ONAGOfly promises big-drone features in a small-drone package
When it comes to consumer drones, there are two types: cheap little "nanodrones" that don't really do much, and larger pricier models that have more features. The new ONAGOfly, however, is an attempt at bridging the gap between the two. It's a quadcopter that fits in your hand, yet that also offers HD video, obstacle avoidance and a Follow Me mode.
Like many other drones, the ONAGOfly can be controlled in real time from an iOS or Android smartphone via Wi-Fi, up to a distance of 20 meters (66 ft). It can likewise lock onto the GPS signal of its user's smartphone, following along above them at a predetermined height while they run, ski, cycle or whatnot.
Should it be heading for any obstacles that are within a distance of 20 cm (8 in), its 360-degree infrared sensors will keep it from running into them. It also features automatic take-off and landing, along with a Return Home function, in which it will autonomously fly itself back to its take-off point.
It can additionally shoot 1080p/30fps video with its 15MP camera, although it should be noted that the video is stabilized digitally – this means that the image quality won't be as good as that from a camera that uses a gimbal or rubber camera-isolating bumpers. The video is recorded on a memory card in the drone itself, although users can also see a live feed of the video on their mobile device, allowing for FPV flying.
Should you be interested in using it to shoot a few selfies, its smile-detection system will automatically capture a still when everyone in the shot is smiling.
Its USB-rechargeable 1,000-mAh battery should be good for 12 minutes of flight time when recording video, or 15 if not. The drone itself weighs 140 grams (0.3 lb), and can reportedly hold its position in wind speeds of up to 3.3 meters (10.8 ft) per second – by contrast, a big ol' DJI Phantom 3 can manage winds of up to 10 m/s.
The ONAGOfly is currently the subject of a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, where a pledge of US$199 will currently get you one – if all goes according to plan, that is, which it didn't for the somewhat similar Zano drone. The planned retail price is $299.
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When those features end up not working what you will be left with is an expensive micro drone that is probably outperformed by better known inexpensive camera drones like Syma X5C ($48) or Hubsan X4 ($42).
At the same time it's probably also hard to find a better deal than an X5C so that might not be a fair comparison.