GoPros have never had particularly good battery life. And while I’ve found the new HERO5 Black to have marginally improved battery life over its predecessor, you’re still lucky if you get two hours of shooting. Depending on what settings you’re using, it might end up being a lot less.
With many of the previous models it was possible to attach an extended battery on the back. But there’s no way to do that with the new model–it doesn’t have the connection for it. It is still possible to connect an external battery pack or battery hand grip via USB and use that as external power, but that setup becomes pretty unwieldy, and it isn’t waterproof because it means having one of the access doors open.
It’s much easier to manage the GoPro’s battery life with spare batteries and external chargers. It means you can be charging one or more batteries while still using the camera rather than sitting around twiddling your thumbs waiting for it to charge.
Here’s a rundown of the options for picking up some spare batteries or external chargers for the GoPro HERO5 Black. These are for the GoPro HERO5 Black only. The other two models in the current range, the HERO5 Session and HERO Session, have built-in batteries that can’t be removed from the camera.
Batteries for the HERO4 Black and Silver vs HERO5 Black
First, though, the obvious question: Can you use batteries from the HERO4 Black or Silver in the HERO5 Black?
No. The batteries for the HERO5 Black are different from previous models and can’t be used interchangeably.
The new GoPro HERO5 Black uses a lithium-ion rechargeable battery that’s rated at 1220 mAh (4.40V), which is a slightly higher rated capacity than the previous model (1160 mAh). It looks very similar to the ones for the HERO4, but the contacts are more towards the center of one side rather than near a corner. Like this:
I have a separate post on batteries and chargers for the HERO4 Black and Silver.
Official GoPro Chargers and Batteries
You can pick up batteries, and if you’re just looking to replace a battery that might be the way to go. But without an external charger you’ll have to charge it in the camera, which reduces somewhat the advantage of having a spare battery.
The batteries are made in Vietnam.
Dual Charger with Battery
This is GoPro’s cradle for charging one or two batteries at a time. You can find it bundled with a battery or as just the charger alone. It has inputs for micro-USB and USB-C. It’s also fully compatible with GoPro’s new rapid charger.
This is GoPro’s new rapid charger, and GoPro claims that it will charge the HERO5 Black and HERO5 Session up to 20% faster than using a conventional charger. If you plug it into the GoPro Dual Battery Charger, you’ll reportedly get up to 45% faster. And it will also charge the Karma Grip stabilizer.
It makes use of the USB-C connection to beef up the charge. Note that it’s not a cradle–it’s just a charger—so it can’t charge a battery by itself. You can either plug it into the camera or into GoPro’s cradle charger. It comes with interchangeable AC plugs for US, Europe, and Australia as well as a 1.5ft (0.45m) 3A USB-C to USB-C Cable.
Available at B&H Photo.
Third-Party After-Market Batteries and Chargers
UPDATE: On November 26, 2016, GoPro released firmware update v.01.55 for the HERO5 Black. The release notes are extremely vague: “Includes bug fixes and usability improvements.” What they don’t say is that one of the unannounced changes is that the camera now does a check on the battery, and if it’s not a GoPro-branded one the camera won’t power up.
So none of the after-market batteries will work with firmware v.01.55. The only option, for now, is the more expensive GoPro-branded batteries. GoPro has been dogged by production issues with the HERO5 and its accessories, which doesn’t inspire confidence that they’ll be able to keep up with demand. It’s possible there might be some authorized third-party options released in the future as part of the “Works with GoPro” program, but there’s no word on them so far.
The after-market cradle chargers will still charge GoPro batteries, although GoPro naturally recommends that you stick to their own chargers.
Since they won’t work with the new firmware, I’ve removed the Wasabi and Smatree options that were previously listed on this page.
Technically, it’s possible to not upgrade your firmware, keep using v.01.50, and keep using the third-party batteries, but there are other very good reasons to keep the camera’s firmware up to date.