Dobby’s foldable pocket drone is the perfect mixture of portability and functionality

Most consumer drones available on the market today fit in one of two categories: full-fledged UAVs like DJIs Inspire, Phantom or Mavic, or portable selfiedrones like Hover that prioritize sizing and convenience over features.

So what about in-between drones? Dronings that are easy to carry, typically under the weight that requires FAA registration but still have at least a few seriousfeatures like GPS and basic autonomousflight?

Meet Dobby, a new droning make use of Chinese-based startup Zerotechthat is now on sale for $399.

Dobby is a foldable droning that is barely bigger than a new Apple TV remote and about the size of an iPhone Plus but still has full-fledged features like stabilization via either GPS( for outdoor flight) or image recognition and ultrasonic positioning( for indoor flight ). It also weighs simply under 200 grams with the battery, meaning it doesnt have to be registered with the FAA and literally fits in your picket.

This positioning lets it bides relatively stable both indoors and outdoors. While employing ultrasonic positioning and image recognition to stabilize a portable droning indoors isnt new( Hover does the same thing) its rare for a portable droning to have a GPS chip that allows it to also stabilized itself outside and when flying at a higher altitude.

I flew it mostly indoors and it performed great. The indoor positioning and stabilization was fairly flawless, and the controls were accurate enough to navigate throughout rooms in my house. In my views, this is where Dobby glistens its the perfect sizing to pull out and fly around your kitchen when you have a friend over who is asking about drones. You definitely couldnt do this with a Mavic.

Dobby hasa 13 MP camera that can take video in 1080 p, and has advancedphotography features like auto-tracking and orbital shot tracking. Dobby also has 16 MP of onboard memory to hold your photos.

But, of course, having a super portable droning entails some compromises. The battery only lasts around 9 minutes, and my testing was even a little shorter than that. I also noticed that the motors got really hot after simply a few minutes of flying, but this didnt seem to affect performance. And because the dronedoesnt have a controller, it connects to your iPhone via Wi-Fi, which is a boon and a curse.

Its great because you dont need to carry a separate controller around. But everyone who has flown a Wi-Fi-controlleddrone knows theconnectionisntalways the most reliable, especially at a long distance.

But this issue isnt unique to Dobby every Wi-Fi-controlled droning Ive ever flown has had some connection issues, and these usually happen when you start to fly it too far away from you. If Dobby does drop a Wi-Fi connection during an outdoor GPS-enabled flight it will return to where it took off, and if it loses signal indoors it will simply land in the spot the connection is lost.

The iOS app to control the app also isnt the best its a little clunky, and seemslike it was originallydesigned forthe startups China-based users, with a focus on sharing content that you create with Dobby. But once you figure out how to get past that and to the main controller screen, its just as good as any other iPhone-based drone controller.

Essentially, Dobby isnt a droning that is going to fly hundreds of feet over your house like a Mavic. But its not supposed to. Its meant to fall somewhere in between those Cheerson CX-1 0 nano drones and a professional-grade Inspire 2, and it does this pretty well.

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