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Sep 04, 2016, 02:53 PM
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Mini-Review

ZEROTECH DOBBY, the first smart selfiedrone (in early construction)





Disclaimer (inspired from SP) Product specifications and quality may vary at the manufacturer's discretion, and are beyond my influence. I cannot guarantee you will get a product that performs exactly the same as seen and described in this review. Please, no savage affiliate links! By the way, in contracdiction with some other reviewers, I open a new mini-review thread ONLY when I have the machine in hand ....

INTRODUCTION

Here is the first selfie drone, the Zerotech DOBBY, a super compact machine with foldable arms super easy to transport in the pocket. The Dobby includes a "4K" camera with Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS). More, the Dobby assures a perfect stabilization outdoors thanks to a GPS module and even indoors via a camera and sonar sensors. The main force of the Dobby is the integration of a powerful Snapdragon processor able to follow-me/target tracking via computer vision. Let's discover the bundle

BOX CONTENT

+ 1 x Zerotech Dobby
+ 1 x Battery (970mAh LiPo with proprietary connector)
+ 1 x USB cable
+ 1 x Charger
+ 1 x microUSB converter plug
+ 1 x Instruction manual (Chinese)



The USB cable ending with a prioprietary connector we can find in some recent smartpho,e too (UMI super for example)



If you want to transfert data via the USB, you will need to plug the adaptor. It's very important to not loose it, it's a small element.

OVERVIEW

The dobby is built with a mate high quality plastic. The packaging box is ultra compact... hard to believe that everything is included in this small box.

-Front view

The dobby folded is ultra compact



in comparaison with a 5' smartphone



Unfolded, the quadcopter is a 150-160mm machine



Arms are hollow and shound'nt resist to a major crash. More, they probably transmit/amplify some vibration increasing Jello and noise.


-Side view



-Rear view

A LED status



-Upper view



-Bottom view



or with the battery clipsed





On front, a microUSB is here to download photos & videos stocked in the buildin memory bank



The bottom side welcomes a camera and sonar sensors to deliver accurate ground altitude estimation especially for indoors flight. Theses sensors
are also used for the palm landing authorizing the landing only if a palm have detected.






-Weight

150g whithout battery



200g AWG



Motors

Probably some 1104 brushless motors





LiPo

A 970mah LiPo with a status remaining capacity lights



The battery connector is a prioprietary one with 4 pads. It takes 30-40min to recharge it with the charger plugged to the wall socket
I deeply regret the price of a spare model, close to 40USD!!!! It's a lot for a simple battery.




Announced to offer 9min of flight time, in practice it's more 6min.


Camera module

A 14Mpx camera module officially shooting in 4K.



In practice, when the stabilization EIS is turned on, videos are in [email protected] The lens can be oriented with a positive angle of +22.5



but also with negative angle: -22,5, -45 and -90 degrees



FIRST USAGE

I performed my test with the app in version 1.1.1. Versus the first release, they already improved the stability and add the orbit feature. The first time you will power it, you will probably need to update both the FC app and firmware version. The ergonomia of the user interfrace is good most quadcopter real time informations displayed on top. Concerning the EIS, you will need first to enter in settings to turn on/off. A dedicaced button on the main screen should be a plus. When press the take off button, you have the choice either from the palm or from the ground. Be aware, the torque of motor is strong and since blades need to be extended by motor rotation, probably the quad can be destabilized in your hand and be potentially dangerous for your fingers. You need 7 satellites minimum to take off in outdoors mode.

Zerotech Dobby demo flight test (Courtesy Banggood) (12 min 45 sec)


Immediatly after take off, you are forced to notuce that the Dobby is super Noisy comparatively for its size.... No discret spying for sure with this machine. The machine hover at 1m. If you performed correctly the compass calibration, the GPS hold stabilization is efficient. In general, the video feedback on the app is good. Latency is proportional to the distance. It's advised to decrease the resolution to decrease bandwith so decrease latency in the same time. The field of view is a bit narrow and even more when the EIS is turned on. The EIS when turned on aims the selected angle and can stabilized the video around a 20-30 degrees solid angle. Even with the activation of EIS, there is a remaining jello.... Probably linked with arms structure vibrating too much and/or the foldable blades. With the short videos feature, you can shoot a preprogrammed path backward-forward mouvement. Nice feature. I found also the target tracking not super robust when Template don't offer a big contrast (in term of structure/color) with the background. Probably a basic tracking based on color's histogram, i.e. a early 80's computer vision (I am in real life a computer vision scientist). I am expecting better results when the face tracking will be available in the app, probably more based on the classic Viola-Jones algoirithm of the early 2000's.

CONCLUSIONS

A really interesting new concept is indroduced here with the dobby. The machine for sure is easy to control since most of the time you will probably use it in hovering and/or pre-defined selfi trajectories. This machine is stable in both indoors/outdoors configuration. Videos after stabilization are shooted in [email protected] but some little jello effect is still remaining on videos. The flight time are a little bit limited to 6 min. I regret the expensive price of a spare battery and the non-presence in the bundle of spare props and a prop guard. Finally be aware with the palm take off/landing option, it can be potentially dangerous for your hand.

UNBOXING AND ANALYSIS

Zerotech Dobby Unboxing, quick overview and first demo flight (Courtesy Banggood) (42 min 15 sec)


PROS

+ Compact and lightweight smart video plateform
+ 200g machine
+ [email protected] stabilized videos
+ Powerfull snapdragon processor
+ Pre-defined selfies trajectories
+ Follow-me
+ Indoors altitulde hold via camera/sonar sensors
+ App/firmware regulary updated
+ 9GB builtin memory

CONS

- Noisy
- Palm take off/landing potentially dangerous (strong brushless motor'torque)
- Remaining jello in videos despite EIS
- No spare props, prop guard provided
- Expensive spare battery
- Require modern smartphone to run the app
- Target tracking need strong contrast with background

This quadcopter have been courtesy provided by Banggood in order to make a fair and not biased review. I would like to thank them for this attitude.
You can find it actually for 386USD at http://www.banggood.com/Zero-Dobby-Pocket-Selfie-Drone-With-13MP-HD-Camera-GPS-WiFi-App-Control-Foldable-RC-Quadcopter-RTF-p-1057414.html
Last edited by SeByDocKy; Sep 05, 2016 at 01:30 AM.
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Sep 04, 2016, 02:54 PM
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Sep 04, 2016, 03:37 PM
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So yours is also very noisy. Noise means vibrations, and vibrations mean jello. Apart from some other flows, that is a major problem for a drone that was created to make high quality video.
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Sep 04, 2016, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoloProFan
So yours is also very noisy. Noise means vibrations, and vibrations mean jello. Apart from some other flows, that is a major problem for a drone that was created to make high quality video.

Yes for me the arm structure is guilty ...
Sep 05, 2016, 12:18 AM
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SeBy's video gave me a headache! You're not going to make many friends firing that thing up in a public place
Sep 05, 2016, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegan
SeBy's video gave me a headache! You're not going to make many friends firing that thing up in a public place
Why ? because I said it's Noisy ? potentially dangerous for fingers ? or the EIS is not removing fully the jello ? Unfortunatly it's a fact ... but don't be wrong, it's not a bad machine .... sincerely, I was expecting much worser results.... I am not sure the wingland S6 will be much better btw
Sep 05, 2016, 01:29 AM
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The noise! It sounds horrendous! I actually thought the EIS was not too bad considering but overall I still think it's a menace to society
Sep 05, 2016, 01:32 AM
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SeByDocKy's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegan
The noise! It sounds horrendous! I actually thought the EIS was not too bad considering but overall I still think it's a menace to society

Yes it's more the Dobby is more adapted for Austin Power's gadgets than for Jame Bond for sure ....
Sep 05, 2016, 03:20 PM
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Is it possibly a prop balance issue?
Sep 05, 2016, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FidlerEd
Is it possibly a prop balance issue?
Maybe but there are in practice hard to balance since there are foldable themselves
Sep 06, 2016, 12:37 PM
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Yes, I was wondering how you could balance a folding prop like that. I think I will weigh the blades when mine arrives out of interest.
Sep 06, 2016, 07:42 PM
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I wonder if the gemfan 3025 would fit. They seem to have the same screw mounting. Would not fully fold, but you could balance.
Sep 07, 2016, 01:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FidlerEd
I wonder if the gemfan 3025 would fit. They seem to have the same screw mounting. Would not fully fold, but you could balance.
yes I think it should be possible ....but as you said no more possibility to full fold it ....
Sep 07, 2016, 11:36 AM
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Thank you for a comprehensive, and I think, objective review.
Sep 07, 2016, 12:46 PM
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SeByDocKy's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FidlerEd
Thank you for a comprehensive, and I think, objective review.
Thanks
I will add more videos asap ....


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