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LIKES

  • Excellent stabilization
  • Excellent design and ruggedness
  • Impressive Remote control
  • Captures low angles commendably
  • Live feed from mobile app

DISLIKES

  • Some bugs and synchronization issues need to be fixed
  • The follow mode is a little slow
  • Obscured display on mounting the Hero 5 black camera

With constant improvements in the world of imaging and photography, accuracy, detail, focus and precision are some of the key elements to be checkmated in producing excellent photographs and videos. The Go Pro karma grip is a pretty good attempt at improving some factors in imaging such as stability and remote controlling. The GoPro karma grip is GoPro’s first shot at producing accessories and it is not at all a bad product for a pioneer, although there is room for improvement. The karma grip is available for purchase independently and is designed for compatibility with the latest GoPro Hero 5 black. There are additional mounts available supporting Hero 4 black or silver and other cameras. Let’s take a look at some other perks the karma grip has to offer.

Design

An excellent grip is what you get with the GoPro Karma. At first touch, we were quick to discover that the device lives up to its name with a conforming rubbery surface that allows your hand to fit in comfortably well. There are remote control buttons to operate the connected GoPro just above the hand-grip section all in basic rubber. The power button is dual functional allowing a toggle between shooting modes on the attached camera. The lock button switches between stabilization modes and there is a record button that works as the name implies.

Conclusion

Total score

9.5

The Karma grip is an amazing pioneer product from GoPro in the gimbal line, but there is much to look forward to in its sequel edition. Overall, the Karma grip is excellent for its stabilization, efficient battery and control.

Setup

The GoPro Hero 5 Black is only connectable to the Karma grip using a USB Type-C connector, we found no Bluetooth or Wireless pairing to use. This consequently means that to set up, you will have to remove the side panel from the GoPro. We did just that and slid it into the frame to lock in, no hassles, no stress.

The side panel also gives the product its water resistance, so it is important to put it back in once removed. On setup with the Hero 5 black, we found out that a significant portion of our display was obscured. This may be quite annoying especially for professional shooters that may want to use some LCD framing. I forgot to mention that the controls also feature a Hi-Light tag button – this is very useful for marking some footage for other purposes such as later editing or deleting. Once the Go Capture app available on smartphones is paired, you can access live viewing on the phone.

Seamlessness, Synchronizations, and bugs

We ran into some challenges once the Hero 5 black was mounted. At first, the Hero 5 black camera took its time in greeting us with a ‘USB connected screen.' This screen lasted some minutes before we reconnected. On reconnecting, the same screen popped up, only this time, it was just for a moment before we moved on to the recording screen. We had this same hurdle with another Hero 5 black model, even without the micro SD card inserted. Other bugs need to be worked on by GoPro as the remote controls would temporarily cease functioning, and a hard reset might sometimes be necessary to bring the Karma grip back to its senses.

There were also a few synchronization issues like the fact that the camera attached remains powered on even after the Karma grip had been switched off. We expected some synchronization here at least to make sure that once the karma grip is powered down, the attached camera or device follows. The gimbal itself, however, performed quite impressively, almost perfectly if I may say.

Controls, mounting, and assembly

The karma grip has some neat designs on the hand grip parts that allow basic buttons to control everyday operations. It can be hard-reset by holding down the power button for eight seconds till the battery lights light up. The exclusion of a joystick to manually control camera angles makes it slightly harder to control precision.

The Karma grip does offer convenience in some way; when the grip is mounted to a backpack, for instance, the handle doesn’t get in the way in its vertical orientation. This means users can shoot an on-motion / walking video hands-free without any trouble. For horizontal challenges that may arise, the GoPro has released an extension cable that lets you reposition the handle component elsewhere, some place more convenient for their shoot.

Battery life

The Karma grip has a standard battery life of 1 hour and 45 minutes. The LED lights give an indication of how much power is left in the cell. The battery is non-removable and is charged with the USB Type-C connection below the grip.

Performance

The karma grip provided excellent vertical stabilization without any effort whatsoever from us. This means that the GoPro’s karma grip will give rock steady and balanced shots. During our testing, the Karma’s gimbal performed excellently, providing an overall stable footage even on the go. There is a little but negligible bobbing motion when on foot in ‘follow mode’, but its effect is totally annulled with the locked vertical angle feature.

There is still a shower of praise on the karma grip, as it produces perfect shots while inverted and in low angles. This can be particularly helpful in capturing stunts and tighter angles during sports such as skating or motorbike stunting. Just place the karma grip inverted and set the camera to auto-rotate! The Karma grip also beats its counterparts such as the S1 with a significantly low noise operation mode.

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