We already knew Chinese electronics brand Xiaomi would be releasing a drone today, but we were only hoping that it would be the first truly affordable UAV on the market. Well, Xiaomi has confirmed our hopes.
The company officially announced their “Mi Drone” quadcopter earlier today in both 4K and 1080p configurations, and the price makes a DJI Phantom seem like a luxury purchase.
The drone comes complete with a camera, a three-axis gimbal, and a remote control that uses a Xiaomi Mi smartphone (what else) as its viewfinder. The 1080p version will run you just 2,500 yuan (or about $380), while the 4K version costs 3,000 yuan (or about $460). That’s hundreds of dollars cheaper than equivalent drones from DJI and other competing manufacturers.
The cheaper 1080p drone will actually be crowdfunded on Xiaomi’s own platform starting tomorrow, but the main event is the 4K-equipped drone. It sports a 12.4-megapixel Sony sensor capable of shooting 3,840 x 2,160 at 30fps and capturing RAW photos.
The remote control works from up to 2km (about 1.25 miles) out, and the drone sports all of the standard features you’ve come to expect: automatic takeoff, landing, return to home, waypoint navigation, and orbit. Finally, the battery is said to last 27 minutes on a full charge, which is on the competitive end of the spectrum.
Two big questions remain: does this thing actually fly as well as a more expensive competitor drone, and will it ever make landfall in the United States.
Xiaomi will release the 4K Mi Drone for testing via open beta at the end of July, so the first question will be answered in 2 months time. As for whether we’ll ever see this affordable quadcopter in the states… your guess is as good as ours.