Xiaomi isn't shy about venturing into new segments, and that is exactly what the Chinese manufacturer did earlier today with the launch of its first drone. The Mi Drone is a quadcopter with a ball-shaped camera that can shoot 4K videos, all for ¥2,999 ($460). There's also a variant that offers a 1080p camera, which will retail for ¥2,499 ($380).
The 4K variant of the Mi Drone features a 12.4MP Sony imaging sensor that can shoot videos at up to 3,840 x 2,160 resolution at 30fps, and take images in RAW. The camera is attached to a gimbal that offers three-axis image stabilization, correcting itself up to 2,000 times per second. The 1080p model comes with a 16MP sensor that can shoot Full HD videos at 60fps. The drone has a 5100mAh battery that delivers a flying time of 27 minutes. There's GPS and GLONASS for accurate positioning.
The Mi Drone has an autopilot feature, as well as automatic take-off, landing and return modes, with dedicated switches for each of the functions available on the controller. The return function automatically kicks in when the drone loses connectivity with the controller — it has a range of two kilometers — or when the battery is running low. The controller is stylized to look like Xiaomi's mascot (the Mi Bunny), and has a built-in clamp that can accommodate phones as large as the 6.44-inch Mi Max. There are also options to circle around a specified point, follow a planned route, and set virtual boundaries so the drone doesn't veer off course.
The Mi Drone employs a modular design that lets you fold away the landing gear, allowing the drone to be stowed into a backpack. Xiaomi's also launching a $15 backpack designed specifically for the drone. As for when you can get your hands on the Mi Drone, the 4K model will enter beta testing at the end of July, and the 1080p model is launching on Xiaomi's crowdsourcing platform.
There's no mention if the Mi Drone will make its way to global markets, but we'll let you know once we hear more.