LAS VEGAS—If this is a spirit from the beyond, it’s a very friendly one. The new Ghost drone from EHANG has a fun curved design and can be piloted just by tilting your Android device up and down.
Debuting on Indiegogo this November, the Ghost was on display at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week and is already shipping. Though it lacks a built-in camera, the Ghost starts at a comparatively low $375. For $599, you get a gimbal designed for the GoPro camera. The drone also comes with detachable landing legs and bumpers to protect its four propellers while it flies.
Via a Bluetooth connection with a range of about 0.6 miles, users control the Ghost through an Android app. (An iOS app is coming in March, an EHANG representative said). With a footprint of about 14 inches square, it's a moderately sized drone, not as small as the Zano, but easy enough to carry in one hand.
You can control the Ghost via regular touch-based controls, but Ghost’s coolest feature is its tilt controls: simply tilt and move the Android in your hand, and the Ghost will move correspondingly. And it looks good all the while: the Ghost's elegant curves set it apart from most of the competition. The first round of Ghosts are available in either black or white, with more colors forthcoming.
The Ghost can reach speeds of up to 49 miles per hour, an EHANG representative told me. Users can also set the drone to auto-follow you, and it will track your location via your Android’s GPS.
Impressively, the Ghost has a flight time of up to 20 minutes with a gimbal and GoPro attached. Without these attachments, the Ghost can fly for 30 minutes. The battery takes 3 hours to recharge.
Although it's still in the last hours of its Indiegogo campaign—where the Ghost got more than 700 percent of its funding goal—the drone started shipping this week. If its backers are any indication, this is one drone that's anything but ephemeral.
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Jill Scharr is a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she regularly covers security, 3D printing and video games. You can email Jill at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @JillScharr and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and onGoogle+.