The GoPro Karma drone is back on the shelves after three months of absence in the portable drone scene, which the DJI Mavic Pro is now dominating. Is it too late for the Karma to come around or is there room in the market for one more?
GoPro hit the recall button in November 2016 when a small percentage of users reported that their Karma drones were shutting down mid-flight. The company found the battery latch as the culprit – the drone’s movement was causing the battery to pop out of place.
This was a safety concern as the drones that lost power would then fall to the ground, so initiating the Karma’s recall was an easy decision for the action camera maker, the company said in a blog post.
Safety is our biggest priority, so this decision came after we learned that a small number of Karma units were experiencing power loss mid-flight. We knew we had to move quickly. Really, it was an easy decision but difficult news to share.
This all happened during the Karma’s first month out. While reviews were raving about GoPro’s first drone, it ultimately had to leave. It left a gap in the market, which DJI shortly filled with its Mavic Pro.
Those who were looking for a portable drone immediately liked the Mavic Pro. It comes with a true 4K camera that can capture 30 frames per second, the ability to fold into a something easier to carry and other well-crafted features. The best thing about it is its ActiveTrack technology, which allows users to pick a subject, which the drone can either follow, circle around, or more.
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DJI had its fair share of problems with the portable drone. The company failed to meet the October 25 target date, which frustrated those who pre-ordered. Nonetheless, it was well-received by critics and adventurers.
Now, some doubts have been cast over the GoPro Karma’s re-release to the market. The Mavic Pro is sitting pretty comfortably in the throne of folding drones for almost three months now with no worthy competitor. It has successfully won the hearts (and money) of those looking for a powerful yet portable drone. Is there still enough room for the Karma to wiggle in?
Many think it may be too late for the Karma to enter the market even with its redesigned battery latch. Even though it comes from the most popular action camera company, its three-month long recall was enough for the Mavic Pro to swoop in and wow just about everybody.
Apart from that, DJI’s drone is cheaper than its competitor. The drone itself with the camera is priced at $999 while the Karma costs $1,099 with the GoPro Hero 5 Black. Those who already have the camera, however, can purchase the Karma at only $799, which is probably its only advantage.
When it comes to features, DJI still wins. In the words of drone analyst Colin Snow, the Karma is more like a 2015 drone than a present-day one.
“It’s an overpriced, too-big foldable drone that doesn’t have as many features,” he said. “Just feature by feature, the Mavic blows everybody out of the water.”
A GoPro spokesperson, on the other hand, told Fast Company otherwise.
GoPro has a legacy in image capture and a passionate global user base. We are well positioned to compete in the drone market with Karma, which is a versatile and complete capture solution for aerial, handheld, and wearable image stabilization.
True enough, many trusts the brand when it comes to adventure cameras. The only question that remains is if it is enough to make the GoPro Karma drone as big as the DJI Mavic Pro, which is just awesome, to say the least.