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Everybody that cares about gadgets will be working on their opinion of which drone they prefer. On one side you have the GoPro Karma which was previewed last week and will be available for public consumption on October 23. Yesterday DJI showed off their new drone the Mavic Pro which can be purchased by normal people on October 15.

From the previews each company has released into the wild they both appear capable machines. I have been researching the possibility of getting a drone for a few months now and decided to wait to make any purchases until these two drones were announced. I’ll let the quick adopters get their drones and see what the unboxing and subsequent flight reviews look like but for now, here is my thinking on this drone purchasing matter.

  1. I like that GoPro is an American company. DJI is Chinese. Now, one will be quick to point out that GoPro is probably entirely built from foreign made parts and assembled overseas. Probably China. That is beside the point. GoPro is American. Given an apples to apples choice America is going to get my purchase.
  2. GoPro makes great action cameras. They have never failed me. I have two. I use them all the time and they take amazing video and photos. The Hero5 is the perfect upgrade from an older Hero3 I still use.
  3. Some of the reviews I have read are not exactly complimentary of DJI’s customer service. I can’t yet tell if it’s bad enough to make a blanket statement that it just sucks but there are enough people moaning about it to give me concern. Is GoPro better? I have no idea. It appears fewer people complain about the customer service. Whether that is because the product just works or not is an unknown. Regardless, I have concerns about DJI and their customer service just as an outsider peering in.
  4. When DJI released their smartphone gimbal I thought I had to have one. It looks amazing. Until I saw some dude review it with an iPhone 6S Plus which didn’t balance out so well. He put in a regular 6S and it worked as advertised. I have a 6S Plus. This became a moot point when I saw the gimbal being removed from GoPro’s drone. Brilliant.
  5. In purchasing a DJI I will get what looks like a phenomenal, foldable drone. Purchasing the GoPro bundle for roughly the same amount of money I will get a capable drone, controller, a new action camera and a gimbal.
  6. The portability of the DJI is incredible. I could slap that deal inside of my Camelback with no problem it doesn’t appear. I am far less likely to wear GoPro’s backpack under pretty much any scenario.

I am obviously leaning towards the GoPro. I love their cameras. I would end up wanting a Hero5 whether I got a DJI or not. Given the lack of any real video quality or capability difference in the two I’d just assume bundle my purchase with GoPro and save money in the long run.

These two are going to usher in a huge increase in drone usage. I can only imagine what the authority backlash is likely to be. As it is, I have very few options of flying without hopping in the car and finding a legal place to do so. I would hate to have a DJI sitting in the closet when I could at least use GoPro’s camera and Karma gimbal anytime I wanted.

I will say that the Karma gimbal is the deal maker for me. If that turns out to be a flop then the GoPro will be a disappointment.

Luckily there is no shortage of YouTubers shooting aerial footage for their channels. Each one will make the subsequent purchase, or open up the delivery from DJI and/or GoPro, present the footage and make their opinions. Once the smoke clears I’ll make my final choice.