GoPro Karma has been around for months. The US action camera maker launched its first drone amid much hype. But the Karma was recalled due to technical problems. GoPro relaunched the Karma in late January after fixing the problems. On the other hand, Chinese drone manufacturer DJI continues to push towards making drones affordable to the masses. Its latest drone DJI Spark is an attempt in the same direction.
GoPro Karma is a drone built around the company’s action cameras. It’s for aerial photographers or adventure enthusiasts who want to capture footage of their best moments from the sky. The DJI Spark, unveiled last month, is a tiny drone aimed at beginners. The Spark has certainly garnered a lot of attention since its launch due to its portable size and exciting new features. Here’s how it stacks up against the GoPro Karma.
DJI Spark vs. GoPro Karma: Size and weight
The Karma is heavy; the Spark is light. The GoPro Karma measures 90 x 224 x 356mm compared to the Spark’s 55 x 143 x 143mm. DJI’s latest drone weighs just 300g. It is much lighter than the Karma (1006g). The Chinese company must be appreciated for its efforts to pack so much into such a tiny space. Of course, DJI had to downsize a few features to make its drone smaller.
Though the Karma is larger, it has a foldable design. It folds down neatly into a rounded shape. GoPro ships its drones with its own Karma Case, so you won’t have to worry about finding a suitable case. The Spark is the size of a smartphone when folded. It easily fits in your pocket. You can launch the Spark from the palm of your hand and then land it back on your palm. It’s really cool.
Spark vs. Karma: Camera features
At its core, GoPro is a camera company. Its drone is compatible with cameras like Hero 4, Hero 5, and GoPro Session. For $1099, you get the drone equipped with the Hero 5 Black. It features a 12MP camera capable of recording videos at 4K resolution and 30fps. The camera is detachable and has a 3-axis gimbal, giving it more stability and flexibility when shooting.
DJI Spark does not offer the 4K resolution. It features a 12MP camera for still images, and can record videos at full HD 1080p resolution. Besides the 2-axis gimbal, DJI uses a new UltraSmooth technology to minimize shake and rolling shutter effect when capturing footage. DJI Spark can take pictures only in JPEG format, but GoPro Karma takes photos in both JPEG and RAW, giving users some more flexibility.
DJI Spark vs. GoPro Karma: Battery, control range, and speed
The Karma is powered by a huge 5100mAh battery. It has a flight time of only about 20 minutes. The flight time isn’t as good as most people expect from a $1,100 drone because of its higher weight. But the weight also makes it wind-resistant when flying.
The Spark has a tiny 1480mAh battery, which gives it a flight time of 16 minutes. Also, the Spark comes with swappable batteries, which can allow it to stay in the air for longer. Since it’s ultra-light, wind conditions could affect its flight time.
The Spark has a top speed of 31mph, only slightly lower than the Karma’s 34mph. DJI’s latest offering has a control range of 300 feet if you are using a smartphone app to control it. The range goes up to 1.2 miles when you use the analog remote. The Karma has a control range of 1.86 miles.
The biggest highlight of DJI Spark is the gesture control feature. You can control the drone simply with hand gestures, if you can memorize them. For instance, smiling with your arms folded would tell the drone to automatically take a selfie. The drone can sense your motion and fly forward, backward, up, and down when you wave your hand like a Jedi master. Heck, users can even launch it through hand gestures. The Spark also features dual-band GPS, GLONASS, and a forward-facing 3D system.
GoPro Karma lacks gesture control and other smart flight features. Unlike Spark, the Karma lacks obstacle avoidance feature. Though it has GPS, the Karma is only capable of basic functionalities such as Position Hold and Return to Home. That’s probably because GoPro is new to the drone industry, and Karma is its first drone.
DJI Spark vs. GoPro Karma: Price
The Spark is for the masses. Its goal is to get as many people to use drones as possible. The tiny drone has been priced at $500. DJI will launch the drone later this month, but has already started taking pre-orders. The Karma is for photographers and adventure freaks. The drone itself costs $800, but the deal is good only if you already own a GoPro camera. Otherwise, you have to shell out $1100 for the entire package, which includes the drone, the camera, a remote control, and a selfie stick.
If you are a beginner trying to learn how drones work or looking to have some fun flying drones, the DJI Spark is for you. The Spark requires little training, and you can carry it around in your pocket. If you are a hardcore user, you may consider going for the GoPro Karma.