It’s not enough anymore to snap a few pics at your kid’s soccer game, text them to your folks, and then call it a day. Today’s parents want to document their child’s entire life. Every day. Every play. Every angle. And if you’re one of those parents, you’re in luck ⏤ you no longer need to be Ken Burns to do it right. You just need GoPro’s new Karma drone.
For the record, you should know that Karma launched in October. Due to a faulty battery latch, however, the quadcopters started dropping out of the sky like ducks at a bird hunt. They were quickly recalled and have been on ice for 3 months while GoPro figured out the problem. Which they appear to have done. Issues reportedly solved, Karma is once again cleared for takeoff.
So, a couple of cool things to note:
- It’s super portable. The arms and landing gear fold in and the whole thing ⏤ that’s the drone, the hand grip, and the remote control ⏤ fits in a hardshell backpack so you can take it everywhere. Which is good, remember, because you never know when Junior’s going to do something so amazing you’ll need aerial footage of it.
- It’s actually more than just a drone. That aforementioned handgrip allows you to walk your camera around and/or mount it on your backpack. So, now you’re looking at multiple angles of that youth soccer game. In fact, the grip has built-in controls so you can turn it off/on, control the shutter, or change the angle of the camera.
- You don’t even really need to know how to fly a drone to get this puppy airborne. Not only is a flight simulator included for practice, but the color screen remote control has both a “take-off-and-landing” and a “return-to-home” button. Meanwhile, the Passenger App lets somebody else use a smartphone/tablet to control the camera while you just worry about not crashing into a tree. Even better, it’s designed so that the camera won’t accidentally get the propellers in the frame. And you can fly for up to 20 minutes on a one-hour battery charge.
And now the rub: there’s actually no camera included! Yea, it’s compatible with the Hero 4, Hero Black 5, and Hero Session 5, but GoPro’s selling the 4-piece kit sans camera for $799. Which is great if you already own the one. If you don’t, though, no need to worry ⏤ your documentary career can still get off the ground. They’re also selling it bundled with a Hero 5 Black for $1,099.