Product Reviews

GoPro Karma Drone Review and Giveaway

Joe Coburn 01-06-2017

The Karma is GoPro’s first foray into the drone market. Many drones can be purchased with a GoPro or similar derivative camera, so it makes sense for GoPro to design the drone and sell a complete bundle. If you’re not sure why anyone would ever want a drone, checkout these industries drones will revolutionize 7 Industries Drones Are Set to Revolutionize Seven industries that are ready and braced to be (mostly positively) impacted – if not revolutionized – by drones. Read More , or how drones will benefit your life 4 Ways Drones Will Actually Benefit Your Day-to-Day Life Drones are more than just toys. In fact, in just a few more years, they will actually make your life better and more comfortable. Read More .


Watch our video review below to find out what we think, or read on to enter our giveaway, where you can win a GoPro Karma drone complete with Hero 5 camera!

It’s Raining Drones

GoPro previously launched the Karma in October 2016. A flaw in the battery latch design meant that the drones lost power and quite literally fell out the sky. This embarrassing and dangerous oversight by GoPro meant that a mass product recall was issued for all Karmas. GoPro have redesigned the battery mechanism, and relaunched the drone, but has the damage already been done?

GoPro Karma

Karma is more than just a flying camera. Not only do you get the drone, but the bundle comes with the Hero 5 action camera, and the karma grip for handheld stabilization.

This review is split into three parts; the drone, the camera, and the stabilizer. While the Karma is primarily a drone, these modular features turn it into a video powerhouse. Let’s get started.


GoPro Karma with HERO5 Black GoPro Karma with HERO5 Black Buy Now On Amazon

The Drone

Priced at $1099 with a HERO 5 camera, or $799 without, the Karma is certainly not cheap. If you’ve never flown a drone before, it can be a bit scary to see your investment fly off into the horizon, but advanced GPS, compass, and return to home features ensure you won’t be losing this aircraft anytime soon. If the Karma is too expensive for you, then take a look at our guide to the best drones for all budgets The Best Drones for All Budgets What are the best drones? We covered quadcopters for the poor, rich, and everyone in-between. Whether you want a flying selfie machine or cheap cutting-edge toy, we've got you covered. Read More .

GoPro Karma

The karma has a wingspan of approximately 16 x 12 inches without propellers. It stands only 4.6 inches tall, so while it is quite a large drone, its low profile can be deceptive. Karma’s ace in the hole, however, is its folding arms. Each arm folds in, and the landing gear retracts. This significantly reduces the footprint, and makes it small enough to fit inside the included hard shell backpack.


For comparison, it’s much smaller than a DJI Phantom 4 DJI Phantom 4 Review DJI's Phantom 4 was the first to introduce smart features, like obstacle avoidance and return-to-home. But it's not cheap, at just over $1000 for the basic kit. Read More , but it’s a lot larger than the Yuneec Breeze 4k Yuneec Breeze 4k Selfie Drone Review The Breeze 4k is the newest drone by Hong Kong manufacturers Yuneec. At 200mm (8 inches) across, the Breeze is tiny – but at a cost of $500, it's not exactly an entry level drone. Read More .

GoPro Karma Complete

The battery lasts for 20 minutes, but realistically this is more like 15 minutes of flight time. The battery is solidly designed, and I encountered no significant issues with it. It has a status light, which also serves to indicate the remaining charge. This battery is where the problems originally began.

Karma Battery


The battery would pop out the drone at random, which would cause a power loss — not cool if you’re 400ft in the air at the time! GoPro claim to have redesigned the battery latch, and it does feel solid enough. Despite this, you cannot help but wonder if today will be the day your drone free falls all the way down.

Karma Battery

The Karma comes with intelligent return to home functionality. At the press of a button the drone will fly home to either you or your take off point. You get some basic control — you can move out the way of trees for example, but as there’s no obstacle avoidance, this is a somewhat risky maneuver. Should your battery get too low, Karma will loudly announce that it is returning home to land.

GoPro Karma


The final “intelligent” feature of the Karma is auto take off and landing. This is extremely helpful, as these can be the most risky parts of flying.

The Karma is controlled by a large clamshell style controller. This packs in a nice touch screen, along with several analog controls. It’s a bit bulky and old fashioned, but it’s a nice change to so many drones that require your mobile phone.

Karma Controller

Once airborne, the Karma is remarkably stable. Even in moderate wind it barely moves, and coupled with the mechanical gimbal, the videos are incredibly smooth. Videos are so smooth in fact, that you’d struggle to tell they were taken on a drone — very impressive.

The gimbal uses brushless motors to counteract any movement from the drone, and it works very well. This gimbal extends out in front of the drone, and this means that the propellers are rarely seen in the footage — something that can be a bit of a problem with other drones.

GoPro Karma

The Karma is a wonderful drone to fly. It may not be the fastest, cheapest, or even smallest drone around, but it certainly makes up for all that in ease of use and fun factor.

Karma Grip

The Karma grip provides a way for you to utilize the gimbal from the drone, only this time on the ground. Simply twist and remove the gimbal and camera, and insert it into the included handle. Once powered up, this stabilizer acts exactly the same as when on the drone. The brushless motors are fast and fairly quiet, and any video you take is wonderfully smooth and dreamy.

Karma Grip

Much like a chicken’s head is able to maintain its position in 3D space (check out the Mercedes Benz S Class Advertisement if you don’t know what I’m talking about), the Karma grip is an extraordinary device. Equipped with several controls and buttons to control the camera, there’s only one problem with it: you can’t see what you’re filming.

Karma Grip

The various arms, motors and components necessary to make the gimbal work just get in the way. Nearly 50% of the GoPro screen is obscured, so you’re left to point at something and hope you captured it in the frame.

Karma Grip

If you’re looking for a standalone gimbal, there are cheaper alternatives, but the fact that this one can be shared across the grip and drone is very unique. I’m not aware of any other products that do this, and it certainly provides a way to reduce the overall cost if you were looking to purchase both of these items independently.

The Camera

The Hero 5 camera is a great little action camera, but I’m not convinced it’s the best camera for a drone. This one in particular produces excellent results in good weather and lighting, but results are rather bland in shadows or indoors. Unlike previous models, this camera is now waterproof without an external case. This means all the ports and holes have to be sealed with special little doors — some of which have to be removed to install it into the drone. I managed to break one of these doors within about 10 seconds of opening the drone. GoPro were kind enough to send me a replacement, but it’s slightly worrying.

GoPro Hero 5

The Hero 5 is capable of filming up to 240 frames per second (FPS), but as the frame rate goes up, the quality goes down. It’s great fun to film in 60FPS and slow things do 40%, but don’t count on this camera for Michael Bay style slow motion style videos. Filming in 240FPS reduces the resolution to 720p, and despite being able to film in 4k, this is limited to 30FPS. Like all GoPro cameras, this can really struggle indoors, especially if there is not a lot of natural light.

GoPro Hero 5

If you work with the strengths of the GoPro (tiny size, tough), and film outside in strong light, it’s wonderful. Stray too far outside of its comfort zone and things look start to look bad fast.

Let’s look at some sample shots. The following images are all taken from the videos. This shot looks very good:

Drone Arial Shot

No less than 20 seconds later, however, it’s a very different story:

Drone Arial Shot

What happened here was a shadow from a cloud. The scene darkened, so the GoPro adjusted things accordingly. You can enable Protune, for finer control over the settings, but it gets to a point where you’re adjusting settings regularly instead of flying!

It’s a similar story for most of the flights. Shots alternate between amazing and lacklustre.

Drone Aerial View

Of course it’s possible to edit these photos and videos, and you can really make them shine this way, but if you don’t know how to do this, you’re out of luck. My advice is to fly on a bright summer’s day — and don’t forget your sunglasses!

Win a GoPro Karma!

Before we deliver a verdict, enter below to win a GoPro Karma for yourself.

GoPro Karma Giveaway

Flying High

GoPro Karma with HERO5 Black GoPro Karma with HERO5 Black Buy Now On Amazon

The GoPro Karma is a brilliant drone. It’s solid and reliable — so far. The minor inconveniences can be worked around, and fact that you get a camera and stabilizer as well is very cool. It’s not the smallest of drones, as the DJI Mavic Pro absolutely thrashes it in that department, but its slight folding ability certainly help to contribute towards its portability.

If you’re not sure on your flying skills, look at these websites to learn how to pilot a drone.

Our verdict of the GoPro Karma:
If you’re spending this much on a drone, you certainly need to consider what features you would like. If you want a tiny drone, or the very best image quality, then look elsewhere. If you want something really easy to fly, with some extra video equipment to boot, then this is the drone for you!
8 10

Related topics: Drone Technology, GoPro, MakeUseOf Giveaway.

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  1. Dinesh Pawar
    June 24, 2017 at 11:27 am

    First of all let me tell you, yours reviews are super awesome.This is my daily work to watch the review from your channel and website.I'm kinda technogeek and I have also suggested your website to lots of people. Best of luck guys?

  2. Kevin Loredo
    June 19, 2017 at 6:24 am

    This Giveaway will let me fulfill my dreams that I've always loved since day one. The love of making films.

  3. Victor
    June 12, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Nice review, I like it very much. If I wont win the drone I maybe think about buying it anyway. :)
    Just found your website and I will take a look on it in the future I guess.

  4. Sajid ameen
    June 11, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Drone's functionality is really great, especially being a miniature drone, plus ability to shoot great fotage. This drone has always been on my wish list!

  5. Byron Lloyd
    June 10, 2017 at 2:56 am

    Considering the price of this wonderful GoPro Karma product, I would certainly enjoy having one from the 'Give Away'.

  6. Armin
    June 8, 2017 at 11:30 am

    I need this drone !

  7. Bryan G Anders
    June 7, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Great looking product from a company known for solid tough designs....

    Would love to have it.

  8. Bryan G Anders
    June 7, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Wow..Great looking product from a company known for making tough hardware....

    Sign me up!

  9. Louise Philip Leaño
    June 7, 2017 at 11:23 am

    I'm 19 years old from Philippines and I just started my videography career hope to have this one day.

  10. Alfred Chan
    June 7, 2017 at 6:48 am

    Love to own it. :)

  11. Heidi O'Day
    June 7, 2017 at 2:58 am

    I would love one of these! I have NEVER been attracted to a drone before, but WOW. I am going to need to learn how to fly it first! This looks like a new obsession for me,Thanks make use of. I'm so glad I had that baby in 1995 now as he is super tech savy and if I won one of these crazy fun looking drones I will have a coach! New he would come in handy eventually.( ha,ha)

  12. Maynard S. Clark
    June 7, 2017 at 2:27 am

    Sign me up for the giveaway, please. $1,099 EACH - or you can WIN the GoPro drone from

  13. Thomas Capizz1
    June 7, 2017 at 12:28 am

    Sign me up for the giveaway, please

  14. Thomas Capizz1
    June 7, 2017 at 12:27 am

    Sign me up for the giveaway, please.