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An Inside Look at GoPro’s Karma Drone

Technology By
gopro-karma
(GoPro)

 

GoPro’s new Karma drone is a landmark moment, both for GoPro’s own product line and for personal drone ownership in general.

First off, it’s more than a simple drone. The Karma is a multi-part system that includes a foldable quadcopter, a camera stabilizer, and a touchscreen controller, all of which fits inside a backpack that’s also a launchpad. Most of GoPro’s competitors sell these items as single units, giving the Karma an immediate advantage through convenience alone. Arguably the most undersold aspect of the product is the stabilizer, which makes it professional-looking cinematography accessible to non-pros. The tech is included in the Karma Grip, which is included in the Karma drone bundle and also sold separately. Watch how much of a difference it in the video below (see a side-by-side comparison ski video

Arguably the most undersold aspect of the product is the stabilizer, which makes it professional-looking cinematography accessible to non-pros. The tech is included in the Karma Grip, which can be detached from the Karma drone and is also sold separately. Watch how much of a difference the stabilizer makes in the video below (see a side-by-side comparison ski video here).

 

Another bonus is that the Karma is easy to use. If you’re a gamer, flying it should be pretty intuitive; the quadcopter’s controls were designed to mimic game console controls, and this approach ties neatly into one of GoPro’s primary philosophies. “We’ve been consistently guilty of building products for ourselves that we really want,” CEO Nick Woodman told Engadget, making the point that he and his team let their consumer interests guide innovation whenever possible.

A new GoPro Karma foldable drone is seen flying during a press event in Olympic Valley, California on September 19, 2016. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
A new GoPro Karma foldable drone is seen flying during a press event in Olympic Valley, California on September 19, 2016. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

 

GoPro is taking a significant risk with the Karma since it isn’t a camera. The vibe of the product is a departure from their adrenalized image somewhat, but they hope that the Karma’s relatively low price tag (starting at $799) and capability for producing smooth aerial footage will win consumers over. “We wanted to develop an experience that people would be blown away by,” Woodman said, and this prioritizing of experience over on-brand aesthetics may just work out.

The Karma is available starting October 23, without a camera for $799. GoPro also offers the drone with two bundles: including the HERO5 Black for $1099; and with the HERO5 Session for $999. You can purchase or pre-order one here. Scroll down for a hands-on review of the Karma from Engadget, including a field test.