Full disclosure—I’ve been eying up investing in a GoPro for the last few years but kept talking myself out of it because of the hefty price tag.

When I saw the GoPro 9 bundle on-sale over Black Friday, I took the plunge and treat myself to this cool little action camera.

The bundle came with a bunch of extras, like a floating handle, extra battery, GoPro subscription, and camera mount, making it an even easier purchase.

I reasoned it would make filming quality content for my website easier with its small size and reputation for being a durable and popular choice amongst bloggers.

I’m not terribly techy and I’m a bit intimidated to walk around in public filming myself, so I was also hoping that this would be more of a low key option for me to walk around taking photos of myself compared to my typical selfie stick or massive tripod camera setup. 

Here’s my GoPro HERO 9 review to give the techy and non-techy among you the verdict on whether this durable action camera is worth the price.

Overview of the GoPro HERO 9

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GoPro was founded in 2002 by founder and CEO, Nick Woodman. The inspiration was born when Woodman desperately wanted an action camera for his upcoming surf trip to Australia. The surfer’s wishes to “go pro” and the need at the time to have epic film footage in order to do so inspired the company’s name. 

They added the “HERO” in because they felt the up-close action footage was like what you’d see in superhero movies.

Today, the brand is well-known for its durable action cameras, accessories in over 100 countries and well represented on social media. 

GoPro bills its HERO 9 camera as its most powerful and versatile action camera yet. 

It’s got the addition of a front screen, making it easier than ever to center shots and selfies. Plus, it features a rear LCD touchscreen that makes it easy to switch between modes.

It’s also waterproof up to 33ft with no exterior case, making it a major upgrade compared to some earlier models. 

GoPro HERO 9 Black

The GoPro HERO 9 is ideal for travelers, influencers, and YouTubers who shoot solo in a variety of situations, locations, and weather.

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The GoPro 9 also boasts voice control, scheduled capture, and the ability to live stream, making it ideal for content creators. 

It also has a removable lens cover, which the GoPro8 was lacking. Meaning it’s easier to replace a scratched or cracked lens with their latest model.

In terms of video quality, the camera now shoots in 5K, which is an upgrade from the last model’s 4K. With 5K, you’re now able to stabilize footage and get better still images from videos.

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This is a step above the basic camera phone I’d been using, and a step below some more expensive cameras out there if you’re just shooting basic videos. However, it really shines as an action camera with its durability, size, and quality.

At the time of writing, the GoPro HERO 9 comes in at about half the price of AKASO V50 Elite, the lower budget action camera with similar features. 

Things to Consider Before Buying the GoPro 9

GO PRO HERO 9 CASE

Before you buy an action camera, it’s important to consider what kind of content you’re planning on shooting.

Do you need a quality action camera that’s durable, waterproof, and can take high-quality photos and videos, or could you get by with less features at a lower price point?

The GoPro HERO 9 is a great option if you need something totally waterproof, with no additional casing. It’s durable, easy to use while filming solo, especially with its new front screen, doesn’t weigh a ton, and can fit in your pocket with ease. 

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The GoPro brand has a lot of recognition from its large presence on social media, making it feel like a more trusted camera brand, especially for first time purchasers. 

The major downside is that it’s a more expensive action camera compared to other brands out there.

If you don’t need all the extra features, and aren’t set on having a camera from a well-known brand, there are other more affordable action cameras to choose from. 

GoPro HERO 9 & Unboxing

GO PRO HERO 9 BOX 2

What’s in the Box?

  • GoPro HERO 9
  • Softshell case
  • Floating hand grip
  • Two batteries
  • Magnetic swivel clip 
  • Charging cable
  • 32 GB memory card
  • 1-year subscription to GoPro

It impressed me that the GoPro HERO 9 came with a softshell case. It’s apparently a new move for the company to reduce waste from their old plastic packaging. I really hope this is something they continue to do in the future. 

Though, I wish the divider inside was permanent and not made from pieces of cardboard.

They also included a charging cable that’s a solid length for charging. I wish I came with the small square piece that lets it plug into the wall. If you have a USB iPhone wall plug, you can use that to plug it in.

GO PRO HERO 9 BUNDLE CASE

The bundle I ordered came with two batteries, though if you get the basic package, you’ll only receive one.

GoPro’s special bundle deal also came with a floating hand grip, plus a magnetic swivel clip, and a one-year subscription to GoPro.

Hardware and Design Features

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The GoPro HERO 9 is larger than the HERO 8, but there’s a justifiable reason for it. 

This latest model has a lot of updates to make up for the tiny increase in size. The most noticeable being the addition of a 1.4-inch front-facing display screen, making it easier than ever to line up your selfies.

Unfortunately, the front-facing screen isn’t touch-enabled. So if you need to switch modes, you must do so on the read screen, which is larger than in previous models. 

The HERO 9 also boasts a new battery design that supposedly will provide up to 30% more battery life compared to the old model.

The device takes roughly three hours to fully charge and has a battery life of about one to two hours depending on the resolution you’re shooting in. 

Besides the battery, they’ve also upgraded the lens from the previous model. When GoPro came out with the HERO 8, they took away a removable lens cover that their previous cameras had. This means if you scratched or broke the 8’s lens, you’d have a tough time repairing it.

GoPro has listened to users’ complaints and given the HERO 9 a removable lens cover that everyone missed

The removable lens feature also allows users to purchase and use the Max Mod Lens, which shoots with a super-wide 155-degree view.

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The new GoPro HERO 9 also boasts 5K shooting, compared to the previous 4K.

Are you wondering what the difference is?

Basically it refers to the width of the footage. So the 5K has a total pixel count of 14,745,600 and dimensions of 5120×2880. 

The previous GoPros only had 4K, which means they have a total pixel count of 9,437,184 and dimensions of 4096×2304. 

Overall, the product is lightweight, provides beautiful photos and videos, and is easy to use while shooting solo.  

Software: The GoPro App

GO PRO HERO 9 CASE AND STICK

The GoPro App is fairly easy to use. With it, you can control your camera, get a live view of what’s in your shot, adjust camera settings, and update software when necessary. 

You can also download photos and videos to your phone directly from your GoPro. Fair warning, it takes a while to download. I was hoping maybe it was just because I have an older iPhone, but I’ve seen others commenting on this issue as well. 

The setup process is straightforward, then things are less intuitive. I ended up googling help videos when I was trying to edit a short video on the phone because it wasn’t easy to figure out on a first try with the app.

Overall, they could certainly make some improvements to make the user experience more intuitive. 

Plus, if you get the bundle, it comes with a one-year subscription to GoPro, which I’ve really enjoyed so far. It lets you backup unlimited photos and videos to your account, gives you to 50% off GoPro accessories, and front of the line VIP tech support.

Performance

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My first experience testing this little camera out was on a recent snorkeling trip to the Florida Keys. 

It was fairly easy to put the floating hand grip on, but I was anxious about how waterproof it would actually be after reading reviews. 

Apparently multiple people have had issues with it breaking apart in the water, sometimes causing them to lose their cameras. 

The hand grip held up nicely, as did the camera. Though I’m thankful that I watched a few YouTube videos about how to work the camera because not all the settings were easy for a new user to figure out.

I also picked up the tip from YouTube to rinse the GoPro and grip with fresh water at the end of our snorkeling trip. Apparently the saltwater can erode bits of the camera after extended exposure, especially if it accidentally gets through the battery door when you open it. 

The camera had a second or two of a delay after I hit the “film” button, but it wasn’t anything major. 

GoPro HERO 9 Black

The GoPro HERO 9 is ideal for travelers, influencers, and YouTubers who shoot solo in a variety of situations, locations, and weather.

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Overall, the video quality was impressive, and the battery held up a lot longer than I had been expecting with how much I was turning the camera on and off throughout the day.

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The following day, I took the GoPro to the beach to play more with the photo and voice command features. 

I highly recommend when you’re shooting a solo that you invest in an action tripod to make setting up shots easier. I was a nervous wreck balancing my new GoPro on random edges. 

It was wonderful having the front-facing display to set up my shots, and the voice commands made it really easy to take proper non-selfie style photos of myself.

Though I felt stupid talking loudly to the camera from a distance. I think I might invest in the remote control that can be paired with the camera for more flexibility and less embarrassment while taking long-distance selfies. 

I will say having this camera to shoot solo with was way easier than carting around my Canon Rebel T6, which is naturally a lot bulkier. 

The quality of the photos I got was pretty similar, and I didn’t have to run back and forth using the timer function on my Canon to shoot photos of myself. 

Trust me, I’ve almost fallen or tripped more times than I care to admit trying to take solo photos this way in the past. It really was a game-changer not having to constantly run back and forth between the frame and my camera.

Its size and weight are also convenient, as it can easily fit in a pocket or purse. 

I believe this is a great action camera for someone shooting active shots, taking solo photos, or simply just traveling a lot. It’s perfect for YouTubers and content creators who need something durable and easy to shoot with.

GoPro HERO 9 Alternatives 

DJI Osmo Action

DJI Osmo Action 4K
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This action camera packs a lot of punch at about half the cost of the GoPro HERO 9. You still get a waterproof action camera, dual screens, voice control, and video stabilization. One of the major drawbacks is that it doesn’t have an external mic capability (the GoPro does), and users have said the low light video recording isn’t great.

AKASO V50 Elite

AKASO V50 Elite Action Camera
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This might be one of the best budget action cameras around. It comes in at just over a Benjamin and has a lot of similar features to the GoPro. It’s waterproof up to 131 feet and offers camera voice control. The downside is that it only has a rear screen, so you can’t center any shots that you’re filming selfie-style.

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 Aviation
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Despite costing more than the GoPro HERO 9, this little camera has converted a lot of GoPro users with its simple and more intuitive features. The major downside is that it isn’t waterproof unless you buy the waterproof case for it. 

My Thoughts Overall On the GoPro HERO 9

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What I Like

  • The GoPro HERO 9 is small and easy to carry around. It’s perfect for anyone on the move with limited space in their luggage. And it gets bonus points for coming in a softshell carrying case!

  • My favorite feature is that the camera is totally waterproof on its own.

  • The camera’s ability to produce both quality videos and photos easily.

What I Don’t Like

  • The functions aren’t intuitive, especially for less techy people. I’ve had to watch a lot of YouTube videos to get better at working it.

  • The battery door is insanely hard to open.

  • I wish the carrying case came with a real separator instead of a cheap cardboard one.

What Do Other Reviewers Think?

After a lot of reading, I’ve discovered that users overwhelmingly love the GoPro HERO 9’s new front display screen, removable lens cover, and new 5K shooting. 

Some users have complained a bit that the HERO9 is bigger and has more weight compared to the HERO8. Honestly, I don’t see this being a massive deal, as it can still fit in your pocket.

With that added size, you get a slightly larger rear display screen, which avid GoPro users seem to love. They also mention that the quality of the video is super smooth and they love the extra horizon leveling option.

Users also love that you can switch between time warp and real-time all within the same shot, and the ability to pull quality still photos out of their 5K videos after shooting. 

On the downside, users have commented that the scheduled capture option doesn’t always work. I’ve seen a few reviews commenting that they’d been hoping to catch a sunset or sunrise using scheduled capture, only to return and find out that the camera never executed the command.

The Verdict

Compared to other action cameras out there, GoPro is a trusted name in the industry and provides a lot of features for the extra cash the brand name demands, especially if you get the bundle deal I scored. 

Once I watched a few tutorial videos online, the GoPro HERO 9 was easy to use, provided crisp photos and footage, and held up under the water without a case.

With this device, I feel more confident about filming myself out in public, especially around the water. Its size makes it a convenient option for everyday filming, and its durability makes it perfect for my active lifestyle of traveling the world.

Plus, with its front display, it’s easy to center while filming, so you won’t be struggling to get that perfect shot.

Maybe quickly summarize a couple of negatives too.

Overall, the GoPro HERO 9 is a great option for someone who can afford to spend a little more while investing in their first action camera. 

GoPro HERO 9 Black

The GoPro HERO 9 is ideal for travelers, influencers, and YouTubers who shoot solo in a variety of situations, locations, and weather.

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FAQs

Which GoPro has the best quality?

It depends on how much you want to spend. The GoPro HERO 9 shoots in 5K and has all the latest features. If you want to shoot 360 degrees, the GoPro MAX is a better option. 

Is the GoPro 9 worth it?

It’s not a huge upgrade from the GoPro HERO 8, but the image quality and extra features make the GoPro HERO 9 worth investing in.

How long does the GoPro 9 battery last?

The GoPro HERO 9’s battery lasts about one to two hours, depending on the resolution you’re shooting in.

Is GoPro 8 or 9 better?

The GoPro 9 is a better investment with its added features including a front display, removable lens cover, ability to shoot in 5K, and voice command features.

GoPro HERO 9 Black

The GoPro HERO 9 is ideal for travelers, influencers, and YouTubers who shoot solo in a variety of situations, locations, and weather.

Check Best Price on Amazon Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a purchase, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
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