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Xiaomi FIMI X8SE Drone Review | Best Drone Under $500

Looking for a new drone? Check out our Xiaomi FIMI X8SE Drone Review for all the details.

Being a camera enthusiast, I can’t believe didn't have a drone for myself sooner. After a lot of research, I decided to buy the new Xiaomi FIMI X8SE drone. It is developed by FIMI and follows the values and principles of the smartphone giant. Xiaomi now backs FIMI, and I can't help but think the reason is the X8SE. 

Right from the attention and detail to the design and build quality to the performance of the drone itself, you can see that FIMI is a Xiaomi company at heart. This is one of the best drones if not the best drone you can buy right now at this price range. Read on to know why the Xiaomi FIMI X8SE is so good. Here's our Xiaomi FIMI X8SE Drone Review.

The new FIMI X8SE is an excellent upgrade over the older 2020 model. It improves on almost every aspect possible making it the drone to beat now.

Related: Xiaomi Mi Drone 4K Review

After having reviewed the Xiaomi FIMI X8SE Drone based on various factors like design, features, performance, function, and much more; my team and I found that:

The Xiaomi FIMI X8SE Drone is one of the best in its price segment. At under $499 it has the best value for money. It has long-range transmission of video for up to 6.2 miles away from the controller. The foldable design makes it portable and easy to carry by reducing up to 70 percent size. It can also be controlled with a controller and use your smartphone or tablet as the screen.

Xiaomi FIMI X8SE Version

FIMI X8SE Features

  • 4K camera with 48 MP ½ inch Sony image sensor and 3-axis mechanical gimbal.
  • HDR photo and video recording.
  • Intelligent flight modes.
  • Powerful level 8 wind-resistant motors.
  • Resistant to moderate rain and light snow.
  • Lower latency and up to 10km transmission.
  • Up to 35 minutes of battery life.

Design

This version of the Xiaomi FIMI X8SE drone features the same physical design as the older 2020 model. Both models measure 204 x 106 x 72.6 mm and weigh 765 grams including the battery and propeller. 

Xiaomi FIMI X8SE Drone Review

Though they are of the same size and weight, the build quality on the new model is better. The 2022 X8SE can now be used in moderate rain and light snow and has a higher wind resistance rating, while the 2020 model could only hand light rain and no snow.

Apart from that, both models have a similar design, size, and weight. 

Camera

While the new model looks physically similar to the older one, there are still many significant changes that make the new one better. The camera is an area where the 2022 model is significantly better. 

FIMI X8SE 2022 Features

The new Xiaomi FIMI X8SE 2022 features an enhanced 48 MP CMOS sensor from Sony. This camera has a ½ inch sensor with a Quad Bayer pixel filter, this improves the camera performance across the board with much better performance in poor lighting conditions. 

The new camera has a 4 times higher dynamic range along with better exposure control thanks to Sony’s signal processing technology. The FIMI X8SE 2022 has HDR support now, which can take pictures with more detail and contrast.  And the f/1.6 focal length of the lens allows the camera to gather more light. 

FIMI X8SE 2022

And finally, the new model of X8SE features an improved 3-axis mechanical gimbal system with a LOS stabilization algorithm for better precision and stability. The videos from the new FIMI X8SE are much stabler and smoother than before. 

Similar to the older FIMI X8SE from 2020, the 2022 model also has some video modes included which can see below,

Smart Tracking Mode - An intelligent mode used to track a moving object

Flight planning - Set a manual flight path that the drone will follow

Sightseeing flights - The drone can focus and circle around one object

Time-lapse Video and Panorama

Flying Performance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOwn_TKuK74

I mentioned before that the new model can fly in light snow and has more wind resistance, but they are not the only improvements when it comes to the flight performance of the FIMI X8SE 2022. 

Xiaomi FIMI X8SE 2022

The new FIMI X8SE 2022 can fly higher and fir longer. The new model has a transmission range of 10kms compared to the 8km of the 2020 model. The 2022 model also features a new transmission system that has lower latency, offering better controls to the user. 

The FIMI X8SE 2022 can fly up to 800 meters while the 2020 version could only do 500 meters. While there has been a lot of improvements in many areas, the speed and endurance of the new drone are the same as the older model. 

The new FIMI X8SE can reach a maximum speed of 18 m/s (65 km/h) and it can stay in the air for 35 minutes when flying at a speed of 8 m/s (29 km/h). This is because the battery capacity is still 4500 mAh. 

And finally, the new FIMI X8SE 2022 features an integrated RemoteID service, which allows users to fly it legally across the world. This drone passes all the FAA and EASA flight requirements. With the older model, you need to add an extra add-in module for this service. 

Should you buy the new Xiaomi FIMI X8SE 2022?

The new Xiaomi FIMI X8SE 2022 is better or at least equal to the older 2020 version in every way. They have the same design, but the new model is more robust and can handle wind, rain, and snow better. 

The camera is an area where the new FIMI X8SE is drastically better thanks to a new Sony sensor. And finally, the 2022 model has also improved in terms of flight performance. It can fly higher, and farther. The low latency transmission makes it great for controlling too. 

Overall, the new Xiaomi FIMI X8SE 2022 is a worthy successor. It has improved upon an already excellent drone and for the same price, it is a steal deal. If you are looking for a new midrange mini drone, then the FIMI X8SE 2022 should be on top of your list.

Pros

  • 4K camera
  • 3-axis gimbal for stabilization
  • 35-minute flight time
  • 8 KM signal range
  • Lots of safety features

Cons

  • Sways a bit when hovering
  • The signal can break up sometimes without any reason

FIMI X8SE 2022 vs FIMI  X8SE 2020

Xiaomi FIMI X8SE 2022 Xiaomi FIMI X8SE 2020
Dimensions 204 x 106 x 72.6 204 x 106 x 72.6
Weight 765 grams 790 grams
Maximum Flight Time 35 minutes (at 8 m/s) 33 minutes (at 5 m/s)
Battery Capacity 4500 mAh 4500 mAh
Maximum Speed 18 m/s 18 m/s
Maximum height 500 m 500 m
GPS GPS, GLONASS, BEIDUO GPS + GLONASS
Maximum Control Range 8000 meters 5000 meters
Camera Sensor 1/2.6” CMOS 1/2.3” CMOS
Video Features 4K at 30fps, 2.7K at 60fps, 1080p at 90fps, 720p at 120fps  4K at 30fps, 2K at 60fps, 1080p at 100fps, 720p at 200fps
microSD Card Up to 256 GB Up to 64 GB

Xiaomi FIMI X8SE 2020 Drone Review

Inside the Box 

The Xiaomi FIMI X8SE comes in a neat white box with a picture of the drone on the outside. Opening the box, you will find the drone itself with a controller for it. Along with them, you will get 6 Propellers, and a 4500mAh Smart Li-Polymer battery.

There are 3 USB cables, a micro-USB and a Type-C cable for Android phones, and an Apple Lightning cable for iPhones. There is also an AC cable and an AC adaptor/charger to charge the drone.

Finally, you will get a user manual too. A micro SD card is not included, which is a bummer but at this price, you can’t ask for more. 

Design

Like most Xiaomi products the FIMI X8SE follows a similar design language, it is simple, minimalistic, and built to last. The white drone with its black detailing reminds me of Stormtroopers. Similarly, another thing that you will notice right as soon as you get the drone in your hands is its weight. 

  • It’s a chunky one weighing in at 765 grams. But surprisingly this doesn’t affect the flight time or flying performance. The weight can also help stability in strong winds.
  • But I can't help but wonder how much battery performance could improve if the drone was lighter. The weight also makes it a strong drone, it feels like it can take a beating, or at least it won't break apart during untimely bad weather. The foldability of the drone also makes it great for portability. 
  • All these points to the immaculate attention and engineering have gone into the design and build of the drone itself. The drone also features three lights for navigation.

A red one on the left and a green one on the right side both pointing towards the flight direction. There is a yellow one that is facing backward against the flight direction. The lights also flash reminiscent of a real plane which is a cl feature and it helps you spot the drone from far away in the night.

Specs

The specs even though they don’t tell you the full story of any product is a good starting point to get to know a product. The Specs of the Xiaomi FIMI X8SE are:

Xiaomi FIMI X8SE

Measurements: 204 x106 x72.6 mm / 8×4.2×2.8 inches

Weight: 765 g / 169 pounds

Flight speed: 40 mph

Ascend Speed: 11 mph

Descend speed: 8.9 mph

Maximum height: 500 m / 0.31 miles

Maximum flight duration: 35 min (depending on flight conditions)

Wind resistance: 31 mph

Controller of X8SE:

Maximum distance to drone: 8000 meters / 4.9 miles

Charge with: Micro USB 5V/2A

Camera of X8SE:

Image Sensor: Sony IMX378 12 MP, 1/2.6” MOS Sensor size with 3.54 mm focal length.

Image format: JPEG

Video format: MP4

Storage: MicroSD with support up to 256GB 

Key Features 

The Xiaomi FIMI X8SE has some really cool features, they are: 

  • Long-range transmission of video for up to 4.9 miles away from the controller. 
  • Foldable design makes it portable and easy to carry by reducing up to 70 per cent size.  
  • Can be controlled with a controller and use your smartphone or tablet as the screen.
  • Three-Axis Gimbal for the smooth and stable camera performance. 
  • GPS, GLONASS and BEIDUO for precision positioning and stability. 
  • The FIMI X8SE drone can recognize launch/landing pad and land automatically.
  • Return to Home feature, the drone returns to the starting point in the event of range or signal loss.   
  • Various warning systems to protect the drone. 
  • Search-And-Rescue-Mode: Use the drone to find injured persons in the field.

Functions and Use 

App 

The FIMI X8SE drone comes with a free app, it is the “FIMI Navi” app. The app acts as a display for the camera and it can you can control the drone with it.

This app also holds the key to unlocking the full potential of the FIMI X8SE drone. The app is needed to set and tune all settings of the drone.

I would recommend going through and checking all features and settings once. For example, You can choose between the various flight and camera modes in the app.

Interestingly, you can use the app as a camera viewfinder or you can control the drone via the map view. You can plan flight routes with the app too which is a great feature.  

Controller 

The Xiaomi FIMI X8SE can be controlled using two methods, either using the FIMI Navi App on your smartphone or tablet or using the included controller. If controlling the drone using your phone/tablet is not ergonomic or convenient, you can use the controller.

The controller features no screen or display so you will need your phone again. You can insert your smartphone or tablet (iPad Mini fits) into the ergonomically shaped controller. You can connect your phone and the controller using the supplied USB cables or even any cable of your choice and you can now control the drone more precisely and easily.

Your phone/tablet will act as a display or a viewfinder. The controller also acts as a battery bank for your phone so that you don’t have to worry about your phone running out of charge during flying  

This controller comes with two analog sticks to control the drone and the camera which can be unscrewed for safe transport. The controller also has two wheels behind it, which you can use to control the exposure and gimbal. The controller also has a panic button, which you can use to perform the Return to Home function. This is useful if the drone is running out of charge or is too far and you just want the drone to return on its own. 

Performance

I tested the drone against the specs and features provided by FIMI itself. The drone boasts of reaching up to 500 meters in altitude and it didn’t fail me when I tried it.

And it gave me around 25-30 minutes of flying time which is less than the manufacturer's specified time of 35 mins, but I was not adhering to the flying conditions. 

This is still more than a lot of other drones which is a huge advantage for the Xiaomi FIMI X8SE. I test the drone for up to a little more than 4 miles and it had no problems, there will be no problem pushing it all the way to 4.9 miles and if you lose range the drone does return back in one piece, just remember to set a good height for the Return to Home feature.

All in all, the drone performs as expected if not better in my opinion. I had no problems with the flying performance of the drone. 

Camera 

The Sony IMX378 sensor is the best in the price class and it shows as the Xiaomi FIMI X8SE does a great job at taking pics and videos. The features of FIMI X8SE’s camera are simply amazing at this price class. And I was surprised at how good the picture and video quality of the drone was.

It didn’t struggle to shoot in any of the advertised features. From 720p to 2.7k to 4k RAW shooting, the drone performed really well. You can also shoot F-log or DNG raw images as well. The 3x zoom also works like a charm.

I have heard that the image/video quality of the DJI Mavic is slightly better but at the price and feature combination of the Xiaomi FIMI X8SE, you will be more than happy. The smart modes are also great for more professional-looking pictures and videos. The FIMI X8 can do the following: 

  • Cine Shot for smooth and steady cinema-like shots. 
  • Smart Tracking helps to automatically track moving targets and keep them in focus. With Lock and Trace modes they can either lock on to an object or follow them for flexibility. 
  • Flight planning to plan flight routes, which is a great mode for movie making.  
  • Panorama mode for large areas and needless to say the images look stunning. 
  • The time-lapse mode works great in videos. 
  • Rocket: The drone flies up while the camera is filming towards the ground. 
  • Circle and Spiral, the drone either circles or spirals around an object.  
  • Dronie: The X8SE flies backward and upwards at the same time to keep a target in focus. 

The camera is one of the highlights of the Xiaomi FIMI X8SE for me, I was blown away by the number of features and quality of the pictures and videos. You can totally use it for professional workloads, and you will be delighted with the capabilities and the result of the FIMI X8SE.  

Xiaomi FIMI X8SE 2022 Drone - Final Thoughts

The Xiaomi FIMI X8SE 2022 drone is an absolute stunner and I recommend it happily. Anyone looking for a drone with the best range and flight time in the price class and wants amazing camera capabilities, look no further.

The Xiaomi FIMI X8SE 2022 offers the best flying experience and camera quality for its price. It is an excellent product from FIMI that follows Xiaomi’s values and principles and it shows in the X8SE. And it has improved upon the already amazing 2020 model in meaningful ways.

The Xiaomi FIMI X8SE 2022 is a great product and will make you feel good about the purchase and put a smile on your face for spending your money well.  

Is the Xiaomi FIMI X8SE 2022 Drone worth it?

Yes, the Xiaomi FIMI X8SE 2022 is one of the best drones in its price segment and is more than worth it. It comes with amazing battery life and cool features. Most importantly, it has long-range transmission of video for up to 4.9 miles away from the controller. The foldable design makes it portable and easy to carry by reducing up to 70 percent size. Can be controlled with a controller and use your smartphone or tablet as the screen. Check out our Xiaomi FIMI X8SE Drone Review for all the details.

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