One of China’s most popular consumer electronics brands, Xiaomi, launched today its own take on one of the hottest categories in consumer tech: drones.
Xiaomi Mi Drone is a quadcopter with a 360-degree 4K or 1080p camera and a remote control without a display, as you can use your Xiaomi smartphone as a viewfinder. What was referred as the one of its main advantages, is the modularity and repairability of the device, as the camera module is detachable as well as all the rotors. This Mi Drone has a 5,100mAh battery, which is also easily replaceable.
Design-wise, the drone resembles a dragonfly, with four propellers taking care of the flight. The camera is attached to a pan/tilt base allowing for 360° videos. A green and a red light on top of the drone act as an indicator so the device is visible to others while on flight (you could mistake it for a UFO 🙂 ).
The remote control is quite sophisticated as well, with Xiaomi adding a “Return button” along with the camera angle button and photo/video button.
Xiaomi has added 4 flight modes to Mi Drone allowing the device to automatically fly to a destination set by the user on the map, plan a route and send the drone to follow it, set a center point and send the drone to fly around this center and lastly, one-button control that sets the drone to automatically take off/hover/home/land.
On the camera section, Mi Drone supports 3-axis angle adjustment, a Sony 12.04MP back-illuminated CMOS image sensor with 6-piece lens for the 4K model, video recording of up to 3840*2160P @30FPS. The 1080P model has a Sony 16MP sensor. Both models use US Fighters professional processors.
Safety features are there as well, with a antenna on board to avoid losing the drone as well as a hover mode when the drone approaches a territory where drone flying is prohibited. As mentioned above, the battery is a 5,100mAh one giving the Xiaomi Mi Drone a flight duration of 27 minutes.
Pricing of the Mi Drone is also interesting, with the two variants at 2,499 Yuan ($380) and 2,999 Yuan ($460) for the 4K and 1080p version respectively. Xiaomi notes that the 1080p Mi Drone “will be crowdfunded on the Mi Home app starting 26 May 2016” while the 4K option will “will be available for testing via an open beta programme at the end of June.