The drone comes with an IPX6 rated waterproof case and other waterproof accessories (ie. a landing float) that enable it to take off from and land on water. PowerVision claims that’s the first of its kind in the industry, suggesting it would be useful in heavy rain or other water-based events like at-sea rescue operations.
Another interesting differentiation with the PowerEgg X: the PowerEgg X, which was first announced at CES 2020, dubs itself as a “multi-function device” that doubles “as an autonomous personal AI camera, as a handheld 3-axis AI camera, and also a high-performance drone.”
It might be a smart move for PowerVision to market a camera that can also fly’ vs. a drone on its own, potentially helping it reach broader audiences and use cases. There are a number of places where drones can’t fly, like National Parks. Now, you can still use your PowerEgg X to capture videos of Half Dome on your next Yosemite visit.
The PowerEgg X is a completely new airframe from the original PowerEgg, which — while futuristic and sleek looking — was also large and bulky. The PowerEgg X looks more like a hybrid PowerEgg and DJI Mavic. It doesn’t fold like the Mavic, but it’s highly portable, as you can detach the drone arms, camcorder grip & tripod mount for storage or whenever you’re not using them.
The PowerEgg X’s camera
The PowerEgg X is equipped with a 4k/60fps HD camcorder with a three-axis gimbal.
Though, the 1/2.8-inch CMOS sensor (with f/1.8 aperture) is smaller than what you’ll find on most DJI Mavic drones, so expect lesser image quality in terms of smaller photosites and lower sensitivity.
With a proprietary AI algorithm and robotics technology capabilities, the PowerEgg X has smart-image recognition tracking, like facial recognition and tracking field of view up to 170°. Features like that enable more automated shooting modes, such as one where subjects will always be in the middle of the video frame, even if the subject is playing sports, dancing, or running. And a gesture control feature also allows users to take photos, and record video by their body language.
The camera also has image mechanical stabilization to reduce any “jiggle” from a camera flying through the air.
Handheld gimbal camera mode
But you don’t need to be flying it to use the camera. You can switch the PowerEgg X into handheld mode, which uses the drone’s same three-axis mechanical-stability augmentation gimbal and camera to take videos from the ground. Since you’re not powering a flying device, the PowerEgg X has a battery life of 3.5 hours when used entirely in ground mode. (In drone mode, it has about 30 minutes of flight time).
That sharply contrasts with DJI, which sells handheld gimbal cameras called the Osmo. But they’re sold separately from the drone. Not only does that mean a separate cost, but you’re looking at a second piece of equipment to carry around with you.
PowerEgg X review
The Drone Girl team hasn’t gotten their hands on a PowerEgg X yet, but some other sites have gotten their reviews in and they’re not bad.
Digital Camera World said “the ambition of the PowerEgg X drone is extraordinary,” particularly when it comes to waterproofing.
They did call out situations where the PowerEgg X had “rough edges.”
Most of PowerEgg’s issues revolve around the software. DroneDJ had a technical issue preventing them from making their first review (it eventually got resolved, and note that they had a demo unit, which are typically prone to more software issues since they’re early versions of the product). But for a drone that has ambitious hardware (ie. waterproofing), it’s interesting to see that the hardware is fine, and the software is the problem.
“Switching from one mode to the next can be a little fiddly, and the software does have a few rough edges,” the Digital Camera World review stated. PowerVision’s competitor, DJI, has nailed the software from all angles, from handy video editing features in the DJI Fly app, to safety features like GEO software. Unlike small differences like 28 vs. 30 minutes of battery life, robust software does have a drastic impact on user experience — and is largely why DJI products have caught on with consumers, while competing products have not.
And ultimately you’re getting the drone for the camera, and reviewers seem to approve of it.
“Even though the imaging sensor could be bigger, it does pack 4K at 60fps (double the Mavic Air or Mavic 2’s 30fps), and a set of other slow-mo options making it almost unbeatable for action fans,” according to Camera Labs’ review.
Who the PowerEgg X is best suited for: The PowerEgg X has two standout features: waterproofing, and the ease of transitioning from drone mode to handheld gimbal camera mode. If you’re flying in areas where your drone may get wet, or you prefer one device vs. two (ie. a Mavic Air 2 and a Osmo Pocket), the PowerEgg X makes more sense.
Where to buy the PowerEgg X
The PowerEgg X starts at $899 and is on sale at B&H Photo and Amazon.com. Purchase from Amazon, where you’ll get free shipping, plus Prime customers can save 5% by charging it to their Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card.
The $899 Explorer kit includes a PowerEgg X, remote controller, wrist strap, full set of arms and propellers, one spare pair of propellers, one Intelligent battery, Intelligent charger and a carrying case.
Though, if you’re looking for the waterproof housing features, expect an up-charge.
The PowerEgg X Wizard starts at $1,249. That gets you everything you’d get in the standard Explorer kit, plus waterproof housing, water-landing floats, and a protective case for the arms.
What is PowerVision?
PowerVision, the company behind the PowerEgg X, has been around since 2009.
The Chinese-based robotics company made waves in 2016 with the PowerEgg, a drone that resembled an egg when turned off, but when turned on transformed into a drone with propellers on all sides and a camera on the bottom. When it launched, the PowerEgg went for $1,288.
The PowerEgg came out in an era where dozens of companies looked to compete with DJI, which had already established itself as the behemoth of the drone industry (and it still is today).
Many companies, including PowerVision, desperately looked to distinguish themselves from DJI, inciting an aerial menagerie of kite drones, modular drones, GoPro drones and notebook-shaped drones. Alas, few succeeded — though PowerVision is one of the few to continue to hang on and iterate on its design.
After the PowerEgg, PowerVision went on to build another robot — but this one didn’t fly. The PowerRay was an underwater rover equipped with a camera and controlled by joysticks. The product marketed itself for situations like snorkel trips where someone might not be able to get in the water, but could still “see underwater” from the boat, or to allow scientists to do research without having to go in the water. PowerVision later expanded on that underwater line with another drone, the PowerDolphin.
PowerVision has 500 employees globally, spread through its headquarters in China, plus offices in the U.S., Japan, Australia, Germany, and Finland.