GoPro Announces Hero5 Black, Hero5 Session & Karma Drone

GoPro has unveiled the Hero5 Black, the Hero5 Session and, finally, their much hyped Karma Drone. GoPro claims the new products “dramatically simplify the process of capturing, editing and sharing engaging content, establishing GoPro as an end-to-end storytelling solution.” While it’s obvious some aspects of the new GoPro products indeed reduce the amount of accessories you’ll need to carry to and from your locations, the editing cloud services are very much a question mark, considering the company’s past and their ability to deliver on the software side of the equation.


GoPro Hero5 Black Features:

» 12MP / 30 FPS Burst Time Lapse
» 4K30/1440p80/ 1080p120
» Waterproof 33ft (10m)
» Simple 1-Button Control
» WIFI + Bluetooth
» Advanced Wind Noise Reduction
» Voice Control
» Video Stabilization
» Auto-upload to Cloud
» Touch Display
» Location Capture
» RAW + WDR Photos

GoPro Hero5 Session

GoPro Hero5 Session Features:

» 10MP / 30 FPS Burst Time Lapse
» 4K30/1440p60/ 1080p90
» Waterproof 33ft (10m)
» Simple 1-Button Control
» WIFI + Bluetooth
» Advanced Wind Noise Reduction
» Voice Control
» Video Stabilization
» Auto upload to Cloud


Simplification is definitely the brand focus right now at GoPro as it attempts to expand its product line into realms populated by other companies who have dominant market share. Gone are the entry level Hero model, as well as the Silver. The Black is now the flagship, and with the built-in touchscreen on the back, the Silver is now redundant. It took probably a version too long, but GoPro has finally modernized the form-factor of the Hero5 and it now features a gray, rubberized exterior with nicely rounded edges. From the press pictures, it definitely looks more refined and the new case is functional, being its natively waterproof down to 33 feet without the need for an external case.

GoPro Hero5 Product Lineup

The Hero Session “cube,” which was a complete dud from the start, now gets beefed up to support 4K, video stabilization, voice control and better audio with the Hero5 designation. The price point at $299 is too high, and should be $100 less to hit the market sweet spot – with the basic Session dropping to $99. In fact, bringing early adopters into the GoPro ecosystem should definitely be a priority for the American company, and with this pricing structure, they would own the vertical. While it’s got the best brand in the action-cam business, competing on a similar brand level with Under Armour and other second tier companies, it’s still got a way to go to get to the likes of Apple and Coca-Cola. The biggest stumbling block has been the GoPro’s integration with its wonky app and subpar editing software. Both forays significantly betray the brand. Whether or not GoPro lacks the engineering and programming talent to address these significant deficits, but considering the output, the answer must be yes. While GoPro has not tackled the software side of things per se, they did announce a subscription-based Cloud service for uploading videos to their servers and a new drone with one interesting feature.

GoPro’s Plus subscription service, to debut at a future time, will auto-upload your footage to their servers from your Hero5 or computer. You can then access your footage on Plus with your phone, and then edit them with an app, dubbed Quik. Once edited, users can share their final videos directly from their smartphone on the big screen using AirPlay and Apple TV. Also included in the subscription fee is access to a library of soundtracks. Based on user problems with the aforementioned GoPro App and their editing software, their base has zero-confidence that GoPro will reliably deliver on any of these cloud-based and software promises. In fact, if you shoot 4K footage, Plus will not support Cloud uploads in this resolution, automatically downgrading the footage to 1080p. Also in the fine print is that storage will top out at “35 hours of video, 62,500 photos or a combination of the two.” Not a deal breaker for your average snowboarder, but prosumer and professional users will think twice.

GoPro is going to use the Plus cloud service to build brand community by offering subscribers “exclusive access to GoPro t‑shirts, hoodies, hats and more,” a 20% discount on camera accessories and priority customer support. GoPro’s customer support is above average compared to other companies, so it will be interesting to see how they ratchet the hand-holding up. The “Members Only” aspect of the Plus could service a real win, if they can actually deliver on exclusive apparel and hopefully in the future, experiences.

GoPro Karma Drone

Karma Drone Features & Specs:

» Maximum Speed: 35 mph (15 m/s)
» Maximum Distance: 3280ft (1000m)
» Maximum Flight Altitude: 14,500ft (4,500m)
» Maximum Wind Resistance: 22mph (10m/s)
» Operating Frequency: 2.4GHz
» Dimensions (Opened/No Propellers): Length: 12in (303mm)
» Width: 16.2in (411mm)
» Height: 4.6in (117mm)
» Dimensions (Folded/Transport) – Length: 14.4in (365.2mm)
» Width: 8.8in (224.3mm)
» Height: 3.5in (89.9mm)
» Propeller Length: 10in (25.4cm)
» Weight: 35.5oz (1006g)
» Karma Controller:
— Screen Size: 5in (12.7cm)
— Screen Resolution: 720p
— Screen Brightness: 900 nits
— Battery Life: 4 hours
— Operating Frequency: 2.4GHz
— Weight: 22oz (625g)
» Karma Stablizer:
— Range of motion: -90° to 0° (down/up)
— Camera Compatibility: HERO5 Black, HERO5 Session, HERO4 Black/Silver
— Weight: 8oz (230g)
— Number of Axes: 3

GoPro Karma Drone With Controller

Finally, we get to the new Karma Drone. Years in the making and delayed more than once to the market, the Karma would be a non-event, except that it has one interesting feature…integration. It’s no surprise that the Karma – certainly not the best name for a company that’s all about visceral experiences – supports the new Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session, but what we like is how it utilizes the 3-axis stabilizer for double duty in a consumer product. Take the Karma stabilizer and Karma Harness (camera mount) off the drone, attach it to the Karma grip with the mounting ring adapter and voilà! – a stabilized handheld or mounted solution.

GoPro Hero5 Grip

Battery life is a claimed 20 minutes on a one-hour charge, range is 3280 feet and top speed is said to be 35 mph. It looks pretty slick (for a GoPro product) and will come with a full complement of accessories, including a nice backpack carrying case.
GoPro’s Hero5 Black costs $399, the Hero5 Session is $299 and the Karma Drone will set you back $799.

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