The evolution of the “selfie” has gradually progressed over the years. This popularity has pushed technology to make smaller and better cameras and to pack as many pixels as possible into imaging sensors. So have we reached the limits of the selfie? Not if Xiro has anything to do with it with its new Xplorer Mini. Smartly packaged in a small foldable airframe, the Xplorer Mini sports features that rivals drones twice its size. Using GPS/GLONASS dual-satellite and indoor visual positioning for ultimate control combined with a dedicated app with smart flight modes for easy flying, the Xplorer Mini
is meant for pilots of all levels. Time to hit the sky.
The Xplorer Mini comes neatly packaged in a box with attractive artwork that informs you about all the important specs and what’s inside in the box. The plastic insert keeps everything nicely packaged, and the box can be used as storage when you’re not using the drone. No dedicated remote is included because your phone, with the dedicated app, will be used to control the Xplorer Mini. The flight app makes it easy to navigate through all the performance features of the Xplorer Mini, including the flight modes, photo/video shooting configurations, and camera tilt control. In addition, the app’s telemetry keeps you updated with the drone’s height, speed, and distance; the number of satellites you’re connected to; the flight-battery status; and available internal memory storage. After charging the battery, which takes about an hour with the included charger, you install it into the drone after removing the top hatch, which snaps back into place. The foldable arms are released and extended via the release buttons located under each of the four arms. When you’re ready to power on the Xplorer Mini, you hold the on/off button for three seconds until you see the green LED indicator light and hear the internal cooling fan power on. The drone will immediately start transmitting a WiFi signal, which will allow you to connect to the installed app on your phone. Under the drone, you will also find an ultrasonic sensor for vision positioning when you’re flying indoors (where it won’t be able to find satellite signals). The Xplorer Mini’s internal GPS/GLONASS dual-satellite system allows it to hold a steady hover outdoors.
If you’re like me and can’t wait to get a new drone up in the air, the Xiro Xplorer app makes it a cinch to get started. Although the app showed the Xplorer Mini was ready for flight, I wanted to calibrate the internal GPS just to be on the safe side. Once calibrated, connecting my phone to the drone was quick and easy. It’s hard to handle this little drone and not smudge up the camera lens with fingerprints, so I recommend always giving the lens a quick wipe before takeoff. When I was ready for lift off, I simply tapped on the Start icon and the brushless motors came to life. Then with a quick tap of the Takeoff icon, the Xplorer Mini got airborne and held a steady hover 2 meters off the ground waiting for its next command. I decided to play it safe—literally—on the maiden flight using the safe-flight modes. I configured the Xplorer Mini to fly on Safe Control mode, with the control stick sensitivity on “Safe.” If you’re a first-time pilot, this is the perfect mode for you. In this mode, the position of the Xplorer Mini is relative: No matter which way the nose is pointing, the Xplorer Mini moves in the same direction as the right control stick, which eliminates any orientation confusion. Switching to the Free Control mode and experimenting with the stick sensitivities turned the Xplorer Mini into a responsive little flier. From medium to fast stick sensitivity, flying in any mode felt solid and easily controllable. The last control mode I tried was Motion control, which moves the drone in the direction you tilt your phone or tablet. I took the Xplorer Mini mountain biking and the Follow Me and Follow Snap modes did a good job of keeping up and keeping me centered in the shot for perfect photos and videos. After a long day on the trails, the flight app makes it easy to preview your photos and videos and download them to your phone, ready to share on social media.
Selfie drones are still new on the scene, and the Xplorer Mini is setting the bar high. Xiro did an excellent job making a drone that is accessible to the masses and, thanks to its user-friendliness, easy to fly. Its price tag isn’t exactly chump change, but you get a drone with all the bells and whistles, ready to record your life’s adventures