The drone wars have begun. Watch out, DJI. Xiaomi’s first drones are here and are ultra cheap.
Dubbed the Mi Drone, the company announced on Wednesday two models in 1080p and 4K. The Mi Drone 1080 will be crowdfunded in the Mi Home app beginning May 26. The Mi Drone 4K will be available to beta testers in July.
After being teased over the last week, Xiaomi founder Lei Jun officially unveiled the Mi Drone in front of more than 370,000 live stream viewers.
The drone itself looks impressive. It has a 3-axis stabilization gimbal and weighs just 140 grams. During the live stream presentation of the launch, Xiaomi chairman Lei Jun said the Mi Drone was the result of more than 7 years of research and 30 revisions.
It has flying time of 27 minutes – which is about on-par with what DJI rates its best-selling Phantom 3 and Phantom 4 drones. The battery is 5100mAh and Jun says it will be easy to replace/carry extra with you.
The Mi Drone has auto-pilot and an auto-homing system so it can return to you with the tap of a button.
Xiaomi says that for “safer and more stable” flights, the Mi Drone has GPS and GLONASS for better positioning. Xiaomi says that the Mi Drone’s vision positioning can hover at low altitudes (below 2.5m) even without satellite signals.
The Mi Drone 1080p has a 16-megapixel Sony backside illuminated CMOS and a 104-degree wide angle lens. For the 4K model, it has a 12-megapixel 4K camera that shoots video at 3840×2160 pixels and can capture still images in RAW.
The specs are cool, but the big news is the price.
The Mi Drone 1080p will be just ¥2,499 ($380 USD). The Mi Drone 4K will sell for just ¥2,999 ($456 USD). By point of comparison, DJI’s 4K Phantom 3 sells for ¥3,999 in China and $800 in the United States. DJI’s Phantom 3 Standard is $499 in the U.S..
And it’s clear that Xiaomi is targeting Shenzhen-based DJI, the industry leader in the drone space, with the Mi Drone.
In the live stream, Jun talked about the importance of affordability. “I want everyone to be able to afford good stuff.”
Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra will be doing a Facebook Live about the Mi Drone at 12:00pm EDT.