GoPro Max Action Cam in-depth review


GoPro implies (and even says) that the new Max does everything the Hero series does, but extends “to the Max”. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly true. However, despite this, the GoPro Max is a hugely compelling upgrade over the previous generation GoPro Fusion. They have made great strides in making the product actually usable for everyday users, to the point that it is a very viable option for both 360 ° and non-360 ° content. In fact, you’ll notice in this review that while I’ve shot hundreds of gigabytes of 360 content, ultimately, all I use is flat non-360 content pulled from that 360 content.

And that’s what GoPro has accomplished with Max: no one really wants to watch 360 ° content. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t work today (industry-wide). Maybe tomorrow with some technological change it will work, but today people are disoriented and confused. However, what the 5.6K 360-degree shooting gives you is the ability to reframe any part of that into a more normalized 1080p flat video you already know and love – but do it after shooting. And with Max, GoPro has done a great job of following others in the industry making that experience incredibly smooth and painless.

I’ve been using Max for a while now and have captured more videos and photos than I know how to do. However, between that and nearly two months on the GoPro Hero 8 Black now – I have a good understanding of what works well, what needs some love, and what you need to understand more deeply. Once I’m done with this review, I’ll take the Max Media Units on loan all packaged and ship back to GoPro, just like I always do. If you found this review helpful, please click on the links below. Or send me cookies. Your choice (chocolate chips please).



There is a huge heap of new features from the GoPro Fusion camera from a few years ago. In many ways though, the easiest way to think about things is that GoPro Max is more like a GoPro Hero 7 in terms of new features, with a slight sprinkling of Hero 8 features. For example, the Max includes TimeWarp ( launched with Hero 7), but not the more advanced “Auto” feature found on the Hero 8. Includes a watered-down variant of the quick-access capture presets roughly on par with the Hero 7, but not with customization and depth by Hero 8.

However, all of this is a huge upgrade over the original Fusion, which when it came out looked like old technology compared to GoPro products from that year. Here’s the full rundown of what’s new and different about the GoPro Max versus the original GoPro Fusion. Note that this list is about everything that has changed (good or bad) and minus general features or how 360 ° content works by itself. We will get there. First, here’s what’s new:

– Added color touchscreen
– Added new Hero 8 mounting system (slight / better difference than Fusion)
– Simplified on a single MicroSD card from the previous dual SD card fiasco
– Added single lens Hero mode (to use as a regular GoPro Hero)
– Added Max HyperSmooth for single lens mode
– Added ‘Max SuperView’ mode, which is super wide angle single lens mode
– Added Shotgun microphone via new 6-microphone array (upgrade from 4-microphone on Fusion)
– Added keyframing in the GoPro app for Reframing the view from 360 ° footage
– Added horizon smoothing in the device itself (mainly for single-lens mode)
– Added Max TimeWarp
– Added PowerPano (270 ° one-shot panoramic photo)
– Added Livestreaming, even at 1080p
– Added GoPro Plus upload feature / protection
– Added GPS integration in the GoPro app (now you can add stickers / telemetry overlays)
– Added digital lens concept (rebranding of existing features to make it easier to use
– Higher output resolution of 360 ° content from 5.2K to 5.6K
– Modified lenses so you can easily add clear protective caps

Now, just to round out the list of what’s new, here are some downsides that have been * removed * from GoPro Fusion when you compare it to the Max:

– No more Burst photo modes
– No more ProTune bitrates above 120 Mbps (the maximum is limited to 78 Mbps)
– No more night photo modes
– No more RAW photo capture
– No more front status screen
– No more picky like inferior fitting hell

For most people, aside from the burst and raw mode, you probably won’t care much about those. The front status screen is a little underwhelming, but it has been replaced by the fantastic color preview touchscreen on the back. Ideally I would have liked to see the status screen stay (just like it is in the Hero series), but… win a little, lose a little. Instead the removal of the other photo modes is more peculiar.

Now, before deciding on Hero 8 vs Max, check out my full comparison at the end of this post. I point out the 15+ features that are * not * present in the GoPro Max found in the Hero 8. And frankly, these are some pretty important features.

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