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Xiaomi’s latest release is a new Mi drone with a 4K UHD version for just $460

by on May 26, 2016
 

Stephan Jukic – May 26, 2016

As we’d covered a few days ago on this site, Xiaomi was releasing some very vague information about a new product for the 25th of May but without even revealing specific details about exactly what the new toy from the Chinese company would actually be. Instead, vague hints and other evidence from their own site and other sources gave an impression that strongly hinted at a new drone. These included a couple of photos of what were obviously drone design elements in the then upcoming product and information about recent patent filings from Xiaomi for drone technology.

Well now that the 25th has come and gone, we can let the guessing rest. Xiaomi has revealed that their new product is indeed a new “Mi” drone and best of all, it comes in two highly affordable versions: one with HD video recording for $380 and another with 4K UHD video capacity at 30fps for a remarkably affordable price of $460. These are indeed low retail prices considering how pricey the latest DJI Phantom drones with 4K camera are in comparison but whether the Xiaomi Mi drones and especially the 4K model, offer similar quality to that of the generally superb Phantom 3 and 4 UAVs with built-in 4K video recording remains to be seen.

The 3-axis gimbal mounted camera of the Mi drone

The 3-axis gimbal mounted camera of the Mi drone

The extremely popular Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer announced on the 25th that it’s launching the new Mi drone quadracopter on the Chinese market to start with and from there on other markets.

The new Mi drone comes with a three-axis gimbal, an integrated 4K camera and a remote control which works with a user’s Mi smartphone display for its viewfinding and live video streaming capabilities which consist of a 720p live video feed at a distance of up to 2km.

As we said, the 4K version of the drone is retailing for 2,999 yuan (roughly $460) and the Full HD version of the drone, which is identical in other respects, is selling for 2,499 yuan, or about $380 USD. In comparison, DJI’s Phantom 4 4K drone and Yuneec’s Typhoon Q500 4K drone both retails for well over $1000. So the Xiaomi Mi flyer definitely offers some cool savings, assuming its specs and ease-of-use make it a worthwhile purchase.

Xiaomi-Mi-Drone-Remote-1024x677

One of the main benefits that Xiaomi is underlining about the Mi drone models is their “modularity and serviceability”. The company has explained that the camera module is fully detachable along with the drone’s rotors. Furthermore, the Mi drone comes with a rather powerful 5,100mAh battery which can also easily be replaced and which offers a very decent flight time of 27 minutes on a single charge. This is in fact superior to the 19 to 25 minute flight times of the Yuneec Typhoon and DJI Phantom 3 drones. The Phantom 4 drone however does beat the Mi model by 1 extra minute and also offers superior range.

The new Mi quadracopter models also both use GPS and GLONASS for navigation and positioning as well as for their autonomous flight control mechanisms and these autonomous functions consist of standard features like takeoff, landing, return to home, orbit and waypoint navigation, making them similar to those that the Phantom 3 and 4 drones offer. On the other hand, Xiaomi has given the Mi drone a cool “geofence” feature which can be used to limit the range of its movement as it flies autonomously or manually.

Concrete details on retail release of the new Xiaomi Mi 4K drone models are a bit hazy but from what we know the first units of the 4K version will be available to consumers in July and will at first sell on the Chinese market before becoming available in North America.

Story by 4k.com

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