As a rule of thumb, once China gets a hold on an idea, you can bet that trend is here to stay. Such is the case with the latest in consumer tech: drones. While DJI has a strong hold on the market, the Chinese team at Xiamoi knows that not everyone can afford the steep price tag attached to your typical DJI offering. That’s why they’ve decided to launch their own affordable version of the video-shooting aircraft called the Mi Drone.
Their quadcopter design features a three-axis gimbal, shoots in either 4K or 1080p, and uses your Mi smartphone as the viewfinder. What set’s Xiaomi’s design above the fray, however, is the modular nature of the product. Each camera module is detachable, as are the rotors, and the drone is powered by an easily replaceable 5,100mAh battery, and on a single charge, the quadcopter can get 27 minutes of flight time. It uses both GPS and GLONASS for positioning and has a visual positioning system on the bottom so it can remain stable while flying at low altitudes without needing a satellite signal. The 4k version, which runs just under $460, will be available for testing in a beta program at the end of July while Xiaomi plans on crowdfunding the 1080p version on the Mi Home app with plans to retail for just $380.