Some of you may remember the drone manufacturer Yuneec from its Typhoon H hex-copter (six rotors), which launched with intelligent flight modes powered by Intel CPUs. This beast of a drone fascinated pro-summer drone pilots, but it wasn't necessarily a drone that intermediate drone pilots would try.
Now, Yuneec's Mantis Q aims to be the preferred drone for intermediate to entry-level drone pilots.
The company feels its design and user interface involved with flying will appeal to pilots.
"Beginners don't want to read instruction manuals," said Joe Schamuhn, Yuneec vice president of global sales. "They want to have a natural approach."
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Ultra portable, user-friendly
The trend in drones today is ultraportable aircraft. The Manit Q doesn't disappoint. No need for big cases and pouches with this drone, just fold it down and put it into your backpack or camera bag. The Mantis Q (Figure A) folds down to a portable 6 39⁄64" x 3 25⁄32" x 2 9⁄32 inches. Not too small, not too large—seeing a drone this size is less intimidating than many of the larger drones available.
Nifty voice and gesture commands
This leads to the drone's voice and gesture features, which are similar to the types of gestures and voice commands you can use on today's smartphones (Figure B). However, gestures aren't used solely on the drone's transmitter, but also used via the smartphone connected to the transmitter. All gestures are used for pure camera controls to make it easier on the pilot.
The voice controls are very basic. You're not going to tell the Mantis to do a "barrel roll," but you can tell it functions such as "take off" or "land." This is to help keep the pilot and drone safe from harm in case a command is misunderstood.
I was initially skeptical of controlling a drone with my voice or gestures. I've seen and read too many horror stories related to a malfunctioning drone and transmitter leading to accidents since the controls were on a smartphone's touch screen. I respect that Yuneec took matters like this into account and limited the gestures and voice controls to basic (useful) functions.
Pricing for the Mantis Q begins at $499. At this price point, you get pretty standard drone tech specs such as 4K video at 60fps and stabilization. Yuneec believes the bonus is in the ease of use and gesture controls.
I wasn't able to fly the aircraft myself, but I will receive a review unit soon. I look forward to trying this drone out for its user experience and to also compare the quality of content created from its camera.
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Ant Pruitt is an IT Support Professional with a passion for showing the non-geek how great technology can be. He writes for a variety of tech publications and hosts his own podcast. Ant is also an avid photographer and weight lifter.