The team at Snap just launched Pixy, a selfie drone that costs just $230. It’s a pretty interesting product—Pixy is about the size of your hand, has fully automated flight paths (no controller), and captures video with a 2.7k resolution. But before buying Pixy, you’d better check the detailed specs.
Unlike most drones, Pixy doesn’t fly around at crazy altitudes. That may be obvious from the promotional material, but here’s something less obvious; Pixy’s flights only last between 10 and 20 seconds. That’s enough to capture a cute video or photo, but it’s a bit underwhelming, especially since Pixy can only perform between five and eight flights on a charge. (So, you get a little over two minutes of flying time on a battery.)
Pixy’s battery is hot-swappable, and extra batteries only cost $20, so this limitation isn’t such a big deal. But after buying a couple of extra batteries, the Pixy costs about as much as the last-gen DJI Mavic Mini, which currently sells for less than $300 and operates like a “real” drone.
The Pixy flight system also raises some concerns. On the one hand, quick and autonomous flights are perfect for taking selfies—using a big dorky controller to take a selfie is kind of silly. But Pixy relies on a downward-pointing camera to orient itself, and according to Snap, this camera doesn’t work well in “low light.” I strongly suggest waiting for reviews if you hope to use Pixy in the afternoon.
Snap also warns that you shouldn’t fly Pixy over water, as the reflections will confuse the drone’s imaging system and cause it to act erratically or land without returning to you. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but Pixy has zero water protection, so a flight over a pool or lake could be a death sentence.
To be clear, we’re very excited about Pixy. It’s a much better idea than Snap Spectacles or Facebook’s Ray-Ban smart glasses. And while Pixy isn’t that much cheaper than a DJI Mavic Mini, it’s more intuitive and teen-friendly than a “real” drone (I’d hate to know what a teenager does with a drone).
If you order Pixy now, Snap says you’ll receive it in the next 11 to 12 weeks. I’m not sure what’s up with the delay, but that’s how it is. We hope to review the drone, so hang tight if you’re on the fence.