The drone market has become quite saturated as of 2021, and there are a number of different companies vying for just a chunk of the market. It is no secret that DJI was the trendsetter and has captured probably the largest chunk of the market through its Phantom and Mavic series.
However, there are other companies that have picked up the slack and have introduced a wide range of different drones. Xiaomi, one of the largest mobile makers in the world and a tech giant from China, is also an emerging player in the market through its wide range of drones.
The new Fimi is the company’s counter to DJI’s smaller drone offering, and it is designed to capture some of the market from DJI’s smaller drones, such as the Mavic or the DJI Spark. The A3 is the less expensive of the two Fimis released, and includes a range of different features that you would really like.
Unpacking the Drone
The drone comes neatly packaged in a simple box, keeping in line with Xiaomi’s packaging style. Everything inside the box has been very neatly packaged, and the one thing that I really like is that each and every component inside has its own compartment.
This may seem as if the packing was done by someone with an OCD for tidiness, but it’s designed in a way to protect the compartment from any kind of damage during shipment. Inside, you will find the drone, and a range of other components such as the remote controller, the charger and the charging cable, AC/DC adapter, a USB data cable, the A3 user guide, and three sets of propellers.
There are two memory cards that are needed for the drone, though you won’t find any inside. All in all, the packaging is pretty good and first impressions are pretty excellent.
As soon as you remove the drone from its packaging, you will realize that it’s much bigger than other drones in the same niche that it’s trying to compete with. The dimensions are 285 x 229 x 69 mm, which makes it slightly bigger than others such as the Mavic. The Spark is considerably smaller and definitely not in the same league.
One of the things that sets the Xiaomi Fimi A3 apart from other drones such as the Mavic series is the fact that it doesn’t have foldable arms. Instead, it’s like the Phantom series; you can only remove the propellers. The reason why so many people prefer the Mavic series is because of its foldable arms, and DJI has now adopted the same design with the Spark.
The Fimi A3 has a pretty minimalistic design. It’s all white, except for the Fimi logo right at the top of the camera. Another thing that you will notice is that the build quality is pretty great. It’s pretty close to the products made by DJI and you will be hard-pressed to find something with a better build in this price range.
The Xiaomi doesn’t have self-tightening propellers. Instead, it features quick release propellers with simple red markings to make it easy for the user to tighten them.
There is a 3S 2,000 mAh battery that you must insert from the back of the drone. The drone has standard balance charging to protect the battery from overcharging. The standard balance charging port also makes it easy for you to just connect it to any charger that you like without any issue.
To get the maximum juice out of the battery, you should charge every cell at 4.35 volts. When you unlock the battery port, you will also see the access point for the micro-USB port. The power button for the battery is included at the bottom of the aircraft, on its belly.
There are four RGB LED lights located at the end of each arm. There’s also a DIY port covered with a rubber flat that you can use to include additional lights to your drone. There are two screw holes that you can use to mount virtually any device you want on the drone.
The Xiaomi Fimi A3 makes use of a dual satellite positioning system, combining both GLONASS and GPS to ensure location accuracy. The 5.8 G receiver also gives excellent range, and the brushless motors ensure that the drone is able to hold its own even in strong winds.
There’s a full HD camera with a 5.8 G real-time image transmission. The drone is able to record video in 1080p at 30 fps. It has a range of up to 1 KM as per FCC guidelines, and a hybrid 3-axis image stabilization system. Once you have charged the drone fully, you can take it up for up to 25 minutes.
Keep in mind that this is just the flight time; it will decrease when you start recording video or when you move the drone around in high winds. The drone also has both GPS and Sport flight modes, and also includes an array of other flight modes including the Follow me, Orbit, Headless, and Selfie.
One of the things that I really like about this drone is the fact that it has a pretty accurate return to home feature. It uses GPS assistance to bring back the drone simply with minimal hassle and having tried it after going out of range, it wasn’t long before the drone started to return home.
The camera doesn’t have a 60 fps option, but you can adjust the compression accordingly based on three different settings. Each video is split into 1 GB sets. The image quality might not be as good as the DJI Phantoms, but it’s still pretty good for the price.
The Remote Controller
Xiaomi has been innovating quite a bit behind the scenes, and the remote controller by the company is a clear sign. It includes a 4.3” FPV screen and also has a built-in DVR so you can easily record your drone flights straight from the remote controller. Right at the bottom of the remote controller is the micro USB port and the micro SD slot. Pretty convenient all around.
The remote controller comes with two antennae attached. One is the 2.4 GHz antenna for controlling the aircraft, and the other one is a 5.8 GHz antenna for a smooth, uninterrupted feed. You also have three operation modes: 1, 2, and 3.
On the front of the controller, there’s a switch that can be adjusted in two positions: flight mode and the RTH button. Then, there’s the five-directional mini joystick. A camera button is situated at the back of the remote controller in a very ergonomic position.
On each upper corner of the controller, there’s a single dial knob that you can use to adjust the gimbal of the camera. One can be used to adjust the pitch angle and the other to adjust the EV values. The remote controller feels good in the hand and also has a playback feature that makes it easy for you to check your flights.
If you are thinking of an affordable drone that is pretty decent and easy to use, it’s a great idea. These are just a few things that you should know about the Xiaomi Fimi A3.