In the US and Europe the Karma went on sale 23 October 2016. After one month GoPro has said it has “discovered that in a small number of cases, Karma units lost power during operation.” The number of sold units is almost 2500 and all of them should be send back to GoPro company. It shows up that this is not the best selling strategy for drones. In our company we use personal approach which reflects demands of each customer.
The issue is not yet fixed, and even Karma drones which appear to be working correctly must not be used and must be returned to either the retailer where you bought it or – if you bought from GoPro – then directly to GoPro by using its online support. You’ll need to return everything that came with the drone, too, including the Hero 5 and Karma Grip, even though those items are not part of the recall.
Customers are being offered a full refund, and you can get one even if you no longer have the receipt. There are no exchanges because the fault has not been fixed: if you want a Karma still, you’ll have to wait until a new batch is manufactured.
The Karma drone is available with and without a GoPro camera, so if you already own a Hero 4 Black you can use it.
- Karma without a GoPro camera for $799.99
- Karma bundled with Hero 5 Black for $1099.99
- Karma bundled with Hero 5 Session for $999.99
The Karma Grip will be available to buy on its own.
We had expected the Karma to be priced competitively as GoPro is late to the party, and chief rival DJI already has a low-cost drone. While the Karma has advantages, such as the fact the gimbal can be removed from the drone and used in the (included) handheld Grip
You get a backpack into which fits the fold-up drone, the controller (which has a built-in screen), the handheld grip, a battery and charger.
There are opinions that lose of power is caused by flight battery. Karma uses the immature PX4 flight stack, the GPS is placed right in the middle of lots of RF, which is not good for signal strength. The drone is really small so there could be also problem with cooling.
The 3-axis gimbal can be swapped between the drone and the Grip handle so you can get stabilised handheld shots. That is the best idea of Karma drone developers. We also work on a solution where gimbal could be fast swapped. Plus, the Grip can be mounted to vehicles and even your body thanks to a new range of mounts.
The Grip has a built-in battery that’s said to last almost two hours.
Which GoPro cameras are compatible with the Karma?
One of the most important questions: the new Hero 5, Hero 5 Session and Hero 4 Black / Silver will fit in the included gimbal mounts. That’s bad news for owners of Hero 3 which is probably the most spreaded action camera.
It uses brushless motors and screw-on self-tightening propellers. It takes a proprietary Li-Po battery with a capacity of 5100mAh and GoPro says it’s good for up to 20 minutes of flight time. It takes an hour to recharge, while the controller takes 2.5 hours and the Grip 2 hours. Only one of the Grip or Controller can be charged at the same time from the battery charger, which is not practical.