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Evaluation of Xiaomi’s uav: Is Monopoly in uav Going to End?

  2018-03-21

introduce:Flight: Outstanding hardware with a lack of experience In spite of Xiaomi’s advantage with regard to the supply chain, Feimi Technology, Xiaomi’s cooperator, still lacks experience and the ability to adjust to various usage scenarios of the product.&

Flight: Outstanding hardware with a lack of experience

In spite of Xiaomi’s advantage with regard to the supply chain, Feimi Technology, Xiaomi’s cooperator, still lacks experience and the ability to adjust to various usage scenarios of the product.

Although Feimi Technology may have great potential, it lacks experience in uav for consumption. It is not so experienced as 3DRobotics and ZeroTech are, nor is it a match for DJI, the leader in this field. In fact, different situations arose during the test carried out by ifanr, who also encountered different system bugs, including the problems that cellphone couldn’t be connected to the remote control, and once it could, flight was not permitted; besides, GPS abnormality also occurred in the tests carried out by Guangzhou and Beijing ifanr teams, in which the UAV fell into “flying guillotine” pattern after it took off, flew transversely in an uncontrolled way, threw itself against the wall and thus destroyed itself…Fortunately, no accident appeared.

Even though the problem of system bugs are solved, flight quality of Xiaomi’s UAV is far inferior to that of DJI’s Phantom3. In spite of the fact that axial length in Xiaomi’s UAV is longer than that in DJI, it still fails to remain stable as Phantom3 does when there is external interference during the self-stabilization period; on top of that, ultrasonic wave at the bottom of the vehicle performs ordinarily in terms of height fixation. Even when there is only a small wind-force, the vehicle often drifts for over 0.5m vertically (it is claimed on the official website that +/-accuracy within the working range of ultrasonic wave is up to 0.1m). In addition, it is also quite sensitive in flight dynamics and the flight control intervenes unnaturally; if the controller fails to operate smoothly enough, the vehicle body will swing sharply.

However, Feimi’s team, when communicating with ifanr, explained that the firmware was still a beta version, whose stability was still being debugged.

Subsequently, they launched three firmware updates within a week and made improvements in different levels rapidly. Although we cannot guarantee that this UAV will no longer explode or malfunction, what we do know is that the UAV has not gone out of control till now. Besides, improvements of stability have also been made on the new firmware (as is shown in the video above). It has been, in terms of height control at a low altitude, better than Phantom 3 Standard without ultrasonic wave even if its height fixation is still inferior to that of Phantom 3 Standard (note: all products in DJI’s Phantom series are equipped with ultrasonic height fixation and light flow sensor except the cheapest one, Phantom 3 Standard).  

Besides, it is also worth mentioning that 4.35v high pressure battery in Xiaomi’s UAV is quite powerful, with long endurance. Since the battery life is likely to be disturbed by many factors, it cannot necessarily fly for 27 minutes; yet according to ifanr’s visual inspection, it is quite close to Phantom3 in terms of battery life, better than uavs of other brands.

Camera: Excellent lens with independent formulation

Xiaomi’s UAV possesses an advantage in terms of camera: They have achieved the photography combination of 4k resolution/30 frames through its extremely advantageous supply chain. Currently, only DJI and Yuneec are capable of providing such a combination. Therefore, Xiaomi could have beaten other UAVs by its parameters. Unfortunately, only 1080p version with low configuration is available now due to the earthquake in Japan.

When will the 4k version be launched? Will it be another case of “hunger marketing” and come slowly? It is still unclear yet.

Although news came that Xiaomi’s three-axis camera with cloud platform was not purchased from Yuneec, its bears a lot of resemblances with CGO3 three-axis camera with cloud platform with regard to the design: Both cameras are spherical ones which can be disassembled, and are likely to be applied to handheld could platform; in addition, three-axis cloud platform in Xiaomi’s UAV performs as excellently as that in Yuneec, losing no ground when compared with the cloud platform of Yuneec or DJI.

In Xiaomi’s UAV with the low configuration owned by ifanr, spherical wide-angle mirror, which would deform the scene spherically, is used. However, ifanr didn’t use the large wide-angle of motion camera of over 130 degrees; instead, they used the small wide-angle of 104 degrees, reducing lens distortion to a low level.。

Xiaomi performed differently from DJI’s Phantom3 in terms of image algorithm. Post-processing in Xiaomi’s camera is quite obvious; besides, it uses higher saturation, higher contrast ratio and more positive height adjustment ISO to improve brightness; thus the images are more desirable, which can be viewed as an advantage, and spare the users from post-processing.

Nevertheless, Xiaomi’s UAV has apparent disadvantages in terms of photography: Images’ resemblance to oil painting weakens the sharpness, high contrast deprives the details in shadow and hot pixels abound in images. Considering that aerial photography always takes place in an environment with strong light, these defects will surely make aerial photography more difficult for the lovers.

bvaluation of Xiaomi’s uav: Is Mo<em></em>nopoly in uav Going to End?

In comparison, DJI’s Phantom3 has sharper image lines, more abundant details in the shadow and more tolerance for post-processing. In other words, Xiaomi’s UAV is targeted at common users, while DJI’s UAV is targeted at users who take aerial photography seriously.

Beginners who have little understanding of aerial photography will probably pay little attention to the so-called “image transmission”, that is, the ability of real-time image transmission. Nevertheless, image transmission distance, for professional aerial photographers, is basically the most significant factor in the purchase of UAV, on which the safe flight distance of unmanned aerial vehicle depends. Last year, DJI’s Phantom3 transmitted images for a distance of 5km without any intervention, beating all the other UAVs.

Despite the fact that Xiaomi has a strong supply chain, it is still impossible for it to get the image transmission of Lightbridge, of which DJI is quite proud; what it can get is the 2.5th Wi-Fi image transmission used in Phantom3Standard/4k. Though the up-to-date and top technologies are not adopted in Xiaomi’s UAV, it is still the best version available in the circle of unmanned aerial vehicle.

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