Snapchat’s parent company Snap has announced a micro-drone equipped with a camera and simple controls. The “Pixy” series of camera drones start at $229.99, but buyers should consider the $249.99 variant which ships with an additional battery for longer flight time.
After launching multiple variants of Snap Spectacles, Snapchat has now released Pixy camera drones. Although the drone market is filled with multiple choices, including camera-equipped micro-drones, Snap’s Pixy seems like an extension of a smartphone that flies.
Incidentally, just like Snap Spectacles, the Pixy drone is an extension of the company’s smartphone app. Videos and photos captured by Pixy are sent right to the user’s smartphone. Thereafter, Snapchat’s own editing features let users quickly add filters, stickers, and clip/crop/stitch videos that can be posted either to Snapchat or to any other social media app. Needless to mention, Pixy’s ability to work with a smartphone makes it an easy entry-level drone camera for most consumers who are looking to step up their social media game.
The camera defaults to portrait mode instead of the usual landscape for videos. It can track people, allowing users to click selfies. The drone has an enclosed propeller design, which means plastic bumpers protect propellors, and prevent them from taking or dishing out any damage. There’s no gimbal system for camera stabilization.
The drone has a single front-facing camera for photos and videos, and another bottom-facing camera that detects the user’s hand. The secondary camera isn’t for taking pictures, but instead, to help the drone land on the user’s hand. The drone has a circular knob on the top that lets users cycle between its shooting modes. There are pre-configured orbiting, following, revealing, and landscape shooting patterns.
Users can control the drone directly from the Snapchat app. The Pixy drone comes with an integrated emergency landing feature just in case users lose control of their drone. It has a detachable battery that can be swapped out and replaced on the go. The makers claim Pixy's battery should last “5 flight trips”. It is amply clear that Snap designed the Pixy camera drone for first-time users. It weighs just 101 grams. This means there’s no need to register the drone with the FAA. Pixy is available online for $230 in the US and France.