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Drone Reviews / Tutorials

GoPro Karma Flight Kit

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Do you already own the GoPro Karma Grip and are now thinking of getting the GoPro Karma drone? Then the Karma Flight Kit by GoPro is geared just for you. Last year I made the decision that this summer I would be upgrading from my Bebop 2 drone to a better aerial photography/video platform. When GoPro announced the Karma at its media event last September I knew my decision on which drone to get was going to be easy. The karma, a reasonably priced drone that comes with a hand stabilizer and backpack that would fit seamlessly into my GoPro ecosystem … but then … many things happened. The first setback was when GoPro revealed the Karma would only to be released in the U.S. to start. This was very disappointing news because I live North of the border in a little country called Canada, so no Karma for me on launch day. Shortly after the GoPro Karma media event, DJI unveiled its very own portable / fold-able 4K drone called the Mavic Pro that was even smaller. This was a big blow for GoPro who was hoping to market the drone as a small and portable unit. The icing on the cake came when the GoPro Karma was recalled due to a defect in the battery latching system. It seemed like there would be no Karma drone in my future and I started looking into other options.

One of the main reasoned I was leaning towards a GoPro Karma was the fact it also had a nice hand-held stabilizer included with the drone. This is something I knew would be very beneficial to me and the way I captured my world. After the Karma recall GoPro released the Karma Grip as a standalone product, I purchased it as did many others as soon as it was available.

Fast forward 5 months and the GoPro Karma is back with an international release. GoPro realizing that many users had already purchased the Hand Grip stabilizer, they created a Karma package just for us called the Karma Flight Kit. It comes with everything that the Karma normally ships with except the gimbal and the Grip that costs $200 less than the complete kit. So realistically going this route you pay $100 more than if you just bought the complete system from the get-go. However, this is not so bad because when you purchase the grip by itself you get a nice little case included which helps offset the cost.

GoPro Karma With Harness Only
U.S. – http://amzn.to/2pxxxpP

GoPro Karma with Hero 5 Black
U.S. – http://amzn.to/2qlH01b
Canada – http://amzn.to/2qlLcOF

The contents of the GoPro karma flight kit.

 

When you purchase the flight kit you get everything that comes with the normal GoPro Karma package except the Grip handle and the stabilizer.

Contents of the Flight Kit include:

  • Karma Backpack / Case
  • Karma Body
  • Karma Controller
  • Karma Charger for Drone and Controller
  • 6 propellers (2 spares)
  • 2 propeller wrenches
  • USB C Cable
  • Documentation and  GoPro Stickers.

When I first saw images of the GoPro karma from the press release my first impressions were that it looked a little cheap. But I was more than impressed when the kit arrived. The drone itself is beautiful and photos do not do it justice. The controller is well-built and feels great while holding. I love the fact that it has a built-in screen and I don’t have to mount my smartphone.

 

Included with the GoPro Karma flight kit is the Karma backpack/case. This is a high-quality case that is well-built and comfortable to wear. It has a built-in GoPro mount so you can capture interesting video while perhaps hiking to location. I am really glad that GoPro included it with the Karma System. If you have ever owned a drone and purchased a backpack you know that they can be very expensive. So for GoPro to include a case/backpack is simply amazing and also adds to the Karma’s incredible value. The case is well laid out and offers great protection for the Karma. If you don’t pack your charger or grip you are able to fit 5 batteries into the case which includes one in the drone. With the grip and charge in the case, you can still easily pack 3 batteries along with you for filming your adventures.

 

All in all, I am extremely pleased with the build quality of the GoPro Karma. I think GoPro got it right with this drone kit. What it lacks in features like “follow me” and “collision avoidance” it makes up for in the usability and value of the system. The karma controller is very intuitive and makes setup and flying the drone a breeze even if you are a first-time drone owner. This is not a review of the Karma, that will be coming in about a month or so. I like to have a good amount of time to use a product in real-world conditions before I make any kind of judgment. This is GoPro’s first venture into the drone market and personally, I think they are off to a great start for a first release. I am pretty excited to see what the future holds for the GoPro Karma Drone.

You can watch our unboxing video of the Karma Flight Kit on YouTube. It is more of a beginner’s guide to help those who are first-time drone owners to get up in the air quickly and easily. I go over all the steps to get your new Karma drone ready for flight including setup and updating the firmware. GoPro has updated the Karma firmware several times since its released adding many new exciting features.


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DJI Mavic 2 Pro/Zoom

DJI Mavic 2 Pro/Zoom Foldable Landing Gear | PolarPro Versus CamKix, Which One Is The Better Buy?

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In this video, we are doing a comparison of two popular foldable landing gear sets for the DJI Mavic 2 Series one from PolarPro and one from CamKix. These retractable folding landing gear extensions allow you to get some extra height from you drone when sitting on the ground before takeoff or landing. They help in keeping the props and gimbal/cameras out of grass, gravel, and debris. These landing gear sets both fold up and retract allowing you to still fold up you Mavic 2 drone without having to remove the landing gear when you pack it away.

There is quite a price difference between the two sets, the PolarPro set comes in at $29 and the CamKix set comes in at $13 and it is quite apparent in the build quality. The “PolarPro Retract” landing gear is made of a nice rubberized plastic while the CamKix Mavic 2 landing gear seems to be made of cheaper plastic, it looks and feels cheap when holding them. The PolarPro landing gear set just really seem to have a more premium feel to them.

CamKix Mavic 2 Foldable Landing Gear

I first tested the CamKix landing gear set and one thing I noticed right away is that there were no installation instructions or diagrams, not a big issue though as I was able to figure it out pretty quickly. They went on easily and felt secure when installed. They give the drone about an extra 3/4 inch lift when installed. I noticed when installed, the Mavic 2’s natural slope was gone. The landing gear made the drone almost level and not have a slight angle like it normally does when getting ready to take off from the ground. I am not sure if this could affect the flight, I did not have any issues during a test flight but it could possibly mess up calibration at some point, however that is just a guess. I tested the folding feature and noticed that the Mavic 2 arms would not fold in as easily as they normally would and there was some contact of the landing gear against the Mavic 2 body. This contact was leaving some marks on the Mavic 2 and over time I am sure would leave quite a few scratches. All in all, I was not terribly impressed with the way the Mavic 2 drone folded up with the CamKix landing gear installed.

PolarPro Retract Foldable Landing Gear for Mavic 2

Next, I tested out the PolarPro foldable landing gear for the Mavic 2 series and right away I was impressed by the detailed instructions that came with the unit, not only did it offer easy to follow instructions the landing gear itself had markings so you knew which side of the aircraft it should attach to. They installed easily and felt secure when attached. When folding up the drone I was quite happy with the way the arms of the drone. The landing gear has soft rubber on the straps and this will not damage the aircraft, unlike the CamKix version. When installed, the Mavic 2 gets approximately an extra 1 1/2 inches of extra clearance and retains its natural sloped profile when taking off.

My preferred Landing Gear for Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom

After taking all things into consideration I feel the Polar Pro landing gear set for the Mavic 2 Pro/Zoom is the better choice. You get higher clearance, the drone maintains its natural slope, it folds up nicer and the landing gear will not cause any cosmetic damage to you Mavic 2 when folding it up for storage.

PolarPro Landing Gear (USA) https://amzn.to/2RjOt1W
PolarPro Landing Gear (CAN) https://amzn.to/2M6Vrl0

CamKix Landing Gear (USA) https://amzn.to/2VN9aSO
CamKix Landing Gear (CAN) https://amzn.to/2H6KnWh

 

 

Packaging for the PolarPro Retract folding landing gear system for the DJI Mavic 2 Series.

 

Packaging for the CamKix folding landing gear for DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom.

 

Comparing the PolarPro and Camkix foldable landing gear for the DJI Mavic 2.

 

PolarPro Retract landing gear system in folded position.

 

PolarPro Retract landing gear system front view when installed on a DJI Mavic 2.

 

PolarPro Retract landing gear system front leg installed.

 

PolarPro Retract landing gear system side view when installed on a DJI Mavic 2.

 

CamKix foldable landing gear system side view when installed on a DJI Mavic 2.

 

CamKix foldable landing gear system front view when installed on a DJI Mavic 2.

 

CamKix foldable landing gear system for the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom.

 

PolarPro Retract folding landing gear for the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom.

 


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Drone Reviews / Tutorials

GoPro Selling $299 Refurbished Karma Drones | What Condition Are They In?

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Right now GoPro has a sale on their refurbished Karma Drones which means you can pick up a complete Karma system for $299 U.S. minus the GoPro camera. The Karma is compatible with the Hero 5/6/7 Black. This is an amazing deal considering the Karma stabilizer is $299 by itself, at this rate you are basically getting the drone, controller, and accessories for free. I was very curious to see what condition a $299 refurbished karma drone would be in so I ordered on in so I could check them out. With refurbished units sometimes you never know what you are going to get, however, the GoPro website states that all refurbished Karma Drones are thoroughly tested and certified. They also state that the drones may have minor cosmetic flaws such as scratches or nicks.

Upon inspection of my refurbish Karma Drone I was quite surprised on the condition it was in, for the most part, everything looked brand new, a few minor marks on the plastic but I think that could just be from handling during the recertification testing. There was some sticky residue on the Karma body I think from maybe a sticker, perhaps identification and information that was attached to the unit when it was sent in to be refurbished.

Even though by today’s standards the Karma is out of date and lacking many features such as obstacle avoidance, the Karma is a fun drone to fly and you can capture some amazing content with it. If you already own a Karma grabbing it at this price might be a good idea even if only for a backup or parts. Watch our YouTube video as we unbox and examine this $299 refurbished Karma Drone.

Refurbished Karma Drone: http://bit.ly/2ABnLrg

 


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