Picture Copyright: Zerotech
© News.com.au 2016 View original article at News.com.au
DRONE technology has long been tipped to be the next big thing in consumer electronics but there’s yet to really be one that breaks through — but Zerotech’s Dobby Drone hopes to change that.
The small pocket-sized device could be the Goldilocks of the consumer drone market. It’s compact size and relatively affordable price point has the company hoping Aussie tech heads will embrace the product just in time for Christmas.
It’s marketed as a selfie drone, and anything that tries to do away with the selfie stick is surely doing the world a favour.
The manufacturers are hoping to appeal to dedicated Instagramers and videographers keen to capture some cool-looking video and photography. As such the impressive camera on the drone which can tilt down at a 45 degree angle is able to capture 4K images and 1080p HD video. Photos come out pretty great, especially considering the small size on the lens but video is the real hero, producing crisp looking footage that can be downloaded to your phone.
Stabilising technology does help reduce blurriness but the video can be shaky at times, particularly if it’s windy, and the shakiness becomes more apparent when uploading footage online.
Made by Japanese-based company Zerotech, it retails in Australia for $599 but can be found a bit cheaper with some online retailers.
The drone emits its own Wi-Fi signal that beams the live images from the camera back to your smartphone as you choose the moments you want to capture.
Users download an app which allows them to control the drone via their smartphone. You can choose from a few different types of control options but the default lets users control the vertical axis of the drone by sliding their finger up and down on the screen. To turn the drone to face the camera in the direction you want, you simply slide your finger left or right to swivel it around.
By pressing a button on the right of the screen and tilting your phone forward or back, or left and right (like a steering wheel) you can fly the drone around.
The controls are certainly sleek and simple and by not having an extra console-like control it maintains the ease of portability for the device.
However it does have some disadvantages, if you have an ageing phone, sometimes the touchscreen can feel a little unresponsive and it can take a while to master the smoothness of flight with the smartphone controls.
Zerotech has included all the cool features you’d expect from a camera drone.
Users can activate face tracking to make sure the camera is glued to your face and the “follow me” feature works quite well.
I threw the drone in my backpack and took it on a bushwalk but you can’t help feeling that the device certainly needs to come with some sort of protective case. Mind you it is surprisingly tough.
At one point when I was flying it, the drone lost connection and dropped out of the sky, crashing onto rocks about four metres below. Aside from a couple of scratches, it was good to go.
Because of its small size and relatively light weight, it means it’s not a good idea to fly the drone in blustery conditions. Strong winds will blow the drone off course and make you feel a little less comfortable about your ability to control it.
Given everything that goes into such a device, battery life is still a work in progress. Each battery gives users about 18 minutes worth of flying. However it comes with two batteries which charge pretty quickly so you should be able to get roughly 35 minutes of flying time when taking it out.
I’m far from a drone zealot and on a consumer level have always thought the novelty would soon wear thin, but the portable Dobby drone has made me rethink that position.
With GoPro having to recall its first generation drone earlier this month, the Zerotech offering is well placed to capitalise, especially given its cheaper price tag. For tech lovers, it’s well worth a look if you want to up your selfie game.
To see the specs of the drone’s processor and check it out further, you can do so here.