The new drone on the market, the Karma, designed and developed by GoPro. There are not many reviews out at the moment and information you find on the internet is mostly from the launch event. So, what does GoPro say about their newest tool, which hopefully will help to drive the company into a better future.
Karma gives a first positiv impression as it comes in a very convenient box, which will be used as a backpack to take the drone wherever you want and your way leads you to. Everything you need – apart from the camera – is included in the box. The fold-up drone seems to be a smart solution to downsize the volume and pack-size. The Karma works with the GoPro Kameras from the 4th generation (Hero) to the just released GoPro 5. The cameras are mounted with a 3-axis gimbal, which can be swapped between the drone and the Grip handle. That is a huge selling point as it gives you another great tool straight into your hands for stabilized handheld shots. The Grip has a build-in battery that’s said to last almost two hours. More than my GoPro 4 Hero. The controller has an in-build display which – as GoPro says – works well under sunlight. A nice feature is that you can connect up to 2 or 3 (not sure here) devices to the controller, so that one flies the Karma and another person can control the gimbal (camera).
One of the most important questions, which GoPro’s will work with the new Karma? The new Hero 5, Hero 5 Session and Hero 4 Black / Silver will fit in the included gimbal mounts.
So what’s about Flight Time? GoPro says it’s good for up to 20 minutes of flight time. It takes an hour to recharge, while the controller takes 2.5 hours and the Grip 2 hours. Only one of the Grip or Controller can be charged at the same time from the battery charger.
That all sounds very promising and gives you even the chance to build the drone into your already existing GoPro gadgets and safe money. But whats about the DJI Phantom 4? Will the Karma be able to fight against the DJI drone? Let’s compare both with the information we have.
Apples-to-apples comparison between GoPro’s new drone and the DJI Phantom 4:
Convenient size: Karma/Phantom
Camera system: Karma/Phantom
Stabilizer Grip: Karma/Phantom
Follow me function: Karma/Phantom
Obstacle avoidance system: Karma/Phantom
Pre-programmed flight paths: Karma/Phantom
Flight time: Karma/Phantom
Well, the Karma seems to be an appealing package for some adrenalin junkies — especially the ones who enter remote areas. The fact that you also carry a stabilizer grip and removable GoPro, which then also allows to get attached to other GoPro holders and sticks, is a strong selling point. At the end it will depend the pilot which drone is the better one. The DJI Phantom is filled with much more technology and comes with more features in terms of flying and routing the drone. The fact that the camera is bolted to the drone and the extra stabilizer costs another 300 Euro, makes the Karma very interesting from a budged perspective. If you are not limited to space, you are not the crazy outdoor guy climbing up the rocks but you want to use it in a controlled and accessible terrain, the Phantom 4 is maybe the better choice.
I have not made my mind up which one fits better to my needs. It will be interesting to read some professional reviews in the next weeks. But the concept of the Karma I like and it seems to be a perfect solution for my needs. Let’s see and keep an eye on it.