So, what’s next? Well, what am I looking for? Easy answer: a drone with good, stable, high-quality video that’s not a DJI nor DJI-priced. A budget professional drone.
Do I have something against DJI? Yes and no. I think there’s no doubt, DJI makes – perhaps with one or two other manufacturers – the best drones on the market. This is reflected in the price, which for the moment while I’m still learning, is outside my budget.
But from some of the stories I’ve read, and reviews I’ve watched on Youtube, you sometimes have to wonder – after you’ve bought a DJI drone – who actually owns it. DJI regularly issues new firmware for their products, which is nice, but they won’t let you fly if your firmware is out of date, not even by five minutes! One professional pilot mentioned that he’d gone off to do some filming for a client, and in the time it had taken him to reach the client, DJI had released new firmware and he couldn’t fly. Not, that is, until he’d found a cell-based internet connection, tethered his phone to the drone, and waited while the update took place. That would upset me. A lot.
The bottom of the range DJI Spark will now not let you fly at all until you have correctly answered nine questions. Like I say, whose drone is it anyways?
So, over a couple of months, I’ve narrowed my choice to two.
There’s not a lot of difference between the Xiaomi Mi 4K and the Gten Upair One Plus, except the latter is easier to pronounce. Xiaomi – is it Shiowmee, Showmi, Djiaomi, Seeowmi, or? No one seems to know. All reviewers say something different. I prefer the first. It could be any of the above, depending on which dialect of Chinese you speak, or in my case, don’t speak.
For a while I thought the Upair had the upper hand so to speak. For one important reason. It has it’s own FPV screen, and quite a good-sized one at that. I hate the idea of having to attach a tablet or phone to the controller. They have better uses.
Other advantages include the fact the Upair is a little cheaper, plus, it doesn’t need frequent firmware updates. But, when I looked really closely at the specs and the reviews, I had to decide the Xiaomi was the better buy.
For starters, although I’d never heard of it, Xiaomi is a well-known consumer products company, whereas Gten which makes the Upair seems quite mysterious and small. I found specs of an Upair Two along with an announcement it would be available four months ago. It wasn’t and isn’t. I decided I didn’t want to buy something that might be superseded next week, or that might become unsupported if Gten disappeared.
Plus; the Xiaomi has a better camera, a better and detachable gimbal, cheaper and longer lasting batteries, greater range – by a wide margin, folding legs for easier transportation, and a host of lesser but better features. So, I’m going to have to put up with the more complicated configuration, and I’ll have to figure which of my iDevices I can most spare, to strap onto the controller.
Actually, most controllers allow you to attach a phone, but not a tablet. That seems to be one of the mysteries of drone controllers. But, my phones are quite small and it would be tough to see the screen with my old eyes. But then I found a device that allows you to attach something as large as an iPad. That I could see. So, I’ve ordered one of these gizmos.
Oh, and as you’ve probably guessed, I’ve ordered a Xiaomi Mi 4K Drone. It’s on its way from China as we speak. Next week the real fun will begin. Come back soon.