Drone photography and videography have become so popular that more and more people are making a living doing it.
It is now so easy to fly a drone with a camera and take stunning 4k images and videos.
However, to capture incredible 4K images and videos, you will need a drone with a pretty powerful camera.
Unfortunately, a drone with these capabilities doesn’t come cheap.
Luckily, there are quite a few drones on the market that won’t cost you an arm and leg.
One such option is the Xiaomi Fimi X8 SE.
It comes with several features that you can find in a DJI drone for a fraction of the cost.
Join me in this Xiaomi Fimi X8 SE review as we take a look at all it has to offer.
- Range: 8km
- Flight Time: 35 minutes
- Weight: 1.69 pounds
Fimi X8 SE review
- Range: 8km
- Flight Time: 35 minutes
- Weight: 1.69 pounds
The Fimi X8 SE costs half as much as a DJI drone and comes with almost the same features.
It comes with a bunch of useful camera modes and flight modes as well as safety features to keep the drone safe while capturing breathtaking imagery.
Moreover, its foldable design makes the unit super portable so you can feel free to pack it up and go
This mid-range drone is great for anyone looking for an affordable unit with awesome features.
Xiaomi Fimi X8 SE features
Build quality and design
This Fimi drone comes with a collapsible wing design similar to the earlier X8 models.
The arms of the drone can be stored beside the body which reduces its footprint for easy portability
It also comes with sturdy aluminum construction and a rainproof coating so flying in adverse conditions should not damage the drone.
The Fimi X8 weighs around 765 grams and includes powerful brushless motors and refined aerodynamics for a great flying experience.
Moreover, this drone includes an integrated MicroSD slot that supports 256 GB memory cards for capturing a whole lot more footage.
Overall, the drone feels robust, well built and durable.
The battery compartment even has a secure clip to hold the battery securely while the wings are well-designed.
The Fimi X8 SE comes with a 1/2.6 -inch Sony CMOS sensor and a fixed 26mm F/2.0 lens with an 80° field of view.
This is all mounted on a 3-axis gimbal.
This unit also comes with the Hisilicon chipset that is capable of recording 4K UHD videos up to 30p, 2.7K at 60p and 1080p to 90p with a 100 Mbps data rate to the MP4 format.
While this sensor is smaller than the earlier models that use a 1/2.3 inch chip, there isn’t any noticeable reduction in image quality.
However, on this model, the manufacturer improved the gimbal’s tilt accuracy tolerance and algorithms to 0.005°.
This tighter tolerance allows you to take smoother pans and tilts during flight even when flying at high speeds.
Xiaomi also added the new H.265/HEVC codec that provides almost the same quality and detail as the standard H.264 codec.
However, it requires 40% less storage space.
While that’s on the plus side, the negative with the newer codec is that it can be rough on your computer post-processing so keep that in mind.
The new model also allows for HDR recording for both images and videos.
This allows you to capture images and videos with more details and information in contrasting scenes.
The camera produces awesome footage for a sensor of this size with the default camera settings providing natural color rendering and crystal clear images.
Xiaomi also dealt with internal processing to reduce overexposures and vignettes in the corners.
The blue cast that was a big problem with the earlier models was also addressed and is now gone.
The camera is capable of capturing 12 MP photos with a reasonable dynamic range in JPEG and DNG RAW format.
It offers an ISO range from 100 to 3,200.
There’s also a built-in panorama feature that can capture multi-angle panoramas in a single tap in either landscape or portrait orientations.
The app can also stitch them together automatically.
Xiaomi also included the rectangular 3×3 mode if you want a broad format panorama.
The camera also has 3x Digital Zoom so you can get close to your subject without putting yourself in danger.
There’s also a Time-Lapse Mode with lots of customization and Night Shot Mode to capture stunning images with more detail and clarity at night.
For a drone at this price range, you expect the drone to have a short flight range.
However, you’ll be glad to know that this unit has a range of 8km.
This means that the drone can fly well out of your line of sight.
It reaches top speeds of 40km/h which means you can reach the max range in less than 10 seconds.
If you fly out of range or lose signal, there’s no need to worry as the security features ensure the drone automatically returns to its takeoff location.
However, it is recommended by the FAA that you fly your drone within your line of sight.
This means you should see your drone at all times during its flight.
The Xiaomi Fimi X8 SE comes with an RC controller that includes a large central mount.
You can mount your small smartphone in its case or your medium-sized tablets like the iPad Mini.
Like most RC controllers, this one offers a great flair of functionality like 1-click return home, mode selection, gimbal pitch and flight controls.
It also has a programmable joystick that you can program to your preference.
There are also detachable control sticks and a dedicated slot on the controller for storage.
All in all, the controller is great as it fits well in your hand and is very responsive.
You’ll need the Fimi Navi app to fly this drone.
The app is loaded with all of the essential flight specifications such as elevation, speed and more.
It also allows you to share a live video feed online on social media.
The app is well designed and all the critical information you need is clearly visible like battery life, current position on the map, etc.
It is very intuitive and making adjustments to flight controls, gimbal settings, and calibrations is a breeze.
You also have full manual control over the settings from resolution to quality to white balance and metering, etc.
The app is awesome and if you’re familiar with the DJI Go4 app then you should have no problem.
They both have a similar UI and if you don’t have experience with either, the app is still easy to use.
It’s unlikely that you’ll have a hard time in the app.
Flying the drone is easy and taking off is as simple as performing a calibration then using the 1-click take-off function.
In the air, the Fimi X8 SE is reminiscent of the DJI Mavic series of drones.
When you launch the drone, it automatically starts to hover 1.5 meters above the ground.
You may notice a bit of sway but thanks to the gimbal, this does not affect your footage.
Overall, flying the drone is a breeze
The Fimi X8 comes with a 4500mAH battery just like the earlier models.
However, the flight time of this drone is 35 minutes in ideal conditions which is great since its predecessors only have a 33-minute maximum.
For a drone at this price, the battery life is exceptional.
The fully drained battery takes anywhere from 70 minutes to 2 hours to charge fully.
You can also purchase an additional battery and keep it charged up to further extend your flight time.
One of the most important things people look for when buying a drone is flight time.
Fortunately, the Fimi X8 SE offers a great deal of time in the air.
The 35 minute flight time in ideal conditions is most welcome by many.
In less than ideal conditions, you can expect about 30 minutes which is still great for a drone in this price range.
It will allow you to capture all the aerial imagery you need and have time to land the drone safely.
Do remember it is always best to land your drone before the battery dies so that you don’t crash.
Yes, most drones do return home when the battery percentage reaches a certain level but it never hurts to be careful.
The Fimi X8 SE comes with various flight modes and features.
There’s Smart Object Tracking that uses AI algorithms to detect a subject intelligently.
You can perform several tracking features using the app.
The Trace feature allows you to track targets from different viewpoints while the Profile feature allows you to track in parallel and the Lock to Track allows you to track from a fixed perspective.
You’ll also find a much improved and more powerful Flight Planning integration.
Flight planning gives you the option to tap and set waypoints in the app.
Once you configure your flight route, the drone automatically follows it.
This is a great feature to take advantage of if you want to streamline the flying process and capture a specific sequence.
The drone also includes several Intelligent Flight Modes called Smart Shots.
A single tap is all it takes for the drone to lock onto a subject and capture complex aerial footage.
- Rocket – the drone flies upwards
- Circle – the drone circles the subject
- Dronie – the drone flies backward and upward
- Spiral – the drone spirals the subject
These features are great if you want to capture these movements quickly without the required piloting skills.
There’s also an Automatic Return to Home and Precise Visual Position System.
The downward-facing camera helps recognize optional launch pads for a safe landing.
This system is accurate and works well with the unit’s internal GPS and GLONASS system for safer landings.
As a result, the drone can land within a 3m range of the take-off location.
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Pros: Xiaomi X8 SE
- 4K camera’
- 3-axis gimbal
- 35 minutes flight time
- 8km flight range
- Tons of safety features
Cons: Xiaomi X8 SE
- Sways when hovering
- Can lose signal sometimes for no reason
Fimi X8 SE 4k vs. DJI Mavic Pro
- Range: 7km
- Flight Time: 21 minutes
- Weight: 1.64 pounds
The DJI Mavic Pro is a compact and foldable drone just like the Fimi X8 SE.
This means that they are both portable and can easily be stored in a backpack and carried around.
The camera on this drone can capture 4k videos meanwhile the 3-axis stabilized gimbal helps to deliver smooth footage.
It offers a 78.8-degree field of view and is capable of capturing 12MP images and shooting 4K videos at 30fps and 1080p videos at 96 fps.
The camera can also turn 90 degrees to capture a high-resolution panorama, vertical selfies or videos.
Moving on to the controller, this drone includes a remote with a built-in LCD telemetry screen display.
It also comes with dedicated buttons for the various flight modes like Return-To-Home and a pause/play button.
The DJI Mavic Pro uses the OcuSync video transmission system that allows the drone to fly out to 7km.
As for battery life and flight time, this unit is capable of 21 minutes in the air which is far less than the 35 minutes that you get with the Fimi X8 SE.
The intelligent battery supports fast charging and the unit can reach max speeds of 40mph in Sports Mode.
It also includes a slew of obstacle avoidance features, intelligent flight modes, etc.
The obstacle avoidance system is one area where the DJI Mavic Pro beats the Fimi X8 SE as the X8 SE has none.
The Mavic Pro obstacle avoidance system can spot and avoid objects 50 feet in front of the drone’s path.
It combines information collected by:
- 2 cameras on the top and bottom of the drone’s body
- Main camera
- 2 ultrasonic sensors
- Other sensors
- 24 powerful computing cores
Together, these all create a 3D map that tells the drone exactly where obstacles may be in the environment.
Intelligent flight modes include Waypoints Course Lock, Home Lock, Sports Mode and Point of Interest which is common in the DJI lineup.
However, the Mavic Pro also includes flight modes like:
Trace – the drone follows in front or behind a subject or may circle an object as it moves
Profile – the drone will fly alongside the subject
Gesture – the drone will recognize hand gestures like a hand wave to capture selfies, etc.
Tripod – The drone will slow down to just 2.2 mph to give you extra precision and accuracy for framing a shot.
Spotlight – the drone keeps the camera on the subject while you fly in any direction you choose.
Terrain Follow – the drone uses height information and the downward-facing camera so that the unit can fly at a consistent height even if the ground level changes.
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Final Thoughts: Xiaomi Fimi X8 SE
The Xiaomi Fimi X8 SE offers great value for money.
This drone comes fully loaded with awesome features without the hefty price tag.
The superb camera, 3-axis gimbal, cool flight modes, safety features, flight range and flight time are way more than anyone can expect from a unit at this price point.
If the swaying when hovering and the occasional signal loss doesn’t bother you, then give it a shot.
This drone is suitable for anyone who wants an excellent drone at a great price.