GoPro releases Karma Drone for the video-game generation
November 3, 2016
Like everything else the company does, GoPro is entering the red-hot consumer drone market in simple style.
The GoPro drone, dubbed Karma Drone ($799.99), was released Oct. 23 and features the same stripped-down interface as everything they do. Like the GoPro Hero line — the fisheye action cam that put the manufacturer on the map — the Karma is made to be sturdy, dummy-proof and easily modified. The Hero suite of mounts, tripods and more make using one of the cameras in the field feel like playing with an adult Lego set, and the Karma is no different.
It starts with the camera mount. Set at the front of the drone body, the mount works double duty as a stabilizer, which keeps the attached GoPro Hero (the drone is compatible with Hero 4+ and Hero 5 cameras) from bumping and jostling.
But, there's more. Once the drone is back on the ground, users can remove the mount to use as a handheld selfie stick — complete with the stabilizing gimbal attachment made for unwavering footage from the air. To make things sweeter, the stick handle comes with controls for shutter, mode, angle, record/stop and more.
It's a two-for-one bonus, and if you don't already have a stick mount for your GoPro, this might be the only one you need. Again, the stable gimbal means even a novice drone operator can shoot respectable footage from the sky or ground, and, at $1,000 for the drone package with includes camera, it's comparable to the DJI Phantom line and 3DR Solo Quadcopter.
Like most consumer drones, the Karma comes with four blades to keep it afloat. The machine can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour and distances of 9,840 feet from the controller unit. The entire thing comes loaded into a backpack and unfolds for easy storage. All told, the drone itself weighs 35.5 ounces without a camera, plus 19 ounces for the battery. It gets up to 20 minutes of flight time, depending on conditions, and can safely fly at 10,800 vertical feet. It's hard to tell how the drone will handle Summit County cold in the thick of winter, but if it's anything like the Hero cameras, don't expect to get more than 10 or 15 minutes of use at a time.
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The controller looks and feels like a video-game controller, so that means it's pretty intuitive for anyone who's spent time around a Playstation or Xbox. It comes with a display screen in the middle to watch footage as it's captured, and the battery lasts a respectable four hours.
The drone market is exploding right now and GoPro hopes the Karma makes the same waves its Hero line made in the mid-2000s. Time will tell — the product is just a week old and should be hot for Christmas wish lists.
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