Before long everyone will own a camera drone. Holiday snaps and photo albums will never be the same again. Now we can all record life’s precious moments in remarkable detail with HD aerial video. Not all cameras are equal though. With a GoPro action camera, you can ensure that you get beautiful shots every time.

Budget
best-budget-GoPro-drone-2018
Altair Aerial Blackhawk GoPro
4.8/5.0
GoPro camera: HERO3 & HERO4
Compatible gimbal: N/A
Fast and stable flyer, decent flight time, good build.
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Best Value
best-value-GoPro-drone-2018
DJI Phantom 2
4.3/5.0
GoPro camera: HERO3/3+ Black
Compatible gimbal: 3-axis
RC gimbal control dial, upgraded motor & props, throttle lock.
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Top Pick
top-value-GoPro-drone-2018
3DR Solo Camera Drone Bundle
4.4/5.0
GoPro camera: HERO3 & HERO4
Compatible gimbal: 3-axis gimbal
Well-built craft, good flight time, fast charging, fast flyer.
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The table below lists my GoPro-friendly drones in the order they appear in this guide.

GoPro Drones Comparison Table

Make and ModelGoPro CameraCompatible GimbalPrice
Altair Aerial BlackhawkHERO3 & HERO4N/ACheck Price
Ionic Stratus QuadcopterGoPro HERO4Rubber mounted stabilizerCheck Price
Traxxas Aton Plus QuadcopterHERO3 & HERO42-axis gimbalCheck Price
DJI Phantom 2 QuadcopterHERO3/3+ Black EditionZenmuse 3-axis gimbalCheck Price
3DR Solo Camera DroneHERO3 & HERO43-axis gimbalCheck Price
GoPro Karma w/ CameraHERO6 BlackKarma gimbalCheck Price

The opening paragraphs for these reviews focus on the drone’s best features. The second part looks more at their camera capability and then the crafts flying potential. The tables at the end pull the best bits together so that you can see all the highlights at a glance.

1. Altair Aerial Blackhawk GoPro Drone

Altair Aerial Blackhawk GoPro DroneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

The Altair Aerial Blackhawk is a great looking flying GoPro camera drone with an affordable price tag.

  • Best feature 1: Compatible with GoPro HERO3/4 and other action cameras
  • Best feature 2: Built-in automatic lock protection
  • Plus points: Fast and stable flyer, decent flight time, good build, robust craft
  • Minus points: Needs some assembly (ARF)

The first thing you’ll notice as you unbox this GoPro camera drone is that it’s quite heavy and well-built. It feels as good as it looks too. But unlike the Altair Hornet and AA108,the Blackhawk is not quite ready to fly (RTF). You’ll need to do some assembly first,namely the propellers, guards, and the landing gear. Attaching these parts is straight forward and the instructions are clear.

The Blackhawk quadcopter also comes with a few spare parts which are always welcome. I’d say this GoPro compatible drone is a good choice for someone above the entry level. It’s not quite as beginner-friendly as some of my other picks as it lacks certain features and flight modes.

Flying the Altair Aerial Blackhawk Quad

This is a fun and stable flyer once you’re used to it. It can stay up for as long as 17 minutes and fly to a range of 3-500m from the controller in ideal conditions. Its powerful brushless motors are quieter and more reliable than brushed ones. Alas, there aren’t any flying modes like one-touch takeoff/landing, altitude hold, or headless mode. This is why I don’t recommend it for total beginners.

Camera Compatibility

The drone doesn’t come with a camera and if it did it wouldn’t be a very good one at this price. It does come with a GoPro compatible mount for HERO3 and HERO4 but not the HERO5. The same camera mount will also house any other action cameras of the same dimensions: 41mm x 59mm x 30mm.

The Conclusion

The Altair Aerial Blackhawk looks good and performs very well for an action camera drone. It does lack some of the bells and whistles of other quads though. The reason for this is because Altair has focused their attention on the build quality and the stable flying of this affordable quadrotor.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 3.1 lbs. (1406g)
Max flight time: 17 minutes
Max flight range: 500 m (1640 ft.)
Charging Time: Not specified
Camera: HERO3/4
Controller type: Blackhawk RC
The Pros
Nice design, affordable
User-friendly craft for more experienced pilots
Powerful brushless motors
Decent range
6-axis gyro
Action camera mount
Reasonable flight time
Handheld controller
Excellent customer support
The Cons
No charging time specified
Not compatible for GoPro5 and above
Almost ready to fly (ARF)

2. Ionic Stratus GoPro S900R Quadcopter

Ionic Stratus GoPro S900R QuadcopterView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.1/5

My second pick is the Ionic Status S900R camera quadcopter. This product even comes with a removable First Person View (FPV) camera. It’s also compatiblewith the GoProHERO4.

  • Best feature 1: Includes a removable HD 720P FPV camera
  • Best feature 2: Compatible mount for GoPro HERO4
  • Plus points: Easy to fly, three flying modes, intuitive controller, affordable and fun
  • Minus points: Have to remove GoPro’sprotective cover, obstructive landing gear

The Ionic Status S900R is another amazing product selling for less than $150 at the time of writing. It has more flight modes and fancy features than the Altair Aerial Blackhawk above. It’s not as fast, though, and it doesn’t sport the long flight time and flight range of the Blackhawk. It’s a great entry-level craft that provides pilot’s with a smooth introduction into flying camera drones.

Flying the Ionic Status S900R

This is an FPV-ready camera quadcopter that comes equipped with an HD 720P FPV camera. That means you can see what the drone sees from the air with real-time video playing on your smartphone. You can also attach a GoPro HERO4 to its mount but you have to remove the protective cover first. The maximum flight time is around 15 minutes but will be less with a heavier GoPro attached.

This drone has a fairly short range of 154 ft. or 50m. This is usually plenty of distance for beginner pilots who need to make sure their quad stays firmly in the line of sight (LOS). Headless mode is another beginner-friendly feature as users don’t have to worry about which way the craft faces as they fly it. The intuitive controller fits nicely in the hands and its throttle knob lets you set the speed.

The Conclusion

The Ionic Status S900R is a capable entry-level GoPro compatible drone. It’s also quite wind-resistant and that’s not something all quads can claim, especially in this price range. The user-friendly features make it an ideal option for anyone who wants to dip their toe into aerial photography and videography.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 3.75lbs (1701g)
Max flight time: 15 minutes
Max flight range: 50m (164 ft.)
Charging Time: 120 minutes (2+ hrs.)
Camera: HERO4
Controller type: 2.4G standard RC
The Pros
Holds action camera
Cool design
Great price
Easy to fly
Cheap spare parts
Three flying modes
Intuitive controller
The Cons
No gimbal
Have to remove GoPro from its case
Landing gear shows up in footage

3. Traxxas Aton Plus GoPro Quadcopter

Traxxas Aton Plus GoPro QuadcopterView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

Traxxas call their Aton-PlusUAV the perfect aerial photo and video assistant. Let’s see if they’re right.

  • Best feature 1: Stabilized 2-axis gimbal
  • Best feature 2: Mount for GoPro HERO 3&4 series (other mounts available)
  • Plus points: Easy to fly, incredibly fast, ultra-stable (film mode), air brakes, status bar
  • Minus points: Looks a bit toy-like, need to experiment to optimize an action camera

Don’t be put off by the toy-like race car appearance of the Traxxas Aton Plus because this is no toy. It’s a serious and capable flying quadcopter. It comes with a GoPro compatible mount and stabilizing 2-axis gimbal. The mount can accommodate GoPro HERO 3&4 series but you can also buy different mounts for other action cameras if you want to.

Flying the Traxxas Aton Plus

If you want a fast quadcopter then put the Aton Plus onto your list of options. This puppy can reach up to 50mph in Sports Mode. That means you can reach your destination of up to 500 ft. in no time. When you arrive at your target area the Film Mode will stabilize everything so that you can record clear vibration-free footage. The Aton Plus is still a good novice-friendly UAV despite its complexity.

Novice pilots can take advantage of all the beginner-friendly features which include:

  • Dual-mode GPS
  • Three flight modes
  • Status bar
  • Effective air brakes
  • Return-to-Home
  • Bright LED lights

These are welcome features at any level but are especially reassuring for newbies. The three flight modes help you to get the most out of flying. Sports Mode unlocks the throttle and gives you full speed. The docile Film Mode guarantees seamless footage. Expert Mode unleashes the craft’s full potential. This mode is for skilled pilots and the one where you get to show off your aerobatic skills

The flight time is a good average 20 minutes in perfect conditions. The battery recharging time is also average at 90 minutes. Always remember to invest in spare batteries if you need longer flight times.

The Conclusion

The flexibility of the Traxxas Aton Plus is impressive. It can go from timid to a tiger in nanoseconds. It sports a plethora of performance levels based on what you want to do and how you want to fly.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 1.74 lbs. (790g)
Max flight time: 20 minutes
Max flight range: 152m (500 ft.)
Charging Time: 90 minutes (1.5 hrs.)
Camera: Range of action cameras
Controller type: Traxxas Flight Link app and smartphone (phone not included)
The Pros
Includes GoPro mount. Other action camera mounts available
Fast and stable flyer, great fun and easy to fly
Decent flight time
Three flight modes
Customizable design
Dual mode GPS
Status bar
Air brakes
Return to Home feature
Bight LED lights
The Cons
Doesn’t include camera
Toy-like look and feel

4. DJI Phantom 2 GoPro Quadcopter

DJI Phantom 2 GoPro QuadcopterView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

The Phantom 2, V2.0, is what you might call an oldie but goodie and here’s why.

  • Best feature 1: Accommodates GoPro Hero3/3+ Black Edition
  • Best feature 2: 3-axis H3-3D gimbal stabilization
  • Plus points: RC gimbal control dial, upgraded motor & props, throttle lock, long flight time
  • Minus points: Can only use GoPro Hero3’s Black Edition, cannot use GoPro’s built-in Wi-Fi

DJI is synonymous with excellence when it comes to great quality flying camera drones. The Phantom 2, V2.0, might not be the newest model around but it’s still capable. Best of all is that you can swap cameras. The main downside is that its mount can only accommodate GoPro HERO 3 series cameras. If you already have a Hero3/3+ Black Edition then you’ll want to keep reading.

Flying and Filming with the DJI Phantom 2 V2.0

This flying camera quadcopter comes with an effective H3-3D stabilizing gimbal. With the proper GoPro fitted you can record high-quality aerial stills and video. The inbuilt GPS auto-pilot system makes sure your flights are precise and stable at all times. There are three other features that let you place all your focus on shooting amazing video and aerial photographs.These include:

  1. Position holding
  2. Altitude lock
  3. Stable hovering

The maximum flight time of the DJI Phantom 2 is an impressive 25 minutes on a fully-charged battery. It takes around 90+ minutes to recharge one battery so consider buying a couple of spares. DJI batteries are great. This one is a high-performance, high-capacity, 5200-mAh Lithium Polymer. The bad news is that DJI batteries are not cheap and you can’t use third-party alternatives.

The intuitive and upgraded DJI remote controller is second to none. It feels great in the hands and helps to fly/control the drone and all its features. There’s even a gimbal control dial, throttle locking feature, anda trainer port. It also comes with a built-in rechargeable battery.

The Conclusion

Consider the DJI Phantom 2, V2.0, if it’s within your GoPro compatible drone budget. It’s been around for a while and stood the test of time. It’s certainly feature-packed, fun to fly, and reliable. If you already have a HERO4 or above, though, then you will most likely want to look at other options.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 2.2 lbs. (1000g)
Max flight time: 25 minutes
Max flight range: 700m (2297 ft.)
Charging Time: 90+ minutes (1.5+ hrs.)
Camera: GoPro HERO3
Controller type: Dedicated DJI RC
The Pros
Classic DJI design
Lightweight and portable
Gimbal included
Long flight time
Quick battery change
Altitude hold/GPS
Return to home feature
Self-tightening Propeller
Add-ons available
Built-in safety features
The Cons
Restricted GoPro compatibility
Cannot use GoPro WiFi when attached to drone
Higher price tag

5. 3DR Solo CameraDrone Bundle

3DR Solo CameraDrone BundleView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

This is the popular 3DR Solo Quadcopter. Let’s see what value this particular bundle offers pilots.

  • Best feature 1: Gimbal with in-flight GoPro control
  • Best feature 2: Intuitive remote controller (RC)
  • Plus points: Well-built craft, good flight time, fast charging, fast flyer, stable, and smart
  • Minus points: Battery awkward to swap

The 3DR Robotics Solo is a capable GoPro compatible smart drone packed with intelligent features. Despite its sophistication the SOLO is easy and fun to fly and produces incredibly stable photos and video. The stabilizing 3-axis gimbal supports GoPro HERO3+ or HERO4 action cameras. You can also enjoy HD streaming video from the attached GoPro straight to your compatible mobile device.

Flying the 3DR Robotics Solo Drone

The company claims their Solo quadcopter is the smartest camera drone available. They might have a point. It has push-button controls and helps amateurs to produce professional footage from the sky. The flying experience is smooth and stable thanks to the intuitive controller and the two 1 GHz computers. First-time flyers will certainly appreciate the range of built-in safety features.

The maximum flight time is somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 minutes. It takes about 90-minutes to recharge a battery so it’s always a good idea to have one or two spares handy. The range is a generous half mile or 805m. This means you can go further and fly longer compared to some of the picks in this guide. You also get to enjoy a plethora of intuitive flight modes and sophisticated features.

The Conclusion

The 3DR Robotics Solo is a ready-to-fly (RTF) GoPro capable quadcopter. If modes like Orbit, Follow Me, Cable Cam, and Selfie mode are important to you, then add the Solo to your shortlist. It offers incredible value when you consider all the smart features and other bells and whistles.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 3.3 lbs. (1497g.)
Max flight time: 20 minutes
Max flight range: 805m (0.5 mi.)
Charging Time: 90 minutes (1.5 hrs.)
Camera: GoPro HERO3+ or HERO4
Controller type: Game-style RC
The Pros
Smart industrial design.
Decent flight time
Seamless camera controls
Fast flyer, responsive
Intelligent flight modes
Intuitive controller
Can use 3-axis gimbal
The Cons
Some reports of spotty GPS connection
Battery compartment is difficult to access

6. GoPro Karma + HERO6 Black

GoPro Karma + HERO6 BlackView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.2/5

GoPro’s first-ever UAV got off to a rough start. It’s since managed to fix the issues and recover from those early nightmares. Here’s what you can expect from the new, good-looking GoPro Karma quad.

  • Best feature 1: Can use GoPro HERO6 Black, HERO5 Black, and HERO Black & Silver
  • Best feature 2: Foldable design
  • Plus points: All-in-one kit, smart looking quad, virtual tutorials, Karma grip, controller
  • Minus points: Quite pricey, lacks some flight features, average flight time

You’ll love the GoPro if aesthetics form part of your buying decision. Even the Karma’s own controller is beautiful and folds down just like the quad. Everything you need fits snugly into a smart carry case (included). Also in the bag is the detachable stabilizer and Karma grip. You can add the stabilizer to the handheld/wearable Karma grip if you want to shoot ultra-smooth video from the ground.

Flying the GoPro Karma

This drone is a beautiful flyer and its intuitive controller adds further to the experience. It only takes a couple of minutes to unpack and take to the skies. Footage is excellent as you’d expect from any GoPro stabilized camera. For the price, though, it’s a disappointment on the feature side of things. I’m not keen on bells & whistles for the sake of them but this craft should have more autonomous modes.

The flight time is okay. At 20 minutes it’s nothing to write home about at this price. The maximum 1.9 mile (3km) range is more impressive as is the fast 60-minute battery recharging time.

Shooting from the Ground

Being able to remove the drone’s stabilizer and attach it to the Karma grip is significant. Why would you want to do that? Well, sometimes you might want a camera on the ground and that’s where the handheld and body-mountable Karma grip comes in. The way to attach it to your body is via the built-in shoulder mount which is part of the Karma case. It’s a simple yet ingenious concept.

The Conclusion

Yes, the first karma got off to a rocky start. And yes, there should be a few more intelligent features. With all things considered this is a beautiful drone that’s has everything neatly put together in a portable package. It’s certainly a great choice if the lugability factor is a major requirement. I also think we can expect to see the Karma get plenty of new firmware updates in the near future.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 1.2 lbs. (545g)
Max flight time: 20 minutes
Max flight range: 1.9 miles (3 km)
Charging Time: 60+ minutes (1+ hr.)
Camera: HERO6 Black
Controller type: Karma Controller w/ touchscreen display
The Pros
Foldable, portable quad
Nice design, well-made
Dedicated GoPro drone
Gimbal stabilized
High-quality video & stills
Karma grip (included)
Virtual tutorials
Follow Me &Return Home
RC w/ LCD display
The Cons
High price tag
Average flight time
Falls short on autonomous features (watch this space for updates)
5/51 rating