Hi Travel Bugsss! So we did a thing and got a drone after several months of debating which would be the best one for us. There were many factors that came into play during the process but it all boiled down to the following:
Cost - Being a startup, we have to keep overhead as low as possible and we prefer to allocate more funds towards travel while also knowing that having the right equipment is vital t to our success.
Quality - Even though we were willing to go with an entry level drone, we wanted to make sure we still got a really impressive one. In other words, there was a limit to how much we were willing to sacrifice in quality in order to save a buck.
Portability - We knew we needed a compact drone that we could easily travel with. This was very important to us so we did not even look at anything not considered such.
Value - With our budget being $1000, we knew we had a lot of options, but we were looking to get the most value for our dollar. So and added features or accessories played a big role in our decision.
Essentially, those were the four points that were most important to us and fast became the determining factor when deciding which drone was best for us. Once we had that down, we began our research and comparisons.
In order to make our comparisons, we focused on 3 sources. Online product reviews, opinions of friends who were drone owners and product specs. We first started comparing drones and reading their reviews on Amazon. We only looked at drone's that would fit in a backpack that were also $1000 or less so the most appealing out of the gate was DJI's latest, called the Mavic Pro. This drone immediately became the frontrunner for several reasons. First, when folded, it compacted to roughly the size of a 16oz water bottle. Secondly, DJI is an industry leader in drone manufacturing. Most pro's are using some version of their Phantom line of drones. However, upon reading over 30 reviews, we kept coming across one common denominator that did not sit well with us. Turns out, DJI is notorious for outstandingly poor customer service and that, coupled with the fact that these drones have a penitent for inexplicably falling out of the sky, we became very weary of DJI.
The next step in our analysis, was to consult our friends who were professionals in the game. We told them what our general use would be and our budget so that recommendations would be as tailor made for Travel Bugsss as possible. Again, one name came up more than any other, and that name was DJI. As far as which models to choose from, that varied from the Spark , to the Mavic Pro, to the Phantom 3. What I found interesting was how much DJI came up. Mind you, so far, the Karma by GoPro had yet to be mentioned and I had not accumulated any interest in it until....
I was informed that it also came with a Karma Grip. This was a game changer as this boosted the value we would be getting astronomically. See, we knew we also needed something like this and were actually in the market, we just thought we would not be able to acquire one until AFTER we got our drone. Talking to a friend, they recommended yet another DJI product, the Osmo. Same concept as the Karma grip, handheld stabilized 4k video recording, however, there were some key differences. First, the Osmo is one piece. The camera is one with the unit and can not be used in any other way. With the Grip, you are attaching a GoPro camera to the handheld device which also detached and reattaches to the Karma Drone. This was a very versatile package that came in under our drone budget! Had we gotten the Mavic and the Osmo, we would have spent $1600. Instead, we got the Karma that is a drone and stabilizer in one, and came in under budget at $800. Talk about value. Needless to say, the Karma drone package immediately jumped to the top of our list.
Though we were immediately enamored with the price tag and value of the drone, the less than stellar reviews on the drone itself was a big hurdle to get over, especially since this would be our first drone and any specs that it would be missing that made it easier to fly might be sorely missed. Here are the main drawbacks when it comes to flying and traveling with the drone, compared to its main competitor in our mind.
Mavic 83 x 83 x 198mm folded
Karma 90 × 224 × 356mm folded
Mavic 27 Minutes
Karma 20 Minutes
Mavic 4.3 Miles
Karma 1.8 Miles
Those were the top selling points for the Mavic over the Karma. Now, here is what led us to purchasing the Karma.
Handheld Stabilizer Included:
So there you have it. While the Mavic Pro Undoubtedly outperforms the Karma drone, You get MUCH more bang for your buck with the Karma. So if you are looking for a drone with an entry level price tag that is lacking on some features you could do without but will provide you with incredible 4K video capture from the skies, AND hook you up with a stabilizer? GoPro Karma is the way to go. Check out some Drone and Stabilizer footage below!