Meet Yuneec’s highly affordable, highly basic Breeze drone with 4K video
Stephan Jukic – September 23, 2016
The drone market as it stands today has no shortage of UAVs for all sorts of budgets and needs, from some of the cheapest $100 models with tiny cameras to professional video recording and cargo hauling drones which can cost well over $15,000. This is a great thing to see and the new possibilities that have emerged from these technologies give both amateur and professional photographers and videographers some remarkable new tools for capturing shots from new angles.
Yuneec is one of the main participants in this trend and its range of drones comes in a number of shapes, sizes and prices with some of the company’s most recognized models being the not so cheap Yuneec Typhoon Q500+ UAVs with 4K video recording built into them and other still pricier models with some seriously robust recording and flight specs. Thus, it’s great to see that the high quality manufacturing fame of Yuneec is now also being used to create a new, highly affordable and highly idiot-proof compact drone called the Breeze.
This new model from Yuneec is definitely a model for the regular consumer user on a modest budget but despite its low price and simplified design, the Breeze still has plenty of flight and recording power to offer.
Basically, the Breeze, aside from being much more affordable than its Typhoon drone cousins is a dramatically economized UAV in which Yuneec took out nearly everything they think you don’t really need for a robust flight experience and what remained were just the essentials. Thus in the Breeze, you’ll find no motorized landing gear, no 25 minute battery power, no obstacle avoidance systems or complex separate remote control unit and no complex autonomous flight systems.
Instead, what you do get are simplified core essentials that consist of a 4K video camera, positioning sensors for indoor flight and an extremely simplified navigation software package.
The Breeze has in fact been whittled down so much that Yuneec is advertising it as more of a flying camera than a fully decked out UAV drone like the DJI Phantom 4 or other major models. This does indeed mean sacrifices but what it gives to this unique little drone is a great price of around $500 and a built-in, well designed 4K camera. Basically, you’re getting an action camera which can fly for nearly the same price as a regular handheld action camera like the GoPro Hero 4 Black, with 4K video as a great bonus spec.
Since the battery of a drone is one of its heaviest and most cost-intensive pieces of hardware, Yuneec economized on this heavily as well in the Breeze. As a result, instead of the 20 to 26 minute flight times of more fleshed out and larger drones like the Typhoon Q500 or DJI Phantom 3, the Breeze only stays aloft for 12 minutes at a time. The beneficial trade off to this however is that the drone’s camera can be recharged fully in just 30 minutes. Try pulling that off with the heftier batteries in larger drones. What’s even cooler about the breeze is that its $500 cost includes two batteries, meaning that your between-flight time can be cut down to just 17 minutes or so as you fly for 12 minutes with one battery while the other charges and then just wait the extra 17 to 18 minutes extra for the second battery to finish charging when the first dies.
And again, because of these highly compact, efficient little batteries, the Breeze can be all the tinier and easier to transport. Its rotors also happen to fold inward for convenient storage in a small hard plastic box which can easily fit into pretty much any backpack.
On the more negative side, Yuneec also sacrificed a couple better features from the larger UAVs in the Breeze. Thus, one of its definite defects is an extremely short flight range of a mere 260 feet, as opposed to the multi-kilometer distances the DJI Phantoms and larger Yuneec drones can reach.
Finally, we need to mention the controller app and camera of the Yuneec Breeze. Since there’s no controller, this little drone is blown through your iOS or Android mobile device through Yuneec’s Breeze app, and the company has made a tremendous effort to keep things as easy and simple as possible here, with touch buttons for specific flight modes which the little drone can easily follow. There are four of these auto flight modes in total, which is an impressive amount for such a compact and bare-bones drone.
As for the Breeze’s selling feature in the form of the built-in 4K camera for this “flying camera”. Well it offers some very decent specs of its own, which are more than adequate rivals for the chops of many pricey hand-held action cameras. The Breeze’s shooter can handle 4K video at 30 frames per second and manages 13 megapixel still images. Photo and video quality is a bit on the grainy side in low light when compared to footage from shooters like the GoPro Hero 4 but can we complain too much here? Yuneec is offering both a 4K action camera and a drone for just $100 more than the cost of a GoPro 4K camera.
In basic terms, the Breeze manages to deliver at least ¾ the performance of its bigger, badder cousins on the consumer drone market but costs only a third as much. This quality could give the breeze lots of popularity with certain users.
Story by 4k.com