GoPro is back with its yearly action camera update and the Hero 9 Black is looking like the best action and vlogging camera the company has made yet.
Almost everything about the GoPro Hero 9 Black is new. For starters it has a 20MP image sensor that can shoot videos at up to 5K resolution and 30fps. Alternatively, the new sensor can also record at 4K and 60 fps or 1080p and 240 fps.
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The action camera also comes with a new larger 1.4 inch front color screen that’s not only useful for displaying your recording information, but also giving you a live preview of your recording. Around back the rear LCD has also been enlarged to 2.27 inches, so almost the entire back of the Hero 9 is all screen now.
Of course, the larger screens were only made possible by the GoPro Hero 9 Black itself being a bigger device. The new camera has bulked up to 2.76 x 1.93 x 1.3 inches compared to the 2.61 x 1.91 x 1.12 inch Hero 8 Black.
For the Hero 9 Black, GoPro decided to port the larger batteries it developed for the GoPro Max 360 camera to its mainstay action camera. According to GoPro, the new batteries should add about 30% more battery life compared to the Hero 8 Black.
The Hero 9 Black also marks a return to removable lenses, so you won’t need to buy a whole new device if you scratch up the front lens like you had to with the Hero 8 Black. Additionally, GoPro announced a new Max Lens Mod for enhanced Max HyperSmooth video stabilization. With the lens mod, users can lock in the horizon line in their recording even if the camera is spinning in the air. So for example, if you were in a plane and did a full 360-degree barrel roll, you would appear completely level through the clip while everything around you would look like it’s spinning.
Even without the lens mod, GoPro claims its HyperSmooth 3.0 is better than ever. In our testing, we’ve been able to take some walking tracking shots without any of the usual bobbing we’d see from other stabilized cameras. Another new feature on the Hero 9 is HindSight, which captures up to 30 seconds of footage even before you start shooting so you never miss a crucial moment from hitting the record button too late.
GoPro is also jumping in with the trend of turning real cameras into webcams and you can do the same with the Hero 9 Black. All users need is a USB-C cable and to download the GoPro Webcam desktop app from its website here.
The GoPro Hero 9 Black retails for $449 and it is available now. You can also purchase the camera for a reduced $349 price with the purchase of a one-year subscription to GoPro Plus, which includes unlimited storage and enhanced live streaming options on GoPro’s website. The GoPro Plus subscription is available for $49 annually or $4.99 per month
As for the mods, GoPro is also rolling out a $79 Media Mod, $79 Display Mod, and $49 Light Mod at launch.
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Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam