Xiaomi has built it’s reputation on being a company which enters different product categories and instantly shakes them up by introducing quality yet cheap products for the consumers. The latest category to see this shake up seems to be drones.
Capitalizing on the recent popularity of consumer drones, Xiaomi has introduced its own contender for the consumer drone market, in the form of the Mi UAV, a modular quadcopter with lots of features and a cheaper price point than most of it’s competition.
On the design front, this drone is sleek and minimalist, with an all-white body, four rotors on the top and a Sony 12MP Camera dangling on the bottom.
Based on the camera, the drone will be sold in two versions will be available, on what shoots 4K at 30 FPS and the other which is limited to 1080p at 60 FPS. The cameras are spherical in shape, and are attached to a 3-axis gimbal which offers lots of shooting angles.
The done has a flight time of 27 minutes. During flight, it can either be controlled by a dual-joystick controller or can be set up for Autonomous Flight, wide different modes for circling a point of interest, flying to a pre-determined destination and following user-set flight routes.
These autonomous modes also include an automatic takeoff and landing system, as well as a return to home feature. The mere presence of so many advanced features in a budget drone is enough to signal the upcoming shift in the whole drone market.
However, if you are someone who doesn’t like their drones flying without control, then you can control them in the traditional manner, with the dual-joystick controller. There is a smartphone slot on the controller, where you can fix your phone to see where the drone is going.
As the testing continues, we can hope that the company will introduce some sort of VR compatibility too, letting you truly immerse yourself in the experience.
For now, the drone can be paired with your smartphone, giving it a leash of up to 2 km (1.24 mi). The 1080p version suffers again with an even more limited leash of just 1 km (0.62 mi).
Most people would consider these features enough for a consumer drone. But Xiaomi is going a step further, by making the drone with a modular design, which allows the gimbal and camera to be detached. The landing gear cannot be detached, but it can be folded up for easier transport.
For the price tag of 2,999 Yuan (US$460) for the 4K model, and 2,499 Yuan (US$380) for the 1080p model, you even get a carry bag with special sections for each item.
If, like me, you too are hyped from the thought of buying this gadget, then you too will have to practice patience, as the Mi drone is still under testing and will only be available later this year. But when it does become available, it will surely become the top must have gadgets around.