Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
In a time when we have a DJI Mini 2, a recently released Mini SE, and rumors about a DJI Mini 3, Fimi released the Fimi X8 Mini as direct competition.
Let’s face it, DJI drones are some of the best, but they are also quite expensive, so finding a cheaper alternative is always great. But does the Fimi X8 Mini really compare to the DJI Mini drones? I got to try it, and below is a summary of what I realized.
The Fimi X8 Mini has some excellent features that give the DJI Mini and Mini 2 a run for their money. For a considerably lower cost, the Fimi X8 can shoot in 4K at 30fps, has a 30 Minutes flight time, has excellent flight modes, can produce raw photos, and weighs less than 250 grams. However, there are some tasks that the Mini 2 does better.
Please keep reading to learn more about the Fimi X8 Mini, what it’s best used for, and if it’s worth your money.
Table of contents:
- About The Company: Xiaomi-
- Fimi X8 Mini Overview:
- Features and Specs of the Fimi X8 Mini:
- Fimi X8 Mini Pros and Cons:
- How to Fly the Fimi X8 Mini:
- What’s It Like to Fly the Fimi X8 Mini?
- Fimi X8 Mini Alternative – DJI Mini 2:
About The Company: Xiaomi–
Xiaomi is a leading electronics manufacturer company, mainly known for manufacturing smartphones. However, they have also ventured into other devices such as tablets, laptops, IoT, and drones. But drones are under their subsidiary company known as Fimi.
Founded in 2010, Xiaomi has upheld its vision to help its users make friends and to be the coolest company among uses.
The Fimi X8 Mini isn’t their first drone, though. They have manufactured other models that are also gaining popularity in the market. Some of their drone models include;
- Xiaomi Mi Drone 4K
- Xiaomi Fimi A3
- Xiaomi Fimi X8 SE
Fimi X8 Mini Overview:
As mentioned earlier, the Fimi X8 Mini was built to compete with the DJI Mini drone series, which would explain why it bears the “Mini” name. Before we go deep into the review, below is a highlight of its features.
Brand: Xiaomi, Fimi
Type: Outdoor Quadcopter
Model: Fimi X8 Mini
Communication Features: Brushless Version, Radio Control, WiFi APP Control, WiFi FPV
Motor Type: Brushless Motor
Functions: Camera, Smart-Tracking, Time-Lapse, Forward/backward, FPV, Hover, High Wind Warning, Flight-Plan Shooting, One Key Automatic Return, Precision Landing, One Key Taking Off, Tap to Fly, Turn left/right, Up/down, Waypoints, Panorama, Livestreaming, SAR (Search and Rescue Mode)
Satellite System: GLONASS, GPS, BEIDOU
Sensor: Optical Flow, Sonar
Built-in Gyro: 6 Axis Gyro
Material: Carbon Fiber, Electronic Components, PC
Kit Types: RTF
FPV Distance: 4kilometers
Model Power: Built-in rechargeable battery
Battery: 15.2V 5100mAh LiPo
Flying Time: About 30 mins
Charging Time: About 3.5
Video Resolution: 4K HDR 30 fps
Drone weight: 258g or 245g with the pro battery
Package Weight: 1.905 lbs.
Product size: 145 x 85 x 56 mm (folded) or 200 x 145 x 56mm (unfolded)
Package size: 8.07 x 6.3 x 4.96 inches
What’s In the Box?
Fimi did their best to create a miniature drone. Even the packaging itself, which weighs barely 1 kg, may give you the impression that it doesn’t have much to offer. Well, that’s not true. Below is what I found in the box;
- The quadcopter
- Remote Controller
- Spare propellers
- Screw Driver
- USB-C cable
- Controller to smartphone cables
- Gimbal cover
- Instruction Manual
Unique Selling Point:
So, you’re probably wondering why you would buy this drone instead of a DJI Mini or Mini 2. Well, below are some fascinating perks about this drone.
- 4000 m altitude limit, which is relatively high considering DJI limits their drones at 500 meters. If you live in mountainous regions, this would be a great fit.
- It’s cheaper. The Fimi X8 functions like the Mini 2 in most aspects, but it costs at least $100 less than the Mini 2, making it a viable option for those on a budget.
- It’s a sub-2150 grams drone, meaning you don’t have to register it.
- Inbuilt Search and Rescue Mode.
- Night Shooting
Features and Specs of the Fimi X8 Mini:
Here is a detailed review of this drone.
A drone’s camera is quite crucial. I mean, no one wants just to fly a drone and view it from the ground. Even the whole concept of building drones was for man to get a bird’s eye view.
The Fimi X8 is equipped with a 4K HDR camera, a 1/ 2.6-inch sensor, 12MP still photos’ resolution, and an 80 degrees field of view. Coupled with the 3-axis gimbal, you can rest assured that you will be recording smooth footage even when it’s windy or when you have to turn your drone often.
Another crucial feature, especially for professional photographers, is the ability to take photos in JPEG and RAW format. RAW gives you more detail to work with, making it more accessible during the editing process.
You also get a 3X lossless zoom, which makes it great when you need to photograph from a distance. However, they aren’t clear if it’s lossless, though you’ll note some slight loss of image quality as you zoom.
And for those who love night photography, especially in cities, the Fimi X8 Mini has an inbuilt night shooting feature built on the Hisilicon professional AI Algorithm.
This AI enhances noise reduction and captures details better than a regular camera.
A high-quality camera wouldn’t be fun without intelligent flight modes, and the Fimi X8 Mini isn’t lacking in that area. Below are some fascinating flight modes you can use to spice up your flying sessions outdoors.
- Smart Tracking Modes – This is a version of the follow-me mode you’ll find in most drones. What you do is select an object of interest, and the drone will follow you from behind. It’s excellent for athletes, hikers, vloggers, or anyone who’d want to film themselves when outdoors. I consider this a plus since none of the DJI Mini series has a follow-me feature. However, before launching this app, make sure you check and make sure there are no obstacles. This drone only has downwards facing anti-collision sensors and lacks forwards or backward facing sensors.
- One–Tap Shots – This feature is quite handy if you want to take quick cinematic shots without any latency or blur.
- Flight Plan Shooting – Also known as waypoint flying, this is where you pre-determine the path the drone will follow and focus on photography or any other tasks as the drone flies on autopilot.
- Time-Lapse – Photos taken using the time-lapse technique are mesmerizing, but you have to set the frequency manually in some cases. But for the Fimi X8, there is an inbuilt feature that makes it easy. The next time you go night shooting, try taking a time-lapse photo of a highway with lots of traffic.
- Live Streaming – Do you want to share your footage live with your friends or fans? The Fimi X8 allows you to Livestream through social media channels.
- Panorama – This is a feature that allows you to take wide-angle photographs easily. You can use it for landscape photography or even night photography.
- SAR Mode – The camera, 3X zoom, and excellent transmission make this drone a suitable model for search and rescue missions.
Thirty minutes of flight time is quite impressive for a drone in this price range. However, depending on the conditions you’re flying in, sometimes this drone averages 25 Minutes.
Now, The Fimi X8 Mini comes with two batteries; a 2400mAh Li-Ion battery that’s heavier and a lighter 2200mAh LiPo battery.
If you don’t want to register your drone, then you should use the LiPo battery. On the other hand, the Li-Ion battery makes the drone go a little over 250 grams, and you may have to register it based on the regulations in your region.
Also, LiPo batteries deliver better performance than Li-ion batteries but make sure you follow the appropriate care procedures for charging, discharging, and storage.
Featuring a brushless motor and an ergonomic design, the Fimi X8 delivers an above-average performance. You get two modes, a Normal Mode that makes the drone travel at average speeds and a Sport mode for top speeds of up to 50 Miles Per Hour.
Fimi improved on their previous drones and made the connection stronger (It uses the 5.87 GHz WiFi transmission). This allows the drone to achieve an operating range of up to 8 KM.
While this doesn’t come close to DJI’s OcuSync in the Mini 2, it’s slightly better than the DJI Mini 1’s transmission.
I tested the drone’s transmission in an open field, and it held up to the advertisement, though I didn’t travel all 8 kilometers.
Besides, unless you have a waiver, you should only fly your drone within the line of sight, and the Fimi X8 Mini drone’s connection is strong enough for that.
While this drone is advertised to handle Level 5 winds, I’d take that with a pinch of salt. It does have a triple positioning system and efficient motor and propellers systems.
However, due to its lightweight, it may still be blown away by high winds. It’s a good thing that it has a high wind warning system that alerts you when the wind is too strong for the drone to handle.
SO, how does the controller fair compared to its competitors? It’s pretty solid. It features two antennas and slides sideways to accommodate the size of your smartphone.
For some devices, you may have to remove the cover so that it fits nicely into the controller.
The sticks are pretty comfortable for your hands, and they are also removable and will fit nicely under the controller. There is the record button and the dial button on the left side above the joysticks to control the camera.
On the left side, close to your palm, is the Power Button, while on the right side, it’s the RTH button.
The cables I mentioned earlier help you connect your smartphone to your controller through the OTG. So, make sure your smartphone supports OTG mode.
If you want to avoid using the controller, you can launch and control all the drone’s functions on the Fimi Navi MINI app. You will not get the best connection, though, depending on the type of phone you’re using.
Flying with the controller is still the best way to fly this drone.
Fimi X8 Mini Pros and Cons:
- Offers great value for money.
- Excellent flight time.
- Easy to set up and fly.
- It’s pretty stable in moderate winds.
- A wide range of flight modes.
- Some drone users experienced connection issues, where the drone disconnected itself often. Despite the complaints, these issues haven’t been fixed yet.
- Lacks obstacle avoidance.
How to Fly the Fimi X8 Mini:
Now that you know what the drone has to offer and have bought one or are planning to get one, let’s look at how you can set it up and start flying.
Once you unbox the drone, you get to view it closely to observe the features. At the back, there is the USB port, SD card slot, charging port, battery, and the switch for switching between the RC (controller) and Wi-Fi, as shown below. Courtesy of Captain Drone on YouTube.
At the bottom, there is the Distance sensor, Optical Flow sensor, and the Power Button, as shown below.
To begin the setup, unfold the arms by pulling them out like you would a Mini 2 or a Mavic Air 2 drone.
Before flying, make sure you fully charge the controller and the drone’s battery. It takes up to 3 hours to fully charge them, so be patient.
Install the App:
On your smartphone, find a QR code scanner and scan the QR code on the box. This takes you to the app, where you can download it.
Power Up the Drone and Connect the Controller:
Insert the battery and press the power button at the bottom of the drone once, then press a second time and hold until you hear a beep. Do the same for the controller.
You don’t have to do anything for the drone to connect to the controller. Just observe the flashing LEDs on your left. If they are flashing, the drone and the controller aren’t connected.
And if they show a solid light, then the drone and the controller are connected.
Then, connect your controller to your smartphone, open the Fimi Navi App, and follow the prompts shown on the app. These include a tutorial on how to use the app and update the Firmware.
Once the Firmware update Pop-Up appears, click on it, and wait for it to update.
If your app doesn’t show the live footage of the drone, go to USB settings and select File Transfer. It worked for me, so try it, or try the other USB settings until you find one that works for you.
Before flying, conduct a pre-flight check. Set what you would like the drone to do in case of an emergency. You can set it to Hover, Land, or RTH, set the RTH height, and format the SD card.
NOTE – It’s vital to keep rebooting the drone during the setup process. Also, since it lacks a fan, make sure it’s not too hot in the room as you set up and conduct firmware updates.
Before flying, make sure you calibrate your drone by going to Settings – Compass calibration.
You’ll start by holding the drone horizontally and spinning it clockwise a few times until the app approves.
Then, hold the drone upright and rotate the drone until you get a checkmark on the app.
To launch the drone, click the Auto-Launch button, and drag it to the box and hold. Once you release it, the drone will automatically take off. And that’s it, the drone will hover, and you can start playing around with the controls, testing the speed, testing the camera, etc.
What’s It Like to Fly the Fimi X8 Mini?
As I mentioned earlier, I got to test this drone, and it’s worth the money. I started by going in an open field to conduct a range test.
And as I mentioned earlier, while I didn’t travel all 8 Kilometers, it held up the connection for a very long distance.
To test the camera, I took a couple of shots in my neighborhood, and they were pretty smooth. There is a bit of latency compared to the Mini 2, but overall, the camera is good.
If you’ve used a Mini drone or any other drone, you shouldn’t have issues setting up the app. But if you’re new to drones, the prompts and user manuals are enough guidance. Besides, there are lots of tutorials about this drone.
Fimi X8 Mini Alternative – DJI Mini 2:
If the DJI Mini 2 didn’t exist, the Fimi X8 Mini would have easily become the best entry-level drone for beginners and professional photographers. However, I still believe the DJI Mini 2 has a lot to offer compared to the Fimi X8 Mini.
It’s overall very durable, stable, and robust. IF you can afford it, spend a little more and get the Mini 2. But if you’re looking for a lower-budget alternative, the Fimi X8 mini is still perfect.
So, should you buy the Fimi X8 Mini? Yes, it’s worth the money and the hype. It has an ActiveTrack, excellent camera, above-average build quality, extended battery life, and advanced flight modes. These are all the features you get in a Mini 2, but you’ll get them at a lower cost.