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Image credit: James Trew / Engadget

UVify's Oori is a 60MPH micro-drone that leaves others in the dust

Small doesn't have to mean slow.
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James Trew / Engadget

At last year's CES, drone newcomer UVify made a splash with its speedy Draco racing quad, so much so that we gave it the Best Drone award in the official Best of CES awards. This year, the team is back with a new quadcopter called Oori, and it promises to be just as much fun.

Like Draco before it, the focus here is speed, with the needle topping reaching an impressive 50-plus miles per hour. As a micro-quad, Oori is much smaller than Draco; it'll fit in the palm of your hand. So it isn't meant for the full-blood racing crowd but instead for those who want to practice their skills or even fly indoors.

Oori comes with everything you need to get started: the drone, USB-chargeable battery and a controller with a full-color display. There's a camera on the front that will stream video to the controller or compatible video goggles, so you can fly it from the cockpit's point of view (much easier and much, much more fun). There are also altitude and downward sensors that make Oori easy to fly for beginners and much more stable in the air, even for experienced pilots.

Most drones this size have little in the way of design flourishes, but Oori is peppered with lights that provide feedback (battery life or flying mode, for example), and you can change their color to match your mood (or your teammates'). You'll get about six minutes of flight time per charge, which is about average for drones this size.

While drone racing is slowly gaining mainstream attention, it's still a niche sport. The technical skills required to modify and maintain these drones make it fairly high bar to enter. As such, micro-drones that are ready to fly are growing in popularity. Budding pilots can pick up something easier to fly, for less money and almost no setup required.

When we say less money, Oori is still pretty expensive. Early birds can pre-order today for $289, but it'll cost $389. That's quite a slice for something this size. Fat Shark's 101 is a more sedate craft but costs more than $100 less (and includes video goggles). Parrot's kid-friendly Mambo is $180, and even DJI's gesture-controlled Spark rings in at just $10 more (although that's a different beast altogether). There are also many other budget micro-drones that can be had for less than $100 all in. Those, of course, don't have the same speed, design and attention to detail as Oori, but it's also a lot less green.

All that said, UVify is trying to carve out a new category here. Most micro-drones are good for flying around your backyard but are mostly for a quick flying fix. Oori is designed to grow with your ambitions. Learners will appreciate the guided flying modes, and once they have the basics they can remove those limitations and ratchet up the intensity. Will this be enough to lure beginners and pros alike? We'll have to wait and see, but for now, it's good to see UVify isn't resting on its laurels.

While pre-orders are open already, Oori won't ship until spring (around April, we're told).

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

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