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The new GoPro App
GoPro has merged its Quik editing and remote control apps in one new unified GoPro app for Android and iOS. The new layout is broken down into a camera control section, a media library with clip editing, a quick movie maker and a settings page. The control section is where you’ll need to be when capturing new videos and images or setting up a live-stream. It makes use of a lot of the same features you will have seen on earlier versions of the app. Basically, anything you can do directly on the camera is also available here, with an on-camera library that you can download media from if you don’t have auto-offload enabled.
The smartphone media library and clip editor is a particularly useful section, allowing you to do a wide range of simple edits directly on your phone. For anyone who just wants to make simple corrections you can easily trim, frame, apply filters, adjust playback speed, take stills from video and even overlay altitude, speed or map HUD information that the Hero 8 Captured alongside the footage.
One of the headline new features is a new Horizon Levelling editor that will allow you to adjust the angle of the video in the app to correct any visuals from a camera that isn’t mounted in line with the horizon. This feature is great for making footage from a GoPro that’s mounted on a drone, bike or vehicle look perfectly level. This powerful clip editor will be more than enough for the vast majority of users, allowing you to skip any computer editing before publishing or saving clips.
If you do want to add a bit of editing flair or you want to cut together a film the movie maker section of the GoPro app is a lot like the Quik editing software. The Quik Story editing section has 10 selectable themes to choose from and will add an opening title, a closing animation and an appropriate backing track, but you can also cut it to the right size and reformat it to a 16:9, 1:1, 4:3 or 9:16 aspect ratios to make it ready for publishing.
It might not have the depth required to fully edit a movie, but it's an amazingly fast, easy and powerful smartphone application that will appeal to many. You can even add non-GoPro clips, a logo animation and your own music to videos, which gives you all the tools you need to make online video content in a fraction of the time, directly from your smartphone.
It takes about 23 seconds to transfer a 230MB file over Wi-Fi to your phone, which is fine for short clips, but it’s twice as fast when transferring over the USB 3.1 cable to a PC SSD, so we’d recommend this tethered method for any large file dumps.
If you’d rather have all your footage available on the go then you can sign up for the GoPro Plus subscription service, which gives you unlimited cloud storage for your videos and pictures. This will set you back $4.99/ £4.99 / AU$4.99 per month, plus whatever your cellular/mobile provider charges for data uploads. It does, however, also include ongoing replacement warranty for your Hero 8 Black, and 50% off the cost of any accessories you buy.
The GoPro Hero 8 Black is no longer the most advanced action camera you can buy – that's the new GoPro Hero 9 Black – but it is an excellent all-rounder and potentially better value than GoPro's latest, if you don't the latter's front-facing screen or 5K video powers.
Also, while the Hero 8 Black's upgrades over the Hero 7 Black are individually quite minor, collectively they make sure it remains a cut above the latter. For many people, the Hero 7 Black will offer enough in terms of video quality and performance, but this flagship's updates to stabilization, sound quality and the overall design do boost its overall usability.
Along with GoPro's new successor, the Hero 8 Black is also the most pro-friendly GoPro so far. The improvements to the bitrate, raw image output and the Full HD live streaming will definitely be appreciated by those who make a living from extreme YouTube videos or use GoPros for B-roll footage. The option of unlimited cloud storage with a GoPro subscription only sweetens the deal.
GoPro has attempted to narrow the picture quality gap against smartphones for non-action cinematography, but it’s still some way off what you’ll get from the latest flagship handsets – it’s even still behind some of the better smartphone shooters from 2018 for automatic linear photos and videos.
The 'Mods' accessories look like they could be a sensible add-on for anyone looking to get their Hero 8 Black closer to a production quality rig. But the company will need to do more to get low light, HDR and indoor picture quality closer to the current standard of multi-lens smartphone cameras, if it really wants to be a competitor in the videography space.
DJI Osmo Action
The Osmo Action from DJI is really the only non-GoPro competition in the action camera market. Its front display is handy for vlogging and it's decent value, but the stabilization improvements in the Hero 8 Black put it ahead of this device in most regards.
GoPro Hero 7 Black
If you aren’t willing to shell out full price on the Hero 8 Black, the Hero 7 Black offers a lot of the same features for a considerably better price. It offers HyperSmooth stabilization (albeit not in more demanding modes like slo-mo) and shoots 4K at 60fps, but it won't be compatible with the forthcoming 'Mods' accessories.
Latest camera phones
On the other hand, if your primary concern is picture quality and you could live with a less rugged portable video camera, it might be worth turning to one of the best camera phones instead.
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.