Yi Technologies, which has already released a budget mirrorless camera and 4K action camera in the U.S, will soon be launching a new drone. The Erida could challenge the likes of DJI for the title of fastest camera drone — and it can fly for almost twice as long as the competition. We checked it out at CES, and can't wait to take it for a spin.
How fast is it?
Fast. Company reps said it can reach speeds of up to 120 km/h, about 75 miles per hour. The company claims that it will have a flight time of up to 45 minutes, which would be nearly twice that of most camera drones in this space.
How can it fly so far, so fast?
The Yi Erida drone has a carbon-fiber shell, which makes it light but strong. It also has only three rotors, instead of the usual four you see with most drones. The third rotor can swivel to make turn the Erida turn faster in flight. Like the DJI Mavic Pro, the Erida's two front arms can fold back for storage, though this drone is quite a bit larger than the nearly pocketable Mavic.
Not surprisingly, the camera that comes with the Yi Erida is Yi's own 4K action camera, which can record 4K video at up to 60 fps. The camera is attached to a three-axis gimbal, which helps to ensure steady video. The Erida can be controlled using either a smartphone app or a dedicated joystick-style controller, whose final design is still being worked out.
Pricing and Availability
The Yi Erida should be available in the second quarter of 2017. Final pricing has yet to be determined, but a company spokesperson said it should be in the same range as the Mavic — about $749 to $999.
With its first two products in the U.S., Yi Technologies is developing a reputation as a maker of pretty good, fairly inexpensive gadgets. If the Yi Erida's flight time and speed prove accurate, it would make this drone one of the more sought-after models, both by amateurs and by semi-pro videographers who want greater flexibility when it comes to filming in the air.