Just over a week ago, the world was introduced to the super-hyped make-or-break GoPro Karma drone. However, now there’s competition from the DJI Mavic Pro, so how do these similar drones compare? In this article, I’ll take a look at what matters in a bid to determine which comes out on top.
DJI Mavic Pro drone vs. GoPro Karma drone: weight and size
If you look at the images of the GoPro Karma and the DJI Pro Mavic side by side, it’s clear that they have incredibly similar designs. However, the similarities end with size and weight.
The Mavic Pro weighs a svelte 734 grams (1.62 lbs); in comparison, the Karma is quite hefty at 1006 grams (2.2 lbs). Both drones fold so that they can be easily stored and transported; however, the Mavic Pro has an advantage here too. While the arms of the Karma fold inwards, the Mavic’s do too, but so do its propellers. This gives the Mavic a little extra regarding compactness and portability.
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When folded, the Mavic Pro is 83x83x198mm, while the Karma measures 89.9×224.3×356.2mm when folded.
So as you can clearly see, the Mavic Pro is both lighter and smaller than the GoPro Karma. In fact, the Mavic is so small that it could fit in your trouser pocket if you’re brave enough to try. The Karma’s huge frame (by comparison) needs a backpack to transport it.
Speed, flight time and distance
While GoPro is new to the drone market, the Chinese firm DJI is currently the market leader, so GoPro needed to pull out all the stops to compete. However, it looks as though this is another area in which the Mavic beats the GoPro.
The DJI Mavic has a top speed of 40mph, while the GoPro is slightly slower at 35mph. The all-important flight time of a drone is determined by the battery installed. On the Karma, you get a 20-minute lifespan, and the DJI has a 27-minute battery life. So again, the smaller drone wins.
The Mavic Pro has a max distance from its controller of 4.3 miles (7 km), which is a vast distance. Unfortunately for GoPro fans, the Karma drone fails to get even half that distance, falling way short at 0.62 miles (1km). You guessed it: the DJI wins again!
Camera and stabilizer
Concerning cameras, the two drones could not be any different. The Mavic Pro comes with a camera attached, but the Karma does not. It requires that you purchase a camera like the GoPro Hero 5 Black, which adds to the size and weight. The cameras for both have a 12-megapixel CMOS sensor and can shoot 4K video and take RAW and JPEG images.
Both drones have 3-axis stabilization. The Karma’s range of motion is -90 degrees to 0 degrees up and down. The Mavic Pro benefits from a wider movement range at -90 degrees to +30 degrees (pitch) with the ability to roll.
So the winner is the DJI Mavic Pro drone yet again…
Controller and flight modes
The controllers have different designs, with the Karma seemingly taking inspiration from handheld gaming devices. It has a large 5.5-inch 720p touchscreen which can be used for live video streaming.
The Mavic’s controller looks a little more industrial with two large antennae, but it also has a touchscreen for essential flight information and can be used with a smartphone, which means that you can get a live 1080p video feed straight from your drone with only a 120-millisecond delay.
Moving on to flight modes, the Mavic Pro has many sensors and cameras which it uses for its obstacle avoidance system. This also includes an object tracking system and gesture control.
In comparison, the Karma does not have obstacle avoidance systems, gesture controls or the “follow me” features found on the DJI. However, it can fly between two preprogrammed points; unlike the Mavic, it was created to be solely manually operated.
For me, the winner yet again is the Mavic Pro. The fact that it can live-stream at 1080p from up to 4.3 miles away with only a 120-millisecond delay is a game-changer, and it can do this without hitting anything thanks to its set of onboard sensors.
The Mavic Pro drone comes in two configurations. You can purchase it for $750 without the controller, which means you would have to use your smartphone. Alternatively, there’s the option to buy the complete package. However, this will set you back $1,000.
The GoPro Karma is on sale for the entire package price of $800, but you don’t get a camera at that price. So for example, if you were to add the GoPro Hero 5 Session, the price would shoot up to $1,000, and if you chose the GoPro Hero 5 Black, it would be $1,100.
And the winner is?
For me, when researching the specs of each device, I’ve been surprised by all the hype that surrounded the Karma. It was huge, and the company spent months and millions of dollars promoting the drone as the next big thing for GoPro fans.
However, what I think they launched was a mid-range drone, especially when you compare it to the technical brilliance of the DJI Mavic. In fact, having gone through every area of what a drone enthusiast wants and expects from a flying device, the Mavic comes out on top every time.