Xiaomi announced their brand new Mi Drone a few weeks back. Bundled with specs at a price point so low, it might give the DJI quadcopters a run for their money. But how does it fare against the veterans, the DJI Phantom 3 and Phantom 4? Check out below!
DJI Phantom 3, Phantom 4 vs Xiaomi Mi Drone: Design
All three of the quadcopters have similar designs mimicking a dragonfly. Each of them have different on board camera for FPV.
But the Mi Drone has a modular design. The components can be disassembled and the drone can easily fit into a backpack. Xiaomi is selling the drone backpack for $15, but unfortunately only in China.
DJI Phantom 3, Phantom 4 vs Xiaomi Mi Drone: Camera
This is where the actual difference between these 3 top drones really starts to show.
DJI Phantom 3 Professional: Sony EXMOR 1/2.3” Effective pixels: 12.4 M, 4k at 30 fps, 1080p at 24/25/30/48/50/60 fps and 720p at 24/25/30/48/50/60 fps.
DJI Phantom 4: 1/2.3” Effective pixels:12 M, 4K at 24/25 fps
3840×2160 (4K) at 24/25/30 fps, (2.7K) at 24/25/30 fps, 1080p at 24/25/30/48/50/60/120 fps, 720p at 24/25/30/48/50/60 fps.
Xiaomi Mi Drone: The Mi Drone has two variants, the 4k and the 1080p variant.
- 4k: 12.4 megapixel Sony sensor, with an Ambarella image processor and can shoot 4k (3,840×2,160-pixel resolution) at 30fps.
- 1080p: 16.4 megapixel Sony sensor and an Ambarella image processor and can shoot 1080p video at 60 fps.
They all come with 3 axis gimbal mounts and provide excellent stutter correction. However, the DJI cameras are tried and tested (with excellent results) while the Mi Drone’s camera performance is yet to be seen.
DJI Phantom 3, Phantom 4 vs Xiaomi Mi Drone: Battery and Flight Time
DJI Phantom 3: It has a flight time of approximately 23 minutes on a 4480mAh, 15.2V LiPo 4S battery.
DJI Phantom 4: It has a slightly better flight time than its predecessor, offering approximately 28 minutes on a 5350mAh, 15.2V LiPo 4S battery, which isn’t much of an upgrade considering the P3 did 23 minutes already.
Xiaomi Mi Drone: Xiaomi is claiming that the Mi Drone has a flight time of 27 minutes on a 5100mAh, 5S LiHV battery. Real-life reviews of the Mi Drone are yet to surface, so we’ll take that with a pinch of salt.
DJI Phantom 3, Phantom 4 vs Xiaomi Mi Drone: Features
DJI Phantom 4 & Phantom 3: The Phantoms come embedded with GPS and GLONASS for better location mapping and maneuvering. They can function even in the absence of GPS by relying on their cameras and ultrasonic sensors (and taking the help of VPS – Vision Positioning System).
The Phantom 3 and Phantom 4 have tap to fly and return home functions. The handheld device can be used as a viewfinder. What sets the Phantoms apart is the Sport Mode, which increases the speed by over 25% along with better in-flight control.
Xiaomi Mi Drone: The Mi too comes equipped with GPS and GLONASS. It has a return to home key on the controller that brings it back to the user.
Called as “Mission Plans”, the Mi Drone can circle round an object, fly directly to a certain point or even follow the path of a road. It also has auto take-off and landing. It uses the smartphone as a viewfinder and provides operation over a long range.
It’d be fair to say that both, the Phantoms and the Mi Drone are pretty neck and neck with the features.
DJI Phantom 3, Phantom 4 vs Xiaomi Mi Drone: Price & Conclusion
This is where the Mi Drone leaps ahead with a drastic margin. The Phantom 4 retails for $1399 whereas the Phantom 3 Professional retails for $999. On the other hand, the Mi Drone’s 1080p variant will retail for $380 and the 4k variant will retail for $460 (in China).
The Mi Drone is a clear winner when it comes to price-performance ratio. But since it hasn’t had any real world tests, we cannot guarantee how the drone will fare. On paper, the Mi Drone isn’t just giving the DJI Phantom series a run for their money, but beating them hands-down with better pricing. The impromptu release of the drone has also led to problems for GoPro as their Drone project is long due.
From what you’ve read here, the Mi Drone is easily the go-to choice with better specs and much better pricing. That said, it’s going to be a while before the Mi Drone starts shipping; if you don’t have the patience, DJIs are the way to go (or the Hubsan H501s which is getting increasingly popular).
All picture credits: Andi Sykes