We are pretty much sure that when Zero Tech, a Japanese company, named its drone as Dobby Drone, it wasn’t really familiar about Dobby the House Elf in the famous fantasy series Harry Potter by J.K. Rowlings. Dobby surely made a niche of his own in the hearts of all Harry Potter fans with his resilience and bravery. But the Dobby Drone is anything but!
Having said that, Dobby drone is not that bad. It has to offer quite a lot of interesting stuff to dronies.
You can easily fold the little device into a small sized pill and place it in your pockets or backpacks comfortably. It comes with a couple of batteries. Each of the two batteries easily gets inserted into the belly of Dobby Drone.
It costs just around USD $399 and is equal to the size of a machine that fits easily into the palm of one’s hands. It packs a power punch in terms of technology; the sort of technology which can only be found on drones of larger sizes made for professional consumers. A contact connection is made via WiFi and offers a control range equivalent to that of a normal WiFi connection which is just about a few hundred feet.
The small sized battery tends to get charged fairly quickly in just about an hour. The pilot can easily connect his device with the smartphone and app. It doesn’t get simpler than this!
To set the Dobby Drone whizzing through the air, all you’ve got to do is to fold out the four propeller arms, switch on the power by pressing the power button for about three seconds and then connect the machine via your WiFi connection.
The device was launched from my hand seamlessly but it was the palm landing feature that really was remarkable. Once a pilot places his hand just beneath the device’s camera which is facing downwards, it detects the palm and lands on it safely unfolding the four propellers without any hassle.
However, I would not suggest you to perform this stunt if you are a rookie dronie. The propellers of the Dobby Drone spin at thousands of RPMs and can prove to be dangerous. Even the instructions manual that comes with the machine, asks the pilots to keep their fingers away from the spinning propellers.
If you were anticipating this drone to be a spy drone, one that would fly without making a lot of noise, then you will be disappointed since it creates havoc with its noisy flight.
Where does it go wrong?
There are loads of issues where Dobby drone goes awry.
Once I got my device elevated to a height of about 150 feet in the air, I noticed that the battery level, as shown on my app, reduced suddenly to about 73% and then to 30% within the blink of an eye.
The drone comes equipped with GPS and Return to Home feature. However, such limited amount of battery lifespan promises very little opportunities. You get your machine up in the air, perform a few manoeuvres and just when you have started to relish the flight, it’s time to get your drone landed safely on the palm of your hand.
The controls configuration is quite hard to comprehend so you will need a few practice sessions to get into grips with the Dobby drone’s flight controls. The controls are supposed to allow a pilot keep his fingers in the centre of circles and gently manoeuvre the device in the direction of choice. However, it does not happen this way! A pilot is forced to tap the controls from time to time which renders the drone’s flight full of jerks and turbulent.
The device also comes with a Motion Sensing control mode. This mode lets a pilot move his smartphone in the direction in which he wants the drone to navigate. However, this feature would have been really attractive had Dobby drone not developed a knack of drifting away from its intended course. It does not actually take off on a pilot (it happened once to be honest when the Motion sensing control mode had been triggered simply because my smartphone was lying perfectly straight). In case of outdoor sojourns, Dobby drone has to face plenty of resistance even from the slightest breezes.
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The device also comes loaded with a number of top quality sensors that enable it to track people and other objects. I configured it to detect my face. The machine wasn’t always successful in doing so! The machine would generally detect my face, track it and them lose track of me if I moved too much.
The camera has been integrated into the device’s frame and does not include a gimbal. The video is of quite poor quality and as they say “you get what you pay for!”
The thought and idea that you are owner of small sized drones that can be conjured from one’s pockets or backpacks and then used to capture selfies, group photos and videos is quite attractive. But the fact that Dobby drone provides a flight duration of only five minutes, is what really destroys all the fun.
Dobby drone is a cool piece of tech in terms of its design, portability and features. However, it loses out on account of controls, video quality and battery lifespan.
Harry Potter’s Dobby was an elf that could do a lot of things. Zero Tech’s Dobby drone only threatens to do a lot of things and then fails miserably.