The DJI Mavic Air has been out for a while and it is one of the best drones you can buy. But the all-new GoPro Karma Drone is also a great option for those considering to purchase a new quadcopter. DJI has been the dominant brand when it comes to Drones and GoPro is the dominant one when it comes to action cameras… So, now that both drones are out on the market, which one is the best?
To help you with that, we put both drones head to head comparing thing like form factor, design, camera image quality and we will tell you which one is the best on the market.
DJI Mavic Pro vs Karma GoPro Drone! Which is the best Drone to buy?
Size and Weight
One of the big appealing factors to buy the DJI Mavic Pro is certainly its overall compact form factor. Side by side, you can see that even if we fold both drones up the GoPro Karma still looks gigantic. In terms of measurements, the Mavic Pro measues about 83mm in width x 198mm lenght while the Karma measures about 224mm x 365mm.
There is also a significant difference when it comes to weight. While the Mavic Pro that has a built-in camera is really light weighing about 734 gr. the Karma Drone loaded up with the gimbal and the GoPro Hero 5 weighs about 1900grs. It is a huge difference. When it comes to portability and size perspective, the DJI Mavic Pro certainly wins the battle between those two.
The controller for the Mavic Pro is also a lot more compact than the clamshell design of the Karma GoPro controller but the nice thing is that with the second you do get a built in 5 inch 720P display that is fairly bright and on top of that you get slightly better battery life up to 4 hours of use. The Mavic Pro remote usually works for 2 to 3 hours of usage and you have to rely on your smartphone for the screen to see what you are filming. Overall, the GoPro Karma controller is a great all-in-one solution.
In terms of the control scheme we are looking at very similar configurations. Both have dual thumbsticks, dedicated record buttons as well as mode buttons for different functionalities as well as a dedicated control dial for your camera’s gimbal angle.
When it comes to the communication aspects from the controller to the drone, we generally speaking had a better experience with the DJI Mavic Pro. Firstly, its theoretical range is for about 4 miles. Even though you are not supposed to go that far with your drone, at about 2 to 3 miles you still get very good signal strenght. You can get up to 1080p at 30fps at minimal latency. The maximum range on the Karma drone is about 1.8 miles which is less than half of what the Mavic Pro does offer, and in addition, the actual signal quality is about 720p at about 30fps and you even get ocasional frame drops here an there. It is not a big deal but it certainly didn’t feel as responsive as the DJI Mavic Pro.
Let’s talk about flight dynamics. When it comes to maximum speed of the drones, the Mavic Pro has a top speed of about 40 mph in sports mode versus the 35mph top speed of the GoPro Karma, but more important, the flight dynamics and the overall stability is a lot better on the Mavic Pro because it has optical flow and ultrasonic sensors to maintain as little hover deviation as possible. This is really critical, specially in lower altitudes or flying indoors without a GPS signal.
All and all, it means that from a stability stand point, when you first launch both drones you will see that the Mavic Pro barely moves, it pretty much maintains its hover altitude and has minimal horizontal and vertical shifts, it is very easy to fly versus the GoPro Karma Drone that deviates a lot more, it is much more reliant on the GPS Signal and doesn’t have any physical track of where it is in space and in relation to the ground, it is a little more trickier to fly specially in situations when there are a lot of obstacles and on top of that, what is really a step back from GoPro, the Karma doesn’t have any obstacle avoidance sensors as we do have on the Mavic Pro and many other DJI Drones which definitely makes DJI drones more friendly to beginners and overall the safest option.
To compensate all that, one of the greatest features of the GoPro Karma is the fact that you can actually remove the Gimbal and the housing of the GoPro Hero Camera off the drone and attach it to the included Karma Grip to become a handheld stabilized action camera that you can take anywhere you go. In here is where the GoPro Karma actually stands out because by purchasing the Karma drone you are not just buying a drone, you are buying a Kit containing the UAV, a GoPro standalone camera and the Karma Grip which is a great camera stabilizer.
While the Mavic Pro costs about $900, the GoPro Karma is about the same price with all these things included. If you, for example, already have a GoPro, you can buy just the drone and Karma Grip by around $600. So even though the Mavic Pro is a better drone by itself, the GoPro Karma is a great option for those who like to have a all-in-one solution for outdoors film-making.
When it comes to camera quality and specifications we have a built-in camera on the Mavic Pro while the Karma uses a standard Hero 5 Black or Hero 6 GoPro camera. They are around 12 Megapixels resolution cameras with CMOS sensors, both can record up to 4K video resolution at 30 fps. In terms of high speed recording, the Mavic Pro can do 720p video at around 180 frames per second vs the amazing 240 frames per second of the Hero 5 Camera which means better slow motion footage with the GoPro Camera.
The biggest difference between these cameras is definitely the field of view. The Mavic Pro have a standard looking lens of 35mm which gives you about 79º of field of vision while at the 4K settings of the Hero 5 Black you get a 16.8mm lens and with that at wider perspective you are going to see some lens distortion and it doesn’t look as flat or as cinematic as the footage you are going to get from the Mavic Pro but the GoPro Hero 5 camera of the Karma Drone certainly have more features than the built-in camera of the Mavic Pro, you just have to spend more time tweaking the camera instead of the start and go approach that you do get with the Mavic Pro’s camera.
Battery Performance and Flight Time
In terms of battery performance the Mavic Pro is a lot better. Its “real” flight time ranges for about 27 minutes while the GoPro Karma which is a lot heavier and has more components to power up in the air like the GoPro itself and its stabilizer has a flight range of about 20 minutes at best. Additionally because the Mavic Pro has the smaller 3800 mAh battery compared to 5100 mAh battery of the Karma drone, the charge time is going to be about half on the Mavic Pro.
As from a versatility stand point the GoPro Karma gives you a lot more options for the money. Bundled with the GoPro Hero 5 or Hero 6 you will pay about the same price as for the Mavic Pro – now that the GoPro Karma has cutted its price from its original $1200 price tag – but you will get a lot more. You get the drone itself, a GoPro Camera that can be used as any other GoPro and a high quality stabilizer for your travel or sports footage.
If you are considering just the drone itself, the Mavic Pro is better overall than the GoPro Karma. We have to take into consideration that DJI is the one to beat when it comes to drones. Every single drone they built so far from DJI Spark to Mavic Air is great, so they do have a better know-how on building these machines.
The Karma, on the other hand, is a great first drone from GoPro and we are looking forward to the future versions and updates of this drone.
In general, both drones are great. If you are more of a video-maker of photographer, go for the Mavic Pro. If you are more into sports footage and casual video-making, you won’t get disappointed with GoPro Karma.
That is it guys. Hope you liked our GoPro Karma Vs. DJI Mavic Pro comparison. Let us know in the comments if you agree or disagree with our drone reviews.