October has been a huge month for GoPro as the company recently unveiled both their next-generation flagship action camera, the Hero5, and their first-ever drone product, the Karma, within the same week. While GoPro fans and investors alike were watching closely to see if this new equipment was as groundbreaking as previous GoPro launches –a big indicator of sales success – these announcements were ultimately overshadowed by news from the competition.
Specifically, DJI, a Chinese manufacturer that has cornered the market on recreational drones with their Phantom series of mini-copters, surprised everyone when they unveiled the Mavic Pro quadcopter. While many industry watchers were expecting the company to deliver a successor to the Phantom 4, their most recent entry into the drone market, DJI instead set their sights on developing a smaller, cheaper and more agile drone that would directly target the GoPro Karma.
Rather than having a market to itself, the Karma now will forever be compared against the Mavic Pro in the minds of buyers, which, on paper, does not look good for GoPro.
Both drones feature designs that let each of the four “wings” fold up to make both drones far more compact than previous designs like DJI’s Phantom. However, the Mavic Pro has a noticeable edge over the Karma in a number of critical areas that will pose a challenge to GoPro when it comes to comparison shoppers.
The Mavic Pro’s average flight time, for instance, is roughly 27 minutes compared to the Karma’s 20, which is still an improvement over the roughly 15 minutes of air time the Phantom can withstand. Top speed is also an issue for the Karma, as the Mavic Pro can top out at 40 mph versus Karma’s 35, while the maximum range for the Mavic Pro is more than double the Karma’s, coming in at 7 km versus GoPro’s 3 km.
Despite all of these points in DJI’s favor, the Karma actually has a few things going for it that may trump all of the Mavic Pro’s perceived advantages. For starters, the Karma allows its camera to be detachable and can hold either the legacy Hero4 or the next-generation Hero5 in its carriage. This gives users more freedom about where they can shoot and also more readily courts existing GoPro users, which is a huge portion of the drone’s target demographic.
The Karma also comes with a world-class stabilizer, which can be removed for use on cameras that aren’t in flight, as well as a “Karma Grip,” which features its own chargeable battery and can be handheld, gear-mounted or worn on a user’s body.
While the jury is still out on which drone will be the bigger hit this holiday season, anyone looking to share and save their action footage can do so using the Fasetto App and Link, no matter which filming equipment they prefer.