These ones don’t crash.
Which, to be perfectly blunt, is a big step in the right direction. When they were launched in 2016, the GoPro Karma suffered from a severe case of falling-out-of-the-sky-itis.
While they made arguably the world’s best action-cameras, this competency evidently didn’t translate into drone design and production.
The good news for GoPro’s millions of devotees is that they had another crack, and this latest iteration is a big step in the right direction – albeit perhaps still chasing the industry leaders.
A breeze to use
One of the most impressive elements of the Karma is its idiot-proof design.
You can pretty much get the drone set up in a few minutes from the moment you unzip it out of its very handy backpack.
Slide in the battery, expand the arms out, attach the propellers, and you’re basically ready to fly your own tiny plane, which is both amazing and frankly kind of terrifying.
The remote guides you through the tutorial, and there are enough intelligent features (a ‘return to home’ option, automatic take-off and landing) there that you don’t have to worry about too much other than moving it up, down and side to side.
The controls are nice and tight and I had no major worries getting my new little buddy around on a windy day south of Sydney.
Coupled with the enviable camera quality, GoPro has done a really good job at creating a no-fuss, entry-level drone capable of capturing top quality footage.
Drone enthusiasts will be a little underwhelmed
If you’re an absolute frother for drones, though – you’re going to be a little disappointed.
The absence of features like collision detection will likely irk a lot of people, and this did make me a little nervous given I’m a a dodgy driver at the best times.
The autonomous-flight modes (‘Orbit’ to fly around you’, ‘Dronie’ zooms out from where you’re standing, ‘Reveal’ and ‘Cable Cam’ shots) are handy but far from exhaustive. You still have to fly the drone to where you want it before setting the flight path, and there’s no follow me’ option.
The flight range is also a little bit disappointing.
The Karma maxxes out at about 250m from your position, whereas the Mavic Pro can hit almost 7km. This might not be a problem for the casual flier, but for those that take their drone-ing seriously, I imagine it would be fairly problematic.
Yeah, cool – but should I buy it?
Sure! Coming in at $1,349.95 it presents genuine value. It’s not going to blow you away, but if you’re a first timer it does all the things you could want it to do and a little bit more.
Serious drone enthusiasts will probably want to spend a bit more coin to get the top-shelf features, but you won’t have any buyer’s remorse if you pick up the Karma.