FIMI’s X8 MINI, as the name suggests, is the shrunk version of the company’s best-selling drone. It comes with a similar set of features to its bigger brother but in a much smaller and lighter body. The question that people are asking since its release date is whether it is the true alternative for DJI MINI 2 in terms of flight performance, video quality, and price. Let’s find out from our FIMI X8 MINI review!
Sub-250gr drones seem to be getting better and better. This year, more than 5 very capable models were revealed. The FIMI X8 MINI and the Hubsan Zino MINI Pro are the best of them.
First rumors about the FIMI MINI have appeared since December 2020. It took more than 4 months to be truly available for orders. Xiaomi released their X8 Mini drone with two types of batteries. While the ‘Standard’ battery pack uses 4.2V 2400mAh LI-ION cells and weighs 102grams, the ‘Pro’ one has two 4.4V 2200 mAh LIPO cells and 86grams. You could think that the extra 13 grams can’t make a big difference, but in this case, it can be a dealbreaker for many. In most countries, including the US, drones under 250 grams (.55lbs) are free to fly without special registration. With the standard battery, the FIMI MINI weighs 258 grams, exceeding FAA’s weight limit.
FIMI MINI drone in-depth review
Disclosure: We received this FIMI drone from RCGoing in order to test it and do an in-depth review. Although the product was offered for free, all opinions in this article remain our own, with no influence from our partners.
This week I received 3 drones for review. Being most curious about finding out how it performs the X8 MINI compared to my Mavic MINI, I started the testing process with it.
In addition to the drone and its transmitter, the following accessories were included in the box: gimbal cover, flight battery (standard version), Type C USB charging cable, set of spare propellers, and three RC-Phone cables (TypeC, Micro, and Lightning).
At a glance: The Drone itself
I received the arctic white version, but there will also be an orange edition available soon. With folded arms measures 145x85x56 and weighs 159 grams without a battery. By comparison, the DJI MINI 2 measures 131x81x58 mm and weighs 163 grams. I like that FIMI didn’t try to copy DJI’s design. I don’t say that it looks better, but at least it has its own shape. The transmitter also looks different from its rival’s one.
Out of the box, its 3-axis gimbal is shielded by a camera guard which needs to be removed when you come to fly it. Like its bigger brother, it has a black bar that could be confused with a frontal obstacle avoidance system. Unfortunately, it is just part of the design without any functionality. It has two TOF distance sensors and one optical flow sensor on the belly. It has lots (front, side, and bottom) of went hols to allow good heat dissipation. Power switch and battery charging level indicators are found on the aircraft instead of the battery.
On the back, right under the battery, are located the micro USB data port, micro SD slot, and RC/WiFi switch. It would be nice if FIMI would use only type C ports on all parts (Drone, RC, and battery).
Price, availability, and options
Being new and popular you need to have the luck to find some in stock. Also, despite that, the X8MINI should be available in two color flavors but only white can be ordered right now. For the ‘Pro’ battery, we need to wait until June or July. The aircraft works with both types of batteries, so you can purchase it later in case you need to stay under 250gr. When I published my review, the boxed edition was available at $429, and the one with an included handbag for $449.99.
FIMI X8 MINI review: The Camera
Equipped with a 3-axis gimbal and a true 4K camera, the X8 Mini ensures stunning image quality that is consistently smooth no matter how fast you are flying. The camera has a 1/2.6″ CMOS sensor with 12-megapixels effective resolution. The camera lens provides a full-frame equivalent focal length of 26mm with a fixed ƒ/2.8 aperture and an 80° field of view (FOV). It’s capable of 100-3200 ISO and uses an electronic shutter offering 32~1/8000 sec. It does not have internal memory, but can take via the micro SD slot, memory cards up to 256GB (U3 and above recommended).
For photographers, the FIMI MINI can take RAW (DNG) photos in addition to the compressed jpeg images. Without a zooming feature, you need to get very close to the subject, which is hard when it comes to wildlife photography.
HDR photos capture multiple bracketed exposures that are then merged in-drone to produce an image with detail from the shadows to the highlights.
For videographers, the X8 MINI comes with decent video capabilities. It can record 4K 3840×2160 videos with 30 fps and Full HD 1920×1080 with up to 90 fps in MP4 (H264 & H265) with a maximum bitrate of 100 Mbps. It has some horizon issue, hope to be fixed with the next firmware update.
It comes with many creative flight modes that allow you to create epic footage with no hassle. QuickShot modes like Orbit, Spiral, and Dronie are just perfect for some viral TikTok vlogs.
What is the true FIMI X8 MINI flight time?
As I mentioned in the introduction of my review, the FIMI MINI is available with two types of batteries. In optimal flight conditions (windless and speed of 6m/s), with the Standard battery you can have 30 minutes airborne time and with the Pro one minute more.
During my hovering tests, I got an average battery life of 25 minutes. Here there is not much difference compared to the DJI MINI 2. I also timed the charging time, which takes 3 hours from 5% to full.
FIMI X8 MINI review: Remote controller and range
FIMI includes with their X8 MINI a slightly redesigned transmitter. By extending the left telescopic grip can comfortably accept phones of all sizes, including phablets. At its very best, the FIMI X8 MINI promises a range of up to 8KM. The newly upgraded TDMA image transmission system uses 5.8GHz frequencies ensuring stable transmissions and optimized sensitivity. I would love to be able to say that I pushed it to its limits, but couldn’t legally fly far enough to get the connection to waver on the FIMI MINI, which is pretty great going. In my country, I need to keep the aircraft within visual distance.
The rubberized gimbal sticks are removable and stored at the bottom of the RC. In addition to the usual sticks, on the front panel, there are only two buttons and 4 status LEDs (charging level indicator). It has one shoulder button on each side. On the left, behind the record button, there is a handy dial-knob that allows tilting the camera (up/down).
Direct Flight with Your Phone
If you do not wish to use the controller or it is out of battery, you can connect your smartphone to the drone via Wi-Fi (using the micro-switch from the back of the drone). Your connectivity range will be dramatically reduced and the controls will be less accurate, but you can operate by phone alone if you desire. I will test this feature in the following days.
What’s it like flying the FIMI X8MINI?
Out of the box, the FIMI MINI starts in beginner mode, where flight range, speed, and max altitude are limited. If you are a newbie, I suggest practicing this way till you accommodate the controls.
Thanks to the triple positioning system (GPS+TOF+OFP), it holds its altitude and position even in windy conditions. Indoors it is rock-stable like it would be a painting. I find the X8 MINI is easier to fly than other sub-250gr class drones. It has only a status LED on the tails, so orientation during night LoS flights is quite difficult.
In sporty mode, it’s nimble and almost begs to be flown more like a racing drone, a true fun to fly with it. With a top speed of 56Km/h, it’s no problem to track your pet or child as they run around a field.
FIMI X8 Mini Active Track
Ostensibly, the biggest advantage of the X8 MINI vs DJI MINI 2 is the Smart Track feature, even if it’s only Beta. FIMI’s Active Track has 3 modes: Trace, Profile, and Lock.
Before you think of activating tracking mode, you should be 100% sure that there will be no obstacle between you and the drone. Without an obstacle avoidance system, it will fly blindly into it and crash.
To get started you’ll get the FIMI X8 MINI in the air and just draw a rectangle around you or the subject you want to follow. When the target is locked, a ‘GO’ button will appear which needs to be pressed in order to start tracking.
FiMI Navi MINI APP
In order to explore all its capabilities, you need to install the FiMI Navi MINI APP on your mobile device. The X8 MINI’s APP has intuitive UI controls and includes flight tutorials. Through the APP you can display the camera’s live video feed, customize photo/video settings, access quick-shot modes, control the drone, adjust safety settings, and do the firmware updates. The APP also provides detailed information about the battery pack’s health status.
FIMI X8 Mini review: The verdict
The FIMI X8 Mini is an ideal choice for beginners and content producers looking for a travel-friendly 4K drone. Smart Track and Quick Shots do much of the hard work for them.
Using the Pro battery weighs less than 250g and you do not need to register it with the FAA in the United States.
And lastly, Is It Worth The Money? To be honest, if they drop the price around 300 bucks could be the best seller of the year. But $429 is a bit overpriced considering that the DJI MINI 2 costs only $20 more.
User Review( votes)
- Under 250 grams, does not require FAA registration (with Pro battery);
- 4K recording with 3-axis gimbal stabilization;
- HDR photos & Videos;
- Excellent battery life and outstanding flight range;
- Nimble in the air;
- Smart auto-tracking (still Beta);
- Live-streaming out of the box.
- Horizon issue;
- No screen on the controller;
- Only 30fps at 4K;
- Lack of obstacle avoidance system.