BEST DRONES FOR GOPRO
GoPro drones are great if you want to be able to update your camera without having to update your drone, we review the best drones to use with GoPro
Best GoPro Drones – Top 8
Not all cheap drones come with built in cameras, even the high end premium drones sometimes allow you the opportunity to add your own highly spec’d camera and this is a good idea if the quality of the camera is more important than having the latest drone. Of course, camera technology grows at a similar pace to drone tech but with the end result deemed the most important there is a lot to be said for having the ability to swap in a newer camera rather than having to replace the whole drone. The camera is also often the weakest point of a drone so again, by having a removable (and replaceable) camera you can increase the lifespan of your drone considerably should the unexpected happen.
It goes without saying that the best brand on the market when it comes to action cameras is the GoPro and with the newly released GoPro Hero 5 and the ever reliable GoPro 4 being top options as attachments to your drone, we have compiled our top 5 GoPro drones for you to mull over.
Top 8 GoPro Drones
1. GoPro KARMA Drone with Harness for GoPro 5
The KARMA GoPro drone sits comfortably at the top of our list as the best GoPro drone on the market to date. There are a number of reasons that make the KARMA the number one choice for GoPro but price isn’t one of them we’re afraid. You can buy it with or without a camera such as a GoPro 5 or 6 but the KARMA is far from the cheapest GoPro drone to choose from, but we know when it comes to drones that we get what we pay for… and you get plenty of tech (and accessories) for your money with this drone.
It is easy to mistake the KARMA for a Mavic Pro in terms of its looks and if you are familiar with the way the Mavic Pro folds for (fairly) easy portability then you will already have an idea of the style of the KARMA. Complete with carry case, the KARMA is a joy to transport with simple folding and removal of the propellers and the reverse to set back up in a flash on location.
The KARMA is compatible with Hero 4 and Hero 5 GoPro and features integrated smart technology that allows full control and live feedback of what is being shot. In fact, it is the fully immersive and controllable nature of the KARMA that puts it at the top of our GoPro Drone list.
You won’t be found wanting when it comes to image quality either. Even in the most testing of conditions the sturdy KARMA will hold its own and deliver super smooth video thanks to the attachable image stabiliser. Should you wish to go handheld, KARMA even provide you with a handheld grip for the GoPro so you can continue your super smooth video or photography on the ground.
It is easy to get spare parts for the KARMA and there are a never ending supply of accessories for the drone, but you will be all set up from what is supplied in the box from the get go.
The controller is a thing of beauty and feels a little more like a next-gen console controller than a drone controller but we liked it a lot. The display is crystal clear and it communicates the image well up to around a mile. Another really good feature with the controller is that you can test out your flying skills and practice before actually taking to the skies with a built in trainer using the screen on the controller – next gen or what!
Controlling the drone is a breeze and although there is no follow me feature there are some great image tracking features which are better than follow me such as Cable Cam, Orbit and Selfie mode (dronie).
If you are looking for the ultimate GoPro drone then this is it, no it’s not cheap… but it is the best… pure and simple!
Update for GoPro Karma: GoPro have announced that they will not be continuing with the Karma series of drones. In fact, they are going to be pulling out of the aerial industry altogether. That doesn’t mean the end for GoPro drones but it does mean that it is the end for Karma.
Still, if you are looking for a drone that works with GoPro Hero 6 then this is the best solution at present and GoPro have stated that they will continue to offer full product support for their Karma drones that have been produced and sold thus far.
2. 3DR Solo Aerial Drone
If you have read our 3DR Solo review then you will know how much we love the 3DR with GoPro 4. It also works with GoPro 3 and the new GoPro 5 which makes it simply a legend in our book and the 3DR Solo was very close to coming in first place. If you want to get the full low down then we suggest you read the full review but here’s why we love it as a top GoPro drone.
At around the price point the 3DR Solo can hardly be described as cheap, but when you consider what you get for that and the fact that this drone is compatible across three different GoPro cameras then it is pretty much a star in this lineup.
The first thing to note is how easy to fly the 3DR Solo is and that is pretty important when you are sending your expensive GoPro potentially hundreds of feet up in to the sky. It is almost impossible to break and we love the build quality.
It works seamlessly with the GoPro – because it was specifically designed for the GoPro, which is another reason to make this drone a stronger contender for top spot on our list. You will need to buy the 3DR gimbal separately which is a bit of a bind and this is the main reason we didn’t give this top marks.
When the gimbal is attached you will enjoy absolutely stunning aerial photography with your GoPro and given that the GoPro HERO 5 will give you full 4K HD you can get some seriously professional shots using this drone.
You have full video relay to the controller when you add your mobile device and connect the free 3DR app which means you can enjoy a full FPV experience with the Solo.
Top quality Go Pro drone with plenty going for it – if your budget does’t quite stretch to the KARMA and you can deal with using your phone as a screen then this is probably the best choice for you.
3. DJI Phantom 2 Standard Drone
DJI are well known amongst drone enthusiasts for creating high end, premium quality drones and whilst they have come a long way in terms of their technology (and advertising) over the last few years, there is still plenty of value to be had in some of their earlier models. The Phantom 2 is one such example of a drone that still has some shelf-life if you have a GoPro camera and whilst it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that you might find on a Phantom 4 Pro, it is potentially a better choice than its big brother if you are looking for a drone to go with your GoPro 4 or 3.
There is no support for the GoPro 5 as yet and there is no mention of compatibility with the DJI Goggles, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be so watch this space.
The Phantom 2 can be picked up for at a very reasonable price and has the best flight time of all these GoPro drones on our list. 25 minutes is achievable in terms of flying time and you can easily swap out a replacement battery if you need more time.
In terms of flying the Phantom 2 things are pretty simple. You don’t get all the collision avoidance systems that you get from the newer DJI models but you can still fly relatively stress free with precision flight, auto return to home and auto-landing features.
The GoPro camera attaches via the Zenmuse H4-3D or Zenmuse H3-3D gimbal that you attach yourself. The first number relates to which GoPro camera you need it for, so who knows, their might be a Zenmuse H5-3D gimbal released before long – although we have not heard any news on that front.
Installation of the Zenmuse is fairly simple as you can see in the video below from DJI.
You won’t get much in terms of flight range with the Phantom 2 with a measly 300m about the maximum you can expect, but what it lacks in flight time it more than makes up for with camera steadiness. The image stabilisation from the Zenmuse gimbal is quite brilliant and you can get some stunning imagery from a GoPro 4 with the Phantom 2.
One way in which the Phantom 2 lets itself down in this category is the ease of using FPV with it. The controller is quite a basic affair which is fine for flight, but you will have to go to some lengths should you wish to build an FPV screen on to your controller. This is going to cost you around £200 more and we would recommend something like the Black Pearl FPV kit.
This is not a bad option by any means, but it is not simple either.
Overall, the Phantom 2 is a very solid option for anyone who already has a GoPro 3 or 4, but make sure you consider all the options before you make the purchase – if FPV is important to you then there may be better choices.
4. Veho Muvi Q-Series Q-1 Drone
The Veho Muvi Q-Series Q-1 is another favourite of ours in the GoPro Drone category and also has the added bonus of being compatible with Muvi’s own K-series range of cameras. The Muvi Q1 drone is a very reasonable price when you consider that you probably won’t need to buy much else in the way of accessories.
First off, the Q1 drone looks impressive, it is small and lightweight and is faster than the Phantom 2 with a top speed of around 20m/s. The flight time is also pretty good for the price of the drone with a lengthy 20 minutes as standard. There is an eco mode for flying which can help the longevity of your flights and there are drive and sport modes too which really allow you to fly how you want and in a way that is suitable for the types of shots you need.
The three flight modes work in synchronisation with the included gimbal in the sense that as the flight becomes more sporty and more aggressive, the gimbal reacts in a way that your shot will still be as super steady as when you are flying in eco mode.
The drone includes a GPS tracker that you wear in the form of a watch so you can create superb follow me shots as the drone tracks your GPS signal. The remote controller is well built and is lightweight, comfortable and easy to use but we found issues with the FPV and our smartphone. If you want tracking shots and are happy to let the drone do all the work then you will be fine without the need for FPV with your GoPro 4 but if you need to see what you are shooting in a reliable way there are better options in our list than the Muvi Q1.
Some people have complained about a difficulty in getting spare parts for the Q1 drone but Muvi have become much better at providing these and you can order them (including spare batteries) at Muvi themselves.
We found the Muvi Q1 to produce some excellent video with a GoPro Hero 4 and as mid-budget drones go, you get a lot in terms of style, looks and practicality – it’s just a shame about the FPV problems we encountered. (EDIT – We tried this again and it seemed fine, so perhaps we just had some interference on the first test run).
5. Yuneec Typhoon Q500 Drone for GoPro
The Yuneec Typhoon Q500 is what we would term a midrange drone that can carry a top quality camera in the guise of a GoPro4 or 3. At the time of writing there was no confirmation that the Q500 would be able to house a GoPro 5 but this might be something that Yuneec look at in the coming months.
The price is what will attract most people to the Yuneec Typhoon Q500 as it can be picked up for reasonably cheaply depending on the promotions that are running at the time. We suggest checking here regularly to see if the price has lowered. Battery life is not great with a running time of around 14 minutes in our tests but you can use extra batteries to extend the flying time as you need it.
The gimbal on the Q500 is rock solid and produces good steady shots pretty much no matter what the conditions. There are a number of features for filming such as follow me, watch me and it also has a steady grip to continue your steady shots on the ground using your GoPro.
One thing to note about this drone is that it is large. It is larger than a Phantom 4 and is not easy to transport around so if portability is a concern for you then you might want to look elsewhere.
The 10 station transmitter comes fully equipped with a 5.5 inch LCD screen to allow for full FPV use which is a steal at this price. It also contains a sunshade for the transmitter and a range of other accessories.
Unlike the Phantom 2, the Typhoon Q500 comes with the gimbal pre-installed so there is no need to attach it yourself and everything is there for you and ready out of the box.
If you are looking for a entry level drone to use with your GoPro 3 or 4 then the Q500 is a steal – get it whilst you can.
6. Traxxas Aton Plus Quadcopter
The Traxxas Aton Plus is suitable for GoPro 3 and 4 camera and we have it on good authority that you can also purchase a universal mount to attach a GoPro 5 camera to this quadcopter. Hardly at the budget end of GoPro drones, this drone makes a good stab at being competitive in this market place.
Whilst we have to admit that we did prefer other models, this drones has plenty going for it – not least the speed that the Traxxass is capable of flying with speedy of 50mph achievable quite easily. It has a built in gimbal so there is no need to make an extra purchase and the quality of video and the smoothness of shot was impressive to say the least.
If you have another type of action camera that is an alternative to GoPro then you will most likely find it compatible with this UAV – please check with the manufacturer prior to purchasing though.
Featuring powerful brushless motors, the Aton Plus is dubbed a sports drone – and it looks the part for sure. Easy control through the Traxxas Flight Link app (available for Android and iOS) the pilot is greeted by a range of options and you get important information at the touch of a button. You will be given full control of film speed modes, check your connections and battery levels and even adjust how fast and responsive the drone is. All of this is done with a unique interface that has sliders that allow you easily change the settings.
Although the Aton Plus is perfect for an advanced pilot, it can also be tuned to be used by a beginner. Handy features such as one click hover buttons are useful in case you get in to difficult and return to home and one touch take-off/landing also come as standard.
You will get a range of around 150m when conditions are favourable which is pretty decent for a drone in this price range. Flight time is around 18-20 minutes from a single charge although you can purchase higher capacity batteries that will last for almost 30 minutes! Charging completes in an impressively low time of around 1 hour.
If you are looking for a Go-Pro drone that is an all in one package (gimbal included) then you can’t go wrong with this – and if you need speed then this could be your best bet.
7. XIRO Xplorer G
The Xiro Xplorer G is one of our favourite non-mainstream GoPro drones. It is compatible with GoPro Hero 3 and 4, has a flight time of around 25 minutes, has a whole host of premium features and looks incredibly cool to boot!
The first thing to point out here is the Xplorer ships with a 3 axis gimbal included – making it extremely good value for money and the quality of footage that can be achieved is comparable to any drone on this list. It features brushless motors and comes with spare propellers as well as tools required for assembly – you can easily purchase spares, batteries and propellers from the supplier we link to below.
The use of true GPS means that your drone will not get lost. If you fly out of range then it will return to the last point that it has a signal and if it can’t find the signal it will return to home. It has simple one touch take off and landing and a range of filming features such as follow me and circle around me modes.
The controller is excellent and can easily be connected to your smartphone too. This allows a true FPV experience with the footage being streamed in real time – we found there to be almost zero lag with this and the drone was very responsive to the controller.
Low battery warnings and out of range warnings are given when needed and if the drone cannot make it back then it will land within 100 feet of the base unit.
All in all, this is a good drone that has excellent battery life – the only downside is getting hold of one as they ship from the US – at the time of writing our price checker below was able to get hold of one.
8. Walkera QR X350 Pro
The Walkera QR X350 Pro is an excellent option when available. Unfortunately it is not widely available in the UK unless imported. It is currently available from Amazon and is compatible with the GoPro Hero 3.
With a 25 minute flight time and 2.4 GHz controller as standard, the Walkera is ready to fly out of the box.
If you own a GoPro already and you are looking to take advantage of the opportunity for aerial photography then the chances are you will be looking a drone that is capable of carrying your already perfectly suited camera. In this case, a drone that is compatible with GoPro is the perfect solution.
We have compiled the very best Go-Pro Drones for you to choose from. Depending on whether you have a Hero 3, Hero 4, Hero 5 or even the newer Hero 6 will impact what choices are available to you.
- Ease of use
- Value for money