DJI Tello recently got series competition in the – under 100 USD – drone market. Besides Xiaomi Mitu mini drone Thieye recently introduced Thieye Dr.X. They are no video drones for cinematic shots, but they have some impressive video skills and can do great photos. If you are looking for an inexpensive drone for occasional videos & photos and a lot of fun, they might be interesting for you. But which one suits you best? Let’s find out and compare them:

Xiaomi Mitu Drone vs Thieye Dr.X vs DJI Ryze Tello

Xiaomi Mitu Drone vs Thieye Dr.X vs DJI Ryze Tello

 

Xiaomi Mitu vs Thieye Dr.X vs DJI Tello – Specs

* video recording on SD card is 1080p, video transmission is 720p.

 

Battery

Batteries: Xiaomi Mitu Drone vs Thieye Dr.X vs DJI Tello

Batteries: Xiaomi Mitu Drone vs Thieye Dr.X vs DJI Ryze Tello

One important factor is the battery life.  As we know from the specs, DJI Tello offers the highest capacity. But what about the price of them? Are they cheap, so you can get many of them or expensive? As they are available in different packages, I wanted to take a detailed look at it:

Xiaomi Mitu
The Mitu charger holds 2 batteries which you can get in a set including both for 17.99 USD.

Thieye Dr.X
You can get one battery & charging dock (which holds one battery) for 17.00 USD.

DJI Ryze Tello
If your battery says “Fullymax”, don’t worry, that’s the original battery also shown on the DJI Website. You can get a set of 2 battery & charger (which holds 3 batteries) for 41.99 USD.

 

Storage

The 3 drones use a different concept to store your photos and video recordings. DJI Tello records straight to your phone, there is no internal storage and no slot to insert an SD card. First the images and videos are stored within the app, then you have to export it to your smartphone library or share it directly. Xiaomi Mitu has a storage built in and you can download photos and videos to your smartphone, in a second step you have to transfer them from the app to the smartphone’s library. Thieye Dr.X uses a microSD card to store you photos and videos, which you can download to your smartphone via app or use a card reader on your computer. Besides that preview photos are also saved to your smartphone photo library directly.

Conclusion
DJI Tello has the most convenient workflow. The full size photos are stored to your app, it’s a bit annoying that you have to export them to your smartphone library. Xiaomi Mitu is a bit inferior as you have to export it twice. Thieye Dr.X is not that convenient. I still have to check several times if it is the saved preview or the full size image. It would be better to drop the preview files to avoid confusion.

 

Remote Control

Primarily all three drones are designed to be flown by a smartphone app. Although there are options to get a physical remote controller.

App

iOS App: Xiaomi Mitu vs Thieye Dr.X vs DJI Ryze Tello Drone

iOS App: Xiaomi Mitu vs Thieye Dr.X vs DJI Ryze Tello

Basically all three apps look pretty much the same and are available for iOS and Android. You got two virtual joysticks which you can define in the app settings. There are designated buttons to start/stop video recording or take a photo. They have a take-off /land button, Xiaomi Mitu also one for hand launch. With DJI Tello Throw&Go is performed via flight mode menu while Thieye offers this feature any time. There are also buttons for the several flight modes, later on I have a separate section on the available options.

Be aware that the Xiaomi Mitu iOS App is only available in Chinese! There is an English Android App!

How to connect to your drone?
Pretty simple, all of them use wifi connection. Just choose respective wifi and open up the app and you are ready to go.

  • Thieye Dr.X wifi password: 12345678
  • Xiaomi Mitu wifi password: 123456789
  • DJI Tello: no wifi password needed

 

App – Conclusion
Biggest lack is of course the Chinese language iOS app for Xiaomi Mitu. But it’s intuitive and you are good to fly, you just don’t understand everything that is offered. In general all apps work very well, haven’t had a major issue so far. Besides preferring an app interface in a language I understand, I don’t have a favourite app.

 

Remote Controller

DJI Tello vs Xiaomi Mitu Remote Controller

DJI Ryze Tello vs Xiaomi Mitu Remote Controller

If you prefer a real joystick rather than virtual ones on your smartphone display, then Xiaomi Mitu or DJI Tello are the right ones for you. For both of them a remote controller is available. The GameSir T1d for DJI Tello is priced 39 USD, the Mi Controller for Xiaomi Mitu is 28 USD. Currently there is no remote controller available for Dr.X, but Thieye told me they are looking into that topic.

 

Flight Modes

Xiaomi Mitu Drone vs Thieye Dr.X vs DJI Ryze Tello

Xiaomi Mitu Drone vs Thieye Dr.X vs DJI Ryze Tello

 

All drones offer precision hover using several sensors. Each of them has some exciting flight modes to play with:

DJI Tello offers the following flight modes:

  • Circle, while Tello flies around you for a video recording
  • 8D Flips, you can slide the screen to perform flips in all directions.
  • Up & Away, Tello records a video while flying upward & backwards.
  • 360, the drone rotates around its own axis and records a video.
  • Bounce Mode, Tello flies up and down within 0.5 and 1.2 m.

Thieye Dr.X offers:

  • 360° rotating, record a video while Dr.X turns around its axis
  • Selfie Mode
  • G-sensor mode, fly Thieye Dr.X with the movements of your smartphone

Xiaomi Mitu features:

  • 360-degree Air Tumbling, swipe the screen and flip Xiaomi Mitu front, back, left or right.
  • Headless mode, lock heading direction to better control your flight
  • G-sensor mode, fly Mitu with the movements of your smartphone
  • Infrared Battle, a friend has a Mitu as well? Battle each other! You see crosshairs at your screen, aim for the other drone and fire. When you get hit your phone vibrates.

 

Demo Photos & Videos

Here are 3 photos taken indoor in low light environment. Light was about as shown in the image of Thieye Dr.X, DJI Tello brightens up the image looks good in the first place, but when you look closer you can see some noise. Xiaomi Mitu clearly lacks behind with its small sensor. You can click on them to check out full resolution:

Xiaomi Mitu Drone - Demo Photo indoor (low light)

Xiaomi Mitu – Demo Photo indoor (low light)

Thieye Dr.X - Demo Photo indoor (low light)

Thieye Dr.X – Demo Photo indoor (low light)

DJI Ryze Tello - Demo Photo indoor (low light)

DJI Tello – Demo Photo indoor (low light)

 

The following photos were done outside with both sunny and shadow spots in the picture to check dynamic range. Again DJI Tello seems to have the best result (although it is not the highest resolution).

Xiaomi Mitu Drone - Demo Photo outdoor

Xiaomi Mitu – Demo Photo outdoor

Thieye Dr.X - Demo Photo outdoor

Thieye Dr.X – Demo Photo outdoor

DJI Ryze Tello - Demo Photo outdoor

DJI Tello – Demo Photo outdoor

 

Price / Retailer comparison

Xiaomi Mitu

Thieye Dr.X

DJI Tello

 

Conclusion

Built Quality
Xiaomi Mitu and DJI Tello show a very high quality, the material feels very good and seems to be sturdy. Actually way better than I expected. DJI Tello has a nice, slick finish on the body, Xiaomi Mitu a rubberised bottom which absorbs harder landings. Thieye Dr.X feels a bit cheaper zahn the others.

Flight controls / performance

  • Xiaomi Mitu is very stabile in the air. Once you launched it, the drone hovers without any major movements. The controls via app are very good, you get very got response to your joystick input and it feels very secure to fly. One major downside is the live video transmission which is very jerky, the actual video is recorded on the internal storage though. Sill it is very hard to control the drone via live view.
  • Thieye Dr.X feels not as stabile as Xiaomi Mitu but still hovers in place. The response to the joystick is not as direkt as I would wish for and therefore it is harder to fly. However when you switch to G-mode and control Dr.X with the movements of your phone it works way better and you get a better flight experience.
  • DJI Tello is really great to fly. Even a bit better than Xiaomi Mitu it hovers in place without the slightest drift. The virtual joystick input conveys the best feeling of control compared to the others. With non of the others you get such a precise flight experience.

Which one is the best?

That’s pretty hard to tell, I’d say it depends on what you are looking for. So in which situations you plan to use it. Are photos your thing or do you need it mostly for video, or simply to fly around for fun. Therefor I created a chart to show the main pros and cons and I tried to explain which one prevails in which situation.

Xiaomi Mitu

great flight performance
built quality
price
low res photo
video quality
no image stabilization

Thieye Dr.X

1080p video
 high res photos
G-force mode
 flight performance (joystick)
 built quality
video with jello effect

DJI Tello

aweseome performance
battery life
built quality
photo quality
video dropped frames
price

 

DJI Tello is the best to fly and offers impressive photo capabilities. Since video is stored to your phone it is dependant on the transmission. Sometimes you’ll experience interference resulting in dropped frames and therefore a jerky video. That’s a pity  as image stabilization works pretty well, but for video Tello is simply not reliable enough.

Since Thieye Dr.X records to an SD card the videos don’t show these kind of errors. It’s also the only drone to record 1080p video, a higher resolution than the other two. So in terms of video I would go for Dr.X. even tough they show a jello effect. Photos are offered in the highest resolution compared to DJI but are not processed in a way to achieve a similar result.

Xiaomi Mitu lacks behind in photo and video capabilities and the result is not very appealing. But it is cheaper and a lot of fun to fly. The flight experience is as good as DJI Tello and with a friend you can do some awesome infrared battles. So if you are looking for a small, affordable drone, primarily for flying, I would go for this one.

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