Quadcopters: Market leaders and novelties


A quadcopter is an interesting and very useful gadget for a photographer or operator. What are the large-scale shooting from a great height, the ability to mount a camera or video device on a quadrocopter, and control everything from the remote control, just like with radio-controlled models of cars. In a word, this is both entertainment and work — two in one.

Initially, the situation on the quadrocopter market was different from the others — it is Chinese and Asian companies that dominate the production of gadgets aimed at the mass market: DJI, Walkera, Xiaomi, Xiro, Syma. Here we will talk about them.

To choose the best of the best, first you need to decide what makes a quadrocopter the best?

First of all, it is the quality of the video. The main purpose of the gadget is video shooting, so it is reasonable to expect a good picture, stabilization and clarity from it. Equally important is stability and control distance. Control method, speed (especially for racing drones), weight. In fact, choosing a quadcopter or multicopter is like choosing a helicopter. And it is important to remember that price is not the main indicator of quality.

DJI is perhaps the most popular manufacturer of quadcopters, and it’s no surprise that the DJI Phantom 4 PRO is the highest quality and most innovative gadget. Its main function, which distinguishes the Phantom 4 PRO from its competitors, is a 3D camera and, accordingly, a technology for recognizing the environment in three-dimensional space. It is irreplaceable for control in space with obstacles.

Phantom 4 PRO also has high quality shooting, HD live stream on this quadcopter functions much better than the rest. But that’s not all: if you look at the design, you can understand how perfectly the functionality is combined with the design elements. Utility plus style is the principle that DJI followed in creating the Phantom 4 PRO.

Phantom 4 PRO shoots 4K video and photos with a resolution of 20 megapixels, all this due to an inch sensor. It is capable of streaming HD video directly to a mobile device (in good conditions — up to 6.5 km away. DJI works through a convenient application that has a flight simulation, and its battery can withstand 22-30 minutes. In addition, it can be controlled from The quadcopter uses a tracking system for a moving object, the distance it can fly is 7000 meters, and its weight is quite light — 1.388g.

The cost of this quadrocopter is about 118,000, but at the moment it has no equal.

The previous generation of DJI drones was marked by the release of the DJI Phantom 3 models. This is a light quadcopter both in weight and in control. It’s perfect for the amateur or professional. In its price category (50-70,000 rubles), it takes a solid first place. Of course, the Phantom 4 is a more advanced model, but the Phantom 3 is quite comparable to the Inspire 1, which we’ll talk about later. The trio is more stable than the Phantom 2, and as for the video — here again you can make a reference to the Inspire 1.

A total of four Phantom 3 models are available — Pro, Advanced, Standard and 4K. Pro shoots 4K video, is equipped with GPS, ultrasonic altitude and position sensors. Its flight time is 20 minutes. Advanced does all the same, but at 2.7K resolution. The Standard is noticeably cheaper than the rest, with a Phantom 2-style controller design without sensors and 4K. This is a budget option, which is still able to give a high-class result. The Phantom 3 4K speaks for itself and costs the same as the Advanced. The working distance varies from 2000 meters for the Pro model to 5000 meters for the Advanced.

These are not all unique models from DJI. The Inspire 1, a quadrocopter, deserves special attention. Already the appearance, as if from a science fiction film, draws attention to this gadget. If we take the Phantom 3 Pro and scale it up and upscale everything, we get the Inspire 1. It allows you to control the camera separately from the drone.

The Inspire 1 has a Pro version that includes a 4K micro 4/3 camera, interchangeable lenses and an 8x larger sensor than the base model. Plus, for professionals, there is a RAW variant capable of shooting appropriate video. The cost of Inspire 1 varies from 176 to 305,000 rubles, depending on the model and configuration.

Xiaomi also did not bypass the production of quadrocopters, and the Chinese company immediately intended to compete with Phantom. That is why outwardly Mi Drone and Phantom have many similarities.

The Mi Drone has a 1080 60 fps camera with a 12-megapixel sensor — exactly the same as the Typhoon Yuneec. Mi Drone takes RAW photos. The kit includes a controller with the same levers as the Husban X4. Having assembled a set of familiar and very successful elements, Xiaomi presented a fairly stable and high-quality gadget. Flying is a separate plus. Mi Drone flies very smoothly, picks up speed safely. Most likely, it will not be suitable for extreme and high-speed shooting, paying attention to large-scale and calmer shots, but putting safety in everything as its main task. Among the Mi Drone models, there is a model without a camera, with a 1080p camera and a 4K model. Their differences are obvious. The difference in price between all three is about 10,000 rubles.

The advantage that is always on the side of Xiaomi is, of course, the price. Mi Drone costs from 37 to 60,000.

Mi Drone appeared as a competitor to DJI Phantom, however, in practice, each manufacturer has its own advantages. The Xiaomi battery lasts 27 minutes, which is on average more than or equal to what the Phantom offers. So far, Xiaomi is new to the production of quadcopters, so we can expect better results from the company in the future.

Similarly, Xiaomi has made a name for itself in the tricopter circle with the Yi Erida, a premium tricopter. It is ideal for outdoor shooting, with a maximum speed of 120 km/h and a flight time of 40 minutes. In this, Xiaomi undoubtedly outperforms the competition. Plus, Erida shoots 4K video and allows you to control the camera separately from the drone. In a sense, this is an action tricopter.

It has all the necessary functions: real-time video transmission, WiFi and compatibility with Android and iOS. The smartphone acts as a controller. Lightweight yet stable, the Yi Erida tricopter is made of carbon fiber and is capable of flying up to 4 km. In a word, the potential of this gadget is very, very competitive. Erida costs about 100,000 rubles and has practically no analogues on the market.

Syma is a manufacturer of quadcopters and RC models based in Hong Kong. The X19W is a fun and interesting model with wheels and blades — sort of like a flying car. Syma X19W shoots video in 720P resolution and transfers it to a smartphone via WiFi. This gadget can create a flight or trip plan, in addition, the device is equipped with a flight altitude limit when the battery is low. It can fly for about 6.5 minutes, and the control distance is only 50 meters. Syma focuses more on shooting as entertainment, since the X19 is not suitable for professional video shooting, but it will be a lot of fun. Analogues of this model — Syma X9 and Syma X9S cost an average of 3,000 rubles.

After a lyrical digression, you can return to professional drones again. Xiro recently introduced the Xiro Xplorer V, a quadcopter with stable video, eye-catching black and green design and easy, comfortable controls. The device can easily withstand GoPro and 4K cameras. Its special advantage is wind resistance.

In general, the ergonomics of the Xiro Xplorer V received the highest marks. The Xiro Xplorer V flies for 25 minutes, while the flight is very stable. It shoots on a HD 14-megapixel camera and can fly up to 500 meters without any problems. The cost of this gadget is approximately 42,000, the controller is included in the kit.

Different manufacturers of quadrocopters, of course, focus on a different range of consumers. Someone is interested in racing, someone is interested in games and entertainment, and someone is interested in photography and video filming. Even having a common essence, quadrocopters are very different from each other. Above all stands DJI with a specialized model line of products. It can be assumed that very soon Xiaomi will stand on a par with it, and from the main competitor it will be possible to expect the appearance of a real flagship of the market. The main thing remains unchanged — fans of large-scale photos and videos always have plenty to choose from.


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