GoPro Launches Karma!Was the wait worth it?
The day has come. GoPro, a company that until recently kept a distance from the drone market, launches Karma.
Karma will be the first drone made by a company outside of the drone market, and everyone is expecting something great from a company that is renowned in the technology market.
Drone consumers waited, waited and after an announcement that the launch would be delayed, Karma was finally released. So, was the wait worth it? Can Karma, despite being designed by a camera-focused company, compete with the heavyweights of the drone market? And the price, is it affordable?
Are there any special features that will make you want this drone? Are all the expectations going to pay off? So many questions. Let’s try to answer all of them in this post.
“Much more than a drone” …
This was the theme of the speech by Nick Woodman (CEO of GoPro) at the launch. Despite the speech, the big news of the day was the new Hero 5 camera, which comes in two models; Session and Black. This camera looks like it will dominate the market with its new features, which include great durability and voice control.
But will these functions be transferred to Karma? No, only the 4K video resolution will be used by Karma. At least Nick Woodman did not say anything about the other features. Makes sense; it’s very difficult to use voice control when your drone is half a mile away.
One could say that Karma is a good “standard” drone, but not one that could be considered top of the line in today’s competitive marketplace. DJI and Yuneec, famous makers of drones, can breathe easy. The best photography company did not build the best drone.
GoPro has developed a drone that may even dominate the DJI Phantom niche, but will initially focus on the category of drones for extreme sports.
A great advantage of Karma is that you can use the individual pieces. The stabilizer can be removed from the drone and used as a stand (think ‘selfie stick’) for cameras. The camera is also detachable, and can be attached to a helmet, bicycle, backpack, etc. This “modular” feature definitely separates Karma from other drones.
How much will Karma cost?
The Karma will cost $ 799 at retail in the US, and is compatible with GoPro Hero 4 cameras and Hero 5.
If you want the Karma with the latest camera (GoPro Hero 5), will cost $ 999 (US) – which is not much if you consider that this is the price of a drone that comes with a 4K camera and a stabilizer.
Rival drones in the extreme sports niche usually cost over a thousand dollars, so Karma presents itself as a good solution in the market.
The GoPro Karma – the features you have not yet noticed
Some things may have gone unnoticed because of all the excitement in launching Karma. The first is the GoPro app, called “Passenger,” this app lets you share live footage of the drone with your friends so they can watch your flight on the handsets – very interesting.
The second was an innovative control that GoPro developed. It looks more like a “GameBoy” than a transmitter control.
It features a touch screen, take-off button and “go home” button, all with the “intent to create a responsible and safe way to fly,” GoPro said.
Karma is literally “more than a drone” – but not in the sense we were expecting
Maybe we were innocent, maybe we were sucked into all a big bubble of expectation. But some of us were expecting an incredible drone for an incredible price, with incredible features such as the ability to automatically deflect from obstacles and being able to shoot 360 degrees to compete with top-of-the-line drones. But that’t not entirely what we have in Karma.
GoPro has not said anything about flight time or top speed, nor has anything been said about steering clear of obstacles. These issues, along with the constant need to change batteries, will continue to be the biggest barriers that will impose difficulties in videography of extreme sports.
What “saves” Karma is that GoPro is focusing on a different market than the top-of-the-line drones. GoPro is targeting new drone consumers who will use Karma as an accessory to the Hero 5 camera, not the other way around.
When looking at Karma with this particular insight, it’s hard not to be impressed with the amount requested for the whole set, even if the drone continues a bit lower than expected. The launch of Karma is scheduled for March 2017 in Brazil.