The FIMI series from Xiaomi has been making a lot of noise ever since they were introduced. The drones are reputed for their impressive features as well as their affordable price tag.
A3 from the brand looks like it can give other high-end drones a run for their money. Among the many notable features, the FPV feature of the FIMI A3 has got a lot of people talking. This is a feature that is typical only to high-end drones. So the fact that the manufacturer incorporated it into a drone of this caliber is quite an achievement.
All over the internet, this relatively new drone has been showered with positive reviews. But does the drone really measure up? Since Xiaomi has been consistently producing high-quality drones at very reasonable prices, is it the same for A3?
We discuss all these and more in this comprehensive review. We also weigh in on its pros and cons towards the end of the review.
Xiaomi FIMI A3 Review
One look at it and you will agree that the A3 is a well-designed drone. It has a streamlined design that facilitates its aerodynamics. The quality of the plastic is of good quality as well. It is by no means a cheaply made drone.
In terms of size, it is a medium-sized quadcopter measuring 285 x 229 x 69mm. It weighs a little over 500 gm, which is a decent weigh for a drone. It is a compact and transport friendly drone.
However, the A3 is not foldable, unlike the other drones from the brand. This is the only minor flaw in terms of design. You can take it with you for travels, but it takes up some amount of real estate in your luggage.
The A3 comes with an HD camera powered by a CMOS sensor from Sony as well as an ISP processor from Ambarella. You can record videos at 25 as well 35fps, which is not the best for a drone, but it is not bad either. You will have a lot of fun capturing pictures with the 8MP camera.
The camera is stabilized by a 2-axis gimbal that is motorized. This works in combination with a 3 axis electronic image stabilization. This makes the videos and the pictures quite smooth and stable as well.
But the best part about the drone comes in the form of 5.8G FPV. This may seem very standard for a high-end drone, but it is quite extraordinary when it comes to a commercial drone in this price range. This is supplemented by FPV goggles, which add more fun to the overall experience.
Recording high-quality videos can be done in two ways – one, via the DVR on the drone or two, via the remote controller. You will also have no problems recording footage in low light conditions as the ISO range for video ranges from 100 to 3200.
Flight modes and features
Similar to other drones from the brand, the A3 also comes with several flight modes. Of course, it pales in comparison when we put it against the X8 SE. However, it does have a number of flight modes, which we mention below.
- Orbit – Using this mode, you can have the drone orbit a chosen subject, which is also called the point of interest on the screen.
- Dronie – You don’t have to worry about having a selfie stick or a friend who can take your pictures. You can take selfies effortlessly using this flight mode.
- Follow me – As the name suggests, activating this flight mode makes the drone follow you or any chosen subject. Record your walks or your adventures using this mode.
- Fixed-wing – This flight mode is unique to Xiaomi FIMI drones, which is a great deal. In this mode, the gimbal moves from a different angle, which allows you to experience piloting the drone a lot more differently.
- Headless mode – This is a standard flight mode in almost all drones. This mode allows you to fly your drone in a straight line of sight, which is a great benefit for beginner drone pilots.
- Other flight modes include auto landing, auto take-off, and RTF or ready to fly modes.
The A3 has a decent hovering ability, which is indispensable when it comes to capturing high-quality aerial photography. Similar to other drones from the brand, this one also comes with a brushless motor. This enhances the flight behavior of the A3.
Quite unlike the other drones from the brand, this drone comes with a GPS as well as a GLONASS. So apart from covering the maximum number of satellites, it also adds to the safety feature of the drone. You will have no trouble keeping track of your drone.
The only point of contention is that this drone also does not have obstacle avoidance. So you will have to be a little careful while piloting this quadcopter in heavily populated areas or at night. However, you will find the LED lights in the front most useful in keeping track of your drone.
Another feature worth mentioning about this drone is that you can add a couple of additional lights. The drone also has an additional port through which you can add many accessories, including LED lights and even a firework lighter as well.
The automatic return home feature also comes in very handy when you want the drone to be safely in your sight. A bonus about this feature is that it gets activated automatically when the battery is low or when the connection is lost.
The A3 has a flight altitude of 120 meters, and the maximum distance is 500 meters. You can also fly this drone indoors as well by activating the sport mode in the settings. Of course, you will have to disable the GPS for this purpose.
The overall flying behavior of this drone is relatively easy and straightforward. Even beginners will have no problem piloting this drone.
Controller and App
The controller of the A3 is massive but very practical. The 4.3 inch LCD takes center stage and makes the FPV experience a whole lot better. Unlike other drones that need to be hooked up to a smartphone or tablet for the ultimate experience, you do not need to do that with this drone.
The only thing that the A3 could have improved is that the LCD is not a touchscreen. But the screen performs very well despite this fact.
The controls are simple and straightforward. You can stream live footage with one antenna and use the other for control. The transmission range is about 1 km, which is not a bad one at all.
You can use the remote control to adjust the camera, the GPS, and flight modes, among others. Another cool feature about this controller is that you can connect a VR headset, and store data on micro SD which adds to the versatility of the controller.
The controller runs on a separate internal battery that is rechargeable. On a full charge, you can use it anywhere from four to six flights.
There is no dedicated app for the drone as it runs seamlessly on the remote.
Additional information about the A3
The A3 has a total flight time of about 15 minutes. If you really want to push it, you could maybe get up to 18 minutes of flight while capturing stunning aerial photography. The flight time will be affected by the settings you are using and whether or not you are recording videos or not.
It is powered by a 2000 mAh lipo battery, which is rechargeable. Initial charging to get the battery on full takes about five hours. If you want to prolong your flight duration, getting a spare battery is the best option.
On delivery, you will receive a charger, a USB cable, AC/DC adapter as well as the propellers. You do need to fix the propellers before you can fly the quadcopter. But this can be done without much effort, so you don’t have to worry about getting it done.
- Streamlined design and sturdy built
- Good optical assembly
- Multiple flight modes
- Easy controls
- Massive screen
- FPV with goggles
- No obstacle avoidance
- Cannot be folded
- Not easily available
The A3 from the FIMI series of Xiaomi is a drone that has something for everyone. It has several great features that are not typical to a drone below the $300 range. You will have no complaints about advanced features such as the FPV feature, as well as multiple flight modes and great remote control.
It is also very well built, which makes it on par with other high-end drones on the market. Flying it is effortless, which makes the entire experience a lot more fun.
One thing that you should be aware of while purchasing this drone is that it is not readily available. Even if you do manage to get your hands on one, delivery can take a while. It is because of the massive popularity of the drone and nothing else.