Sometime in the near future, we will all be followed around by a personal drone that films our adventures and automatically shares them with the world. That sci-fi future may be a bit of a way off, but it is getting closer with the Yuneec Breeze 4K, a $499 compact drone that Yuneec is promoting with the Twitter hashtag #myflyingcamera.
With a white, plastic body and rotors, the Breeze has a clean, sci-fi design. It wouldn’t look out of place buzzing around on the set of a film like Oblivion or a Star Trek outing. Most of the drone’s 13.4-ounce weight is in the 1150mAh battery that slides and locks into place in the back of the body. A lump on the top of the drone holds the GPS antenna, and clear windows on the bottom cover the IR ground sensor and the optical-flow sensor, which detect the ground and wind speed. On the front of the body is the camera and the gimbal, which allows the camera to point forward or tilt downward. There is no mechanical image stabilization used here: As the Breeze moves, the camera moves along with it.
The video that the Breeze captures is generally good quality, with plenty of detail and color. However, video captured at the maximum 4K video quality is marred by the lack of active image stabilization. Because the Breeze lacks the three-axis gimbal of drones such as the Yuneec Typhoon H or the DJI Mavic Pro, the camera picks up any vibrations of the drone body. This makes video somewhat shaky when the drone is moving, and also means that the picture tilts whenever the drone moves or pans. You just don’t get the smooth 4K video from the Breeze that other, more expensive drones offer.
Video shot in the Full HD mode looks better, as the drone uses electronic image stabilization to remove some of the jitter and shakiness. You still see every tilt as the drone moves, though, and there is still some noticeable jitter when the drone is hovering.
Photos and video are stored on the 14GB of memory built into the Breeze. That’s enough to store about 40 minutes of video at the highest resolution, or nearly double the battery life. This can’t be removed or expanded, but photos and videos can be copied through either the app or the built-in USB port. Connect the included USB cable to a PC or Mac, and the Breeze appears as a removable drive, ready to drag and drop photos and videos.