An iPhone-sized drone for aerial selfie lovers

Dobby has some excellent smart features but battery life disappoints

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Gulf News

Dubai: The new trend for taking aerial selfies is with the drones and not with smartphones. Chinese company ZeroTech’s iPhone-sized drone — Dobby — is meant for that.

The Dobby uses Qualcomm’s 2.3Ghz Snapdragon 801 chip set, found in most popular flagship smartphones, coupled with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage capacity.

Weighing just 199 grams, the Dobby is made for people with little or no aerial photography experience, and fits into the pocket with foldable arms and propellers.

First “Do. Fun” app has to be downloaded from the Google or Apple Play store. The app is user friendly and simple to operate.

The Dobby drone’s SSD is “Dobby-xxxxxx”. The six digits in the SSD vary by drone. The password for the Dobby drone WiFi network is zerotech.

Test the smart drone outdoors first and learn the tricks and then use it indoors. The pairing of the device is done through its own WiFi network.

The on-screen controls include automatic take-off/land (which even has a countdown from 3-1 before taking off). Camera controls, video and obviously you can use the screen to control the direction of Dobby.

On the camera side, it houses a 13MP sensor, with a field of view of 75 degrees, to capture photos in 4K quality, but video is limited to 1080p. It also features three-axis electronic image stabilisation. The videos are shown in real time. The drone can withstand 28km per hour wind speed and can reach a top vertical speed of 36km per hour.

Dobby has GPS and GLONASS dual-mode positioning. When GPS is not able to use, it can use in optical flow and ultrasonic sensors at the bottom of the fuselage to locate.

It can hover or track a subject autonomously and can be piloted manually with gesture controls.

By sliding your finger on screen from down to top, the drone takes off and by sliding your finger from left to right, the drone turns.

There is also a speech control option but it does not do complicated flight maneuvers, you can tell the drone to take-off, land, and take photos.

The short video function lets users tap and hold on the video button and the drone will hover around your GPS location, zooming in and out, as long as you are GPS enabled. Once releasing the button, it will go back to its location before you hit the button.

Whenever the WiFi signal is interrupted, the Dobby will automatically fly back to the starting point as it has a return home function, and as long as the GPS signal is still on.

The device can be ordered to land on your palm or on the ground. The drone recognises the shape of your palm and automatically land on it, but be cautious of the brushless motor paddle hitting your finger as it lands.

The drone takes excellent photos rather than videos, even in indoors. That does mean the video quality is bad but it is decent enough. You can’t zoom in and out; it has a fixed focal length. This results in less impactful landscape pictures.

There is no way to adjust the camera angle during flight and that option would have been better. If you want to change the angle of the camera, you need to bring the drone down and manually change it.

By waving your arm, it will follow the direction of your arm’s movements. It can fly at a controlling distance of 100 metres.

Each photo size is between 5-7MB so regular cleanouts of the internal memory is necessary as it has only 16GB space.

The camera can shoot in real time, beauty shoot, time delay and continuous photo taking modes.

Battery life is a big issue with the drones and Dobby is not different. The 970mAh removable battery can fly for around eight minutes but if you take pictures and videos, then the flight time can come down to five minutes. It is better to have a spare battery if you are going to use it outdoors for a party.

Zerotech has added Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 2.0 charge the battery via USB Type C port. The battery can full charge in 40 minutes. It is priced at Dh1,599.

Pros

East to control

Excellent stability

Great for selfies

Good connectivity

Pocket friendly

Cons

Poor battery life

Large photo size

Videos need to be of higher quality

No electronic video stabilisation

No microSD card support

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