I’m so excited to share the HOVERAir X1 with you. Rarely have I been so amazed at technology as I have with the X1. This incredible device completely changes how a flying camera should operate. It fixes all the issues that surface from sophisticated drones when all you want is to take a few simple videos.
Having to take out a controller, connect the flying camera to the controller or a mobile device, and then waiting for the GPS to lock on, are things of the past with the X1.
As usual, I purchased it at full price (~USD 399) from JD.COM and have no affiliation or sponsorship from Zero Zero Robotics. As a sidenote, for English speakers, the company name sounds odd, but in Chinese, it sounds rather cool where “Zero” is pronounced “Ling”.
What is the X1?
Let’s start with the most important point. It’s not a drone per se because it doesn’t have GPS and its manual controls are rudimentary and secondary. Think of it as an autonomous flying camera that uses visual recognition to track subjects while making videos.
The X1 comes with a series of pre-programmed flight paths that can quickly and easily be utilized without any controllers or knowledge. Since it doesn’t use GPS, you don’t have to wait for it to lock onto satellites. It’s also permissible (for now) in places that forbid drones.
How does it work?
The X1 is magical to use in real life. It feels like something that shouldn’t work, but it somehow does. It feels like we fast-forwarded to 2040 instead of 2023. To use the X1 is incredibly simple:
- Unfold the device
- Hold it in the palm of your hand
- Long press the power button
- Choose one of the pre-programmed flight paths
- Ensure the camera is able to have a clear line of sight to you (this is key for it to complete its flight paths)
- While holding the X1 in your palm, press the power button
- The drone will launch and complete its pro-programmed flight path
- And now the magical part… when the X1 is finished its flight path, it will come back to where it started and hover; to get it to land, you place your palm under it. The X1 uses its cameras to land into your palm
You’ll note that no phone or controller was required to capture the footage. Only the device is required, nothing else.
What flight paths can it take?
The X1 comes pre-programmed with “Hover” which stays in place and will rotate to follow the subject, “Follow” which follows the subject from behind, “Orbit” which flies around the subject, “Zoom Out” which is similar to DJI’s Dronie and “Bird’s Eye” which flies straight up and rotates the subject below it.
You can also program one button to create your own flight path from the mobile phone app. In addition, if you want to adjust the pro-programmed flight paths, each one has some customization available (i.e., you can adjust the height of the various flight paths).
What’s the video like?
For a tiny and super lightweight (125g) device, the 2.7k @ 30fps video coming from it was more than good enough. It’s so easy to use that you can even use it as an indoor selfie camera as it hovers and follows your position in the room.
How’s the battery life?
In my testing, the battery lasted for a little over 12 minutes when the wind was light. If the flight path is a complicated one or if there’s a lot of wind, the battery life will be shorter. I’d recommend getting the combination package which in China included two batteries, an external charger and a hard case.
Who is this for?
The X1 is for anyone that wants quick and cinematic videos without the hassle of using a traditional drone. It’s also for people that live in restricted drone areas where GPS enabled or high-flying devices are banned, even at low flying heights.
The X1 is also for people that want to experience what the future of robotics feels like in an affordable and user-friendly package. Using the X1 feels like a leap into the future. It’s super fun to pull out with friends and watch everyone’s jaws hit the ground.
Where can you buy it?
Distribution seems to be limited for this device. In China, we can purchase it from JD.COM, but in North America, Europe and the UK, it seems the best place is directly from the company at thehover.com.
Want more information?
I’d highly recommend searching on YouTube because words cannot do justice to this device. You have to see it in action and better yet, to use it yourself. It takes next to no time to get accustomed to how it works and then the magic happens.