DJI Mavic Pro vs Phantom 4 vs GoPro Karma

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With GoPro entering the drone market in dramatic fashion last week and DJI unveiling their own foldable drone, it’s time to compare the aircraft and see which comes out on top. It’s clear that the Karma will have an uphill battle to gain any ground on DJI, especially now that they’re in direct competition with DJI’s Mavic Pro, as well as the current market-leading quadcopter, the Phantom 4.

Both the Mavic Pro and the GoPro Karma were preceded by a fair bit of internet hype and we feel that it’s important to dig through this and get down to what they can really offer you. We’ve taken a look at all available information from specs and images to online videos and advance reviews to collate all the data you’ll need to make up your mind.

So scroll down to find out our results or, if you’re looking for something more specific, use the navigation menu below.

 


Navigation

1. What’s Included?
2. Appearance
3. Performance
4. Battery Life
5. Camera Specs


 

As with our previous VERSUS articles, we will be comparing the following criteria: What’s Included, Camera Specs, Appearance, Performance and Battery Life. This should provide a solid overview of each model and their respective strengths as well as highlighting potential flaws.

First things first, let’s check out their specifications in our comparison chart:

GoPro Karma
GoPro Karma
Phantom 4
DJI Phantom 4
Mavic Pro
DJI Mavic Pro

Maximum Speed

15 m/s 20 m/s (Sport mode) 17.88 m/s (40 mph) in Sport mode without wind

Weight

1006 g 1380 g 743 g
(incl. gimbal cover, battery and propellers)

Flight Time

Up to 20 minutes Approx. 28 minutes Max. 27 minutes

Maximum Distance

1000 m FCC Compliant:
5 km

CE Compliant:
3.5 km (Unobstructed, free of interference )

8 mi (13 km, 0 wind)

Maximum Flight Altitude

4500 m 6000 m 5000 m

REMOTE CONTROLLER

Operating Frequency

2.4 GHz 2.4 GHz to 2.483 GHz 2.4 GHz to 2.483 GHz

Battery

Weight

545 g 462 g 240 g

Capacity

5100 mAh 5350 mAh 3830 mAh

Voltage

14.8 V 15.2 V 11.4 V

Energy

75.4 Wh 81.3 Wh 43.6 Wh

Charger Voltage

16.8 V 17.4 V 13.05 V

Camera

Camera Type

HERO5 Black
HERO5 Session
HERO4 Black/Silver
Still Photography:
12.4 MP
JPEG, DNG (RAW)

Video Recording:
UHD: 4096×2160 (4K) 24 / 25p
3840×2160 (4K) 24 / 25 / 30p
2704×1520 (2.7K) 24 / 25 / 30p
FHD: 1920×1080 24 / 25 / 30 / 48 / 50 / 60 / 120p
HD: 1280×720 24 / 25 / 30 / 48 / 50 / 60p

Still Photography:
12.35 MP
JPEG, DNG

Video Recording:
C4K: 4096×2160 24p
4K: 3840×2160 24 / 25 / 30p
2.7K: 2704×1520 24 / 25 / 30p
FHD: 1920×1080 24 / 25 / 30 / 48 / 50 / 60 / 96p
HD: 1280×720 24 / 25 / 30 / 48 / 50 / 60 / 120p

APP

Mobile App

GoPro Passenger DJI GO DJI GO

Device Compatibility

iOS 9 and later
Android 5.0 and later
iOS 8.0 or later
Android 4.1.2 or later
iOS 8.0 or later
Android 4.1.2 or later


Mavic Pro v Phantom 4 v GoPro Karma: Key Features

 

When you’re looking to invest in a quadcopter, the three names that will be filling your shopping feeds right now will be the DJI Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 and GoPro’s Karma. Heliguy has put together a guide allowing you to see their key features side by side which will allow you to make an informed decision. Without further ado, let’s see which of these drones comes out on top.

1. WHAT’S INCLUDED?

Here’s what you can expect from the DJI Mavic Pro, GoPro Karma and the Phantom 4 out of the box:

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2. APPEARANCE

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Most of our readers will be familiar with the DJI Phantom 4. It’s a sleek, well-designed quadcopter that has advanced the aesthetic of DJI’s hugely popular Phantom range. An attractive matte white body broken up by the metallic finish on the motors sits above the 4K camera which is attached to a grey undercarriage. This is all held up by a pair of sturdy legs which also contain the drone’s intelligent collision avoidance sensors.

GoPro’s Karma is a different beast. A smaller, foldable design means that it is easy to pack away and take with you and this focus on modular construction also means that the camera can be removed and used as a handheld solution. Unsurprisingly, given the delayed release, GoPro have had plenty of time to make the Karma look good. While it doesn’t have the refined elegance and smooth edges of the Phantom 4 and the front-mounted camera may take some getting used to, the foldable black and white body certainly has a look all of its own.

Then there’s the DJI Mavic Pro, featuring a showstopping new design incorporating innovative folding functionality. As is to be expected, this new release continues the trend of DJI learning from their previous models and the Mavic also benefits from the solid construction & high-quality materials synonymous with the Shenzhen brand. There’s also a new intuitive and ergonomically enhanced controller with dual display ensuring fewer distractions on your device’s camera view.

All sharp lines and metallic grey, you can tell the Mavic is superbly aerodynamic before you’re even seen it in the air. When it’s folded away, you’ll be left wondering how DJI have managed to pack in all the functionality, with videos online showing people literally putting it in their pocket. Then there’s the camera and the optional clear housing which offers some protection for the lens and 3-axis gimbal, rounding off the attractive aesthetics.

 

3. PERFORMANCE

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The Phantom 4 is the result of years of R&D from DJI, creating the smartest quadcopter currently available. With a huge range of features including ActiveTrack (which enables it to intelligently follow moving subjects) and TapFly (which allows one touch take-off and landing, all while benefitting from DJI’s obstacle avoidance) the Phantom 4 offers undeniable variety and quality. There are also flight features such as ‘Sport Mode’ which allows the P4 to reach speeds of up to 45mph.

With an impressive array of functionality including the ability to intelligently avoid obstacles as well as being exceptionally easy to use, the Phantom 4 is a very high-quality quadcopter which is also becoming increasingly affordable.

The GoPro Karma has fewer bells and whistles than the Phantom 4 but makes up for it with ease of use. While the action camera company hasn’t released a debut that will astonish seasoned drone users, there’s plenty of scope for first-time users and loyal GoPro users to get a lot of enjoyment from the Karma. With a respectable 35mph top speed and three possible camera variations, there should be enough to keep recreational drone users happy.

There’s also the modular design to factor in with its detachable camera and foldable arms, this allows for variety in shooting and also easy transport to and from your desired locations. There’s also a dedicated custom-made controller which doesn’t require a smartphone (unlike DJI’s controllers) however, this means that if anything happens to its screen you’ll need to buy an entirely new controller.

Out of the two drones, the Phantom 4 has more in-depth functionality and benefits greatly from DJI’s experience in the market. While the Karma has been called the more accessible of the two by many reviews across other sites, we would like to point out that the Phantom 4 is by no means difficult to get to grips with. The decision essentially rests with whether you’re willing to pay slightly more for access to an increased suite of features.

However, flying ahead of even the Phantom 4 is the Mavic Pro which contains much of the same functionality as the P4 such as ActiveTrack and TapFly, as well as new features like TerrainFollow (enabling the Mavic to intelligently follow you up inclines without crashing) in a smaller, more portable package. The fact that the arms fold flush into the drone’s body thanks to some brilliant engineering from DJI ensures that it’s even smaller and easier to transport than the GoPro Karma.

The Mavic Pro also comes with a Sports Mode allowing it to reach speeds of up to 40mph in optimal conditions. This speedy feature has been advertised alongside a new product ‘DJI Goggles’ which allow for a VR FPV drone flying experience, evidence of DJI edging towards the racing market.

As for ease of use, the Mavic is already being called one of the simplest drones to get to grips with. While there is plenty of depth available for seasoned flyers looking for an easily portable aerial camera, it’s also ideal for those just starting out with its advanced visual positioning and obstacle avoidance (up to a range of 15m, even better than the P4) ensuring that your flights are issue free and that aircraft remains steady even indoors out of satellite range.

 

4. BATTERY LIFE

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With a powerful 5,350mAh battery, the Phantom 4 can stay in the air for almost 30 minutes. However, bear in mind that achieving a maximum flight time depends on suitable weather conditions. There’s also the fact that the extensive range of features can also be a drain on the power supply, so keep this in mind when operation the Phantom 4.

Despite being smaller and lighter (with a 5100mAh custom designed battery), the Karma has a shorter flight time of 20 minutes. This could be a drawback when attempting to capture GoPro’s trademark action shots and will require you to pack more batteries for lengthy shoots.

The Mavic is powered by a purpose-built Intelligent Flight Battery (3,830mAh) featuring built-in sensors and LEDs that display the status and remaining power. Despite the smaller power source, the Mavic is able to remain airborne for up to 27 minutes which rivals the Phantom 4 and offers almost 10 minutes more than its closest competitor the GoPro Karma.

 

5. CAMERA SPECS

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DJI’s Phantom 4 comes with an impressive 4K camera which enables it to achieve great ISO levels and allows for still images at 12MP quality. These stills offer vibrant colour in both RAW and JPEG formats. When it comes to video, the Phantom 4 offers 4096×2160 pixels at 25fps and 4K UHD at 30fps. If you don’t need the full 4K treatment, there’s also the option shoot in 2K and Full HD as well as 720p HD, the latter of which is fed to your controller in real-time.

There’s also the fact that the Phantom 4’s camera isn’t plagued by the unsightly fisheye effect which frequently crops up as a complaint against GoPro products. While this may seem like a small concern, it means you can expect cleaner, better-looking imagery from the P4.

The P4 also includes two front mounted visual sensors which enable its obstacle avoidance mode and ensure that as long as it’s facing forward, you’re prevented from flying into anything that could damage the aircraft.

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The GoPro Karma offers more options when it comes to filming as it is compatible with three cameras; the Hero Black 5, Hero Session 5 and Hero4. As is to be expected from a camera company, these are solid options. Depending on how much you’re looking to spend, from the Hero4 all the way up to the Hero Black 5 which they bill as “Simply the best GoPro, ever.” If you opt for the top end you can expect the same specs as the Phantom 4’s camera (4K footage and 12MP stills), and if you already own one of the aforementioned cameras, there’s an option to purchase the Karma without one included so you can easily fit your own.

Featuring DJI’s smallest ever stabilised 3-axis integrated gimbal and camera, the DJI Mavic Pro is capable of shooting in 4K and 12MP with Adobe DNG RAW functionality. There’s also a new ‘Gesture Mode’ which allow you to command the Mavic to take pictures with a wave of your hand and a ‘Tripod Mode’ which ensures that every manoeuvre becomes precise and slow for optimum shot quality.

One thing to note is that you can expect a narrower FOV than you’ll get from the Phantom 4 or a GoPro but far from being a drawback, this ensures a higher level of image quality.

There are additional sensors which are refined versions of the P4’s obstacle avoidance solution and the visual positioning introduced with the Inspire 1 range. Utilising these sensors, the Mavic has one of the most stable stationary hovers you’ll see from any drone on the market.


Further Reading

  • For more information about the Karma launch read our blog HERE
  • To look at our launch day coverage of the Mavic Pro click HERE
  • If you’re looking for an in-depth look at the Phantom 4 you can find our entire guide here: PART 1, PART 2, PART 3, PART 4, PART 5

Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider blog for insights into new products and, of course, the latest news from the drone industry.

 

Heliguy’s blogger and Head of Digital Content Production, John Patterson, keeps our readers informed about what’s going on in the world of drones. Living and breathing content production, his background in writing spans an eclectic range of industries.

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