Drones are getting more and more awesome but up until very recently, the good ones were not very portable. That all changed when GoPro announced the Karma, a drone that can easily fit in your backpack. We wondered how DJI, arguably the leader in drones, would respond to the Karma. Earlier today they announced the Mavic Pro, which somehow is even more portable than the Karma. Now you have two great portable drones to choose from. Which one should you buy?
Portability is a big deal
The big selling point for the Mavic and Karma is size. Both utilize a foldable design to be more portable when you aren’t flying. The Mavic is lighter and folds up more compact. It can fit inside of a purse or holster on your belt, whereas the Karma fits comfortably inside of a backpack. You could fit 2 or 3 Mavics inside of the backpack that holds the Karma. That doesn’t mean the Karma is too big. It’s still much smaller and lighter than traditional drones.
Don’t sacrifice size for specs
You might expect the Mavic to sacrifice on specs to be so small, but that’s surprisingly not the case. The Mavic can fly longer and faster than the Karma. It also has all of the fancy DJI features you’ve come to expect from the Phantom series. Features like obstacle avoidance, follow me, and return home. The Karma can’t do most of that stuff, which can be extremely helpful for amateur drone pilots. No one wants to crash their brand new drone.
Camera quality is pretty even
GoPro is known for making great cameras, but the Mavic manages to get the slight edge here too. The best configuration of the Karma uses the new Hero5 Black camera, which can shoot 4K video at 30 fps. The Mavic has a built-in camera that can shoot Cinema 4K at 24 fps. Cinema 4K has even higher resolution than standard 4K. Of course, the Mavic can do regular 4K at 30 fps too. The higher resolution doesn’t automatically give the Mavic a win, but previous DJI drones have produced excellent results.
Which is the best deal?
The last thing to take into consideration is the price. The cheapest configuration for the GoPro Karma is $799. This includes the drone, controller, Karma Grip stabilizer, and case. It does not include a camera. The cheapest configuration of the DJI Mavic Pro is $749. This package includes the drone with the built-in camera but no physical remote. You can use the phone app to control it. If you compare both base prices, the Mavic is the better deal because it includes the camera.
What if you want everything? If you get the Karma with the Hero5 Black camera and extras, you’re looking at $1,099. The full Mavic kit with physical remote and extras is $1,300. That’s not a lot more expensive and it might be worth it for the extra features. You can save money with the Karma by using an older GoPro Hero camera. The Mavic is $999 if you just want the drone and controller.
What will you buy?
For our money, the DJI Mavic Pro seems like the better buy. It’s lighter, more compact, has better battery life, and all the fancy DJI features. The pricing is very competitive with the Karma. If you’re willing to use your phone as the controller it’s even cheaper. But size is the killer feature here. If you buy a drone you want to use it as much as possible. Portability is extremely important. Let us know in the poll below which drone you think is the best buy!