Snapchat’s mini drone for taking selfies

Snapchat’s parent company launches Pixy, an automated drone that captures photos and videos on smartphones for sharing.

“One more thing…”. With this famous expression inherited from Steve Jobs, Evan introduced Spiegel, head of Snap, the parent company of Snapchat

that at the Snap Partner Summit 2022, an event that announces Snapchat brand news, the existence of this fully automated drone called Pixy was revealed. The American company is used to announcement effects, having launched the first connected glasses, the Spectacles, ten years before the launch of Ray Ban Stories by Meta (Facebook). “We wanted to create a product that would be fun and accessible so that people would feel comfortable with it. We’ve been researching for a number of years,” confessed Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s CEO.

The idea behind the development of this quadrocopter (recreational drone) is therefore to enable aerial photography, whether photos or videos, with a compact device that is easy to use, requires no training and is flown without a license. It fits in the palm of your hand, from where it flies away to automatically return to land once its flight is complete. Pixy defines itself as “the friendly camera that flies by your side”.

Wanting to be handy and intuitive, this fun drone flies hovering to “choose the perfect angle to take your photo with your loved ones” but also in 360° rotational flight. Perfect for all occasions, it fits in a handbag, a backpack and its handling is so easy that no one will resist. Snapchat expects its users to share their videos or photos without moderation. Whether or not they apply filters and special effects doesn’t matter as long as photos and videos are shared and seen by as many Snapchatters as possible.


What is the Pixy drone used for?

Pixy is simply used to photograph and film the highlights of its owner’s life. It is used to take group selfies and it can also fly high enough to capture the surrounding landscapes. It can rotate 360° and see what the human eye cannot see. Ideal for filming a progression on a glacier, riding a cliff path or skateboarding courses. The device moves in four ways: hovering (selfies), measuring height, tracking people for a maximum of 60 seconds, or orbit (360° rotation in a radius of 4.5 m). Creating custom flight paths or programming a manual landing is also possible, but just requires a bit more skill.

Four flight modes are predefined. You have to choose the one that suits you when you let go of the device by turning a wheel that has pictograms written on it, a bit like a camera’s shooting modes. An indicator light warns that Pixy is working. A single handshake is enough to make him fly away. The drone will take off and return to land with the same hand once automatic flight is over. The taking of photos or videos on the associated smartphone is just as automatic as they are started and takes place via Bluetooth. By default, photos and videos are stored in the storage associated with the Snapchat app. It is then up to the user to share them or just watch them.


What are the characteristics of Pixy?

A mini format for this lightweight yellow plastic mini drone (101 grams) that really fits in the palm of your hand with its minimalist dimensions: 13 x 10 x 17 cm. The rechargeable and replaceable batteries offer the possibility of three to eleven flights depending on the chosen setting. A full charge (via USB-C) takes around 40 minutes, but 80% capacity is restored in just 20 minutes. The device can record 12 megapixel images (4000 x 3000 pixels) and 2.7K videos (2704 x 1520 pixels) at a maximum frame rate of 30 frames per second. The built-in memory of 16 GB is enough to store up to 100 videos or 1000 photos, the idea being not to keep these videos but to share them on social networks and of course on Snapchat as a priority.

The device is not waterproof. It is therefore not suitable for use over the sea or lake, or for use in stormy or rainy weather. Its lightness also prevents it from being used in windy conditions, even with a simple breeze. The manufacturer states in its instructions for use that it is better to avoid throwing it over water surfaces, as light reflection can cause falls. If you are a kitesurfer or a surfer, it is better to use another type of device to film your exploits!

Finally, note that connectivity is via Bluetooth or WiFi. It manages the 802.11 b, g, n, ac standards and the 5 GHz band (reserved for indoor flights). Pixy is compatible with the iPhone from model 7 (minimum version iOS 14) and with Android smartphones (minimum version 8.0).


Where can you buy Pixy?

The Pixy drone can be pre-ordered on the dedicated website and delivered within a maximum of three months. First price ? The basic package costs EUR 249.99 (excluding shipping costs) and includes the drone, a battery, a USB-C charging cable, a bumper and a carrying strap. The 279.99 euro package (excluding delivery) includes a dual battery charger, two rechargeable batteries and a USB-C charging station. Accessories can be purchased separately: they cost 24.99 euros for an additional battery and 59.99 euros for two batteries with USB-C charging station (shipping not included). Please note: Snap gives no indication of its holdings of Pixy. Pre-order does not mean you will get one. The company only announces that the drone will be released “while stocks last”. Although class C0 according to European regulations, this drone does not need to be declared, however its owner must register it on the AlphaTango website and place an operator number on the device. Current regulations apply (no use in the city, especially in Paris), overflight ban on certain locations, no use near airports.

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