Look, I’m just going to come out and say it – I don’t understand the appeal of drones. I’m not talking about the military type that can destroy a moving target from tens of thousands of feet in the air, they seem like spectacularly horrific killing machines, I get them. I’m talking about the camera equipped quadcopters that cost upwards of £400 for basic models. Is flying a perfectly stable craft and getting pictures of things from above really that much fun? Are those pictures really that remarkable? Am I now, in my mid 20s, far too old to understand drones, ‘hoverboards’ and the cultural appreciation of Zayn Malik? It does, fair reader, seem that way. Nevertheless, Xiaomi are joining the race for the skies with their own drone, the Mi Drone.

Xiaomi’s take on the drone landscape is much the same as other popular brands like DJI – with four rotary blades for extremely stable flight, a plastic construction and a 4K camera mounted on the bottom. What separates it, apparently, is the modularity and repairability of the drone, as the 360-degree 4K camera can be replaced, just like the rotors, 5,100mAh battery and body.

mi drone controller

The Mi Drone is controlled through a dedicated controller, which features a phone mount for observing the video being shot on your drone, as well as key flight information, like how much battery life you’ve got left. The Mi Drone has a distance of 2km, features a dedicated button for takeoff and landing. Indeed, it’s got some nice beginner friendly features baked in, like automatically retuning back to you when its battery is running low or if it loses contact with the controller. All in, the drone should fly for around 27 minutes.

As for pricing, the 4K version of the Mi Drone will cost around £315 when it hits China in the end of July via an open beta programme. There’s also a 1080p model priced at almost £260 that will be crowdfunded on the Mi Home app starting from the 26th of May, 2016. Both devices come with included propeller guards.

In the meantime, take a look at their glossy promo video and be thankful they didn’t advertise it by strapping it to a cat.

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Ten fingers, five senses, one man, loads of Chinese smartphones.

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