I sure have seen lots of drones out there, and so must have you. Ranging from the pretty far out to the impossibly cute and all in-between. Now though, I have to add a drone on a dog leash, yes a real live leash to my list. Meet the Fotokite Phi. Its a pretty normal-looking quadcopter except of course for the leash. And no it’s not to tie up old schoolmates or your bitter ex with. The bright idea is to use it when it might be inadvisable or illegal having a drone flying over people’s precious heads and perhaps crashing and carving some holes and gouges in soft and sensitive body tissue. So, you just dump a camera on the Fotokite Phi as it doesn’t come with one, and extend its leash which ranges from 8-30 meters to set it automatically hovering and taking footage of the action you got your mind on.
The newfangled drone comes ultra-foldable and portable. It readily morphs into a foot-long lightweight tube dying to be slipped into a backpack or perhaps a lunch box. The prop blades are made of some rather soft plastic and are low torqued too, meaning you won’t get decapitated nor will it amputate a body part should it happen to fall on you. The drone is so simple it doesn’t even need a pilot nor was it designed for one. All you have to do to get the show on the road is to unfold the arms and then twist a lock on the top that gets the props spinning up, Then tie it up securely like you would do to any savage Rottweiler, point the camera at the object of your interest then you are good to go. Not surprisingly, no fancy flying modes are supported as this is strictly a one-trick puppy. On the leash end rests 2 buttons though that you press to send the Fotokite Phi spinning higher or lower or left or right as desired. Moreover, without the leash you can’t fly the drone, so don’t even try.
It additionally comes in two models: the Phi and the Pro. The first is for hobbyists, with around 15 minutes of flying time enabled and footage only good enough as the camera you put on it. The Pro though has a leash that does double duty as a power cable and an uncompressed HD video downlink. Meaning of course that you can record till the cows come home to party if that is what tickles your palate. The batteries on both models are user swappable as desired to keep the fun rolling with as little interruption as possible.
Price starts at $249 with no cameras included of course. Which is rather expensive considering that you must purchase and add a camera to the Fotokite Phi separately. Not to mention that what it can do is very much limited compared to other more ‘traditional’ drones that come cheaper and far more versatile. If you do need a drone hog-tied you know what to do. If you don’t, then the options are limitless as is the fun. And I would suggest you go that route.
Fotokite Phi Drone
Fotokite Phi Drone is a good drone. It’s not the best, not the worst. If you are looking for a budget drone, this might be the one.