Xiaomi, the Chinese brand which took the smartphone world by storm a couple of years ago has now officially entered another new domain to explore – the drones. They have just revealed their first drone in attempt to rival the biggest 2 drone companies at the moment – DJI and Yuneec. The drone is called the Xiaomi Mi Drone and it’s a quadcopter which visually resembles the Phantom3. It has a minimalistic design and 2 different versions – one with a full-blown 4K camera and a cheaper 1080p model with smaller range (~1km). What is great about this drone is that is very competitive on price – about $460 for the 4K version and roughly $380 for the 1080p model.
The 4K Xiaomi Mi features a 3-axis gimbal and a ball-shaped Sony 12.4 MP camera, capable of shooting at resolution up to 3840 x 2160 at 30 fps. The Mi drone will offer a great advantage to its users by allowing them to detach various components from the drone, such as the rotors or the whole camera module. The modularity and serviceability of the drone is something that a lot of people have been complaining about when it comes to other known drone manufacturers, so it seems Xiaomi is on the right track here.
Although the remote controller of the Xiaomi Mi looks simple, it has a lot of buttons and settings on it. It has a smartphone clamp, which is able to hold a device up to 6-7 inches. Xiaomi claims that once your phone is connected to the remote, it is capable of controlling the drone from up to 2000 meters, by still maintaining a 720p feed. Other buttons you can find on the remote are the dial for tilting the camera, a return home button, a shutter button and a designated take off and landing button. This last button is a great feature for beginners, all you have to do is simply press and hold the button for a few seconds and the drone will automatically take off/land.
When it comes to connectivity – things are looking good. The drone has a 5,100mAh battery, which is easily replaceable. It grants the Mi drone an expected flight time of around 27 minutes, which is more than what most of the competition can offer. As far as positioning, the drone uses both GPS and GLONASS satellites and has a visual-positioning system for flying at low altitude when there’s low or no satellite signal.
In addition, most of the best-known intelligent flight modes are also present. You’ll be able to use features such as point of interest, follow a pre-planned route, return home, plus the automatic take off & landing I’ve mentioned earlier.
The Xiaomi Mi drone is expected to enter an open beta around the end of July, so stay tuned for more news/reviews in the near future.
Overall, seems that Xiaomi is trying to steal some customers from DJI and Yuneec by offering a very competitive, feature-rich drone for under $500. In a time when everybody is trying to go above and beyond the competition, it seems the users are the ones to gain the most from this situation. It will be very interesting to follow how things are going to shape up for Xiaomi!