- Comes with Karma Grip accessory ($300 MSRP)
- Preset shots make great footage – simple to use
- Controller is great – feels like playing video games
- Portable and easy to replace parts
- Compatible with several GoPro cameras
- Requires a GoPro (or you have to spend up for the bundle)
- Terrible battery life at ~15 minutes (you’ll end up buying a second battery)
- Connection with remote cuts out at 300m-500m
- Durability concerns – we cracked the leg on our first flight
- Not as quick to react as other drones
Karma is a solid drone. We really like it. Worth your consideration if you have some extra cash and a GoPro on-hand but plan on buying a second battery.
Karma is a solid first attempt at a drone from GoPro. We like it a lot, but there are several things we’d change if we had our druthers.
First up is the price tag. Karma costs $800 at retail or $1,100 if you opt for the HERO5 Bundle, which includes the camera. In other words, if you don’t already have a HERO4 Silver, HERO4 Black, or HERO5 Black then you’ll be paying over a thousand smackers for this guy. That’s not cheap, nor is it expensive, but as a reference point the DJI MAVIC Pro costs $1,000 and largely speaking, we prefer that drone. And here’s the wrinkle with Karma: the battery life is garbage. Expect 15 minutes of flight time at maximum. In other words, you’ll be buying a second Karma battery. Now the price point is $900 / $1,200. Again, that’s not egregious, but certainly worth mentioning.
Now on the positive side of things, Karma is easy to assemble, setup, and fly; it’s probably the simplest drone to fly. And when you buy Karma you’re not just getting the drone. You also get the Karma Grip ($300 MSRP), which is a handheld stabilizer much like the DJI Osmo. We are huge fans of the stabilizer gimbals. They really can up the quality of your content – huge fans of having the Karma Grip included in the box.
And speaking of the box, you also get a backpack/carry case with it. Karma folds down to a portable size and you can fit it, alongside the Karma Grip and remote controller in the backpack for storage and travel. Sure, Karma isn’t as portable as the MAVIC Pro, but it’s pretty darn compact and portable by most drone standards.
In addition to being portable and easy to use, Karma spits off some wonderfully smooth, beautiful footage (depending on the settings on your GoPro). There’s no quick changes of pace that show up in the images, only smooth stabilized shots. That’s really nice. Even more, GoPro has given Karma several preset shots to get professional-level footage with hardly any effort at all. As an example, Karma has a setting called ‘Reveal’. We’ve all seen it. The camera is point downward as the drone travels on and as the clip progresses the camera tilts up to show the horizon. It’s a beautiful shot and now you can get it basically effortlessly on Karma. All you have to do is set a Point A and Point B and then control the speed – the shot turns out awesome. You can do the same for Orbit, Dronie, and Cable Cam modes. We are huge fans of these preset shots.
Overall we really like Karma. It is going to be a regular part of our filming gear, but we are still very much looking forward to more drones in the future from GoPro. If you can stomach $800-$1,200 for a drone, we think you’ll like Karma – just make sure to get that second battery.