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Finally, the wait is over. Today, we got a look at the latest slate of GoPro products. All eyes were waiting on the GoPro Karma; its first entry into the drone market. Hell yeah it made a splash. Especially the price point.
The company even has a nice overview of the drone:
Say you don’t have a GoPro and want it fully kitted out? It will run you $1099 at launch in October. It includes the Karma, a Hero5, controller, the Karma Grip, backpack, battery, six props and the Karma stabilizer plus housing.
If you’re content with using an older GoPro Hero4, the bundle can be had for $799.
It looks slick as hell and to me, it’s an outdoor adventure dream drone. You can knock it around, and the form factor means it’s not getting in the way.
GoPro Karma Tech Specs
The part missing in every presentation. It may be billed as the end-to-end storytelling platform, but details are important.
Battery life. Up to 20 minutes of flight time from a Li-Po rated at 5100mAH. When you see marketing sheets mention ‘up to 20 minutes’ real world equals around 15-18 minutes. The Karma Grip is good for 1.75 hours.
Speed. That teaser video wasn’t a joke when it showed it buzzing around. The max speed hits 35 mph and will eat into the battery if you have the throttle pushed to the stops.
Max Distance and Altitude. Yeah, we all know what the FAA says about 400 feet etc. , but who doesn’t take it up once or twice for a true bird’s eye perspective. Max flight altitude is 14,500ft. You’re not taking it from your backyard and hitting that. It’s the service ceiling where the air thins out to the point it can’t provide lift. It’s for climbers. Max distance with the controller is 3280 ft or 1000 meters.
Weather Resistance. A big deal was made about the Hero5 being waterproof to thirty feet and the Karma controller being rugged. It isn’t confirmed, but I wonder if there’s better rain resistance. Max wind speed for the Karma is 22mph. Don’t test that upper range. Trust me. Been there. Done that.
Karma Battery Charger. Charge times for the Karma battery is an hour. Its controller takes 2.5 hours, and the included Karma Grip will be good to go after 2 hours.
Accessories. The biggest will be extra batteries. Coming from a DJI, the $99.99 is a welcome site. Wish there was a quick charge station, but you have to assume that’s coming. Checking out the backpack, there doesn’t look to be room for extra batteries. Expect a bit beefier of a backpack to emerge with room for spares.
Karma Replacement Costs. Not a lot was said about safety, collision avoidance, etc. so expect to buy extra props and the like. Props are $20. Karma Controller – $300. A replacement arm will run you $50 and a complete core replacement (4 arms, body and landing struts) hits $400. If you break off the landing struts by accident, replacement pricing is $49.
GoPro Plus. A little more detail is emerging on GoPro plus. It’s a free trial service and then $4.99 a month. That’ll make investors happy, and the price is low enough where most won’t mind. And it is available only in the US on October 2 with more markets in early 2017.
The cloud storage is limited to 35 hours of video (1080p only) or up to 62,500 photos (capped at 12MP). Not really digging the 1080p cap on videos, but transferring 4K footage would be a pain in the ass over the air, so I understand it. Don’t toss the external hard drives just yet.
All things considered, this is one hell of a Holiday launch. Will it jump the Phantom 4? No, and I’m not sure that’s the intent. The pricing is the same for those looking for the best features. The GoPro is all about the adventure. Take the Hero5 off and go. The Phantom 4 and Inspire drones are more prosumer to professional video platforms. Especially on the Inspire.
The GoPro Karma and its backpack make me think, hell yes, it’s light as hell, and the form factor is great for hiking, kayaking, etc. Yeah, you guessed it. I want both damn it.
Sound off below on the Karma announcement. All eyes now turn to the DJI Mavic. What do they up their sleeve?