The new design for the side door of the GoPro HERO8 Black has its flaws, especially if you're trying to use the USB-C port for external power an external microphone. Here's a replacement side door that allows unfettered access to the USB-C port.
There’s quite a lot to like about the GoPro HERO8 Black, but I’m not a fan of the new design they’ve introduced for the compartment door.
I can see virtue in theory in consolidating what was two separate doors in previous Black models to a single door. It means fewer moving parts to break and one less area for potential leaks. And, of course, embedding a fold-out mount clip on the bottom is an important consideration—there’s no room on the bottom for a compartment there anymore.
But in practice, I don’t like the new door design. It comes off far too easily, with the real risk of losing it. That’s mainly an annoyance, but a more important issue is that it makes using the USB-C port much less practical. If you want to run the camera via external power or use an external microphone, it means exposing the battery, which in terms means that it can fall out very easily. Of course, GoPro is no doubt hoping that you’ll buy the new external microphone accessory they’re planning on releasing. But for now, at least, that’s not available, and not everyone is in a position to–or wants to–buy that anyway.
Thankfully, as so often happens with GoPros, aftermarket manufacturers are coming to the rescue. In this case, a Chinese brand I haven’t heard of before, Ulanzi, has put out a replacement side door that lets you run external power to the camera while keeping the battery and memory card securely in place and protected. Its model number is G8-7, and it’s designed specifically for the GoPro HERO8 Black (they have a separate model for the Max).
It’s straightforward enough to use. You don’t have to use the HERO8 Black for long to see how easily the existing door clips off. The new door just clips in the same way. It’s made of aluminum and feels solid.
I have found that it doesn’t fit quite as perfectly as the original door. The clip itself is a slightly simpler design that doesn’t include a small spring clip that the GoPro original door has. And when closed, the door is not quite as flush with the body of the camera as it could be. But neither of those issues really impacts the core functionality, and for its intended purpose, the door works well.
To be clear, this replacement door is not in any way waterproof. The USB-C port is fully exposed, and there are no seals protecting the battery and memory card slots. So it’s very much a dry-conditions only accessory.
For now, I don’t know of any other alternatives for the HERO8 Black. But it’s a pretty simple solution to a common problem, so I’d expect other aftermarket manufacturers to come out with their own versions before long.
The 360° Max has the same kind of issue. You can find the version for that camera here.
If you’re looking for a direct replacement of the original waterproof door (ie. without access to the USB-C port), you can find them here.
It’s worth mentioning, again, that this door is not waterproof in any way.
I bought mine at Amazon.
Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2020-11-13 at 20:08. 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 12, 2020 10:10 am