Drones. Right up there with blockchain, 3D printers, and the “Internet of Things”. Shaping the world of tomorrow, today. So why don’t we all have one sitting on our roofs? Is the dream of a robotic eyes in the sky dead? Short answer: No. Long Answer: Noooooooooo.
We are at a point where drones are finding use in many industries, ranging from construction to security. But the adoption of drones in the home has been much slower.
As to why, drones unfortunately have fallen into two real categories. You have your heavy duty, special training, expensive drones, used for things that are truly cutting edge. Such as the drone used to rescue swimmers, bring defibrillators, or deliver life-saving blood. On top of the usual military, movie making, and photography applications of course.
Then comes the other bulk. These are toys. Admittedly, a lot of fun, but limited in application. We interviewed Aerix, and had a lot of fun demo’ing their product. This is fine for those looking to get their appetite going, but presents its own problem. Namely, when your first interaction with a drone is seen as “Toy”, this leaves little interest in the middle ground.
Obviously no one is going to blindly jump into a multi-thousands of dollar purchase, hoping to find a use after the fact. Instead, we need to know just what a drone is good for. What value does this add to my home? That’s where drones are lacking. That middle ground. Something more robust than a toy, less than a professional tool.
That’s where I’d place the XIRO XPLORER Mini Drone. We have had one for review for a while now, and have not just used it, but lived with it. After interviewing the company back in August of 2017, we received a unit for review. Long awaited, here it is.
13-megapixel HD camera – One of the best features. Really great camera in the drone.
4 brushless motors – Stable, loud, and effective.
Indoor Visual Positioning – Drone: “Is that a wall? That’s a wall. Let’s avoid that wall”, works great.
GPS/GLONASS Dual-satellite – Fancy way of saying, it remembers and tracks where it took off from/where the drone has been. Think of it as a better Roomba.
1400mAh intelligent flight battery – Enough battery in our tests to last for ~30 minutes of use. Seemed plenty, no complaints. Comes with swappable batteries, so if you’d like more, carry a few extra’s.
The drone honestly worked very well. This was the first time flying a drone that required using your phone. You download the companion app, and get a first person view on your screen, using your thumbs to navigate. While obviously not ideal for experience flyers, I enjoyed having one less thing to keep track of.
If you are hoping that this will be your first foray into the spy game, look elsewhere. While I don’t believe it is too bad, this drone makes A LOT of noise. People will know you are using this thing. Not a drawback, just something of note.
Overall, swappable batteries, great camera, and a intuitive controls made this a great first step into something a little more serious. We found ourselves using it to check the roof of the house (or any other hard to reach places), taking photos of events, and just general enjoyment.
Should I Get One?
Honestly, the XIRO XPLORER Mini is one of the perfect drones to start with. Price point of $250, nothing too steep, but still should have an idea what you expect to use this device for. But I found myself using it in ways I hadn’t anticipated. This drone is now a fixture at family events.