First look: Hover Camera Passport, a lightweight, portable, iPhone-connected flying 4K selfie cam

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in iPhone
The newly released Hover Camera Passport is one of the more unique flying cameras we've ever seen, focusing on a durable and portable lightweight design, competitive price, and ease of use through an iPhone app. AppleInsider had the opportunity to go hands-on with the camera, and offers first impressions.









While it shares much in common with other flying cameras, calling the Zero Zero Robotics Hover Camera Passport a drone wouldn't be entirely fair -- rather than flying long distances or sporting a high end camera and gimbal, it instead focuses on being as easy as possible to use and transport.



The most striking thing about the Passport its its design. When folded up, it's about the size of an old VCR tape, but at around a half a pound, it's much lighter than you'd expect. This despite featuring protective grates that allow users to safely hold the Passport without fear of the propellers clipping their fingers.









Once unfolded, users can see an adjustable camera -- complete with flash -- on the front of the device. It's capable of capturing 4K ultra-high-definition video, as well as 13-megapixel images, putting it about on par with Apple's iPhone 6s lens.



Impressively, the Passport includes sensors on the bottom, including sonar, to measure the distance from air to ground. This allows for safe indoor use, giving the drone some idea of how far it is off the ground, and helping it to maintain a set altitude.





Hover Camera Passport folded for transport is about the size of a VCR tape.




The Hover Camera connects to an iOS device over direct Wi-Fi, which limits its range. But again, this device isn't really intended to compete with the likes of DJI or the new GoPro Karma. Instead, it's a small and portable camera that allows you to capture quick aerial shots with minimal effort.



The iOS app for the Passport is well designed, offering simple onscreen touch controls for altitude, forward, backward, and strafing left to right. The Passport can also turn toward the left or right with a finger swipe on the iPhone screen, and swiping up or down angles the movable camera on the front of the device.









One thing that we really appreciate about the Hover Camera Passport is how complete the package is -- inside the box, it includes two batteries (and a wall adapter that charges both at the same time), a portable and protective carrying case, spare propellers, a USB cable for manual firmware updates (which can also be installed via the app), and a bag and case strap.



Our limited initial tests with the Hover Camera Passport left us impressed --?it's dead simple to get in the air, and the protected propeller props along with its light weight mean it's safe to fly indoors without worrying about a dangerous accident. Even with a few bumps into the wall, the drone and our apartment were no worse for wear.





Pic taken via Hover Camera Passport




The iPhone app also includes advanced auto-camera modes, including following a subject or capturing video of a 360-degree circular view. And the included camera flash means it'll even get great shots in low light situations.



Priced at $549 for a limited time, and $599 in the next few weeks, we see a lot of value and potential in the Hover Camera Passport. AppleInsider will have a full review in the coming weeks.











Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    Expensive.
    repressthisargonautRichmond_Sir
  • Reply 2 of 17
    When people use this in public, will it be exponentially more annoying than a selfie stick or equally douchebaggy?
    sockrolidrepressthisargonaut
  • Reply 3 of 17
    It's definitely not pushing the overall price of drones down. I like the design, though. Wonder what the flying time/full charge is?
  • Reply 4 of 17
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,399member
    williamh said:
    When people use this in public, will it be exponentially more annoying than a selfie stick or equally douchebaggy?
    I'm imagining a future where cameras hover over people and follow them everywhere, ready to take pictures at all times, controlled by their Watches. No more phones, just a folding hover camera, and a rollup display. The drones will have active avoidance systems so people's drones won't collide into each other as they follow them around.
    jahbladerepressthisargonaut
  • Reply 5 of 17
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    ... calling the Zero Zero Robotics Hover Camera Passport a drone wouldn't be entirely fair ...
    OK.  I'll call it a #SelfieDrone.
    Fair enough?
    repressthis
  • Reply 6 of 17
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    williamh said:
    When people use this in public, will it be exponentially more annoying than a selfie stick or equally douchebaggy?
    Exponentially more annoying.
    Drones' propellers make a pretty loud weed whacker-like buzz. 
  • Reply 7 of 17
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 772member
    ireland said:
    Expensive.
    seriously?  compared to a GoPro?  it has sonar, self-stabilization and shoots 4k video.  it is the future and no more annoying than taking pictures of food.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,414member
    mac_128 said:
    I'm imagining a future where cameras hover over people and follow them everywhere, ready to take pictures at all times, controlled by their Watches. No more phones, just a folding hover camera, and a rollup display. The drones will have active avoidance systems so people's drones won't collide into each other as they follow them around.
    And I'm imagining a future where a lightweight, shoulder-mounted bazooka will go with me everywhere, ready to take down flying annoyances at all times, controlled by my Watch...get the picture??? :p
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 17
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,619member
    badmonk said:
    ireland said:
    Expensive.
    seriously?  compared to a GoPro?  it has sonar, self-stabilization and shoots 4k video.  it is the future and no more annoying than taking pictures of food.
    I hate those guys!
  • Reply 10 of 17
    jb510jb510 Posts: 124member
    I've been eagerly anticipating this and ordered it on launch day.  It's exactly what I've wanted in a drone for travel video. I have friends with big heavy and amazing drones, they amazing. I travel all the time though and size and weight means everything to me.  I just wanted something I could throw in a suitcase and carry in a backpack.  I'm am with as small as it is that it won't be as noisy as the big drones, god those are obnxious.  

  • Reply 11 of 17
    boredumb said:
    And I'm imagining a future where a lightweight, shoulder-mounted bazooka will go with me everywhere, ready to take down flying annoyances at all times, controlled by my Watch...get the picture??? :p
    no need. Just a device that fuzzies the WiFi signal for a few seconds.
    Or going old school, a Catapult.
    I predict that people will start wearing headgear that makes the taking of pictures of their faces rather more difficult.
    Selfies are one thing but 24/7 streaming to social media from a thousand drones that are following its owner around a city is another thing alltogether. The spooks and the ad merchants will love it but I'm glad that I rarely go into cities these days and any drone that is below 100ft that flies over my land will get peppered with shotgun pellets. Those damm pigeons eating my seeds were bad enough but drones.... A big step too far IMHO.
  • Reply 12 of 17
    taddtadd Posts: 93member
    Vernor Vinge has a book called "Marooned in Real Time" (sequel to "Peace War").  It is worth a read.  Drones that follow one around feature prominently.  Some of Vinge's ideas include.
    night vision to assist the owner walking
    elevated flashlight platform to provide illumination when desired
    continuous recording to permit later analysis
    arial antenna to permit access to networks from badly covered positions
    autonomous weapons platform in case of attack on the owner

    In his book the drones take an outside position when the owner enters a building, and automatically goes to a higher location to avoid annoying the other guests at an outdoor party.  
  • Reply 13 of 17
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,142member
    yoyo2222 said:
    It's definitely not pushing the overall price of drones down. I like the design, though. Wonder what the flying time/full charge is?

    • Folded Dimension182x132x33mm³
    • Weight242g (including battery)
    • Max Speed8m/s (17mph)
    • Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level2000m (6562ft)
    • Max Hovering Time10min (no wind)
    • Suggested Control DistanceUp to 20m (65 ft)
    • Operating Temperature5-35°C (41°F-95°F)
    • Wi-Fi Frequency Bands2.4GHz; 5GHz
    https://gethover.com/hover-camera-passport
  • Reply 14 of 17
    badmonk said:
    ireland said:
    Expensive.
    seriously?  compared to a GoPro?  it has sonar, self-stabilization and shoots 4k video.  it is the future and no more annoying than taking pictures of food.
    Well, except a helmet mounted GoPro and a selfie stick don't make an annoying buzzing sound for the 15 minutes at a time that they run.  Also, my selfie stick fits in my pocket.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    Richmond_SirRichmond_Sir Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    549USD for that? that's just absurd. I mean where are these guys think they are going with it? It doesn't even look like its worth 150USD. maybe in the 80~`110USD range. That's the most I am willing the pay for that. 
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 16 of 17
    FantomFantom Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
     I just ordered one and here's why.   I'm an early adopter and this is the first thoughtful solution to the issues of personal drones I've seen.  

    With this I can get video or photos of me with both of my arms in view.  And my back to the camera working on my car, talking with friends, or entering a room.  Selfie sticks can't do that.

     And so what if it has the resolution of my iPhone?   My iPhone is the device I use to document everything else I do.  I'm not making documentaries here.  And if I were, I'd be employing drones far beyond the DJ I / GoPro category.

     $550 is  simply the price early adapters have to pay to use this level of technology now.  Two years down the road there'll be better, less expensive versions for sure.  But this will stilll have value on the used market. And that can be applied to the cost of upgrading to the latest miracle.

    The bottom line is, I'll have two years experience over those who wait.


    edited October 2016
  • Reply 17 of 17
    jblongzjblongz Posts: 146member
    The camera sucks for that price.  More like $150.  I bet the parts cost $50.
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