Xiaomi FIMI A3 – The perfect entry-level drone?
The Xiaomi FIMI A3 is a high-quality camera drone with an attractive price-performance ratio. In terms of features, the copter is roughly comparable to the DJI Spark, but costs a bit less. We took a closer look at the FIMI A3 drone and report on the advantages and disadvantages of the quadcopter below.
The quadcopter is manufactured by FIMI, which sells cameras as well as drones and gimbals and is part of the Xiaomi ecosystem – a term coined by Xiaomi itself. The FIMI A3 isn’t the only Xiaomi drone, by the way. With the Xiaomi FIMI X8 SE, the Chinese company has another high-quality camera drone on offer, which is in the same league as the DJI Mavic Pro.
What The Xiaomi FIMI A3 Can Do
Equipped with a 2,000 mAh LiPo, the 560 gram FIMI drone achieves flight times of up to 25 minutes. The copter is charged via microUSB cable in about 2.5 hours or significantly faster with the included balance charger.
The built-in 1080p camera is stabilized by a 3-axis gimbal. However, only two gimbal axes are mechanically stabilized, movements in the third axis are compensated electronically.
The Xiaomi FIMI A3 records videos in Full HD at a maximum of 30 fps and transmits them in real time to the 4.3-inch LCD display of the included controller. The data rate is 60 Mbit/s. The built-in image sensor has a size of 1/3.2 inches and the camera’s field of view is 80°. The camera’s aperture is f/2.0. The camera can also be adjusted vertically in a tilt angle of 0-90°.
The FIMI A3 takes photos with up to 8 megapixels and stores them – just like the videos – on a microSD card of up to 64 GB (not included). Unfortunately, the quality of the photos cannot quite keep up with the videos. However, the quality is more than sufficient for one or two snapshots.
Unlike the FIMI X8 SE, the A3’s outriggers cannot be folded. Nevertheless, the drone’s dimensions of 28.9 x 22.9 x 6.9 cm and its weight of just over half a kilo make it not too unwieldy for regular transport. The propellers with quick-release function (quick-change propellers) are also helpful for setting up the drone quickly.
Fast and precise and innovative
In Sport mode, the Xiaomi FIMI A3 reaches speeds of up to 40 mph (64.8 km/h) or 18 m/s. A dual GPS and GLONASS module ensures the necessary flight stability. By using both positioning systems, enough satellites are available for connection at all times – a feature that is by no means a matter of course for copters in this price range.
The manufacturer’s specified range is about 0.62 miles (1,000 meters). Since drones are only allowed to be flown on sight in many countries, this is a more than sufficient value. In this context, it is also very practical that the FIMI A3 automatically adheres to no-fly zones. At altitude, the FIMI A3 reaches up to 1640 feet (500 meters) and climbs at up to 13.4 mph or 6 m/s. The maximum sink rate, on the other hand, is 11.2 mph or 5 m/s.
Unlike the slightly more expensive Xiaomi FIMI X8 SE, the FIMI A3 unfortunately does not have a Vision Positioning System (VPS). Therefore, the A3 does not have a ground camera or ultrasonic sensors for distance measurement.
A special highlight of the drone is certainly the innovative DIY port for connecting various gadgets such as LED lighting or small servo motors – there are no limits to creativity here.
Intelligent flight modes
The Xiaomi FIMI A3 is launched at the push of a button. Once in the air, the pilot then has various intelligent recording modes at his disposal, with the help of which impressive video recordings are possible. The following modes are available:
- Follow Me
- Fixed Wing
- One Key Return
In Follow Me mode, an object or person can be highlighted on the remote control display. The drone then follows the object and always keeps it in the center of the image, even if it is moving.
In Orbit mode, the FIMI A3 can automatically orbit a selected object while making a video.
Fixed-wing mode is a special highlight of the Xiaomi A3. If you activate this option, the copter behaves similar to an RC airplane. When flying curves, this has the effect that the images reflect the drone’s banked position – a nice stylistic device, we think.
In Dronie mode, the drone rises vertically while the camera is tilted vertically downward.
Headles mode allows for simplified control of the drone. When it’s activated, it doesn’t matter whether the front or rear of the copter is facing the pilot for directional changes. Control commands to the left or right always let the drone fly in the desired direction, no matter how it is currently oriented.
The One Key Return feature, also known as Return to Home by other manufacturers, lets the Xiaomi FIMI A3 return to its launch position and land safely at the touch of a button. By the way, this feature is automatically activated if the drone ever loses the signal to the remote control or the battery level gets too low.
The controller of the FIMI A3
The FIMI A3’s flight controller weighs 331 grams and has a fixed 4.3-inch LCD display with a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels, on which the drone’s camera recordings are output in real time. Two antennas provide for the transmission of the video signal (5.8 GHz frequency) as well as the control commands (2.4 GHz frequency).
A full charge of the remote control’s 2,950 mAh battery is enough for several hours of operation. The battery is recharged via micro-USB cable within about 3.5 hours.
The controller feels good in the hand and has a high-quality build. You can choose between Mode 1, 2 and 3 for the preferred assignment of the two control sticks.
Scope of delivery
- Xiaomi FIMI A3 (with 2.000 mAh LiPo)
- Controller (with 2.950 mAh battery)
- Rotors (Quick-Release)
- Charger (Balance Charger) with power adapter
- USB-C cable
- microUSB charging cable
- Quick Start Guide
We think the Xiaomi FIMI A3 is an extremely solid drone with camera at a more than fair price. Equipped with a 3-axis gimbal and a Full HD camera as well as GPS and GLONASS, the drone not only convinces with excellent flight characteristics, but also delivers excellent video recordings for this price range.
The various automatic flight modes should also be mentioned here, which not only make it easier for beginners to take impressive camera shots.
The high range of up to 0.62 miles (1,000 meters) ensures consistently good image and signal transmission within a broad radius around the pilot, and the One Key Return and Headless modes will make it easier for drone novices in particular to get started.
In our opinion, the Xiaomi FIMI A3 is an extremely well designed drone in the mid-range price segment and an excellent alternative to the otherwise very popular models from DJI.