[Drones] GoPro ups the drone game with Karma

Today, GoPro introduced the world to its Karma drone system that not only includes a backpack drone, but a GoPro5 and a stabilizer all in one.

There are a number of great things that are featured in the Karma. First, it is collapsable into a slim backpack design, that according to some doesn’t hinder movement while wearing it. I have seen (and used) several collapsable drones, and they always make me a bit nervous that the arms are going to fold up at the wrong time. Fortunately, I have never had a failure like that, and expect Karma will be the same way.

The Karma will work with the GoPro Hero 5, but is backwards compatible for those of us with a GoPro Hero 4.

In addition to the drone, the camera stabilizer comes off of the front and attaches to the Karma Grip, giving you an instant camera stabilization system.  Finally, the Karma Controller lets you see and control everything the camera sees.

Did I mention the entire package, which includes the drone, grip, controller, and Go Pro Hero 5 will only set you back $1,099?  Yup. That is an incredible bargain!

Of course there are some other questions that need to be answered before plunking down the money. For example, what does the Karma Controller allow you to do? With the automatic take off and landing capabilities, there has to be some kind of GPS built in, but does it have programable flight paths? Will it lock on to a target and follow it?

I really like that the controller doesn’t rely on you connecting your iPad or iPhone, however, the screen looks a little bit small for my liking. On the plus side, you can send the signal to another device for others to watch/record while you fly. Unfortunately, there are a number of features, the Karma Controller is hyping, that were available on other systems years ago.

There are so many unanswered questions that even the GoPro site seems unable (or unwilling to answer at the moment). However, as a 1.0 device, the GoPro Karma has a lot of promise.

The new GoPro Hero 5 shoots 4k and Raw photos, and has a built in touchscreen display. With a waterproof housing, many will find ways to get action shots in and around the water.

The Karma begins shipping on October 23rd.


Karma Drone
Maximum Speed 35 mph (15 m/s)
Maximum Distance 3280ft (1000m)
Maximum Flight Altitude 14,500ft (4,500m)
Maximum Wind Resistance 22mph (10m/s)
Operating Frequency 2.4GHz
Dimensions (Opened/No Propellers) Length: 12in (303mm)
Width: 16.2in (411mm)
Height: 4.6in (117mm)
Dimensions (Folded/Transport) Length: 14.4in (365.2mm)
Width: 8.8in (224.3mm)
Height: 3.5in (89.9mm)
Propeller Length 10in (25.4cm)
Weight 35.5oz (1006g)
Karma Controller
Screen Size 5in (12.7cm)
Screen Resolution 720p
Screen Brightness 900 nits
Battery Life 4 hours
Operating Frequency 2.4GHz
Weight 22oz (625g)
Karma Battery
Dimensions Length: 8in (201.3mm)
Width: 3.6in (91.62mm)
Height: 1.75in (42.7mm)
Weight 19.3oz (545g)
Flight Time Up to 20 minutes
Rating 14.8V 5100mAH (75.4Wh)
Battery Type Li-Po
Karma Charger
Rating 16.8V 5A
Charging Time for Karma Battery 1 hour
Charging Time for Karma Controller 2.5 hours
Charging Time for Karma Grip 2 hour
Karma Stabilizer
Range of motion -90° to 0° (down/up)
Camera Compatibility HERO5 Black, HERO5 Session, HERO4 Black/Silver
Weight 8oz (230g)
Number of Axes 3
Karma Grip Handle
Dimensions Length: 8in (205mm)
Width: 1.7in (43mm)
Height: 1.7in (43mm)
Battery Life 1.75 hours
Weight 8.62oz (244.6g)
Karma Case
Dimensions Length: 21.3in (540mm)
Width: 12.6in (320mm)
Height: 5.9in (150mm)
GoPro Passenger App
Device Compatibility iOS 9® and later
Android® 5.0 and later

via GoPro

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher is one of those guys that has always loved comics but never got into them until really late in life - like high school in the 80s. He just missed the Crisis on Infinite Earths, but has been around for every major crossover since. Stephen knows his way around video and film production having been a director, producer, editor, and motion graphics artist for projects ranging from small promotional pieces for Wachovia all the way up to regional videos for the Division of Emergency Management. As a prolific writer, Stephen began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen also freelances for the Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog. When not writing, Stephen shares his knowledge as a tenured faculty member at Fort Hays State University. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. Favorite Writers: Mark Waid, Geoff Johns, Paul Dini, Adam Beechen, Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges Favorite Artists: Dan Jurgens, Alex Ross, Adam Hughes, Freddie Williams III

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