Chinese drone manufacturer Zerotech today announced plans to bring its diminutive Dobby drone to the States. Originally announced in March, the Dobby is company’s first aerial photo drone for consumers, and starts at just $400. 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.
With selfies in mind, the Dobby is made for people with little to no aerial photography experience. Like other drones, it can be controlled remotely from an iOS or Android device, but the 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.
Thanks to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Flight platform, on which the drone is based, the Dobby includes a sophisticated set of flight capabilities. 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.
Weighing just 199 grams, Zerotech touts the Dobby as being perfect for a variety of situations, from casual parties to extreme spots like rock climbing where weight and ease of operation are concerns. For maximum portability, the battery can be charged over USB, so it can be topped up with a USB power brick in the field. This will be imperative for all but the most basic use, as flight time on a single battery is limited to just nine minutes.
On the camera side, there isn’t anything terribly impressive about the specs. A 13-megapixel sensor should capture decent still photos, but video is limited to 1080p. Still, given the Dobby’s target audience, this likely won’t hold it back. 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.
The Dobby will be available in the United States, Canada, and Europe in late September. The standard version will retail for $400, while an advanced model will go for $470, although it is unclear what the differences are between the models at this time. For more information, visit Zerotech online.