I've been trying several options in an effort to find viable replacement batteries for the HERO8 Black. Here's what I've found.
Given the very limited battery life you get with GoPros (and other action cams, for that matter), I consider a spare battery to be an essential accessory. Or two.
The past several models of GoPros—at least, the ones that have removable batteries—have used the same kind of battery. The HERO8’s battery looks basically the same, with only a new blue base offering an easy way to tell them apart. They have the same power rating, shape and size, and connections.
But if you put in one of the older batteries that you might have been using in a HERO7 Black or HERO5 Black, you will have seen a warning message saying that not all the features are available. So I’ve been trying several options in an effort to find viable replacement batteries for the HERO8 Black. Here’s what I’ve found.
If you’ve tried using a HERO7 Black battery in the HERO8 Black, you will have seen this popup warning on the screen. Like this:
GoPro also says this: “Previous Batteries will work with the HERO8 Black with limitations. Users may see performance issues when shooting in high performance modes. For this reason, we suggest only using the HERO8 Battery in the HERO8 Black camera.”
It’s all rather vague. I have a lot of the older-model batteries on hand, so I’ve been trying to work out what exactly the warnings are referring to. I reached out to GoPro support, and they said that new (and newly updated) TimeWarp, HyperSmooth Boost, and Live Burst wouldn’t be available when using the older batteries. That makes sense. Those features require a lot of processing power from the camera’s chip, and that, in turn, pulls a lot of power from the battery.
The thing is, though, that I haven’t been able to discern any performance hit in practice. All of those features are still available with the older batteries and the aftermarket batteries I’ve tried.1 And I’ve not noticed any performance degradation when using them. So far as I can tell, the problem is more theoretical than practical. At least for now. It’s entirely possible that GoPro might change something in a future firmware update that enforces the requirement of using the new-style battery for those features (or entirely). After all, they’ve done something similar before. And it’s possible that the camera might overheat more quickly under very hot or taxing conditions in the high-performance shooting modes–and perhaps when the battery power is getting low–but I’ve yet to see that happen. For now, I can’t find a way that they older batteries perform any worse than the newer ones. (If you’ve had a different experience, please let me know!)
The HERO8 Black also has battery health detection built-in. It’s designed to let you know whether your battery is healthy or too many charging cycles have degraded its health, and it needs replacing. You can find this feature under:
Preferences > About > Battery Info
With the new AJBAT-001, the report looks like this:
This feature only works with the official GoPro battery (at least, for now). If you put in an older version of the battery or an aftermarket one, you’ll get this:
The safest option for the HERO8 Black is to use the official GoPro batteries. The way you can distinguish them visually from the older versions is that they have a bright blue base. These are the ones that are officially supported, and you won’t get that warning popup. They will also work with the camera’s battery health detection.
They’re the same shape and size as the previous versions. The only visual difference is that the new versions have a light blue base. They’re also backward compatible with those older GoPro models, meaning that if you’re shooting with those as well, you can just pack the newer-style batteries. It’s compatible with:
(* Note that if you’re using it with the HERO5 Black or HERO (2018), though, you’ll need to make sure your camera’s firmware is up to date to add compatibility with these batteries.)
You can still use the same chargers and cables as you could with the older models.
The appeal of aftermarket batteries made by other manufacturers is that they often offer much better value. You can often get two or even three aftermarket batteries for the price of a single manufacturer-branded one. And in many cases, they’re just as good.
There are some special considerations with using aftermarket batteries in the HERO8 Black, though. And those are whether all of the camera’s shooting features remain available, whether you get the popup warning message, and whether they work with the HERO8 Black’s battery health indicator.
So I’ve bought and tried several aftermarket batteries that come up in searches for batteries for the HERO8 Black. Some of these are explicitly marketed for the HERO8 Black; some only mention the older camera models.
To cut to the chase, I’ve yet to come across an aftermarket battery for the HERO8 Black that doesn’t prompt the warning popup as well as working with the HERO8 Black’s battery health detection. But I’ve successfully used the HERO8 Black’s high-end modes (e.g., TimeWarp, Hypersmooth Boost, Live Boost, 4K60 high-bitrate) with these batteries without running into any issues.
There is one other thing worth knowing when looking at aftermarket batteries for GoPro batteries. Just because they work now doesn’t mean they will always work. A few years ago, GoPro quietly put out a firmware update for the HERO5 Black that disabled aftermarket batteries in the camera. It wasn’t broadcast or even mentioned in the firmware release notes. But it shows that GoPro has that capability and has demonstrated a willingness to use it.
Wasabi Power is marketing these explicitly for the HERO8 Black. The model number for the bundle is KIT-TC-HERO8, and they’ve even painted the base of the batteries blue in a similar way to the updated GoPro-branded ones.
The product listing for this battery says that it’s “for GoPro HERO 8 Black (All features Available).” I’ve found that to be only partly true. The core features do work—as they do with the other aftermarket batteries I’ve tried—but you still get the warning popup, and it doesn’t work with the battery info detection. In other words, if there’s anything about these that makes them any different from the other aftermarket batteries or the older model GoPro batteries, I can’t tell what it is (blue base, notwithstanding).
It’s available in various configurations. The bundle I bought included two batteries, a triple dock charger, and a micro-USB charging cable. The batteries are rated at 1220mAh. The charger appears to be the same dock charger that Wasabi Power has had out for a few years; the model number is LCH-TC-HERO5, and it uses a micro-USB connection rather than the USB-C that’s more common with newer GoPro cameras and accessories.
You can find them at Amazon.
The Vemico G2 is not explicitly compatible with the HERO8 Black. So they’re basically aftermarket batteries for the older GoPro batteries. And they’re bright orange!
It’s a triple pack, with a triple dock charger and a USB-C cable. It doesn’t come with a wall charger, but you can use existing ones or an external power brick.
They’re 1500mAh batteries, which is a bit higher than the GoPro official versions.
You can find them at Amazon.
The Allin Box Charger doesn’t have the conventional look of a dock charger. It’s encased in a rugged and (light) waterproof. (It claims an IP54 rating, which translates as offering protection against limited dust from entering and offering protection from water spray in any direction. It is not expected to be waterproof if immersed in water.
This one is marketed explicitly in the Amazon product description as being compatible with the HERO8 Black. The box itself only mentions the HERO7/6/5.
The batteries are rated at 1220mAh, and the charger’s input is 5V 2.4A.
In addition to the rugged built-in case, this one also has another party trick: it has a built-in microSD card reader.2 It uses the same USB connection, and Telesin claims sequential read and write speeds up to 312MB/s (but there are other key factors that will influence the transfer speeds you get in real-world conditions). There’s also a couple of holders for the cards inside the lid.
You can find them at Amazon.
The safest option, and the one that doesn’t prompt the warning message and also works with the camera’s battery health detection, is to get the official GoPro-branded battery, model AJBAT-001.
If you’re looking for less expensive options and don’t care about the warning screen (you can disable it the first time it shows up) or the battery health indicator, the aftermarket versions appear to function as normal. I’ve yet to come across a problem with using them in the HERO8 Black, although there’s some risk of GoPro cracking down on them with a firmware update in the future.
The AJBAT-001 battery (aka the battery for the HERO8 Black) is backwards compatible with several previous model cameras. But to get those earlier models working properly you’ll need to upgrade their firmware. If you haven’t upgraded the firmware, you’ll see different odd behavior depending on the model. With the HERO7 Black and HERO6 Black, the camera will power on instantly when you insert the battery. With the HERO5 Black and HERO (2018), the camera won’t power on.
The Dual Battery charger hasn’t changed and will work with both models of camera.
The GoPro HERO8 Black’s battery door isn’t my favorite design, even if I have some idea why they chose it. One of the issues is that it doesn’t keep the battery secure if you’re using the USB-C port for external power or another connection. Third-party manufacturers have come out with a workaround, a replacement door that exposes the USB-C port but locks the battery and memory card securely in place.
Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2020-10-25 at 09:49. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
This post was last modified on October 9, 2020 2:33 pm