First Click: GoPro Karma or DJI Mavic Pro?

Two drones; in one corner we’ve got the DJI Mavic Pro from China, and in the other we’ve got the GoPro Karma from the United States of America. Which will you choose?

Both drones shoot 4K, both fold up to carry in a backpack, both feature a gimbal with 3-axis stabilization, and both are priced at around $1,000 depending upon options. But when you dig deeper into the specs, DJI wins in almost every way.

Mavic is lighter; it folds up smaller; it flies faster, and farther, and longer on a single charge; features a wider range of image capture; and packs more intelligent flight modes including follow-me, obstacle-avoidance, and gesture-control which will certainly be missed by GoPro’s sporty demographic. The Mavic Pro costs $749 without the controller (it can be controlled from a smartphone), or $999 with. The Karma costs $799 for the drone and controller, or $1,099 bundled with the GoPro HERO5 Black to match the Mavic’s built-in camera. DJI also has a ten-year head start making drones. So on paper, Mavic wins, but we’re not necessarily comparing apples to oranges here.

GoPro’s pitching Karma as “more than a drone” because it plugs into the company’s exhaustive ecosystem of accessories. For example, Karma’s gimbal can be removed and attached to the included Karma Grip for shake-free handheld recording. The Karma Grip can then be attached to your existing GoPro mounts via the included Karma Mounting Ring. And Karma works with older HERO4 cameras, and the tiny new HERO5 Session when it ships in the Spring of 2017. GoPro’s also been investing heavily in its Quik app and GoPro Plus subscription service so users can access, edit, and share their GoPro footage from anywhere. This kind of compatibility will be very tempting to people who’ve gone all-in on GoPro cameras and accessories over the last decade.

So in one corner you’ve got a superior drone, and in the other a superior ecosystem. Which would you choose?

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