If you have any interest in electric rideables such as hoverboards or electric skateboards, then chances are you’ve heard of Halo Boards before. The company has been featured in major publications and vertical such as CNET, the NY Times, TechCrunch and Mashable.
They’ve been around since 2005, during which time all sorts of wheeled contraptions have rolled out of their doors.
Up, Up and Away
No they’ve decided to make an electric product that flies, rather than roles around on the ground Unfortunately this one is not rideable, which would have been awesome.
The Halo Drone is a sleek quadcopter with a quite a bit of futuristic flair to it. Halo have certainly done a great job on the aesthetics of the drone.
There are however more drones on the market than you can count without taking your shoes off, so why exactly is a company that has a perfectly good hoverboard business going on doing making a drone?
According to Halo, they’ve spent years developing this drone. A machine designed to provide “the most enriched flight experience”, which I guess they’ll have to explain in a bit more detail.
For one thing, it’s interesting to note that the Halo was designed with an “all-in-one” philosophy. That fully-encapsulated look is part of that approach, but it also explains why they’ve squeezed so many different use cases into the machine.
The main feature revolves around the high-end (for a drone) computing power they’ve built into the system. At the heart of the Halo is a dual-core processor and advances intelligent flight control system.
The claim from Halo is that this results in a level of flight stability and agility that we haven’t seen yet. It also sits behind the wide range of intelligent flight modes the machine offer.
Jack of All Trades
Halo is a drone that follows you, and is shipping with seven intelligent following modes. Simple Follow is just what it sounds like. The drone locks position relative to a target and if the target moves it follows. See, simple.
Hover and aim is an interesting one. Here the drone stays in one spot relative to the ground, but will rotate the camera to follow a target. That seems pretty useful for filming something passing by.
Follow Shadow let’s you set the altitude, distance and angle at which the drone must follow along one vector.
Follow Track on the other hand, keeps the altitude, distance and angle. It will then track the speed and angle or direction of the target.
Follow-Line makes the drone fly along a pre-planned path. It then focuses on the target while completing the flight path. This one in particular sounds super-useful.
Orbit Mode, pretty self explanatory. The drone acts like you’re the center of its universe and will orbit you at a desired speed and radius.
It’s A Bit of a Gimbal
Another interesting feature, which might bore most non-nerds is the gimbal that holds the camera.
This little thing is pretty impressive if you go by the spec sheet. Halo says that it’s accurate to plus or minus 0.02 degrees. I’m not a math guy, but that sounds very precise to me.
They also say that their gimbal can make 2000 correction per second. The action camera mount is also designed so you can swap out different units. So presumably if you want a high FPS rate instead of 4K resolution you can swap to a camera that has the right specs for the job.
Go, Go Gadget Controller
Halo says they want their drone to be accessible to everyone from complete beginners to drone pros. So they offer both app-based controls and traditional remote control.
Also, get this, you can control the drone using a smartwatch. That is so cool, it’s very futuristic spy tech. The five people who still own smartwatches are going to be thrilled.
A Little Snapper
The camera seems to be a custom job too. It’s a 4K unit based around the ever-popular Sony IMX sensors. In this case the IMX 337. It offers 12 megapixel photos and 4K video at 30FPS. It also provides 1440p at 60FPS, 1080p at 60FPS and 720p at 120FPS.
Squeezing it In
The Halo is 430mm diagonally. It weighs 1.37 KG and has a max speed of 45 MPH We do know that it’s described as “compact” and it’s a foldable drone. So that seems to be a trend now.
The battery pack is a 6000 mAh unit, providing a claimed flight time of 22 minutes. A solid time for an all-electric drone, but no earth-shattering by any measure.
Money, Money, Money
So how much will this fine drone cost to own? Order on the Halo site put the base package at about $1200. However, right now it seems to be on a pre-order special for $800. Not exactly cheap either way, but given the described abilities it might be worth it for the right customer.
They are also offering a “pro” package which will run for $1500, but is also going for less at before launch. Priced at a special price of $1000. A pair of rotors will run you ten bucks and it’s a cool $1000 for each extra battery. The first deliveries are set to ship just before the end of October 2017.
It’s going to be about a month before the Halo starts arriving at people’s doorsteps. Although we now know quite a lot about what the drone is meant to achieve. We won’t actually know how well it’s going to perform until it’s out in the wild.
So the real question is whether you should order your Halo now or wait and see. I’m not a big fan of being an early-adopter customer, but Halo is offering big discounts pre-launch, so if you’re willing to risk some bug or a possible RMA on a few units it’s worth saving the cash if the on-paper promises are the ones that You’re looking for.
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