Yuneec launches voice-controlled, super-portable Mantis Q drone
Yuneec has added to its existing line of consumer drones with the Mantis Q. Pitched as a "travel drone," it features foldable arms, a 33-minute battery, a 4K camera and a tiny, portable controller. In addition to facial detection and gesture controls, the Mantis Q also takes voice commands to help you keep your thumbs on the sticks.
Sitting somewhere between the DJI Mavic and Spark in terms of size, the Mantis Q is very portable at 6.6 x 3.8 x 2.2 inches (16.8 x 9.7 x 5.6 cm), and less than a pound (454 g) in weight. Its arms fold in, and it's got those nifty self-folding props as well, so it'll slip easily into a backpack or large cargo pocket, making it a very easy choice to bring out on a hike or photoshoot. A claimed flight time of 33 minutes per charge puts it at the head of the class for endurance.
The camera can record 4K video, or electronically-stabilized 1080p, and it shoots 13-megapixel photos in either JPG or DNG formats. The camera can tilt to 90 degrees to look straight down, or tilt up as far as 20 degrees, which will help get you level shots when you're barreling along at the drone's top speed of 44 mph (70 km/h) in Sport mode.
As well as standard thumbstick control, via a small controller with an arm that opens out to hold a smartphone, the Mantis Q can recognize voice commands like "wake up," "take off," "take a picture," "take a selfie," "record video" and "return to home" – letting you keep your thumbs on the sticks and eyes on the aircraft rather than having you hunting for buttons.
There's also facial recognition, which will see the drone grab a photo of you if it sees you smiling from up to 13 ft (4 m) away, and gesture control, which will take a photo if it sees you waving at it. There are other modes too, including basic journey, point of interest and orbit me that do a little automatic flying if you're in enough clean air to try them.
There's no obstacle avoidance built in, but the Mantis Q does have dual sonar sensors and infra-red pointed downward to help make it safer to fly indoors, provided you're not too fond of your wallpaper.
The Mantis Q is up for pre-order at Yuneec's website now for US$499, and there will be an "X-pack" later this year that adds two extra batteries and a shoulder bag for US$649. It's pretty well positioned against the DJI gear, flying longer and faster and taking higher resolution images than the US$399 Spark, and being more compact but lacking some of the features of the US$799 Mavic Air.
Check it out in the video below.