As a huge GoPro fan I was super happy on Christmas when I unwrapped the new Hero 5 Black.
I would have picked it up myself when it was released but I knew my mom wanted to get it for me and I didn’t need it right away so I didn’t have a problem waiting for it.
Now that I have it one of the first things I noticed is that the Hero 5 Black has a very improved battery life over the Hero 4 Black that I was using before.
Even on the GoPro site you can see the battery life improvement from their own data and after using it for a short while I can definitely see the improvement in how long I’m able to film for before the battery runs out.
Speaking of batteries, today I want to talk about my recommendations when it comes to the best GoPro Hero 5 battery.
Keep it mind that it really depends on the settings and modes you’re using when you’re shooting when it comes to the type of battery life you can expect.
I typically capture video in 1080p 60FPS or 2.7k 30FPS and if you’re using 4k or if you’re fiddling around with the settings a lot you’ll likely see a decrease in how much you’re able to use the camera before it runs out.
Some of the previous Hero models allowed you to add an extended battery pack to the back of it but with the new Hero 5 Black that’s not possible – there just isn’t any space for it.
You could opt for using an external battery back or even one of those battery hand grips that connect through the USB port and take advantage of the external power that they’re able to provide.
The problem with this setup is that it adds a lot of bulk to the overall camera size, it’s not that easy to carry around, and it’s not waterproof at all.
Using spare batteries makes it a lot easier and if you get one of the set that comes with an external charger then you can also charge the batteries without having to use the GoPro.
Here are some of the different options available when it comes to the spare batteries or external chargers for the GoPro Hero 5 Black.
Keep in mind that these are designed to only work in the GoPro Hero 5 Black and if you’re using the Hero 5 Session the battery is actually built-in and can’t be removed and replaced on your own.
Is the GoPro Hero 4 Battery the Same as the Hero 5?
Right before it was released I found myself wondering if the same battery that’s used in the Hero 4 Black and Silver could be used in the Hero 5 Black.
It turns out that unfortunately the batteries are different so no, it’s not possible to interchange the batteries between the two models.
The newer GoPro Hero 5 Black still uses a lithium ion rechargeable battery but it’s rated at a capacity of 1220 mAh (4.40V) which is a little bit higher than the 1160 mAh capacity of the Hero 4.
As soon as I pulled the battery out of the case for the Hero 5 Black I could tell right away that it was different as the connection contacts are actually positioned more in the center of the battery rather than closer to the corner edge.
I’ll be honest, I was a little bit disappointed with not being able to Interchange the batteries but it just means I have to grab a whole bunch of new ones so that I never have to worry about running out of battery life while I’m out filming.
The Best GoPro Hero 5 Black Battery: Aftermarket and Chargers
Now that I’ve gone over a quick introduction let’s take a look at some of my recommendations when it comes to the best GoPro Hero 5 Black battery as well as some chargers that I’d suggest taking a look at as well.
Official GoPro Products
GoPro Rechargeable Battery
I always recommend checking out the official products before checking out any of the aftermarket ones just to see if they’re worth upgrading to or if it’s better to buy something else.
The GoPro Rechargeable Battery for Hero 5 Black is the same one that you’ll get in the box if you pick up a new camera and while it might be a little bit more pricey compared to some of the other options online it’s the battery that’s actually officially supported.
It has a 1220 mAh battery capacity and it’s rechargeable although you’ll have to pick up a separate charger if you don’t want to charge it through your camera.
Keep in mind that with the Hero 5 Session you’re not able to remove the battery and insert a new one so you don’t have to look for any spares if that’s the camera that you’re using.
Dual Battery Charger + Battery
One of the accessories that I love having is the external charger so I don’t have to use the GoPro to charge my batteries and if you’re looking for the official one it’s the Dual Battery Charger + Battery that you’re going to want to take a look at.
With this it’s possible to charge up to 2 batteries at the same time via a USB port and if you want a faster charging you can actually use the GoPro Supercharger which I’ll get into next.
This one actually comes with an extra battery so along with the one that’s included with the new Hero 5 Black you’re able to have 2 batteries so when one dies you can replace it with a fully charged one and at the end of the day you can charge both at the same time.
To let you know the status of your battery charge there is a LED light that will let you know when it’s charging (red) and when the battery is charged and ready to go (green).
The GoPro SuperCharger is a nifty little device that can be used for quickly charging any compatible GoPro devices anywhere between up to 20% and 70% faster than using a standard charger.
It comes equipped with a regular USB port along with a USB-C port that offers the quick charging capabilities.
Not only can it be used with the cameras but it can also be used for quickly charging the Karma Grip stabilizer as well.
Keep in mind that it’s not actually a cradle so on its own it can charge the battery but it’s possible to plug in the GoPro cradle charger into it through the USB-C connection for a quicker charge.
Aftermarket Batteries and Chargers from Third-Party Suppliers
So right before reading this post I happened to be browsing the GoPro subreddit and it turns out that there was actually a recent GoPro firmware update (version 01.55) that was released in late November that many people were quite devastated by.
You can get a better idea of what the firmware update covered in the release notes here but one of the main points that everybody is talking about was when it said that they added some “bug fixes and usability improvements”.
It wasn’t really clear at first what this meant but soon after the update was released people began to realize that if the Hero 5 Black wasn’t using the official battery it wouldn’t turn on.
This meant that all of the aftermarket batteries, such as the popular ones by Wasabi and Smatree that I’ve used in the past, could no longer be used to power up the camera if it was updated to the most recent firmware release.
After updating your only option for using the camera is if you’re using the more expensive official GoPro batteries or you can revert back to a previous firmware where it’s still possible to use the aftermarket ones.
Despite it still being possible I don’t feel comfortable recommending any of the aftermarket ones since you would have to revert back to an older firmware and you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the other benefits that the newer updates have to offer.
One of the main reasons that I think this happened is because GoPro seems to be struggling to stay in place lately amongst a lot of other competition and with some production issues regarding the Hero 5 and some other issues plaguing their new drone release.
In the future there might be some hope as there is an interesting program known as “Works with GoPro” which covers any GoPro products that are verified to work with the GoPro cameras, although for now there isn’t much to report from that end.
Even though the aftermarket batteries aren’t going to work just yet if you’ve updated it still possible to use the aftermarket cradle chargers for charging the GoPro batteries (however, GoPro recommend that you use their own chargers).
This seems to be an unfortunate move made by GoPro and it doesn’t appear to me that consumers are very happy with this at all so we’ll see what direction it takes in the future and as soon as I find out that there are aftermarket batteries available I’ll be sure to update this post with my recommendations.