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Today saw the long awaited launch of the Xiaomi Mi Drone and despite the hype it was a bit of a let down. We have decided to write a review on our initial thoughts on the drone and will update this review as soon as we get our hands on one of these drones to perform a more in depth review.
Sure the drone is priced at ~$460 USD for the 4K version and $380 for the 1080P version but it is not quite the deal it sounds. This may be a result of most drone manufacturers already making thin margins on most products to date.
The Xiaomi Mi drone includes GPS, GLONASS, a 27 minute flight time, and the standard package of autonomous flights modes: takeoff, landing, return to home, waypoint navigation, and orbit. The only stand out feature that the drone seems to offer is a very strong battery life compared to many offerings in that price range. The camera also has the ability to stream to a mobile device mounted above the controller. It is unknown at the moment if it will be able to stream to any device such as Android and ios or will only be compatible with Xiaomi smartphones.
The Xiaomi drone does ok competing against offerings by DJI, the largest consumer drone manufacturer, however not as well if you are looking for simply the cheapest drone that can shoot 1080p or 4K video. Take a look at the Cheerson CX-20 for instance, a drone that has been received well and includes an abundance of features. This drone costs just over $200 USD and with the addition of a Xiaomi Yi action camera easily rivals the lowest Xiaomi Mi drone while costing almost $100 less. The Cheerson CX-20 lacks the gimbal however and also lacks the same battery life, but if you are looking for a cheap drone that can capture quality aerial footage there is already an option that is almost $100 less than the lowest priced Xiaomi drone. Even when it comes to the 4K Xiaomi Mi drone, a combination of a Cheerson CX-20 and a Eken H9 4K action camera totals under $300 USD.
When comparing the Xiaomi Mi drone against offerings by DJI however, it scores more favorably. The lowest end Xiaomi Mi drone that will sell for $380 is comparable in many ways to the DJI Phantom 3 Standard that currently retails for $499. The Xiaomi drone does even better when comparing it to the 4K version of the DJI Phantom 4, with the Xiaomi drone costing only $480 versus $799 for the cheapest DJI 4K offering. Many questions remain however and it remains to be seen how the quality of the Xiaomi Mi drone will be against its DJI rivals as well as how the mobile app and flight software will stack up against DJI.
Overall, if you are looking for the best price which was where Xiaomi seemed to do well in the past I would recommend looking past the Xiaomi Mi drone and instead focusing on some offerings already available such as the Cheerson CX-20 and Xiaomi Yi/Eken H9 4K combination. For those who want a ready to fly offering that offers some additional frills such as a gimbal, and integrated camera then it may be worth paying the extra money for the Xiaomi Mi Drone with its much better price than the price offered by DJI. Check back here and we will update this review as soon as we can get our hands on one of the new Xiaomi drones and can perform a more in depth review.