Update (September 2017)
An interesting gadget will be released in October for Xiaomi drone users! Various online retailers have listed a 1-axis handheld gimbal called "FEIMI X3BH" that can be used with the drone's camera module. Similar to the GoPro Karma Grip, the camera module should also be able to be used hand-held. The FEIMI gimbal currently costs around €57. As soon as there is more information about the gadget, it will follow in a separate post!
Update (July 2016)
The first reviews of the Xiaomi Drone have appeared on YouTube. You can find a particularly detailed test (English) on the YouTube channel of "Quadcopter 101". The high-quality workmanship, the precise positioning, the gimbal including the 1080p camera, as well as the above-average flight time of a good 27 minutes were particularly praised. However, the flight restrictions and the weak app implementation were criticized. This means, among other things, that you as Beginners have to complete “flight lessons” and are limited to a maximum altitude of 5 meters and a range of 50 meters in the first 100 hours of flight.
Update (April 2017)
The Xiaomi Mi Drone 1080K announced with the 4p variant is now also available. Only the camera was changed, which now also enables high-resolution 4K video recordings. The design of the drone and the rest of the hardware, such as the flight controller, however, have remained the same. It is not known to what extent Xiaomi will offer the camera module separately.
Xiaomi Mi Drone
The Xiaomi Mi Drone is a camera drone that is sold in a 1080p and 4K version. The standard model is equipped with a 16.35 megapixel Sony image sensor, which is supported by a powerful Ambarella image processor. By the way, this image processor is also used in current GoPro Action Cam models. In this combination, the maximum resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p) at 60 frames per second.
The 4K version of the Xiaomi drone, which was still in a "beta phase" in July 2016, has a Sony image sensor with a resolution of 12.4 megapixels. This is also combined with an Ambarella image processor. The maximum resolution is 3840 x 2160 pixels with 30 frames per second. Other video resolutions available are 1440p at 30 frames per second, as well as 1080p at 100, 60 or 30 frames per second. There are also minor differences between the individual camera modules in the field of view, which is 4° for the 94K model and 1080° for the 104p model.
The first video recordings of the 1080p model can already be found on YouTube. Here's a video from the Chinese YouTuber"Sami Luo"
Video recording to the 4K model
The Xiaomi quadrocopter already has a 3-axis gimbal for image stabilization, which is why this does not have to be bought additionally. The gimbal stabilizes up to 2000 vibrations per second and has an accuracy of + -0.02 °. The weight of the camera including the gimbal is given by the manufacturer as 149g. To what extent the drone can be modified, for example, to use a custom gimbal or your own cam, is questionable. In the first unboxing videos, however, it can be clearly seen that the camera and gimbal can be removed.
Remote control and app
The remote control of the Mi Drone is more reminiscent of a GamePad than a professional quadrocopter control unit, but it has all the necessary functions. The signal is transmitted via 2.4 GHz (5 GHz China). Two powerful antennas enable a maximum transmission range of 1000 (1080p) to 2000 (4K) meters. The maximum image transmission range with the 4K variant is also around 2 kilometers. However, the resolution is reduced to 720p. Your own smartphone in combination with the appropriate Xiaomi Drone app serves as an additional control unit. The antennas on the remote control serve as a holder. The live image can be output via the smartphone, and settings can also be made directly via the smartphone's touchscreen.
The so-called “Pointed Flight” function is particularly interesting. Thanks to the GPS and GLONASS capabilities of the Mi drone, it can be controlled meticulously. If you display the current map section using the Mi Drone app, you can steer the drone to exactly that point by setting a flight point. The actual flight takes place completely autonomously. You can also fly from several flight points in a row. Another function is the “Surrounded Flight”, which means that the Xiaomi drone flies around objects in circular movements and takes 360° images. There is also an automatic hover flight, in which the Mi Drone maintains the current position. If the drone ever slips away, you can call it back using the “Return to Home” function.
Battery and delivery
The 17.4V battery has a capacity of 5.100mAh. This makes flight times of around 27 minutes quite possible. As soon as the battery reaches a certain low level and continuing the flight is not conceivable, the "Return to Home" function is automatically triggered. The Xiaomi Mi Drone is delivered ready to fly and also includes replacement rotors. A propeller guard is included.