- Foldable design
- Relatively good camera
- Smartphone app
- Calibration problems
- Short range
- Embedded non-replaceable battery
- Value 1
- Value 2
- Value 3
- Value 4
- Value 5
The C-Me pocket selfie drone for the first time appeared on CES 2017. The official retail price is around 199USD, and you can get it now from Banggood.com at almost one third of that price. We will get to the point of flight performance, and as usual – let’s see who and what we have to deal with.
Because I do not live in the USA I’ve never heard of Hobico before, and they seem to be huge. C-me is a minor part of their operations, and the website is very beautifully designed.
We can confirm that by just looking at the box. Excitingly decorated and you may get hyped about what is inside.
Most of the important specs are written on the box – 8MP camera with image stabilization, “follow me” option, 360 panoramic video and embedded GPS module which guarantees safe return to home. At least on theory – that should be close to some of the lower-end DJI products.
Inside the box feels as nice as on the outside. Everything is tidy and well designed. Spare props, a 2A charger, USB cable and prop guards. And also this lovely user guide, which is very detailed and perhaps is meant to quickly get you up to speed with what’s needed.
Design and features
On the drone’s stamp there is a recommendation to use the blade guards, which I won’t follow because I will fly mostly outdoors. On the back side are located the microUSB port and microSD slot, and on the front – the camera with an ultra bright LED.
On the bottom side you will find the power button and an obstacle sensor. We can see the cover, underneath which are the internals. The arms are folded and apparently it has dimensions similar to a smartphone, just three times thicker. The motors inside seem to be similar to many other drones. I will have to disassemble to confirm, but they may be the same as in the Syma x5c, and if that’s the case – spare motors are dirt cheap!
Curiosity is curiosity and I had to look under the cover. My hope was to get easy access to the battery, and there was no such option. You can see the internals , and the battery is located below the board, and I decided not to risk disconnecting the antenna and the camera cable before the maiden flight. Maybe later on. Capacity is 750mah, 2-cell and claimed to operate at 7.6 volts, although I suspect it is operating at 7.4. Having no quick access to the battery has both a good and a bad side. The good side is that you won’t be tempted to spend more money on batteries. The bad – you are unable to fly more than 10 minutes per 2 hours – this is how long the charging cycle will take. The great benefit of charging via microUSB is the option to do that via a portable battery. And I so much hoped to see similar option on the much more expensive DJI spark, but … no!
Controls and smartphone APP
The transmitter for this drone is .. your smartphone. 2.4G WiFi, which is stable, and I’d say – among the best 2.4 non-boosted options. Certainly the best among all the budget selfie drones.
You have most of the standard drone controls. Looks like the app can’t use the phone’s gravity sensor, for a WII-joystick-like control, but in fact it is convenient enough and the GPS lock is doing excellent job on keeping it steady. The first time you are connecting there is a tutorial running – read it carefully because that pays of later, when you are in flight mode.
I am on a few charges already and impressions are mainly positive.
Flight preparation and performance
The startup procedure is annoying, because it almost always is asking you to do compass calibration. And you often get reports about geomagnetic interference. The more you fly, the faster you get through the procedure, but still – it is worth at least a minute of preparation time. Once you take off – the fun begins. Recording from the camera happens even without the SD card – directly on your smartphone. The follow me’s algorithm automatically detects what needs to be followed. And if you do some rapid movements you will of course go out of sight. Under certain circumstances the follow me could be good enough to chase you while running, but let’s be fair – won’t be more often than half of the attempts. The more you practice, the more realistic you become at your expectations from the camera and the better results you will get out of it.
Most of the fun-drone elements are available – you have full control over directions, even 360-degree videos are possible. The picture quality is acceptable, in fact surprisingly good for such a small lens and sensor. This drone weights around 130 grams, while an action-cam is around 70-80gr. And in that weight we count the motors, props, frame and so on. Do not expect action-camera grade quality – and as you can see it is satisfactory enough to get some footage to share over social media and I quote here “ will make you instantly cool” .
The battery lasted for around 8 minutes. I wish there was status percentage in the app, but even with the on-screen status you get the idea of how much time you have left. As for controlling distance – make sure to stay within 10-15 meters. Maximum is rated to be 20.
At the end, it is fair to share the feedback that some users expressed – a lot of issues with the calibration. Looks like the sensors are very sensitive and seem to be a little tricky.
If you get it working, the drone is rather fun to fly with, offering better experience than similar “selfie” drones such as the Flytec T13 or JJRC’s Elfie series. The camera has satisfactory quality, however the “8MP” tag may raise the expectations to a level it can’t really reach.
If you are looking for a good little flyer that can shoot good photos and videos – then this model is worth purchasing. If you are looking for a real DJI Spark competitor… this certainly is not the guy.