GoPro’s finally entered the lucrative drone arena with its nimble yet tiny drone called the Karma. Here is what it has to offer.
A major part of the drone is made up of the Karma stabiliser which is a 3-axis image-stabiliser that ensures silky smooth footage. However the good bit here is that you can completely detach this and use it when you need to get gorgeous handled shots.
You can even mount it onto your your car, motorbike, skateboard and more. The package contents also include its game-style controller featuring a 2in, 720p integrated touch display. This means you don’t need your smartphone any more as the display unit.
As we unpack the drone, we begin to realise how small this thing is. Its arms fold inwards when stored in the backpack. Which means you need to unhinge it and attach the propellers when you plan to fly the drone. The finish and the build of the Karma drone is top-notch and we love the overall design. Adding to the charm is that the GoPro Karma drone is incredibly simple to fly out of the box. One of the best parts of the drone is that it is easy to get up and running in seconds. Unfold the drone, attach the propellers, take the Karma controller in your hand and you are all set. If you find taking off difficult, there is an auto-takeoff mode, which helps. However there is a full manual mode too and we obviously chose that.
Once it’s up in the air, the drone feels extremely maneuverable. The Karma quickly reached up to a speed of 15 metres per second. The drone can be flown up to a kilometre away and 4.5km upwards. The battery lasts about 20-minutes mark – that’s the battery life on offer (it takes an hour to fully charge the battery). You don’t need to worry about the drone crashing when it runs out of steam. You simply need to press the ‘return to home’ button on the controller and the drone will safely return to your pad.
Pro sumer adrenaline rush!
The Karma drone does not feature a built-in camera, instead it is compatible with the new GoPro Hero 5 Black, Session 5 and even the older Hero 4 Black+Silver range of cameras. To get our shots we used the spanking new. We used it with the new GoPro Hero 5 Black and it is a natural fit for the drone. The Hero 5 Black improves on a ton of things and the end result is some spectacular imagery. You can now even cancel the fish-eye effect by choosing the linear-view setting in the shooting mode. This helps in achieving wider aerial shots that look great on an HD screen. The 12MP sensor does a great job of handling exposure and offers crisp, colour-rich shots not only in daylight but even as the sun goes down. You can even shoot at 4K resolution @30fps. The inclusion of RAW and WDR modes lets you further tweak around with your shoot settings. Video stabilization is handled supremely well, allowing you to shoot professional cinema-like shots without a fuss.
Some of the various shooting modes that you can take advantage of, out of the box are the Reveal, Cable cam, Orbit and the dronie modes. The Karma is not yet capable of avoiding obstacles, which is a bit of a shame. That gamepad style controller is quite enjoyable to use and it offers a 720p screen and controls to manoeuvre the drone effortlessly.
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To conclude, the Karma drone does extremely well to offer a maximum fun experience in a tiny package and probably with the shortest running curve. Once up in the air it is easy to maneuver via the gamepad style controller. 20 mins of flight time is not the longest and competition does have an edge there, but the Karma managed to hold its own. The included Karma grip can be easily detached and used as a separate tool to shoot butter smooth handheld videos. Finally if you break something, GoPro ensures that things are easy to fix. The Karma will hit stores globally next week on October 23, and you have a few options to choose from – Pick up the drone without the GoPro camera for $799.99 or pay $1099.99 and get the Hero 5 Black bundled in the package.