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Xiaomi Mi Drone promises 4K aerial video on a budget

With power banks, fitness trackers, action cameras and even a smart air purifier under its name, Xiaomi is definitely not afraid to span out into various markets and try new things. The Chinese giant’s latest announcement is a perfect testament to that. The Mi Drone hardly comes as a surprise and has been discussed and teased for some time now, but, frankly, that doesn’t make it any less exciting.

As promised, Xiaomi’s first forray into the fast-growing UAV business was officially unveiled today and with video capture capabilities at up to 4K resolution, it definitely looks promising. The Mi Drone comes courtesy of Xiaomi subsidiary Flymi and Cai Wei – its CEO with seven years of drone experience. The compact white quad-copter is very light thanks to its carbon-fiber body and with a removable camera, landing gear and blades, it is easily transportable as well.

Speaking of the camera, it is the real star of the show with its 12-megapixel Sony BSI sensor with 6-element lens and three-axis image stabilization. The base model of the Mi Drone can capture FullHD video, while the top of the line one can also record 4K at 30fps, quite impressive. RAW image support is also present.

But the cool tricks don’t stop there. As with most other drones in the higher-end market segment, the Mi Drone offers FPV by leveraging a phone, docked to the controller. The really neat thing her is that Xiaomi promises 720p quality live video streaming at a range of up to 2 km. That is definitely not something you see every day and definitely not in this price range – CNY 2499 (US$ 380) for the 1080p one and CNY 2999 (US$ 457) for the full 4K experience.

Another neat feature of the Mi Drone worth mentioning is a flight time of up to 27 minutes over a 3 km area thanks to a 5100mAh battery from LG or Grepow. There are also a plethora of smart features, accessible through the smartphone app, like GPS tracking, flying by routes, auto take-off, landing and hover, as well as automatic return back home upon signal loss.