China's Xiaomi shows off new $460 4K camera drone

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The race to the bottom has reached the drone market, as infamous copycat Xiaomi on Wednesday revealed a pair of new camera-equipped drones that work with the company's smartphones.

The Mi Drone will come in two flavors, differentiated by the on-board camera. A version toting a 4K shooter will run ¥2,999 ($460), while a 1080p model will come in at ¥2,499.

Interestingly, Xiaomi will turn to crowdfunding for development of the lower-resolution edition, with a campaign beginning tomorrow. The company says the 4K version will skip that process and launch in limited beta later this summer.

Both models feature a three-axis gimbal which — like many of the drone's other components — can be replaced by the user.

A Mi smartphone will be required for control, and it will do double duty as a viewfinder for the camera. Xiaomi says that the drone's 5,100 mAh battery will be good for approximately 27 minutes of flight time.

As with competing products — including those from fellow Chinese firm DJI — the Mi Drone will be capable of automatically taking off, landing, navigating via GPS waypoints, and returning to the controller. It remains to be seen how these features will stack up with market leader DJI's in real-world use, given the extreme price difference between the two.