Confession: I am not exactly a camera person. My phone has always been my go-to photo-taking device, and I was pretty happy with the quality - or at least I thought I was.
A warning to all: once you get your hands on the Hero9, you're not going to be happy with just any camera because this action cam does SO MANY cool things and comes in a fun-sized package.
That being said, it's not the most perfect device. As the saying goes, there is always room for improvement.
Read on to learn about the things we loved and things we did like so much about the all-new GoPro Hero9 Black.
1# A full-colour front display
If you're a GoPro fan and a vlogger, this new addition is definitely going to excite you.
The Hero 9 boasts a 1.4-inch front-facing full-colour display which is extremely handy for vlogging, or for just ensuring that you've got the exact shot that you want.
While it may seem like an unneeded feature for a GoPro pro, once you've started using it, you will be hooked.
No need to agak-agak and shoot anymore.
2# Hindsight for slow reflexesThe 'Hindsight' feature is one of those handy features that you never knew you needed.
Hindsight lets you magically capture 30 seconds of footage before you even hit that record button.
I'm not really sure how the GoPro guys managed to do this, but I think it's pure genious especially for GoPro novices (like me).
The feature will also save you potential battery life and space from all the re-records that you would probably have to do to capture the exact action shot that you want.
3# 5k resolution
"Sounds great but who needs 5k resolution lah? How many devices can actually support 5k?" questioned a friend when I spoke to him about this feature.
Yes, it's probably not that common right now, but it's good to have the option, right?
The visuals are also extremely detailed as compared to the Hero 8, and if you decide to use use screengrab from a 5k video, the get a 14.7MP image.
This is perfect for posts on social media and even smaller sized print outs.
4# Longer battery life
The battery life is something that everyone complains about when they refer to any GoPro.
But that's the sacrifice that you have to accept when you have a smaller sized cam.
The good news is because the Hero 9 is about 16 per cent bigger than the Hero 8 it allows for a larger battery as well.
The battery capacity for the Hero 9 has been increased to 1,720mAh (Hero 8 was 1 220mAh), resulting in 30 per cent more battery life.
When this writer used the camera (and she really tried to go all out with it), it lasted for close to two and a half hours, which is pretty great for an action camera.
For comparisons sake, my colleague's dinosaur GoPro Hero 5 can only last a maximum of one hour, so to see them improving so much on the battery life was pretty great.
Of course, the battery will depend on which tools you use, which mode you shoot on, etc. so you will have to cuba dulu ye.
5# Awesome possum Power Tools
It seems like the more you play around with the Hero 9, the more exciting things you discover.
There are quite a number of Power Tools to explore on this cam. Some of them such as HyperSmooth 3.0 and TimeWarp 3.0 are updates from Power Tools available on the Hero 8 but the updates are not unnoticeable.
Hero 9's HyperSmooth feature runs at full 5k resulting in WOAH visuals and the TimeWarp feature even allows you to record audio when you slow your fast-motion footage down to Real Speed.
A new nifty Power Tool on the Hero 9 is Scheduled Capture.
As the name suggests, the tool allows you to schedule when you'd like to capture a shot.
This feature is perfect for capturing sunrises especially when you're too lazy to get up to catch it yourself.
All you have to do is place the camera, fix the time and length and let the Hero 9 do its magic.
A few things we didn't quite likeWhile the Hero 9 is definitely impressive, it does have a few things that this writer was not particularly fond of.
For any novice, it is quite tricky manouvering and looking for the different features using the touch screen. I'm not sure if this is due to my lack of GoPro usage or if the screen itself is not as responsive, but it was quite frustrating to swipe, swipe, swipe and not have anything happen.
I did bring it up to the GoPro peeps and they assured me that it just takes some getting used to.
After doing some research, I also found that a few other used faced similar issues. You can learn more on GoPro's Support Hub page.
Although the new Hero 9 boasts a longer battery life, I wish it could last much longer. (I can already hear all the GoPro fans shouting in disagreement to this statement.)
For a person who primarily uses phones to capture visuals, seeing the battery life start draining after a few practice shots is not fun.
To save you from constantly worrying about battery life, a portable charger could be the best solution.
Another issue that I faced with the Hero9 was syncing it to GoPro's editing app (which you can download on your phone).
The app is pretty cool because it allows you to transfer visuals from your cam and edit videos or pictures easily.
The downside is that there was always a problem syncing the devices. I'm not sure where this issue stems from but to fix it, I was told to try restarting the camera or my phone or both.
It was slightly annoying but thank goodness it didn't happen too often.
The verdictIn summary, while it took some getting used to, we definitely fell in love with the Hero 9.
The array of features, the exciting shot options and all the fun that can be captured on that small device is remarkable.
As for the Desaru trip by GoPro, frolicking the amazing beach at Westin Desaru Coast Resort, going on an ATV ride at Desaru Fruit Farm, walking around Desaru Coast and doing just the most ordinary things ended up being additionally exciting with the Hero 9 to play around with.
While the price is slightly steep, (priced at RM2,099), we guarantee that the fun you'll have with the Hero 9 is worth every ringgit.