They may not have all of the bells and whistles of traditional drones, but their portability and ease of use for taking pictures is hard to deny.
That’s where the Zerotech Dobby comes in. This is a foldable selfie drone controlled via your smartphone. It has an included camera and is pretty simple to use. In this review, we’re going to take a look at all of its pros and cons, and my thoughts on whether or not it’s worth your hard-earned money. Let’s get to it!
Getting ready to fly the Zerotech Dobby, the first thing the instruction manual asked me to do is calibrate the drone.
This is done by heading to an open area. You’ll want somewhere without much signal interference. Parks and other open fields tend to be the best for calibration
I downloaded and opened up the Do.Fun app on my smartphone, and headed to the settings. You’ll be asked to connect to the drone’s wifi signal by going into your smartphone’s wifi connectivity and choosing the connection that says something like “Dobby_” followed by a series of letters and numbers. The connection will be locked and the password is “zerotech” in all lowercase.
Once connected, you’ll want to go into the app settings and look for “compass calibration”.
Unfold the drone and hold it out in your hand. It’ll ask you to calibrate in two steps. First, horizontally. Spin around and around holding the drone at arm’s length. Be sure to keep it level with the ground during the horizontal calibration.
Then, when it asks you for vertical calibration, do the same. But this time holding the drone 180 degrees vertical. Once again, spin around like a madman. Bystanders at the park who have never had to calibrate a drone before will probably think you’re crazy, but that’s all apart of the process.
The good news is, once the calibration is complete, you generally won’t need to calibrate again unless you travel somewhere far away.
Flight Control Methods
When fully connected and calibrated is when the real fun begins. The Do.Fun smartphone app has many options for flight and recording with your Zerotech Dobby.
The first thing you’ll want to do is select your preferred flight control method in the settings. There are three options:
1. Rocker: This method most closely represents a typical drone transmitter. There are two virtual joysticks, one of which controls your drone’s throttle, and the other controls directional input. I prefer the tactile touch of an actual transmitter over a touchscreen, but the option is there.
2. Swipe Screen: Using the swipe screen method is actually as it sounds. Simply swipe the screen in the direction you want the drone to fly. It’s kind of like drawing your own path. Be careful, though, as the Dobby doesn’t have any obstacle avoidance. This means it will fly right into a tree or other obstacle if you draw a line towards it. Always fly with caution.
3. Motion Sensing: The motion sensing is quite an interesting way to fly. This uses your phone’s accelerometer as motion controls. The drone will then fly whichever direction you tilt your phone, and its height is controlled by swiping up or down on the touchscreen. This one took a bit to get the hang of but is my control method of preference.
Camera Quality & Recording Options
Designed as a “selfie drone”, one of the main features of the Zerotech Dobby is its camera.
It advertises 4K image acquisition. The quality strikes me as just below average smartphone quality. The footage is slightly wobbly, but surprisingly stable considering it doesn’t use a gimbal. The quality is decent enough for posting pictures and quick video clips on social media, but in my opinion professionals and serious hobbyists will likely be disappointed.
Camera quality aside, there are a lot of options for how you choose to film your video. You can actually choose which direction the Dobby considers the front, meaning you can film in front of you or behind you if you choose. Pretty neat!
You can also manually tilt the angle of the camera, from straight forward to all the way down below for overview shots. I really like the ability to change the lens angle, just be sure to match the set lens angle in the smartphone app too.
The camera also has many methods of capturing footage controlled by the smartphone app. These options include:
1. Short Video: The Dobby will fly up to the designated height, which will create a zooming out effect while recording.
2. Orbit: The Dobby will orbit around and circle the designated area. Can also be done manually with precise enough controls
3. Target Tracking: Using your touchscreen, draw a box around the target which you wish to track. It will then follow your target until you tell it to stop. I’ve found this feature to work surprisingly well and the dobby captures smooth footage even during flight. Just make sure to keep away from any objects when using this feature because it will fly into any obstacle in its path due to its lack of obstacle avoidance. Bummer!
Takeoff and Landing Options
Using it’s built-in optical and acoustic sensors, the Dobby allows you to take off and land from either your hand or the ground. When traveling, you might not always have a dry, flat place on the ground to take off from or land. The hand takeoff feature makes this drone very convenient and portable, and I’d say this is the most differentiating feature from that of a DJI Phantom or other similar quadcopter.
Potential Practical Uses
It’s clear that a hobbyist like me is not the intended audience for this type of drone. With that said, this may be a good portable solution for roofers or real estate agents looking to inspect a house from different angles. For professionals, I’d suggest a drone that comes with a higher quality camera. But if portability is your preference, there really is no better option than the Dobby,
Overall, the Zerotech Dobby is one of the most complete “selfie drones” on the market. It’s pretty simple and even children can use it effectively. I love how compact and portable it is. Easy to fit in a bag, or even your pocket. And it’s controlled from your smartphone, so you won’t need to carry a dedicated controller with you.
The camera quality is a little disappointing but good enough for posting fun pictures and videos on social media.
If the price was lower, maybe $100 – $200, I’d have a much easier time recommending this to people who just want a fun toy to take pictures and selfies with, but for anybody who is serious about drones and photography, I’d highly recommend something like a DJI Phantom instead.
We hope this Zerotech Dobby review was helpful. Let us know any questions you have, and your thoughts about this model in the comments below!
– Drone Trove