Aerial Drones have been all the rage for years now and come in many shapes and sizes and range from a few bucks to thousands of dollars. Now we have underwater drones taking the market by storm.
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Underwater drones are not new, but have been way too expensive and were never marketed towards the general public for recreational purposes.
While underwater drones are mainly used by Scientists, Marine Biologists, and other Marine professions, there are now some emerging innovative companies like the ‘CHASING’ brand who are now creating affordable underwater drones for the mainstream recreation industry (can be used for professionals also)
Today we are writing a full review of the 4K HD Gladius Mini ROV Underwater Drone by the innovative company CHASING. Contents
Let’s Start With The Official 4K HD Gladius Mini ROV Underwater Drone Video
Some Awesome Features Of The Gladius Mini
By replacing a screw-in buoy, the Gladius Mini can be used in both seawater and freshwater. With five thrusters, it can work up to approximately 91.5 meters underwater. In this case, it can move in all four directions and pitch up and down from side to side at a 45-degree angle. Of course, it can be adjusted to a desired angle and depth and linger at a certain depth. The speed of the Gladius Mini in water is 7.4 km/h.
It is equipped with a 12-megapixel camera with a 1/2.3-inch sensor with an f/3.0 front lens. With an ISO range of 100 to 3200, it can record raw images in JPEG and DNG quality. It can record 4K video files with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 at a speed of 30 frames per second and a bit rate of 60 Mbps. It can also record video at 30, 60, and 120 frames per second and can store still images and videos on a micro SD.
Both sides of the camera are equipped with LEDs to ensure that there is enough underwater lighting. The output of each of these LEDs is 1200 lumens of 4000 to 5000 K with 80 CRI.
With this camera, underwater video files can be streamed live on YouTube platform or watched on a VR headset (less than 360 degrees) via the free companion application. In this camera, there are several basic buttons to control the exposure parameters.
The Gladius Mini Underwater Drone Design
The Gladius Mini consists of four separate components: the drone itself, a remote controller, a spooled tether cord 50 to 100 meters away, and a base station that is tethered into the drone and stays onshore. This station is actually a Wi-Fi hotspot that takes commands from the remote control and the phone and transmits them to the drone and then resends the videos. All of the above parts can be carried in a big backpack!
The drone is firmly implemented on the top three components, although this is not the case for the remote control. A piece of clamp breaks when the smartphone clamp is removed. Because it seems that the remote controller cannot even resist against a drop (let alone months or years of hard fieldwork), the tether and its connection points are reliable.
Performance & Image Quality
Although the drone was simple and straightforward to implement, the initial Wi-Fi pairing was a little more difficult. The submission box did not contain any instructions, and the application itself contains only instructions about the basic Gladius drone. My suggestion to you is to download the relevant instructions from the Chasing Innovation website (https://www.chasing.com)
We started working on a large lake and soon realized that working with an underwater drone was much different and more difficult than with an aerial drone. Because the drone stays afloat, the rotors need to be unlocked and turned on so that it can continue to move.
After 9 meters of navigation, we started to go underwater. Although the 720p real-time feed of the camera was very smooth, it time and again went out of balance according to the objects moving in front of it.
The shooting quality of this camera is somehow similar to GoPro circa Hero 4.5. This quality is very respectable, considering alternatives for capturing video and still images in the depths of cold and turbulent water. In late fall, New Jersey Lake beds do not offer the most colorful themes, but instead offer browns, light blues, and greens, but I imagine using this in crystal clear waters of the Caribbean would be spectacular.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Gladius Mini
- Support for deep diving
- Orientation and depth maintenance
- Usability in seawater and freshwater
- Easy to manoeuvre
- Good real-time video clarity
- Can share video on social media in real-time
- One-click online sharing
- East to carry – Very portable
- Long battery life (up to 2 hours)
- Use on your Android or iPhone Tablet or smartphone
- Dive to an incredible 330 feet (with 100-meter tether)
- Some annoying connection problems
- Fragile remote control
- Inability to detect or avoid objects
- 4K Video Camera
- 12MP Still Images
- Fully Stabilized with One Touch Depth Lock
- Wireless Remote Control
- Rise and Dive Vertically
- 64GB In-built Memory Storage
- Pitch adjustable +/- 45 °
- 5 Stabilized Propellers
- Up to 2hr Run-time
- 2 x 1200 Lumen LED Lights (Dimmable)
- Live Stream on Facebook, YouTube and Periscope
- Share to Facebook and Instagram
- VR Headset Compatible
- HDMI Output
- 100m Depth
Comparison To Other Market Underwater Drones
If you ask my opinion, I would say the Gladius Mini is a wonderful underwater drone in general. If you do not know how to dive, the underwater scenery can be unfamiliar and strange to you. This is where the tool comes in handy to make this trip a fun experience for you. My son thinks this underwater drone is super cool and thinks it’s the most awesome gadget he has ever seen, but that’s 4 year old for you 🙂
Weighing up the features benefits the pros and cons of this model it is a great bit of kit. Not without its issues but great all the same. It comes with a price tag that might put some people off, but if you are in the market for an underwater drone that has a mid-market price but some really cool higher-end features then this might just be the model for you.
Although I do not think that any tool is as good for cinematography as a diver with a camera in his hand, it can be used to the fullest with a little effort. I’m planning a fishing trip soon with my boy and looking at some videos online the Gladius Mini is a fisherman’s best friend too. Apparently it makes an awesome fishfinder 🙂
Having the Gladius Mini Underwater Drone in your boat will bring you some unique opportunities (I don’t think that’s cheating is it?😀) If you are lucky enough to live near the ocean or are planning a trip to some lovely tropical destination then this would be an awesome gadget to take along. Just think what kinds of sea life you could see using this.
You can check out the latest prices over on Amazon. There are some really great reviews and answered customer questions also to help you with your buying decision.
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