Touchscreen on the rear
GoPro’s Hero 8 is handily the simplest GoPro the corporate has made. That’s not a little feat, considering we said an equivalent thing about last year’s excellent Hero 7.
With its new $399.99 Hero 8, GoPro managed to dramatically improve what was already its top feature — its video stabilization — while making a number of massive and little improvements that make its action camera easier, and more fun, to use.
What’s new At first glance, the Hero 8 looks tons like last year’s Hero 7. It’s an equivalent rubbery black case GoPro has been using for the last couple years, and a 2-inch touchscreen on the rear.
This suggests you do not get to put the camera into a case before attaching it to a mount. It might not appear to be a serious update, but it’s one that creates an enormous difference.
I’ve always hated fussing with the external cases every other GoPro has required, especially in weather when my fingers go numb before I can yank the case off.
Now, mounting is easier and, most significantly, the battery and memory cards are accessible at any time if you would like to swap. The most interesting physical design change GoPro introduced this year, though, comes within the sort of mods.
Three optional accessories that attach on to the camera to feature extra functionality. The mods, which won’t be available for pre-order until December, allow you to add a front-facing display ($79.99), an additional light ($49.99), or a directional microphone ($79.99).
Buy all three, and you’ve got a rig that appears more sort of YouTuber’s fever dream than something you’d attach to a helmet or chest strap. GoPro hasn’t made these new accessories available for testing.
So, I don’t have any firsthand impressions of those add-ons just yet. I imagine they’ll be appealing to professionals who believe GoPro, but I do not think they’re something most of the people actually need.
There are some who will (fairly, in my opinion) criticize the corporate for introducing an $80 attachment instead of just adding a totally functional front display right off the bat, like DJI did with its action camera.
That’s a good complaint, but GoPro seems to think most of the people won’t miss one. New ways to shoot (and edit)Regarding the camera itself, GoPro has upgraded nearly all of its capabilities.
Its stabilization tech, called Hyper Smooth, has leveled up to Hyper Smooth 2.0, and it’s definitely the foremost consistently impressive feature of the Hero 8.
With Hyper Smooth 2.0, even the foremost unsteady video is impressively shake-free. And, if you’re during a situation where even more stabilization is required.
You’ll use, “boost” for even more of a gentle shot (though it’ll crop a touch from the sides of your video). Here’s what that stabilization seems like in action.
Note that within the clip below, the camera is attached to my wrist with Hyper Smooth set to “high.” The company also completely revamped its mobile app, so it’s much easier to use and has more edits controls inbuilt.
One among my favorite new features is horizon leveling, which helps to correct videos where the camera’s position would otherwise make the clip unusable.
Frame saving feature
GoPro’s Quick app, which automatically creates, “stories” supported highlights from your video, has also been fully integrated into the most GoPro app.
These are often quite fun, particularly if you someone who isn’t quite sure what to try to with all of your videos, but the consequences are still a touch cheesy for my taste.
Another addition to the app which may be easy to overlook but is incredibly useful, is that it’s much easier to tug a still image directly from one among your video clips.
Using the new frame saving feature, you’ll scrub through any clip, frame-by-frame and reserve it on to your phone. The touchscreen seems to be far more sensitive to water than previous cameras.
The touchscreen on my Hero 8 consistently went a touch haywire whenever it touched water. This is often something that’s happened a touch with previous cameras (and it’s normal for a touch of water to sometimes “confuse” touchscreens).
But the difficulty was far more pronounced than on previous cameras, I’ve used, to the purpose that it had been almost unusable while swimming without the touch screen locked.
You’ll activate voice control as a workaround, but I feel a touch ridiculous lecture my GoPro. It does use stronger glass than last year’s model, but if you break it, it isn’t fixable.
If you’re worried about a busted glass, the corporate is selling additional screen protectors, also as “GoPro Care,” which is essentially its version of Apple Care.
Capable than ever
But it’s still a bummer once you consider the environmental impact of replacing gadgets instead of repairing them Another drawback is the battery life.
The Hero 8, uses an equivalent size battery as older models and while meaning you’ll re-use batteries from previous camera, it also means there aren’t significant battery improvements with the Hero 8.
Supported by testing you’ll expect anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half shootings time counting on your settings. Probably less if you’re in weather (I only tested in warmer conditions).
As we noted last year when the Hero 7 came out, action cameras aren’t for everybody. Nearly as good because of the latest GoPro is, smartphone cameras are more capable than ever.