And Xiaomi’s drone is finally here! After weeks of peeks and teasers and trailers that had the anticipation running sky-high, the company finally launched the Mi drone — And the drone is every bit as cool as fans were hoping, except for the price tag, where it has exceeded all expectations and has managed to trump competition with a fair margin.
As expected, Xiaomi is not actually going to manufacture the drone. The company has instead partnered up with China-based Flymi to create the magic. However, sales and advertising of the drone will take place through Xiaomi’s formidable online presence.
Getting down to the brass tacks, the Mi drone is powered by a 5,100 mAh battery has a range of 3km with a flying time of 27 minutes on a full charge. The drone comes with a 360-degree camera that is capable of shooting 4K videos. For controlling, you have a handheld remote which can be attached with your smartphone for a direct, livefeed view from the drone.
Xiaomi has launched two variants of the device which are differently priced. While the entry level Mi drone is priced at 2499 CNY (around $380 or INR 24,000) and packs a 1080P camera, the more advanced version of the drone will hit the shelves with a price tag of 2999 CNY ($450). The 70 or so extra bucks will let you get your hands upon a more advanced model packing a 4K camera.
However, while the cheaper model will be available for crowd-funding from Xiaomi’s Home app from 26 May 2016, however, the 4K drone will be made available for early testing through an open beta program near the end of next month.
Interestingly enough, the drone appears to be modular, which may one day make for physical upgrades for its components. The Drone is also capable of creating a virtual fence which will bring the drone back to the ground position that it took off from, in case it strays beyond a pre-designated range.
Well, the company has finally entered a field with vast untapped potential and it has made a loud entry. A comparison with market leader DJL shows the Mi drone is not only around 40 percent cheaper than DJL’s similar, Phantom series drones, but also manages to trump them in features. For example, the Mi drone has a 5 minutes larger flying time than DJL’s $800 buck flyer.