Recent reports claim the $199 GoPro HERO is actually a downgraded $299 buck GoPro HERO5. More interesting is that the HERO can be converted into a HERO5 in a few steps.
Yes, you read that right. Hypoix confirmed that the HERO (2018) is really a downgraded HERO5. How did the site do this? It tricked the HERO into loading the HERO5’s firmware.
“It loaded properly and all the features were unlocked,” Hypoxic wrote. “Even GPS and 4K at 30fps work great! […] [T]here is no difference between a GoPro HERO and a GoPro HERO5 hardware-wise.”
A lot of users noticed the HERO and HERO5 Black looked almost identical, but we don’t think many suspected that the two cameras shared the same exact specs and features!
The HERO’s features include 10MP photos, 1440p/60fps video, voice control and Wi-Fi. However, according to these reports, the camera includes 4K/30fps video, 12MP photos, GPS, Protune and 1080p/120fps slow motion. These features are just locked away. Now users have found out how to unlock those features and turn this $199 camera into a $299 camera.
How do I make my HERO into a HERO5?
While Hypoxic was able to convert its HERO, the site says it’s decided not to publish the patch because “the legal risk makes it not worth it.” Still, there are many users hacking their HEROs on their own and confirming Hypoxic’s report. And some of these users have shared their code for the conversion online.
For instance, a user named VirusDOSWalker posted to Reddit few months ago detailing the conversion in a step-by-step process.
“I bought a Hero 2018 yesterday and within an hour had it hacked into a Hero 5 Black,” VirusDOSWalker wrote.
GoPro has threatened to take legal action against a few posts, and those have since been taken down.
Why would GoPro do this?
It’s unclear why GoPro would choose to use the same hardware in both cameras, but Hypoxic has a theory:
“We can surmise that GoPro created this cheaper version of the GoPro HERO5 to reduce component inventory without having to pay pricing reimbursements to their dealers,” Hypoxic wrote. “With very little firmware changes, and a two resistor Bill of Material change, they came up with a very sneaky way to reduce inventory before the launch of the [next generation of GoPros].”
What do you think? Was GoPro being sneaky or was it a good business move?