|Overall rating 4.6 / 5|
The maker of the highly popular Go Pro camera has finally entered the drone market and is trying to establish itself in a highly competitive market with its Go Pro Karma drone model.
The first attempt was a clear failure, with the drone often losing contact or simply crashing without warning. The answer was received even before the drone was sold.
Now GoPro has improved it and finally brought the drone to market. We have thoroughly tested the aircraft and will let you know if these serious bugs have been fixed and whether the drone is worth buying for a novice or experienced drone pilot.
Go Pro Karma Package Contents
The scope of supply is large compared to competing models and offers a wide range of usability and compatibility options. Go Pro Hero 4, GO Pro Hero 5 Black, Go Pro Hero 5 Session and Hero Black 6 can be attached to Go Pro Karma.
Since we already have a Go Pro Hero 5 Black for an adventure vacation, we just hung this action camera on the drone. The price of just under € 900 includes the following:
- Drone Go Pro Karma
- Propeller set
- Battery, gimbal
This equipment is the cheapest version of the drone. That doesn’t include the camera yet, just a matching bracket on the drone that you can attach your Go Pro camera to.
A drone kit with Hero 5 Black costs around 1,350 euros, a power kit with an additional battery is 1,465 euros, and an action kit with a shoulder strap is just over 1,500 euros.
It is recommended to compare prices online because the price difference is very large. You can find out where you can find a very good price in our price comparison at the bottom of the page.
Compact drone design
As usual with the Go Pro, the drone has been designed with a very thin and compact body, so transporting and using the drone can be as easy and convenient as possible.
As mentioned at the beginning, different Go Pro models can be installed. This makes the Karma drone interesting for those interested in older models (up to the Go Pro Hero 4).
Thus, the manufacturer kills two birds with one stone: drone pilots only need a drone, which already has a mini camera for filming combat actions.
Thus, there is no need to purchase any additional cams, they can simply be removed and used for other purposes. Gopro implemented this idea well and thus fulfilled the request of some drone pilots.
The calibration of the drone goes smoothly with us. Only the distance to the ground is short, so be careful when landing on uneven ground.
The Karma drone weighs 1900 grams (with a full set of propellers and a battery), is relatively heavy and only 100 grams lacking, then you will need a drone driver’s license in accordance with official drone laws (empty weight is about 1 kg (1006 g).
The drone is foldable, so it fits easily into the supplied transport case and doesn’t take up much space.
Karma remote control and battery life
The small compact remote control is very simple, so everyone understands how to operate the drone. Unlike DJI, for example, there are only a few buttons to control the drone.
In the middle there is a button with a green border that can be used to launch and land the drone. At the top right is the on / off switch for the remote control. The 5-inch touchscreen display is pleasantly bright and provides good visibility even in slightly stronger sunlight.
On the back of the game controller, you can change flight modes, take a photo, or start or stop video recording.
GoPro has developed its own application called the Passenger App, which can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store or iOS.
This app can be installed on three end devices, which, after successful setup, show a live image of the Karma drone and thusshow the world from the perspective of an action camera or drone through 720p live image transmission.
This is a cool feature that is still missing from top manufacturers like DJI and Yuneec. To use the app, you need to register and create an account with GoPro. We have just reactivated our old GoPro account.
The manufacturer claims that under optimal conditions the battery life will be 20 minutes. During our practice test, we were able to record the time of 15 minutes, maximum 16 minutes.
This flight time is roughly the same as the DJI Spark. Other models that are also in the Karma price segment (Mavic Pro, Phantom 3 Pro) offer slightly longer flight times, ranging from 23 to 25 minutes. If your GoPro battery is completely discharged, it will take about 120 minutes for it to be ready for use again and fully charged.
An extra battery is already included in the most expensive version, otherwise it costs around 120 € and is therefore slightly cheaper than, for example, the Phantom 4. With Typhoon Q500 4k, additional batteries only cost around 30 € and are usually included in a small surcharge for Advanced Upgrade.
Installed equipment and behavior in the air
The Karma has a top speed of just over 50 km / h (15 meters per second, to be exact) and is relatively stable in the air. The Karma is maneuverable and fast in the air, but not a classic racing drone. Newbies and old rabbit drones alike will have tons of fun taking off.
The flight altitude should be possible up to 3200 meters above zero. Of course, we could not verify this completely, because in the USA the maximum flight altitude of 100 meters above the lifting point must not be exceeded by law.
In practical tests, we managed to reach a range of almost 400 meters, after which the signal was interrupted and the drone returned to its starting point. The mini-copter is oriented thanks to the built-in GPS system and compass.
These two functions work hand in hand to ensure a pleasant and quiet flight. However, it should be noted here that the drone is no longer as stable in the air, especially in light winds.
The GPS signal did not disappear at an altitude of almost 90m and the range of the mentioned 400m, and the drone returns to the starting point as soon as the image signal to the controller is interrupted.
Also, there is no collision protection like some models from DJI or Yuneec. Throughout the flight, this means: Fly with caution, as there are no sensors to stop the drone or alert you to an obstacle in an emergency.
In addition, there are no ultrasonic sensors on the bottom of the Karma to provide a stable descent when landing. From our point of view, such sensors are not necessary for experienced pilots, but here GoPro could invest a little more in the drone software to really guarantee a stable flight at all times.
However, in good weather (i.e. light or no wind) flying the GoPro Karma is definitely a pleasure.
Flight recordings and video quality
The video quality naturally depends on the action camera that you hang on the drone. So far we have installed the Go Pro Hero 4 and 5 on a drone and have been able to make some really great recordings with it.
The suspension system works really reliably and stabilizes the Gopro even during fast flights or sudden changes of direction in the air. Unfortunately, we have not yet had the opportunity to test the latest GoPro 6 on a drone that delivers Ultra HD resolution at an incredible 60fps.
The Phantom 4 Advanced, which we also tested, also has a 4k camera at 60fps. These recordings are truly top quality, and when used properly, you can definitely make cinematic quality movies with them.
The Go Pro Hero 5 Black delivers much better images and videos than, for example, the Mavic Pro’s camera. If we hung the Hero 5 Black on the Mavic, we would have an incredibly powerful drone with fantastic recordings and a high quality camera.
The supplied handheld gimbal (included with the largest version of Karma) can be used with a GoPro without a drone.As mentioned in the beginning, Karma is especially interesting for people who already have a GoPro camera. Flight recordings have yet to be cut and will be available soon.
Conclusion on the quadcopter
In our opinion, the Karma drone is a good investment if you already have a Gopro Action Cam, because the camera can be built into the drone, but can also be used with a gimbal.
Of course, we must also say that there are still a few issues such as short battery life and sometimes erratic flight behavior.
The controls are very simple and straightforward, the app also works flawlessly and sometimes doesn’t crash an app like the DJI Go 4 app.
The videos are truly amazing and can be seen on any Ultra HD capable large screen.
In order for Karma to keep up with drones, the GoPro would have to be improved once more. We are curious if there are any further updates or changes in the near future and we will keep you posted.