Re-boxing: Why I’m returning the GoPro Hero 8

To help create more video content I recently purchased the GoPro Hero 8 Black. After one trip backpacking trip with it and some around-the-office tinkering, I’ve decided to return it.


I’m new to action cameras and to videography in general, so entering this market is a bit overwhelming. And unfortunately I didn’t have time for exhaustive research, since my first guided trips of the season are coming up fast.

I was intrigued by the Insta360 One R, but the device’s crevices and modularity seemed poorly suited to rough and dirty backcountry use. Meanwhile, GoPro’s flagship Hero 8 Black seemed to check all my boxes:

  • Compact and durable body;
  • Good video quality, sound, and image stabilization in consideration of the device’s size, weight, and price;
  • Optional exterior mic using the Media Mod; and,
  • Less expensive, and also currently $100 off.

I also assumed that, as the industry creator and leader, GoPro would address well my relatively basic needs.

Not unboxing, but re-boxing and returning

Why it’s being returned

The most problematic issue with the Hero 8 is its TERRIBLE battery life, which makes it completely impractical for the backcountry. Its performance on my trip was laughable: I shot just 27 clips totaling 16:56 before the battery died.

We started early on a Saturday, and by mid-morning I noticed that the battery was being depleted rapidly. The camera was “off,” but I speculated that something was running in the background. So I turned off Wi-fi, GPS, voice control, and Boost, and I turned down the screen brightness. That may have helped some, but it wasn’t enough.

The camera burns through the battery when it’s recording and also when it’s not. For example, while sitting on my desk for the past 72 hours, the battery has gone from 62 percent to 47 percent, or a 5 percent daily drain. I’m appalled that GoPro has not solved this issue in the eighth generation of this product. And, no, removing the battery between uses and at night is not an acceptable option.

Online reports of piss poor battery life and battery drain are widespread. While the device specs at 81 minutes of recording (at 1080p/60fps), realistically it’s much less, especially with the battery drain.

Updating the firmware, reformatting the memory chip, and turning off all the nice-to-have features (why bother then?) has not solved the problem.

Another concern

A lesser concern with the Hero 8 is that it does not have a lens protector. If it falls the wrong way onto some rocks, or if it’s simply abraded by Utah sand in a hipbelt pocket, the image quality will never be the same.


At this point, I only know one thing: the Hero 8 Black isn’t going to work for me. But I’m not yet certain what I will get instead.

I’m looking at the DJI Osmo Action but I’m not totally sold. It has a replaceable lens cover, but the battery life is only marginally better — 135 minutes at 1080p/30fps with everything turned off.

Two other options:

  • Buy a gimbal and external mic for my smartphone; or,
  • Shoot more video with my trusted Canon G9X camera, and when necessary take audio through a standalone system run through my smartphone, which can be combined in post-production.

Thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

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Posted in , on July 5, 2020


  1. Dan on July 5, 2020 at 10:04 am

    Backpacking is one activity where I don’t see any advantage to a GoPro over a phone. The field of view is distorted and ugly. The wide angle is designed for first person views, which don’t make much sense for backpacking. And most phones can crush the GoPro for video anyways, with multiple focal lengths and non-distorted images. The only advantage the GoPro has is being waterproof and basically indestructible. You mention wanting a gimbal. I think they are highly overrated and take tons of extra time in the backcountry. Shooting stable handheld footage with proper technique on a smartphone is still the best combo for being high quality and efficient. If you require a gimbal, a DJI Osmo Pocket performs well, especially when connected to a phone (it’s very hard to frame a composition on it’s own.) But I still think it’s still too fiddly to be a great tool in the backcountry. If you don’t want to use a phone, I’d recommend something like an RX100, where you can get more flexible zoom range and a little shallower depth of field.

    • Steve on July 6, 2020 at 10:13 am

      You can buy a battery backpack I pretty sure I seen it on a website I still use my GOPRO 3+ Black with a battery backpack used it most of the day kayaking loved it the video was great. Yes the GOPRO 8 Black the battery doesn’t last you can always use a solar charger.

      • Mike on July 6, 2020 at 11:27 am

        Not sure how I found this but I completed two 45 minute dives and one 90 minute dive with one battery. I only captured about 30 minutes of video in 2.7k at 120fps. I’m more upset with the $50 waterproof housing, which broke after a single dive.

        But yea gopro is not a bacpackers camera. If i was backpacking i would just carry my cannon t7i and get waaaay better photos and videos.

        • Dimi3020 on July 6, 2020 at 5:17 pm

          I find this review laughable considering that I’ve had GoPro since version 3. I’ve also had Xiaomi Yi action cameras as backups because of their cheap price. I could say I use the GoPros with my Sony professional Sony cameras that are between $10,000 and $20,000 for various production shoots, but what would be the sense. Buy a GoPro 8 for yourself and you’ll see that quality does matter.

        • Ivan on July 7, 2020 at 7:18 am

          Heh same situation for me, I’ve got drift ghost 4k, the battery life is much better than gopro, it was a situation when I forgot to turn off camera on parkin lot and after few hours it was absolutely alive.
          I find only one cons against drift is no manual settings for White balance

      • Richard Poinvil on July 6, 2020 at 4:20 pm

        I had the battery backpack for my old Hero. It lasts pretty long. I would definitely recommend it.

      • Víctor Manuel on July 6, 2020 at 9:32 pm

        Payaso ! Creo que también hay que,buscar la configuración correcta para obtener un buen rendimiento!
        Hero 8 es obviamente una cámara de acción,no un Sony full frame!!

    • Ken Stone on July 6, 2020 at 11:26 am

      Good observations. That helped me also. Thanks

    • moro on July 6, 2020 at 6:15 pm

      you realize you can change the wideness of the lense?

    • Mike Lee on July 6, 2020 at 9:05 pm

      By removing the simple HDMI port (and having to buy some dumb HDMI port thingy), GoPro just effectively ruined it’s “LIVE!” production audience, and thus sales. We own about six GoPro 4’s for IMAG at a casino and they work good, but we will never buy GoPro’s again. We just can’t. The 8’s battery won’t even last half a 90 minute show! Also, the WiFi reliability is absolute shite, like all GoPros. I have literally spent as much as an HOUR trying to connect one stubborn camera, only to return next week where it’s dropped everything again. What a [email protected]#! So here’s the deal- I have NO IDEA who is actually running GoPro now, but it’s clearly some accounting firm and not somebody who USES the product. In fact, each year GoPros got worse and worse. Now though, the Hero 8 is clearly trying to become a 4k “Vlogging camera” (that it can’t) with gimmicky accessories. But the Hero 8 is neither a good enough quality “Vlogging camera”, nor a good action 4k camera or LIVE! shooter anymore. So what is it? It’s also really heavy, too. Overall, I rate the GoPro 8 as “janky”, and it’s pretty darn sad that GoPro has become so vulnerable to falling to 2nd place now. If DJI ever brings in a good designer who knows what the most usable features are, OSMO might soon own the action cam market too!

  2. Michael on July 5, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    I suspect the inherent small size of action cameras is the limiting factor on battery life since you can fit only so much battery into one. 135 minutes sounds pretty good from what I’ve found. I intend to take 4 batteries with me, but may buy a power brick instead. Don’t really want the extra weight, but it is what it is when you’re out for a long time. Personally, I’m going with a cheaper Akaso, but good audio is not a strong suit for most of their models unfortunately. Is the G9X audio quality that bad? I’ve not had much issue with my old Canon S100/S120 but they do have a fair bit of noise.

    • Andrew Skurka on July 5, 2020 at 6:43 pm

      What strange is that the battery on my Canon G9X is almost identical in size, maybe even smaller, then the battery in the GoPro.

      I have not done a one-to-one comparison of the GoPro audio versus the G9X, but I’ve never been that impressed with the G9X, it’s definitely not production quality and it really suffers if there’s any wind, whereas I feel like the GoPro is reasonably close even without an external mic system.

      • Scott Mitchell on July 6, 2020 at 12:14 am

        I bought a Hero 8 bundle in January. I don’t remember exactly what they called the bundle but it came with two spare batteries, a mini tripod and a hat mount. Two of the 3 batteries have very good life but one of them discharges approximately 2% a day even when not installed in the camera thus I’m going to blame that on the battery.
        I recently went to Vietnam and took tours of the Cu Chi tunnels as well as the Mekong River delta and two batteries basically go through a whole day on each tour. (Approximately 3 to 4 hours each day)

        IMO the Hero 8 black not having a replaceable lens cover is one of it’s biggest shortcomings. I do not have the media mod but I would venture to guess that it would be a real battery killer.

        I’m hearing a lot of good things about the recent firmware updates for the DJI Osmo action camera. For now I’m just going to stick with the GoPro and my trusty G7X Mark II.

        Best of luck with whatever direction you choose next

        • Evolve To Experience on July 7, 2020 at 8:09 am

          2 out of 3 batteries…. I would say you are lucky to get one extra as it’s only two in a bundle pack.

      • Jesse on July 6, 2020 at 12:24 am

        Try the Hero 7 Black. You can eliminate the fisheye distortion by selecting the linear view option. Also the battery drain is far less a problem. Though I do not take alot of video on a day to day I do still carry it with me everyday and onlyy charge it every 2 weeks. I do keep an extra battery just in case but I do believe the Hero 7 model is a better camera

        • Jack Shi on July 6, 2020 at 11:53 am

          It sounds like you did not turn off QuikCapture. That might help. The batteries aren’t that big or heavy and you’ll definitely want to bring some extra ones on your trips. Also, of course set your screen timeout to a minimal amount so the screen turns off while recording anything long. I can’t see the competitors being much better on the battery front. There is a bit of a learning curve for sure and you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth the effort. Maybe you have up too soon.

          Abe is one of the people who shoot videos using GoPro’s for GoPro. He works in media production at GoPro full-time. His guide is here:

          • Norma Smith on July 6, 2020 at 3:45 pm

            You can eliminate the fish eye and wide angle on go pro hero 8 also
            I dont like either one of those settings so I keep my in linear mode also and as far as the battery life. I had mine out all day Saturday with about 3.5 – 4 hours on just one battery. I also carry 3 extra just in case

        • Jason on July 6, 2020 at 6:55 pm

          I have a Hero7 and use it nearly every day. The battery will last from just over an hour to about an hour and a half under optimal conditions.

      • Richard on July 6, 2020 at 4:21 am

        The Hero 8 records quick memory’s on my trip to Greece in the mountains. I find it meets my needs. I think you have too much time-get a life. The GOPRO is great.

        • Kaze88 on July 6, 2020 at 10:35 am

          True that gopro has grown quite comfotably being the only option. Some features are just check boxes that they want to have to differ from the new boys in the hood. Still If you turn off all the bells and whistless that almost no one uses like gps/wifi/voice activation it would have drained the battery at all when turned off. Same problem was in Hero 7. Also if you have action camera, get another battery. I have always managed with 2 batteries with wholeday trip of footage. I get around 1,5h+ with 2.7k per battery. Timelapse and hyperlapse take a bit less battery than regular video.

          Tip for the lens:
          1. Buy a lens protector (2€ on china).
          2. Buy the protector cage (official 40/china metal one 30€).
          3. Pay 50€ a year for gopro+ and they will give you a new one no questions asked twice (also you will unlock all + benefits as half price shop prices, cloud storage which is slowest thing ever and some otherthings).

          On the other hand I get that you got fed up with gopro and cant blame you. If you really want some action camera get dji or modular one from insta360. Ofc phone with Gimbal is always another solution, but on high action activity it’s a no go. If you walk or hike, then phone + gimbal is fine. Idk where you need outer mic tho, phone mics are pretty decent.

          • Andrew Skurka on July 6, 2020 at 10:43 am

            Appreciate these comments, thanks. Seems like a realistic assessment of the options.

          • Trianguli on July 6, 2020 at 5:27 pm

            I’m not sure about this. I researched this all before I bought it and got an extra battery with a charger as well as a big solar charger/battery thing and I still haven’t even needed the backup battery because I just set up my solar panel charging system when I set up camp and by dark it’s charged again. But even so, just having two batteries and swapping them out to charge with the solar panel on my backpack has worked fine for backpacking. It’s a lighter and smaller system than my big T6i. I think for someone curious of this Hero8 rig, I would say it works if you set it up right. Just have an extra battery or two and charge them when you’re not using them with a solar panel. Piece of cake. And just set the lens to a normal flat view instead of the extreme wide angle and you get a more normal looking shot. It’s not that hard folks. Get the hard case if you’re afraid to scratch it. Subscribe to their $5/mo insurance plan and they’ll replace your camera twice a year for no extra charge if you’re a hardcore user. I think altogether the hero8 is fine for recording backpacking trips. Works for me at least.

        • C3MI on July 6, 2020 at 5:27 pm

          Well, that wasn’t very nice.

      • Michael on July 6, 2020 at 7:04 am

        Not sure then. The Canon battery may still be heavier, which indicates higher usable capacity in practice though it couldn’t be that much more. I’d assume both would have similar electronic features like GPS, wifi, gyroscope, EIS, etc that take power, but maybe GoPro has something extra. From what I’ve read GoPro make their own chipset so they should be able to optimize it.

      • Peter on July 6, 2020 at 10:21 am

        In digital movie recordings, battery power consumption starts with electronics and efficiency. You’ll be aware of that – nothing new, I hope. Part is, more megapixels, more energy. Faster, more energy.
        Essential differences that may be new to you are in “compression”. A video camera shoots stills (say at 30 fps speed) and each raw still image is subjected to processing, sharpening, color profile – and compression into a JPEG like image. Here the format standard allows degrees of freedom. Then sequences of stills (we are still talking movie) can be compressed more, to e.g. get .MP4 format and here too are degrees of freedom. So, starting with 30 fps frames, a camera could do little processing so it has little compression and huge files, or vice versa.
        In here, the compression processing costs a lot of time and battery power. I worked with a Canon video camera that worked like that: huge files. Arguably this is a way to be cheap for the manufacturer. And get more done with a small battery. I thought it was primarily cheap.
        That all said, in the case of the GoPro another optimization problem presents itself: writing loads of uncompressed video data to a microSD card may boil the card.

      • Imrj on July 6, 2020 at 6:56 pm

        Hmmm… Interesting, I do 30m shoots off my drone w hero8 and 4k60, but what I noticed is how much cooler it runs with nice airflow over it…. While if not flying it gets really hot and battery last like yours,15min tops….. And is a well known fact lithium batteries perform poorly under heat….

        • John on March 8, 2021 at 5:54 am

          Exact same issues here with brand new 8. In anything other than 20c temps the battery life is useless. Carrying an extra camera around to get 15 mins of video seems pointless. I am buying an aftermarket door so I can plug in a power brick. But you’re right, if you have to turn off all the accoutrements to make the batteries work longer than 10 mins on a winter hike (and that still doesn’t help) whats the point? Not a great product due to these limitations. And yes, the 7 is quite a bit better in this regard. Gopro is getting lazy, and has hired some poor engineers apparently if their products are going backwards in usability.

      • Dana Sherry on July 7, 2020 at 7:23 am

        good point. My Sony A6000 battery is 1020Mah and lasts me nearly 3 days of backpacking. I carry 4 Gopro batteries with me. So yeah it’s a pain but for some crazy reason I still bought one. But just for First person POV and not really vlogging or hiking or whatever.

    • Keith on July 6, 2020 at 3:24 am

      Wish I would not have bought the Hero 8 too. Battery life isn’t great as you said, turning it on to video/picture sucks with voice command because especially videoing once your done you hear yourself on replay saying GoPro turn off. Sadly I wish I never bought it and now stuck with it. My phone is better with both photo and video and easier. I suggest getting a Nikon D8500 or even a D7500 for both video/photos …

    • Mike Lee on July 6, 2020 at 9:12 pm

      Not actually, its about power hungry software, and menu/accessory design.

  3. @biesus on Instagram on July 5, 2020 at 11:53 pm

    Extra batteries are cheap, the stabilization is a part of battery use, and if your battery is going dead while in the camera just take it out. I don’t see much validity in your complaints. I use an external charger (goal zero) and a 6’ chord so I don’t have to think about battery life. I do that because gopro has done such a good job with high quality image with built in stabilization. As the guy who doesn’t like the “distortion” in the comments should learn to correct it in post. Cheers.

  4. AC on July 6, 2020 at 12:08 am

    Short battery life is extremely common in action cameras (as you’ve found out).

    Especially ones offering 4K video in 100 Mbps bitrate (even if you are outputting it to 1080p like the Canon G9X, the GoPro is recording in 4K, when downsampling to 1080p… giving your superior quality video… but it eats battery life… as it is the sensor based electronic image stabilization… which allow you to record watchable footage while hand-holding the GoPro while running (something you can’t do with a canon G9X).

    Pretty much everyone carries around 1-3 extra batteries and swaps them out. There are portable battery chargers that you can pop mlutiple batteries in a charge in your bag (check out DCRainmaker). Another option if you aren’t going to take the camera underwater, have you just considered just connecting to an external battery pack? There are GoPro handle grips that are also battery packs as well.

    Finally, it looks like you don’t need the ultra-wide angle that much… so many the DJI Osmo Pocket… that has 140 mins battery life (and comes with a case that recharges it as your store it).

  5. Rafael Torres on July 6, 2020 at 12:59 am

    How about the akaso native 4k it is a great camera

  6. Mike J on July 6, 2020 at 1:27 am

    It is really to bad that you are dismissing the GoPro camera purely on battery life. They are amazing little tools if you learn to use them for what they are. Camera size period is why the the battery life is not more than it is. If you are looking for a small action camera to have amazing battery life, you won’t find it at least in today’s world. Every camera or any tool for that matter has its limits.Understand them, learn to use them for what they are, and you can get some great content out of them.

  7. Colin West on July 6, 2020 at 1:32 am

    Yep my GoPro battery is shit prob 40 mins at best on the motorcycle. Also I have to take the chip out and put it the pc direct as it won’t launch the software. After many many calls with their tech team formatting this and that I’m told the editing software hasn’t been updated and won’t be for the GoPro hero 8 black. (Bollox as it launches on my old laptop)

    Really really disappointing first purchase of what I thought was the industry’s leading adventure camera.

  8. David in Spain on July 6, 2020 at 2:06 am

    Try a Crosstour CT 9000 cheap as chips, an OK battery. If you scratch it change it. DP

  9. James on July 6, 2020 at 2:59 am

    The battery usage is awful on them, I barely get a short mtb ride on one charge. But I pack a bunch of spare batteries if I need to go for ages.

    The other side is that they actively admit it’s designed for short clips, all their editing software fails over with clips more than a few minutes and data transfer off it is so slow as to be painful. 4 minute clip at 1080/60 takes 20+ minutes. The editing software is infuriating and they were so bad at it they ditched the original gopro studio (after swearing my 8 core 4.5ghz, 16Gig mahhine with a £1k 1024 core graphics card was not up to the job of processing a 1080p video) and now just have this Quik thing which is designed for people who can’t concentrate on video editing for more than 30 seconds.

    But I hadn’t noticed the non removable lens cover on the 8, that’s a deal breaker for me, absolute madness. They’ve been chasing features for years and renewing the model contents each year, they really need to learn to perfect the critical items but they’re probably swayed by the bulk of their users who are just messing about using them for fun. Proper camera manufacturers stand by their product line for several years and make solid products with huge performance leaps.

    That said, I’ve still not seen another action camera that is as well packaged, produces video that is as nice, or just does what you expect out of the box. Strapped mine too kites boards, kites, scuba dive at 100ft, mag mounted to a car bonnet, works fine every time. Just for a short period of battery and takes ages to edit.

    Shame they’ve not really grown, they seem like a bunch of software engineers who’ve found a gadget they enjoy developing the soft features of and forgotten to address the elephants.

    Id still recommend one though, due to the lack of realistic competitors.

  10. Ethan on July 6, 2020 at 3:19 am

    I agree with you and I’m not huge on the hero 8 either. I bought 4 extra batteries and the media mod so I can plug a usb battery bank right into the GoPro (not waterproof, but still handy) while I’m using it on a tripod/stable mount. May work for you.

  11. @ltra1n on July 6, 2020 at 3:24 am

    Multiple batteries are a necessity. Have three charging and one in the gopro. There are some great chargers that double as a carrying case. I’m sure you have some type of battery charger for you phone that you can connect the case/charger to… Some kind of power bank, preferably solar. I would recommend the gopro 7 black, as well. You can replace the lens if it is damaged.

  12. James on July 6, 2020 at 3:56 am

    That’s very strange. I have a hero 8 and the battery life is excellent. I easily get 1.5 hr of recording with superboost on at 1080p, and about an hour at 4k. I also haven’t had issues with the battery draining with the GoPro off. I often charge up the night before and the next day it’s still at 100%. Perhaps you got a dud?

  13. Todd Bryant on July 6, 2020 at 4:07 am

    The DJI Osmo Actions is better suited to your environment. One thing is that it doesn’t have a GPS. But the front facing screen is perfect for framing up shots. RockSteady image stabilization does a great job even on a motorcycle.

    For extended battery range, use a external battery bank. One with 33,000 mAh hives me a whopping 57 hours of continuous power at a run rate of 1300 mAh at 135 minutes or 9.62.

    I’d recommend a smartphone gimbal and in particular the Zhiyun Smooth 4 for cinematic shots and a tripod because you will get tired of the low shots and you will want to capture time lapses.

    Get the Moman Camera Tripod off of Amazon. It will work with your phone with the gimbal and the Osmo Action with the standard mount and it has a hook to hold a bag with a battery for stability.

    If you are shooting in 1080p, the best mirrorless camera you can buy right now for the price is the Canon EOS M50. It’s light, takes great pictures, affordable and has amazing autofocus.

    Add a Rhode Micro mic and a Gorilla Pod mini tripod a good camera bag and you’re ready to be a world traveler.

  14. Binder Vegas on July 6, 2020 at 4:39 am

    I purchased the DJI Osmo Action direct from the company and it included two batteries and the charger for $250 bucks US, just a couple of weeks ago. I installed a CPL filter and couldn’t be happier! Battery life (summer heat) was close to 50 minutes. The side door (USB-c) comes off and if you’re not in water, can hook up any external usb battery bank. When I saw that the lens on the Gopro 8 was fixed/moulded to the body, I knew then and there that it was set up to help Gopros become unrepairable w/o a great expense, thus helping the company’s shareholders make more money . LOL I had the hero7 and returned it because the heat coming off it was unbelievable! The Osmo also produces heat, but not as bad as the hero7. Osmo has a small heating under the lense.

  15. Shawn on July 6, 2020 at 4:45 am


    • James on July 6, 2020 at 8:32 am

      Most people want to record an activity, or a good chunk of an activity, without turning the camera on and off, putting it away in a bag. They want to record a chunk of footage and then go home and cut the good bits out to make a short video of 1-3 minutes. An action camera that records for 45 mins *just about* makes do, and you can replace the battery which is great and a huge plus over lots of tech gadgets that are waterproof. But ultimately when the software falls over with a few minutes of footage, and the battery dies while you have it turned off for half a day, it’s still not doing its job properly. At no point is that requiring a production team or making a movie, it’s just doing the bare minimum you expect of an action cam.

  16. Joe g on July 6, 2020 at 5:40 am

    I’m a complete novice and wanted more than the pictures my iPhone X plus As we planned our hiking trip to Glacier National Park. I bought the rubber exterior protector which made it a pain to mount since the screw didn’t turn easily with the case on. After realizing I had to change the battery after less than an hour of hiking (forget taking videos because it drains so quickly) , the voice recognition liked the turn off command but not so much the turn on command since I almost always had to do that manually.

    On the second day while sitting down and taking the rubber protector off to change the battery again I dropped it from 2 feet onto The floor and yep the screen cracked. I learned You could replace the lenses on the older versions but not the 8, that you have to send in. Having to puts around changing the battery so often obviously increases the risk of something going wrong.

    So as I’m going through my photos from our once in a lifetime 8 day trip on my iPhone i’m wondering what I will do with the extra simm cards, batteries and accessories for this broken piece of junk GoPro 8

  17. Benny4Nature on July 6, 2020 at 5:44 am

    I don’t mind the poor battery life. I have two additional batteries, and they’re very inexpensive. The GoPro , (I have the 7) is very amazing. Love the small size.
    A phone doesn’t compare at all to a GoPro. Just shooting video on a phone while waking is awful, the screen bumps on every step. GoPro let’s you enjoy a hike while shooting video at the same time and not worry about camera shaking. The hand strap accessory is fabulous.
    No worries about the lens getting cracked. I love this little gadget. Nothing better.

  18. dayz_hk on July 6, 2020 at 5:44 am

    i had never ending issues with the 7 Black.
    Random crashes, even when powering on.
    Overnight total battery depletion if the battery was left in.
    Terrible connectivity to phone (android or ios).
    Constant disconnects when using livestream function, even when at home on wifi.
    Insane heat problem.
    GoPro support saying to change memory card or reflash/upgrade firmware, which i did numerous times to no avail.
    Never will i purchase another GoPro product.

  19. The Mad One on July 6, 2020 at 5:56 am

    fully charged the night before, i can record 1 hour of 4K 25fps continuous video with Hypersmooth set to high while running or cycling. some other settings you can change, set QuickCapture on so when you press the shutter, it turns on and record immediately, then stop and shut down immediately. and the screen timeout to the minimum value. screen usage eats a lot of power.

  20. Mark on July 6, 2020 at 6:06 am

    Get yourself a re-fuel battery pack for the gopro…it fits right in secure and lasts an estumated 9hours and you can mount it to your chest….easy !

  21. Mac on July 6, 2020 at 6:10 am

    I have a hero silver 7 and the life on that is good. I wish the battery could be changed however it is fixed. I keep it on when mountain biking and shoot roughly 15 mins per trip. It stays on through 1-2 hr rides and the battery usually depletes by 35-40 percent per trip. I wonder if they used a different battery with the newer cameras?

  22. Mark on July 6, 2020 at 6:13 am

    Re-fuel by digipower….hero gear in Australia have them in stock and ebay sometimes…look for the specific one that holds the gopro within itself…not a separate power brick , …this one has its own cradle the gopro fits in.

  23. Mark on July 6, 2020 at 6:20 am

    Regards rhe digipower battery …just was made for the gopro 5 , 6 and 7….The 8 is slightly bigger…so just ask if it will fit
    If not , and you like the idea…consider getting a gopro 7…you can save some money and get the power bank..

  24. Nadine on July 6, 2020 at 6:27 am

    Recently purchased gopro8 also. I agree, the battery drains very fast.

    • Leonard Scott on July 6, 2020 at 10:05 am

      I also use a refuel battery with the hero 7 black. I haven’t seen a similar product for the hero 8 (yet).

  25. Werner on July 6, 2020 at 6:38 am

    Rather random but have you looked at SJCam? I don’t have one (yet) but heard good things about it. Here’s a link.
    You don’t have to click on the link (concern for viruses and all that) but it would help you find their site.

  26. Rich Poinvil on July 6, 2020 at 6:39 am

    Your review popped up in my Google news feed and I am glad it did. I pretty much agree with your assessment of the Hero8. I’m keeping mine because I only need it for fishing and changing out batteries are not a problem for me. I have tried the same remedies with not much of an improvement.
    Anyway, I appreciate your review’s – to the point and no filler style. I’ll browse your sight more today.

  27. Chris on July 6, 2020 at 6:44 am

    Well, those are the reasons why I bought GoPro hero 7 with the extra battery and charger, two weeks ago, instead of the 8. I’m very happy with it. I also bought a cheap 70€ 4k action camera and I wish I new better before… the GoPro quality (hardware and software) is really worth the 200€ extra.

  28. Matthew on July 6, 2020 at 7:09 am

    They do have a protective case for the that’s stops stuff getting in..

  29. Matthew on July 6, 2020 at 7:10 am

    They do have a protective case for the insta360 that stops stuff getting in..

  30. Andrew H on July 6, 2020 at 7:21 am

    I got a GoPro Hero 4 black, and it had abysmal shelf life. After getting a new battery the record time was long enough to hold out for the 3 batteries on my quadcopter at the time. But the GoPro would keep it’s wireless turned on even when it’s off. I still think the Hero 4 black was the last of the great ones, that didn’t use up battery to power an external screen. But there’s better options. I was really pondering the Xaomi Yi line of action cameras at the time I was looking to upgrade the camera on my quadcopter, but I have no personal experience with it.

  31. Tiwtin on July 6, 2020 at 7:26 am

    Sounds like you had a faulty unit that was eating battery. My Hero 8 will run 47 minutes straight at 4k 60 FPS. Sure, theres quirks that I work through, but definitely not what you’ve described.

  32. SFD on July 6, 2020 at 7:33 am

    By no means am I an expert on batteries or action cameras but I have had about 6 action cameras and so far (I’m on the hero 7) the current generation gopros have far exceed my expectations. Battery life is lacking but ther cold weather performance is significantly improved. I get about 90 minutes video time in 4K time warp. But I also carry 3 batteries. The DJI specs are 135 minutes 1080/30fps and the gopro 81 minutes 1080/60fps are not apples to apples but likely a marketing tactic. Potentially Taking twice the data on the gopro. The gopro can also take a heck of a beating and keep pushing forward. I’m sure everyone has an opinion. I’d be curious how long the canon g9x battery lasts under similar conditions.

    I agree, I am not a fan of the battery drain when not in use. But when I compare to my other devices, I believe this helps preserve battery lifecycle. My DJI drone batteries will drain if not used as well. Again, not a battery expert so someone else may provide an actual explanation.

  33. Josh Greer on July 6, 2020 at 7:37 am

    We use all of the mentioned cameras above to record baseball and softball games. Because of the long recording times, external USB batteries are a must. Inconvenient on a hike, but still very possible. The Osmo Action is a great camera, but is fixed FOV. The Insta360 One R is a great concept, but the software is flawed and all video requires post production work. And the high bite rate video requires a huge workhorse to handle.

    I hope this helps.


    Josh Greer
    LynkSpyder – Chain Link Fence Sports Camera Mount
    Baseball * Softball * Tennis * Pickleball

  34. Patrick Hill on July 6, 2020 at 7:48 am

    Andrew, I had a very similar experience with a GoPro in January 2019. I went to Alaska and did a good bit of xc ski touring. Temps were below 0 most of the time and the battery would die within less than 15 minutes. At one point, the camera would not even turn on with a fully charged battery due to the (admittedly very low) ambient temperature.
    My phone, meanwhile, operated just fine. I also returned the GoPro. My take away is that this genre of product is primarily designed for folks who adventure inbounds; the type of pavement-centric people who get a rad shot for their Youtube channel and then spent the rest of the day editing video. (Sad, because Kilian Jornet had me convinced…;)

    • SFD on July 6, 2020 at 8:19 am

      I haven’t had an issue with low temps and commonly record in subzero temps (not below -30F though). It’s definitely not as good but if you keep the gopro in your coat up until you turn it on it does fine. My previous generation gopros did exactly what you state, but not hero 6 and up. I imagine your phone works well because you keep it in your jacket in between videos as well (an assumption of course). I don’t know of many lithium ion batteries that will run when the camera and battery are subzero temps.

  35. Dru woods on July 6, 2020 at 7:48 am

    Your settings matters. Even on 4k and highest stability settings a fully charged battery can go at least 45 mins. Take a few with you. With the media mod u can also charge as you go with an external battery or just bring a few uncharged batteries. Its an action camera lol and a really good one. We are human beings what do we do? We figure out a way. Sounds like you’re tapping out a bit prematurely

  36. Mikek on July 6, 2020 at 8:40 am

    Most people who use gopro’s buy a handful of additional batteries. It is what it is. It certainly is an area the company could improve on and maybe a GoPro isn’t a solution to your use case but it is an awesome camera and buying extra batteries isn’t a terrible burden

  37. Tobias on July 6, 2020 at 8:45 am

    GoPro died for me with hero 4 release, they removed tv out via usb pins which made it impossible to transmit real time video. Their software was always very poor, wifi video stream had delay at bout 8 seconds. A lot of FPV enthusiasts were using hero 3 black when you can charge it while getting <1s latency live feed. I believe they lost of customers with such attitude which actually is beyond my understanding. Forcing people to use their app? Or buy their drones? Most of enthusiasts have DIY drones so, i don't know, maybe they find some solution with their next release. Now its nothing but expensive toy without any utility

  38. Michael Robinson on July 6, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Maybe do a little math before you jump into conclusions. You say “I’m looking at the DJI Osmo Action but I’m not totally sold. It has a replaceable lens cover, but the battery life is only marginally better — 135 minutes at 1080p/30fps with everything turned off.” While the GoPro battery rating is tested at 1080 p 60/FPS… so how can you compare longer battery life on DJI vs GoPro when frame rates are cut in half? You can surly get a replaceable lens – front and back for GoPro with the rollcage.

  39. Michael in Texas on July 6, 2020 at 9:09 am

    I stopped reading at, “I’m new to action cameras and to videography in general…”

    There’s your problem.

    • mickeybphoto on July 6, 2020 at 3:59 pm

      👍👍👍 yep about sums it up

  40. Mary on July 6, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Good luck getting a refund. I sent my Hero 8 back in early June and still haven’t seen a penny back. Gopro customer service has been far from helpful.

    • Andrew Skurka on July 6, 2020 at 10:19 am

      Good to know. I’ll keep an eye out for that.

  41. FiLdUbz IG on July 6, 2020 at 10:23 am

    You typed alllllll that without properly researching the Go Pro Hero 8.. such a baseless, no research post like this is wild to read in this day an age of THE GOOGLE.

    The GoPro comes with an Always On feature enabled– when the GoPro 8 is off, it’s still technically on waiting for you to press Record so it can A- turn the GoPro back on B- start recording..

    One can easily turn this feature off and conserve a lot of battery life. I personally keep it on and can record up to 55minutes in 4K/30 or 60. Once the Auto Wake Up feature is off, I can get even more battery life.

    Now mind you, you also didn’t get into the quality of the video being 10x better than any other action cam, super slow mo up to 240fps 1080p to 120fps 2.7kp, and it’s water proof.

    It has the same exact Wide, Linear and Super Wide option as the previous models.

    Man…. do some research first 🤦🏽‍♂️

  42. M. Young on July 6, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Well,. You can check the specifications before you buy a gopro hero8, there are cases and protective glass for the screens, the battery problem is easily resolved by buying more batteries,. Always good to have a back up,. Besides you can download the app and stream live, stable videos,. I use mine for surfing so that’s where it comes into its own,. They are a camera that are made to be upgraded with mounts and extra gadgets to make them suit the environment you use them in. I can’t see why I’d ever not like the gopro hero8,. There’s much more to explore and adapt to your needs. This report totally fails the whole point behind the HERO8, a lot of media teams in different sports use this as their go-to piece of equipment. Can’t fault 10/10. Learn how to use it to its advantages and its a great gadget.

  43. Barath on July 6, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    I recently bought GoPro 7 Black. I had the same issue as well. Battery died with just 60 minutes of video and GoPro promises 120 minutes. I don’t see a point of using GoPro when it’s battery life is lesser than my phone’s battery life. I guess, it’s useful only if you are heavy on water activities or any sports activity.

    • Andrew Skurka on July 6, 2020 at 3:02 pm

      Right, best uses:

      * Water
      * Action sports (running, biking, riding)
      * Backyard vlogging

      I think the case for extended offline or backcountry use is pretty weak, because carrying LOTS of batteries or keeping it attached to a bigger battery bank is just not practical.

      • mickeybphoto on July 6, 2020 at 3:57 pm

        Dude really?? I too am fairly new to video (more like an intermediate) but I have 33 years of photography and I am a photography instructor. Did you not research the product before you purchased it? Battery issues are known to be a Gopro weak point. Like you I looked at the Osmo and seriously compared. The battery life isn’t much better (especially shooting 4K) but what sealed it’s fate was the poor color rendition, microphone performance and video stabilization. With the Gopro at $300 with a trade in of an old DVD camcorder no one wanted, I also put down about $30 (USD) on a roll cage with a 52mm filter ring (very common) and can use standard UV or protective filters and Circular Polarizers. The Gopro is a slick little camera. Are you seriously shooting at 1080p from 2006? We are in the 4K era and about to be 6K or 8K in the 3-4 years. I know it may take forever using a dial-up modem to Youtube but come on man. If you are going to write an article with little to no experience expect some feedback especially just using the Gopro for a few days. The Gopro is next level sh*t for being just a little action camera. I have been using my Gopro for a couple of months and this thing is superb. And because of the crappy battery life I bought 3 more batteries that are about 1″x 1/2″ x 1/4″ so don’t take up much room and at $20 each. Get some experince and do a little research before knocking a product you know nothing about. Gees!

      • Reyna Vidal on July 6, 2020 at 4:36 pm

        I need to know if I can returned, I haven’t ave an opportunity to used, I bought it for my vacation last year, very unsatisfy.

        • Hans on July 6, 2020 at 5:11 pm

          GoPro sells replaceable lens covers btw

      • SFD on July 6, 2020 at 4:48 pm

        I use the gopro predominantly in the backcountry. Sub freezing temps and commonly subzero temps. I’d be happy to take the hero 8 off your hands.

  44. Steve on July 6, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    I have 2 GOPROS 3+Black great for kayaking I have a GOPRO 5 Black lost a GOPRO 7 Black on the river lol.. bought a GOPRO 8 extra battery came with it. Now
    I found that if you find the right solar charger you can charge it plus 1 to 2 more batteries on the solar charger. On the GOPRO 8 yes they did not make a replaceable front lens like the GOPRO 7 but they make a case you can put it into. But over all I like my GOPROS you can do a lot with them. Like the HDMI to mi I HDMI straight to your TV love the picture quality even on the 3+. If anyone has a GOPRO 7Black they don’t want I’ll take it off your hands as long it’s in good condition. You can get different name battery puts a little more power seen they have a GOPRO light I use the GOPRO 5 on my screaming eagle V ROD racing awesome video plus the make a uploaded to your iPhone or android phone. Not putting you down just wanted people to know. Sony makes a small camera shoots a great video never used one read up on it.

  45. Brad on July 6, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    Perhaps you should look into a dji mini drone $400 stock or $500 combo deal (more batteries, charger, carrying case etc). Its camera shoots in 2.7k HD and has a gimbal. Flight time is around 30 mins due to only weighing 249 grams. Range is 2.4 miles.

    Con: no hit detection, so it doesn’t have a follow mode.

    • Carl on July 7, 2020 at 12:55 am

      If I were you I would buy the Akaso V50X.

  46. ivan stan on July 6, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Laughable review from a noob who knows nothing about the matter or how to use the camera properly. Turn off wifi if you dont want battery to be used in background. I get minimum 45 minutes of video per battery, and replacement battery go from $5. Dont transfer 10 giga files over wifi if you cant wait. Thats what cable is for, you know, usb cable, its been around for decades.

  47. Keith Elliott on July 6, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    I had all the same issues with the Hero7 Black…made me so damn mad, I made a video about my experience on youtube.

    I don’t know if I can put this link here to it, but I will.

  48. Joseph on July 6, 2020 at 10:49 pm

    Dude.. you should delete this… Do some more research. I had both camera’s.. my GoPro batteries especially the new ones on the hero 8 last much longer than any others I have used. And as far as the dji… If these are the complaints you have for the GoPro, you’ll hate the dji osmo pocket.

  49. Luis on July 7, 2020 at 12:18 am

    This is the stupidest piece written.

    There is no better action-camera out there at this price. 1080p on competitor devices will hardly ever make it worth while.

    All of your concerns have solutions. You’re just lazy. Period.

  50. Dirk on July 7, 2020 at 4:32 am

    I had a second battery and dual usb charger arrive yesterday so I charged both batteries overnight. Today I went 4wdriving on the beach with my unite new 8 and I changed the first battery after 2-3 hours of heavy use and put in a fresh one. I charged it using a cheap portable battery and it was fully charged before the second battery was close to being depleted. To me, that’s a working solution and it was a make shift charge setup today. I’ll have a better charging setup shortly. Cheers.

  51. Price on July 7, 2020 at 7:28 am

    I stopped reading this piece of crap right after the “I’m new to action cameras”

  52. Dirk D Anderson on July 7, 2020 at 10:01 am

    I would not run out to buy a Gopro for the sake of owning one.
    I am climbing again and do need a action camera for hands free safe, rapelling and climbing.
    It took some effort but this camera is now glitch free (knock on wood).
    Some things that helped:
    Quality high speed sd card, format frequently.
    I did a manual firmware up date using my phone. Just swap sd cards and insert into phone. The phone will update automatically.
    Compressed video takes up a lot of storage. Keep it simple stupid and short.

  53. Justin Simoni on July 7, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    This may be a, “cheap, light, featured: pick two” type of compromise you see in most gear. If the Hero 8 has an external battery you can pop out, the amount of runtime is just dependent on how many batteries you want to bring, which eats into, “cheap” and, “light”.

    Consider checking out the Max – no gimble required (SO SMOOTH), has a Hero 8 mode if you don’t want to do 360 video, but want buttery smoothness. Would be lighter than a Hero 8/whatever + gimble. Costlier, though.

    You’re welcome to give mine a spin one day. Using it is like visiting the future.

    • Justin Simoni on July 8, 2020 at 12:35 pm

      Just to give you a data point, the Max has a recording running time (I turned on the camera, hit record, let it alone) of almost 1 1/2 hours with a fresh battery. It’s a larger unit, with a slightly bigger battery, but that seems a ton better than your results your getting with your 8.

      Maybe you got a dud? I would assume the voice on/off capabilities would slowly drain things, and maybe some other ready-in-an-instant features – but those seem to be easily circumvented by just leaving the battery out of the unit when not using. Even my Canon GX7 MII slowly drains its own battery if left alone. I’ve been burned by that, many times.

      Either way, If you don’t mind the bulk, the Max is super useful, as there’s no need to frame your shot perfectly – I know for head-mounted stuff, getting the angle just right is a PITA. With the Max, every angle is right! I just ordered an iPhone SE to replace my el-cheapo Android to edit footage with it. Once you play back a 360 video, you’ll never understand why you’d go back – it’s just totally futuristic. Sorry to fanboy the Max so much, but it’s really opened up a whole bunch of shooting opportunities – I never much like action camerass, or the footage they produced until the Max.

  54. MJ on July 7, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    I don’t know who you pissed off (besides everyone here) Andrew but to go from just 1 or 2 comments on most posts to 90+ telling you of all people that you’re lazy and ill-prepared is hilarious and the highlight of my week.

    • Andrew Skurka on July 7, 2020 at 4:19 pm

      This post got picked up somewhere, drove a lot of first-time visitors. My web traffic is decent for a backpacking/outdoor blog, and yesterday it was 9x versus average. In some ways it’s kind of sad, since I’ve written dozens of posts that are more thoughtful and experience-based (e.g. how to navigate, Core 13 clothing, Sierra creek hazards), but that have perhaps never in their lifetime been read by so many people.

  55. Brad on July 7, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    I use a Go Pro Hero 8 Black for all my review videos as the quality is top-notch but you are right the battery sucks. I have an external battery to ensure I capture what I need over the day without the battery draining but it is a pain and not as compact. Not ideal but the motion stabilization is a must-have! The battery does discharge very quickly when not in use as well, so frustrating to have to charge it before each outing or be very disappointed.

    • Andrew Skurka on July 7, 2020 at 4:20 pm

      Outside of carrying lots of batteries, any suggestions for how to make it (or another action cam) work for the backcountry?

  56. Howe's the Hike? on July 11, 2020 at 8:06 am

    I have come to the same conclusion. I have stopped using a HERO 7 and now only use my iPhone 11 Pro. I used to use a Hitcase and wide angle lens, but they do not make one yes for the 3 camera iPhones. The cool thing about those is that they are compatible with a GoPro mount.

    It is hard to beat the latest iPhones.

    PS: Go Pro lens protector glass is removable. I cracked on once on the trail, and popped it off, and replaced with a spare. FYI.

  57. Rex on July 11, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Dude, I think you hit a nerve with some GoPro fans. 😳

  58. John on July 14, 2020 at 10:03 am

    Yes, that is some enviable brand loyalty bordering on fanboy/girl status.

  59. Ed C. on July 14, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Here’s an engineer’s perspective on how to proceed. Look at your requirements and analyze them. Maybe get with Alan…I love his spreadsheets on his site. A cross-site venture.

    Anyway, use excel or google sheets or something and lay out what you’re looking for in this camera. I.e. weight, size, video recording, stabilized, battery life, other features, etc. Then figure out some numerical ranking system for each item (could be in rows or columns). Then the one with the best score wins. Be sure to include various camera, camcorder, phone, GPS and ‘action camera’ vendors.

    I would almost say that a camera or camera would win over a gopro or other. Action Cameras may do one thing well (video capture with a rugged housing), but they likely won’t take really good photos and you can’t use them for navigation (they’re a one-trick pony). The phone probably would come out the highest overall since it can do all these things if you add a gimbal to stabilize the video. The only issue is that you would have to bring more power bricks if you’re using the phone to vlog as well as navigate and take photos.

    you’ll likely have to compromise somewhere, which will all come back to weight in the pack. But you and your team are making a living off this so it will likely have to be done. If things get too heavy, maybe there’s a way to spread the load between the people so you can get the equipment you need, to the locations you want to go, without one person carrying it all.

    Feel free to contact me if you want help with creating the spreadsheet. For work I’ve created many to perform Analysis of Alternatives (AoA’s). I even use the same concept at home…used it to select a backpack, camera, vacation decision, and even our last vehicle.

  60. Giulia P on July 17, 2020 at 8:02 am

    I haven’t seen it mentioned in the comments but have you considered the DJI Osmo Pocket? I think it’s supposed to have better stabilisation than the Action and Elina Osborne (you can find her on YouTube) did some excellent filmmaking with it on her PCT hike last year… However, what use are you trying to get out of it? Like, what use did you mean to get from a GoPro that your G9X couldn’t give you? Hands-free filming with head/chest straps (in which case Action is better than Pocket) or just better stabilisation? I doubt it was audio quality…? Many hikers on YouTube seem to love the Sony RX100 series but I suppose you’ve weighed the options when you bought the G9X… I use a Canon M50 so can’t offer much more advice, but thought I’d bring the Osmo Pocket into the picture.. You might also get better stabilisation from your G9X by using a mini tripod/monopod with it (like an Ultapod) but can’t vouch that from direct experience..

  61. Noah on July 27, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Hey Andrew,

    I got a 7 Black this year for documenting my hikes. Jack Shi mentioned QuikCapture. My understanding is that this feature is actually meant to save your battery life. When the feature is turned on, the GoPro stays off until you press the record button. Then when you stop recording, the GoPro automatically shuts off, preserving your battery life. (Maybe I’m wrong though.)

    I’ve only tested it on day hikes so far. I went from continuously recording (where I too found the battery life to be extremely lacking), but adjusted to only recording the memorable views/encounters with wildlife, etc. for a few seconds at a time. Using this method, one battery lasts for approximately one day, sometimes longer (I have 2). Still testing though. I also made my own wind muff for the audio, using a small cloth bag that came with some Sony headphones. That seems to reduce wind quite a lot when at high elevations.

    And yes, the replaceable lens of the 7 seems to make it the better buy.

  62. Casey on September 1, 2020 at 10:44 am


    I’m quite amazed at the number of haters out here. I am in a very similar position as you; new to videography and also am on extended trips. I do not want to carry several batteries just to use it.

    Most recently, I have realized that my mobile phone will work for all purposes, except for very smooth shots while walking. But I can deal with that.

    I would like a stand-alone camera that has good battery life, light weight, durable, and a mic output. Unfortunately, the light weight requirement is pretty nonexistent at this point.

  63. jcc3d on September 20, 2020 at 1:56 am

    Hello, Anyone tested the last gopro (black 9), does the battery life is good and has a decent last for hiking ?

  64. Ally on October 28, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    I bought a couple extra batteries, and a glass lens protector for my Hero8. I have been very happy with it.
    The lens protector has saved my lens at least three times, and though the protector has cracks around the edges, I have not had to replace it yet.
    I am typically shooting virtual hikes for the treadmill.
    With three batteries and recording continuously (cinematic/linear preset), I can get three to four hours of footage. Closer to three when I keep the view screen on.
    Swapping out batteries has been the most convenient solution for me.

  65. Jacob Kosker on January 27, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    Andrew did you ever buy a substitute camera for action videos after this review? I returned my hero8 for the same short battery life knowing that my phone was far superior. However I need something more durable and waterproof to capture trail races and whitewater. A phone strapped to my forehead is not appealing nor helpful when I need apps on my phone during activities.

    • Andrew Skurka on January 27, 2022 at 2:35 pm

      DJI Osmo. Much better battery life.

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