Xiaomi Mi 4K Drone Review

Xiaomi Mi Drone

  • 1080p at 60fps or 4K UHD (3840 x 2160px) at 30fps Camera with 104 ° wide angle lens
  • GPS and GLONASS with Return to Home, flight ban and locating functions
  • Folding or foldable chassis (finally pack up quickly – yay!)
  • Live video streaming to the app
  • 27 minutes flight time through 17.4V rechargeable battery 5100mAh battery

Test flight over the Côte d’Azur

Before it starts and we explain how to get your Mi Drone in the air, check out our spectacular test flight over the Côte d’Azur .Then you know why the effort is worth it😉

YouTube Video Preview

Unwrapped! Packaging and accessories of Mi Drone

The threats come in a simple white package – typical for Xiaomi – in which the aircraft and accessories are as space-saving as possible. Pictures say more than a thousand words, so check out the contents of the box in the following pictures. Everything is labeled, including the operating instructions, exclusively in Chinese, when opening the individual boxes, it always remains exciting what is hidden in it.

Xiaomi Mi Drone Box
Love at first sight? The design appeals immediately.
Xiaomi Mi Drone Box (2)
Everything neatly packaged … and in chinese labeled
Xiaomi Mi Drone Box (3)
Accessories: Cables, screws, spare parts
Xiaomi Mi Drone Box (4)
After assembly, the Quadrocopter makes more directly.

As can be seen in the picture, there are two sets of rotor blades , as well as protectors, which can be attached optionally. The rest is the necessary attachments to screws as well as charging cables. Mi Drone ‘s camera was included in a separate box.

Step by Step – Before the first start of the Mi Drone

Although Xiaomi is also using its drone once again on user friendliness and a very intuitive operation, as standard both the manual and the app but only available in Chinese, it becomes confusing even for experienced pilots. In addition to describing the details of the quadrocopter, we have a step-by-step guide here, so you can get off easily.

After unpacking, you want to assemble the drone. The rotor blades are quickly and easily mounted , and even color-coded, so that even the right blade lands in the right place.

Colored markings help with the assembly – in a few seconds the rotors are screwed tightly

The chassis of the Mi Drone is still collapsed in the box, but can simply be folded down until a light click is heard and the catch snaps into place. To re-fold it has to be unlocked.

The retractable landing gear is particularly helpful during transportation

The orange-colored protectors look nice, but are absolutely optional. Since they do not interfere, we would simply advise you to screw them on especially at the beginning, especially as the aircraft is more visible . The only “downside”, if you will, is a slightly stronger noise.

Xiaomi Drone Protectors
Pure optional, but a real eye-catcher

Also installing the camera does not really require much skill. A small shutter on the bottom releases the connector to which the camera is then simply plugged. It may be a light pressure, so that it engages fully, but that is all.

Two simple handles attach the camera with optional 1080p or 4K

A first flight test has been a lot of fun:

YouTube Video Preview

Battery pack

The battery – nominally 5100mAh strong – is simply pushed back into the drone. The only thing that needs to be noticed is that the right side is up. The push button should be on the bottom. The rechargeable battery is also bought separately, about 100 € are payable for the replacement battery.

The four LEDs on the back indicate the battery status

The enclosed power cord is used for charging, but an adapter for German sockets is required .

Charging the battery

Remote control

The drone is already ready for use after the above steps, but the remote control is still ready. It is loaded with the enclosed micro-USB cable, which is simply inserted on the bottom.

All connections are behind a cover on the bottom

The same cable can then be used, vice versa, also used for your smartphone. Here again the hint: Without smartphone and Xiaomi account as well as App goes nothing. The smartphone can easily be clamped into the holder hidden in the remote control.

Among other things responsible for the size of the remote control: The practical smartphone holder inside
Also with the remote control it holds Xiaomi as simple as possible

However unusual the remote control looks, it is well placed but in the hand, even if it could be a tiny piece smaller. In addition to the sticks to control, there is a power button, a button for take-off or landing and a return home switch, which we leave out but first.

Where there would otherwise be shortsters, there are two wheels with which the inclination of the camera on the one hand and the brightness of the front, white LEDs can be regulated on the other hand. Underneath – on the back – there are two buttons to take pictures and videos.

Where other shorts are suspected, there are wheels for controlling camera lighting and lighting

Xiaomi Drone App

Here it is now somewhat more complicated, officially there is the Xiaomi Drone app ( iTunes / Android ) namely only in Chinese . Fortunately there is an  unofficial English app for the Mi Drone, but their installation did not work out right away. Clear advantage of the unofficial version: it is very easy to understand and mostly self-explanatory, if one is of English power (the same is true, but also for the Chinese version / language 🙂). For all who want to use the official version (and because we have just stayed with Chinese from the beginning), we refer to it here.

Create an Xiaomi account first . There are some problems with German email addresses. In case of doubt, a .com ending should be used. What else works is the account creation on the Xiaomi website.

Xiaomi Drone App (1)
“Uh, what?” It’s half as complicated as it looks.

After launching the app, you need to turn on the remote and quadrocopter by pressing and holding the power button for a second time for about 2 seconds . Nothing else tells you at this point also the app. The smartphone is connected to the remote with the USB cable.

Xiaomi Drone App (2)
Bluetooth and USB tethering must always be switched on

The next window you can simply confirm by pressing, so you get into the settings of your smartphone, where your Bluetooth and USB tethering must activate , so you have not already done. On the occasion, you should also enable the smartphone  ‘s location function.

Xiaomi Drone App (3)
So it should look in the app at the end – links you can switch between camera and map view

Update the software

Strictly speaking, only two steps have to be taken before the start: Updating the firmware and calibrating the quadrocopter. For both points, go to the app’s menu that is located behind the hex icon on the right (above the shutter button for the camera). There the following sight awaits you:

Xiaomi Drone App (5)
The menu with the most important points

The second point with the blue symbol leads you to the firmware. If an update is necessary, this is also displayed there; On the screenshot here the version is current. After two more clicks, the update is automatically loaded onto your smartphone, followed by the upload to the drone. Simply confirm by clicking, you can do wrong here. Important: The update must be inserted into an SD card in the corresponding slot of the camera of the drone .

Calibrate the Mi Drone

The point directly below – the compass needle in the symbol reveals it – leads to the calibration of the drone. The operation should be executed once, and is described next to the text with pictures. After about 6 revolutions, the process is completed, but this may take several attempts.

Xiaomi Drone App (6)
The calibration works easily thanks to the imaging even without Chinese language skills

What we have hitherto been cautious are all functions that are based on GPS in any form, such as the automatic departure of certain points on the map and the return function. The reason for this is the supposedly inaccurate location. So the app shows us the map of the Greater Beijing, which will change to our location only after a while. Then, however, the drone on the map is displayed one kilometer away from our actual position, while the location of the smartphone indicates our own location correctly. Here we have to test further before we can explain the functions more precisely.

Xiaomi Drone App (4)
The locating does not work immediately, often you land like here in Beijing

The app provides you with massive information; Fortunately, Chinese digits are also used in China, and once you can understand how to work well. In the upper left corner the airport is shown , the distance below is supposed to show the distance. To the right, you will see the battery status of the drone and the GPS connection on the right. This value must be above 14 to allow the drone to start. The main display is located in the bar at the top left of the screen. If the drone can not start for any reason, there is an x and “起飞 起飞”. As soon as the GPS signal rises above 14, a small check mark appears with the info “起飞 起飞 (GPS)”, as shown in the picture above.

Xiaomi Drone App (7)
The blue point is the smartphone, a red arrow, not even in the picture, the position of the drone

With the current firmware and a GPS connection you can then start. It may take a few moments before a sufficiently good GPS connection exists, you should be able to observe how the number goes down slowly to the right. Pressing the two sticks V-shaped inwards starts the motors, and with the left stick you let the drone rise.

The Xiaomi Mi Drone in the air

We are very impressed by the drone, it is quiet in the air ( test flight on YouTube ) and deviates only slightly from its position depending on the altitude and wind force, which otherwise it reliably holds. Also, if you did not let a beginner fly with a quadrocopter of this size, you could probably do it here without him or her doing a lot wrong.

Many automatic modes for the beginner

Xiaomi scoops up here, but does not offer any news. Again, we must not forget the crisp price. Included are:

  • Autohold/Autohover to automatically keep the altitude
  • Programmable automatic route and destination approach (way point flight path planning) and “tap to fly on map”
  • To circle objects around
  • RTH, ie manually triggerable, “fly home” or if the battery is empty, this is automatically triggered
  • Prevention of flights in flight ban zones
  • Automatic take off and landing
  • Tap Destination

Unfortunately, we had hardly an opportunity to fly them extensively, because simply simply before the door and in the middle of the city to start is simply no real option. As soon as we have more video material of the camera, we update the article and share our experiences with you.

An important info is already mentioned here: Even if the Mi Drone is to avoid independent flight ban zones, is not sure that these are already available in the map material for Germany. So rely on a healthy human understanding when you let the drone rise, and not on the fact that it will turn itself off.

Camera

Where we talk about videos: The camera convinces us absolutely. The 4k version comes with a 12.4-megapixel sensor from Sony (including RAW export), the more economical version a weaker 16MP sensor is used. The lens covers 104 degrees, which is more than usual, but less, what eg their Yi offers. A built-in 3-axis gimbal prevents vibrations from being transmitted to the camera. Xiaomi Drone camera

We have “only” the 1080p version, but the videos already look really good here. The mount or the gimbal do a good job, the picture comes almost completely without jerks and is thereby razor sharp, even if with movements a slight blur sets. Movies is definitely fun, the 4K version is likely to entertain even more.

Also the photos are correspondingly good with a resolution of 16MP, however, the app has to load at each picture, so images can not be shot in too fast a sequence. Both functions – videos and photos – can be made via the button in the app or easier via a separate button on the back of the remote control.

Previous Conclusion

Xiaomi has indeed succeeded in doing a worthy entry into the drone market . If you look from the first setup of the drone in the Chinese app (and this can be handled by the English app), it is as easy to enter as it can be. There was no problem with the connection of the drone, remote control and smartphone, and we had fun from the beginning. But it is also said that if you like to craft and work on its Quad rocoptern itself, will not come here at its cost.

If you do not want just that, but simply a high-quality drone with good camera at a fair price is looking, probably be with the Mi Drone happy. We will continue to collect the flight experience and expand the article. If you have further questions, please contact us in the comments.

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