December 9, 2023

Most people aren’t top-notch aerial cinematographers, so they don’t need a fancy $1,000+ drone – what do they need Do What we need is something that’s small, cheap, and easy to use, but still captures great video. From what I’ve found, the Hover Camera X1 fits the bill perfectly.

at first glance

  • very humane
  • Sharp gimbal and electronically stabilized video
  • Nice autonomous flight mode
  • Works without a controller or smartphone
  • packed in small portions
  • instructions may need some work

Currently, the Indiegogo campaign is coming to a close, and the X1 mini quadcopter is made by Chinese drone manufacturer ZeroZero Robotics. Backers can snag one for $329 until June 24 (if all goes to plan), after which it retails for $469.

X1 folds to fit in a (big) pocket
X1 folds to fit in a (big) pocket

Ben Coxworth / New Atlas

The X1 has a hinged body that folds down into a 128-gram (4.5-ounce) package when not in use, measuring 127 x 86 x 31 mm (5 x 3.38 x 1.22 inches). Also, thanks to the protective cage surrounding the propeller, it can be lifted from the user without causing any harm.

It has a maximum video resolution of 2.7K/30fps and utilizes a mechanical gimbal and electronic image stabilization system to keep videos smooth and level. It can also take 12-megapixel still photos. Both videos and photos are stored in 32GB internal memory. Its camera view is streamed live to the app over Wi-Fi up to a distance of 30 meters (98 feet).

The drone’s 1,050 mAh lithium battery can fly for about 11 minutes on a single charge, depending on usage – it’s worth mentioning that the X1 can be controlled remotely or set to one of several pre-programmed flight modes via the accompanying iOS/Android app one.

X1 runs for about 11 minutes per charge
X1 runs for about 11 minutes per charge

Ben Coxworth / New Atlas

Basic modes include hover (hover in place, panning back and forth with the user as they move from side to side); follow (fly behind a moving user, keeping them in the shot); zoom out ( Start close to the user, then fly back to a wider shot); Orbit (fly around the user in a circle, always keeping the user centered); and Bird’s Eye View (looking down on the user from above).

However, perhaps its most notable feature is that it can also be used for No application or any kind of controller. Instead, you use two physical buttons on the drone to switch between modes, then send it off.

Utilizing facial and body recognition algorithms as well as motion prediction algorithms, it can automatically keep you in the shot while you’re flying in a designated pattern. When you’re done, it returns to you and lands in your outstretched hand – so cool and convenient!

In addition to 2.7K HD video, the X1 can also capture 12-megapixel still photos
In addition to 2.7K HD video, the X1 can also capture 12-megapixel still photos

Ben Coxworth / New Atlas

I found the initial learning curve to be a bit steep, as neither the written instructions nor the in-app instructions covered everything I wanted to know (such as how to switch between shooting video and photos, or adjust the camera angle). However, after some experimentation, I finally figured it out.

As ZeroZero said, the X1 is really great for using without a smartphone.That is, you Do Apps that require manual control mode – btw, this is very easy to use, thanks to clear up/down, left/right etc. labels on the control screen.

A smartphone is also necessary if you want to record sound, as the app uses the phone’s microphone to record sound and then syncs it to the drone’s video after it downloads the footage. To prevent the audio from consisting solely of the whine of the X1’s motor, the app applies a digital noise filter to its recordings.I found this lens almost Mute – However, as long as the human voice is coming from close to my phone, it is still well received.

As you can see in the video at the bottom of the page, when I took the X1 on bikes and walks, it performed very well. I especially like its follow mode, although it would be nice if the drone could keep following the user at a flat angle instead of rising above the user. That way, it has little chance of hitting an overhanging branch.

A bit of a challenge is the more advanced Dolly Track mode, in which the X1 looks back at users who are moving forward as it flies in front of them. Small changes in my forward trajectory basically “push” the drone to one side of the road or the other…it’s a bit like trying to steer a trailer I’m pushing in front of me instead of pulling behind me.

No, the X1 doesn’t have an object avoidance system, although it does utilize a single downward-facing camera and two lasers to measure its distance from the ground. I accidentally knocked it into a branch once and it still managed to land on its own instead of plummeting straight onto the tarmac.

All in all, I’d say the Hover Camera X1 is perfect for those who aren’t planning to start a full-service video production business anytime soon, but want to Do I want to make it as easy as possible to take great aerial photos of myself and/or my surroundings.

When it comes to what most people want, the X1 is the absolute best.

New Atlas Try Hover Camera X1

Product Page: Hover Camera X1