GoPro Hero 8 review: Best GoPro with exceptional video quality


Like clockwork, GoPro has once again released their latest gen camera, this time the Hero 8 Black. While you’ll undoubtedly hear about the headliner features like the improved stabilization via GoPro’s new HyperSmooth Boost, the real goodness on this camera is actually some of the less attention grabbing headlines such as having HyperSmooth 2.0 now in every frame rate & resolution (though not every digital lens), or the higher bitrates offered. Same goes for the Live Burst photo functionality that mirrors what you’re used to on your phone today in features like ‘Live Photo’.

Atop that, GoPro has also pushed out a new 360° camera called the GoPro Max, which replaces the GoPro Fusion of the past. But that one’s not quite ready yet, so we’ll save that for another post down the road this fall. Also down the road this fall (maybe more like winter) are a slate of accessories GoPro calls ‘Mods’, which add a flip-up Vlogging style screen, a shotgun mic, and a 200 lumen light. These reasonably priced accessories though do take away some features that GoPro had previously in the camera, like the HDMI port.

There’s also a slew of other changes, which is a great time to skip into the ‘What’s New’ section, or just simply hit play on the brisk video below. I squeeze 18 new things into 13 minutes. Hold onto your hats!

I’ve been putting the GoPro HERO8 Black to the test for the last two weeks in Japan, and I have to say I am simply amazed at the quality of videos and photos it is producing.

GoPros have always been easy to use, but with the HERO8 Black the simplicity is taken to a new level, and you can quickly switch between video and photo modes using presets.

Over the last few years GoPro has been trying to shift away from their ‘only for extreme sports athletes‘ reputation and instead cement themselves as a multi-purpose camera that can be used for family vacations, night photography, travel vlogs and more.

What Are the New Features?

My review of the GoPro HERO8 Black shows that there has been a number of big updates over the HERO7, making it the best action and travel camera the company has ever produced.

Here’s some of the new and major features of the GoPro HERO8 Black. I’ll go into more detail on some of them below.

  • TimeWarp 2.0
  • HyperSmooth 2.0
  • SuperPhoto with Improved HDR
  • 4K at 60fps in wide and linear at 100Mbps
  • 1080p at 240fps
  • Night lapse video
  • Folding fingers (removing the need for a frame)
  • 1080p live streaming
  • SuperView, Wide, Linear and Narrow digital lenses
  • Quick video capture presets
  • LiveBurst Mode
  • RAW photos in all modes
  • Waterproof to 10m
  • GPS
  • Voice activation
  • Front-facing microphone with improved audio
  • Optional modular accessories

The New GoPro App

Until now, GoPro have used two apps to control your camera, and to put together quick and easy videos on your phone – GoPro and Quik.

That’s all changed, and Quik has been merged directly into GoPro, streamlining the workflow for on-the-go video editors.

With the updated GoPro app there are some new themes to make videos, you can add non-GoPro pics and video clips to your edits, and there’s a much-appreciated automatic horizon levelling feature.

Is it Worth Upgrading from the HERO7?

The final question you might be asking yourself after reading this GoPro HERO8 Black review is, “Should I upgrade from the HERO7?”

There’s no doubting that the HERO7 is still a fantastic camera, and if you are just using it for making basic videos and taking pictures of your adventures, there’s no real reason to upgrade to the HERO8 Black.

However if you are a vlogger, or spend a lot of time talking to the camera, then the front-facing microphone and optional modular accessories make the GoPro HERO8 well worth buying.

Also the video setting improvements such as 100Mbps, 4K at 60fps in linear mode and 1080p at 240fps makes capturing the best quality videos much easier.

TimeWarp 2.0 adds a new creative element to your clips to stand out from the pack, as does Night Lapse Video.

Additionally the update with HyperSmooth 2.0 means if you are an action sports enthusiast, you’ll be able to film buttery-smooth videos in any environment without the need for a gimbal.

If you don’t already own the GoPro HERO7 Black and are looking for a new camera to buy, there isn’t any reason (other than to save some pennies) to buy the latest GoPro, as it really is fantastic.

Final thoughts
The Hero 8 Black is the best GoPro yet, but without its Mod accessories (available for pre-order in December 2019) it's only a minor update on its predecessor. The more streamlined design, new microphone and improved app are all big bonuses, while pros will appreciate the higher max bit-rate and 1080p livestreaming. If you just need a waterproof action cam for travel duty, then it's still well worth considering the Hero 7 Black. But those new Mod accessories, which are coming soon, should push the Hero 8 Black into a league of its own, particularly for vloggers.
My pros
Superb image stabilization
Built-in mount that folds away neatly
Great video quality
Plenty of modes
My cons
Rear screen could be bigger
There are cheaper action cams!
Lowlight performance could be better