The Xiaomi Mi Drone a 4K affordable Xiaomi drone option

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The Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi, one of the most popular electronics brands in China, entered into the drone market with the Xiaomi Mi Drone 4k. The Xiaomi drone is a high quality and affordable option with the benefit of the 4K video recording. The Xiaomi Mi Drone 4k is one of the cheapest professional drones on the market. Its price is well below DJI drones like the Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Pro, DJI Mavic and even better priced than the small DJI Spark. It does not have a follow me mode, nor an object detection system such as DJI drones, but it is equipped with a descent battery life, GPS, 4k camera and barometric sensors that make it a high-performance and low-cost professional drone.

The Xiaomi drone comes to compete directly with the famous DJI brands, and as usual with Xiaomi, they offer us a super high tech product with the highest quality possible. However, as expected from a low-price range model, it has some functionality compromises, such as the absence of follow-me mode, but it also has interesting functionalities, in terms of removability and portability. Will it be enough to compete against DJI?

The Xiaomi Mi Drone 4k is equipped with four powerful brushless motors and has dimensions of 38 x 45.5 x 17 centimetres and a weight of 670 grams. It is made up of a body with four propellers and has a camera built into the base. This is mounted on a three-axis gimbal that has the ability to stabilize up to 2,000 vibrations per second, according to the company. The gimbal, as well as the landing legs, are detachable, which makes it a better option to take it on a trip than the DJI Phantom that is not as portable as the Mavic or the Spark.

What type of camera does it have?

Regarding the camera, the drone is available in two versions: a basic one with a 1080p camera, and an advanced one with a 104º wide-angle lens that will record 4K video and can take photos in RAW format. Additionally, it is capable of low latency 720p live video streaming up to 2km away. The Xiaomi Mi Drone 4k uses a Sony 12.4 megapixel sensor. Another very good option is that it allows you to record video at 1080 at 100fps.

Xiaomi drone camera

More about the battery

It is equipped with a 15.2V 5100mAh LiPo battery and has an approximate charging time of 2.5 hours. According to the manufacturer, gives the device a flight range of 27 minutes. A very competitive figure in line with other brand models available on the market. In case the system detects the low battery, the Xiaomi drone will automatically return to the starting point. You can incorporate spare interchangeable batteries. They come with smart protection technology, the batteries are safe and last longer.

Xiaomi Mi Drone 4K

The first flight experience

Before buying the drone, make sure your smartphone is compatible with the “My Drone” application from the Google Play Store. The app is compatible with Android 4.0 and later versions. The application does not work with Intel Atom / Cherry processors (included in some tablets or some Asus mobile models).

Your smartphone may not allow you to install the application (through google play), for this you can try the manual installation by downloading it directly from the Xiaomi website. It is also available for iOS.

In addition to this you will need a good SD card (Class 30 and UHS II / I) that can handle the writing speed in 4K quality (in case you have bought the 4k version).

First impressions flying with this drone are incredibly good. The first thing that stands out is the extreme stability of the Xiaomi drone when we leave it still at the same point. Also noteworthy is the speed at which you can fly even in GPS mode.

Just like its competition, the DJI model, the Xiaomi drone comes with a remote control, but its main adjustments are made through an application. This drone imposes restrictions for the first 5 hours of flight, a kind of blockage for beginners, with limitations both in height and in the maximum distance at which it can be flown. After 300 minutes of flight, the quadcopter is unlocked, and all settings will come in standard mode.

Advanced flight modes

  • Back home: Without a doubt the most interesting feature on the list. The Xiaomi drone automatically returns to the point from which it has taken off if it loses the signal with the remote control, or if it is low on battery.
  • POI (Point of interest): A really useful way to make video. We focus the drone on the target to be filmed, and then we zoom out with a certain radius and camera angle, and it will start to rotate around with the camera pointing at the target (you get a very professional result without practically doing anything!).
  • Flight plan: It will allow us to record a certain route through GPS points and the altitude at that time. Thus, we can make a second flight in which the drone moves as we want and thus focus on the photographic part only.
  • Automatic takeoff and landing: The drone takes off automatically and maintains the position and height at 1.5 meters from the ground.

Unfortunately it does not have a follow-me mode. There were rumors that they were going to implement this option with the Mi Band bracelet, but in the end it has come to nothing.

On paper, this drone has an autonomy of 27 minutes, however in our tests we have found that in practice it offers about 22 minutes of flight, since when it reaches 15% battery it makes an emergency landing, which is not bad at all.

By simply pressing a button on the radio control as from the app, the Xiaomi drone will land and take off automatically. You can set a point on the application screen and the Xiaomi Mi Drone 4k will automatically fly to that location. You can plan routes for the drone to carry out autonomously, setting the points on the app screen. Even first-time pilots can take impressive aerial videos of a totally professional quality. You can also choose a point and a turning radius on the app screen and the Xiaomi drone will automatically turn around that point, making incredible videos.

The Xiaomi drone has a triple positioning system, GPS + GLONASS + Optical system at the bottom of the drone for indoor flight with little GPS signal. It is also equipped with multiple security systems, such as the return to our position in case of low battery or the return in case of loss of connection with the radio control. The Xiaomi drone is able to calculate the energy he needs to go back home and based on this calculations it traces the point of return.

Another interesting feature is that the Xiaomi Mi Drone 4k is programmed to move away from flight exclusion zones. When it detects this type of restriction and is in mid-flight, the quadcopter sends an alert to the command control so that you can deviate its trajectory, thus avoiding possible accidents.

In addition, it is prepared to detect surfaces with a high level of sensitivity. Thanks to the combination of the CORETEXT-A7 quad-core processor with a series of optical flow and night vision algorithms.

Compass calibration

This process must be performed outside, in a clean field without power lines or metal structures close to the drone. The app explains very clearly how to do it. You must rotate the Xiaomi drone on its own axis, clockwise. For safety it is recommended to perform the calibration before each flight.

In order to achieve a correct calibration it is not enough to rotate the drone in just two axis. You have to rotate the drone in many axis as possible, in X, Y and Z, and also any combination of those three.


The remote controller

With the Xiaomi we can pilot watching the images in real time that the drone camera captures on a mobile device. The radio control has a support to place the mobile which in turn is connected directly to the radio control to obtain a clear and perfect image. We just have to download the free Xiaomi app on our mobile (compatible with both Android and iOS) and we will be able to see the images in real time on our device.

We again compare the Xiaomi drone controller with the on from DJI (being the most representative brand in the market niche and price range). We found that Xiaomi has done an excellent job with the remote control. The controls are precise, the remote is comfortable to hold and comes with a mount to hold our smartphone.

The main options, such as intelligent flight modes, camera settings, FPV (first person view), and such, are available through the Xiaomi application. It is only available in English and Chinese, but it is relatively easy to use and to understand. However, there is one complaint commonly raised by users, that it seems it hangs on the connection quite a bit.

Xiaomi drone controller

This drone is piloted by a remote control that uses a PCB antenna to amplify the signal, which allows it to be controlled in a radius of up to 3 km. In addition, it has autopilot options that include takeoff and landing, as well as trajectory planning. The remote control will also allow directing the Mi Drone. A control designed to be understood even by the least accustomed user to these devices, which in addition to the buttons allows the smartphone to be placed in a small support at the top, so that we can see what the camera is capturing, being this feature an assistance to the control of the drone itself.

Additional considerations before purchasing a Xiaomi drone

Remember that in order to pilot a drone, even if you are an amateur, it is recommended that you take a preparation course. There is currently legislation that requires this process to be carried out prior to casual or commercial use of a drone. Many times these devices dangerously cross commercial flight zones putting lives at risk. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States predicted the rise of drones from 2020, and by the end of that year there were about 4.7 million quadcopters in the US alone.

In conclusion

The Xiaomi Mi 4K is a truly amazing drone. It has a good flight time, a good and stable FPV, 4K video recording, option to record at 100fps with 1080p resolution and good stabilization using its GPS. All this with a very attractive price that makes it a very interesting option for those who do not want to invest so much money in a DJI Phantom, Mavic or Spark.

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