, GoPro touted the new add-on "mods" that could be attached to the camera to add lighting, sound improvements and a preview screen. Users who bought the $80 "Media Mod," with inputs for microphones, will be forced to buy a new one for the Hero 9, as the Mod won't fit with the bigger body.
A new Mod this year is aimed at people who don't think the GoPro has a wide enough angle. This $99 lens attaches to the front of the camera and goes super super wide.
We've had the Hero9 to play with for a few days and really like the bigger LCD, the selfie cam on the front and more than anything else, the high resolution 5K footage, which is a substantial upgrade. The specs for 4K footage is 3840 x 2160 vs. 5120 x 2880.
And the battery truly does last longer. In our tests, we got just over 90 minutes on the Hero8, while the Hero9 kept going for 2 hours and 10 minutes.
The new camera has a larger 23.6 megapixel sensor than last year's model, while the footage seemed a little steadier than the Hero8, which was a substantial upgrade over the previous Hero7.
One cool bonus of the new Hero model is the ability to use it as a webcam for Zoom calls and the like. GoPro recently introduced this feature, but only on the Hero8, for those who want a different, wider look than the traditional webcam. To connect to Zoom or other video conference programs, connect the GoPro to the computer and download the GoPro desktop app.
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