The Karma drone has been a roller coaster ride for GoPro, mostly punctuated by lows rather than highs. And now, on a
call to investors, the company announced it has stopped making the drone and will exit the market.
It launched in 2016 with much hype (and many teaser trailers, below), but early models suffered from problems and were all recalled. The drone then went back on sale in Spring 2017, but faced huge competition from the
DJI Mavic Pro and then in May, the
With seemingly no follow-up model in the works, or at least nothing to rival the competition, GoPro has thrown in the towel. 250 employees will be laid off, too.
The report says that sales of the
Hero 5 were lower than expected, so GoPro cut prices in December and then even cut the
Hero 6 price (originally £499.99) in January.
When was the GoPro Karma released?
Originally the Karma went on sale 23 October 2016, but was quickly recalled due to reports of batteries disconnecting in the air and causing complete power loss. GoPro said the issues are fixed and the Karma drone went now back on sale at
GoPro.com as of 29 March 2017.
Best GoPro 2017
How much does the GoPro Karma cost?
The Karma drone is still on sale with and without a GoPro camera, so if you already own a Hero 4 Black, say, you’ll save money as you don’t need to buy one. Originally, the drone cost £719 ($799) but now it has relaunched, it is a whopping £150 more expensive despite the price remaining at $799 in the US.
Here are the bundles:
- Karma without a GoPro camera for $799.99 (£869.99 inc VAT)
- Karma bundled with Hero 5 Black for $1099.99 (£1199.99 inc VAT)
- Karma bundled with Hero 5 Session for $999.99 (not yet available to buy, and no UK price announced)
We had expected the Karma to be priced competitively as GoPro was late to the party. But no, it’s simply too expensive compared to the more capable DJI drones.
While the Karma has advantages, such as the fact the gimbal can be removed from the drone and used in the (included) handheld Grip, the £869.99 price doesn’t even include a camera.
What features does the GoPro Karma have?
Everything you need – apart from the camera – is included in the box.
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. It’s considerably bigger than a Mavic Pro and positively giant compared to a Spark.
The 3-axis gimbal can be swapped between the drone and the Grip handle so you can get stabilised handheld shots. 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.
Karma drone specifications
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.
Here are the drone’s key specs:
35 mph (15 m/s)
Maximum Flight Altitude
Maximum Wind Resistance
Dimensions (Opened/No Propellers)
Length: 12in (303mm)
Width: 16.2in (411mm)
Height: 4.6in (117mm)
Length: 14.4in (365.2mm)
Width: 8.8in (224.3mm)
Height: 3.5in (89.9mm)
GoPro Karma controller
The controller is a games console-style transmitter with a folding colour screen:
1280 x 720
Karma drone recall information
made a total recall of all Karmas due to the potential for the drone to lose power while flying. GoPro has said it has “discovered that in a small number of cases, Karma units lost power during operation. We are investigating the issue and working in close coordination with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Federal Aviation Administration.”
The issue is fixed now, though. All affected customers were offered a full refund.
How much is the GoPro Karma Grip?
The Karma Grip was originally set to go on sale on 23 October, but only appeared on
GoPro’s US website in early December. It costs $299.99, and that doesn’t include a Hero camera. It’s priced to compete with
DJI’s Osmo Mobile, reviewed.
In the UK, the Grip was originally going to be £249.99 but this has increased now that it’s on sale to
£289.99 from GoPro. Similarly, DJI’s Osmo had a price increase due to exchange rate changes.
If you don’t want to hold the Karma Grip, you’ll need to use the included mounting ring so you can attach it to an existing GoPro mount. There’s also an official backpack with a Grip mount, so you can wear it at shoulder height.
Other accessories include an extension cable which is coming in 2017, plus ‘harnesses’ which allow you to use a GoPro Hero 4 Silver or Black, as the kit comes with only one for the
Hero5 Black, reviewed.
Below is everything you need to know about the Karma drone’s price, release date and features, plus what to do if you’re affected by the recall. Since you can’t buy one right now, you might like to read about the
best drones to buy