Drone have come a long way in the past few years, but now that manufacturers have managed to stuff them with all the bells and whistles we could ever want, the race is on to shrink them down and make them more portable. Why? Well, what good is having an autonomous flying camera if you can’t take it everywhere you go? As drone makers have started to realize how important portability is, there’s now a flood of super-compact unmanned aerial vehicles hitting the market.Here we list 5 pocket sized drones for your selection.
DJI Mavic Pro
Rather than have a large, rigid quadcopter design, the Mavic Pro is foldable, and it’s small enough to fit in your bag. Similar to the GoPro Karma drone , the four quadcopter arms fold in to the body, but do so in a very neat and incredibly compact fashion.
Although it’s small, don’t let that fool you in to thinking it isn’t powerful and full of top-notch features. For instance, it can last up to 27 minutes in flight on a full battery, and it takes less than a minute to set up and calibrate to get it flying. Mounted to the 3-axis stabilisation mount is a camera capable of recording up to 4K resolution at 30 frames per second, or full HD up to 96 frames per second.
It has a minimum focusing distance of 0.5m and a 12-megapixel sensor equipped with the ability to take still RAW pictures tuned purposefully for aerial imagery. Perhaps more impressive is that the new transmission system has a range of up to 4.3 miles and can live stream 1080p footage directly to Facebook Live, Periscope, and YouTube through the connected DJI GO app.
To immerse you more in to the experience of flying the drone, DJI says its new gadget will pair with a new set of immersive DJI goggles. With these on your face, you’ll see 90-degree view straight from the drone’s camera in 1080p.
- Small, foldable design
- Obstacle avoidance system
- Sharp, distortion-free stabilized 4K video camera
- 12MP Raw and JPG stills
- Records in portrait or landscape mode
- Compact remote control
- Strong operating range
- Orbit, follow, and other intelligent flight modes
- 23-minute flight time
- Requires a smartphone for full experience
- Unable to take off from grass in testing
- Not as steady in strong wind as Phantom models
- Karma without a GoPro camera for $799.99
- Karma bundled with Hero 5 Black for $1099.99
- Karma bundled with Hero 5 Session for $999.99 (available in early 2017 – no UK price announced)
GoPro’s first drone: the Karma drone.
Size-wise, it’s small enough to fit easily in to a small backpack (which it ships with), that the company claims is light enough to wear during any activity without getting uncomfortable. What’s more, the controller is designed to be as easy to use as a console gamepad and has a built-in touch screen, so you don’t need a phone to see footage from the Karma.
As for the camera mounting system, it’s a 3-axis stabiliser which can be removed from the Karma drone and then attached to an included handgrip and used handheld, giving you super smooth handheld footage. In many ways, the Drone is trying to compete with drones, and handheld gimbal systems with one product.
On November 11th, GoPro announced that they were recalling all Karma units sold as some units would stop mid-flight and fall out of the sky. As soon as we hear when GoPro plans to start shipping units again, we’ll let you know.
The Yuneec Breeze is the smaller, lighter brother of Yuneec’s more heavy-duty Typhoon drones. But don’t let its diminutive stature fool you — this little drone has a lot going on under the hood. Despite being a bit less powerful, the Yuneec Breeze has a lot of the same features you’ll find on it’s bigger, more expensive brethren.
Yuneec Breeze can shoot in 4K at 30 frames per second, take 13 megapixel still shots, and even beam live video back to your smartphone in the process, allowing you to see what the drone sees in real time. On top of that, Yuneec Breeze is also equipped with a decent suite of autonomous filming modes, including Orbit, Follow Me, and Selfie — features that used to be found exclusively on drones that cost $1,000 or more.
In addition to a super-portable design, Yuneec Breeze also boasts an indoor positioning system, which helps it fly and maintain stability when flying indoors with limited GPS connectivity. To top it all off, Yuneec Breeze comes with a carrying case, a set of prop guards, and two batteries — each of which will get you about 11 to 12 minutes of flight time.
The Dobby is Zerotech’s first aerial photo drone for consumers. The headline feature of the miniature quadcopter is its foldable propellers, which allow it to collapse down to a size that will fit, perhaps a tad uncomfortably, into a pants pocket.
Like other drones, it can be controlled remotely from an iOS or Android device, but the Zerotech Dobby includes a few ease-of-use refinements. It can be launched by tossing it, tapping it three times, or even with a voice command spoken into your phone.
It can hover or track a subject autonomously, both indoors and out, and can also be piloted manually with gesture controls. It runs on a 2.3GHz processor with 2 gigabytes of RAM, and features 16GB of internal storage capacity.
On the camera side, a 13-megapixel sensor should capture decent still photos, but video is limited to 1080p. It also features three-axis electronic image stabilization, but as with other EIS systems, it does appear to reduce video quality when enabled. Still photos can be captured as single shots, continuous bursts, or on time delay.
It’s designed to fold up like a book when you’re not flying.It’s intentionally built to fit inside a backpack or purse.
The drone is equipped with a pretty decent little camera. It shoots video in 4K, stills at 13 megapixels, and even has a built-in flash. The Hover Camera Passport stands apart from other portable drones thanks to image recognition software, which allows the Hover Camera drone to not only sense/track faces and bodies, but also maintain its position in space without the aid of GPS.
the Hover Camera comes with a suite of autonomous flying/filming modes. In addition to standard ones like Orbit and Follow, it has a 360 Panorama function you can activate with the touch of a button, as well as a thing called Beast Mode, which lets you turn off the drone’s software-imposed motor limitations for those times when you need to follow really fast objects.
The Hover Camera definitely isn’t the drone to get if you’re looking for high-performance flight. It tops out at 17 miles per hour (In manual mode), doesn’t have GPS, and has a suggested max range of 65 feet.The battery life isn’t the best at 8-10 minutes, but the company does include two batteries from the get-go for those who need more flight time.
Which one is for you?Feel free to join the discussion.