Realizing that quiet strolls on the beach, intimate picnics at the park, and hikes in the solitude of nature just aren’t the same without the loud hum of a drone’s electric motors hovering nearby capturing the moment, Snap has revealed Pixy: a tiny semi-intelligent autonomous drone with cameras to capture all those semi-ruined moments.
As Snap continues to try and convince itself and investors that it’s a camera company and not a social network for covertly sharing intimate photos, today it’s released its second hardware product after the introduction of its camera-equipped Spectacles sunglasses back in 2016.
Pixy is a streamlined, banana-colored camera drone (is 2022 the year of very yellow gadgets?) weighing just 101 grams that’s designed to document candid moments without the need for an outstretched arm precariously holding a smartphone, or an obnoxiously extended selfie stick. The compact quadcopter instead takes to the air without anyone at the controls, because there are none. Users select from one of four pre-programmed flight modes that include simply hovering in the air in front of you, orbiting around you, or following from behind while walking or running. When it’s time to land, users simply stick their hand beneath Pixy and it will touch down on their palm.
Images are captured as 12MP stills or 2K videos and are saved to the drone’s paltry 16GB of storage until Pixy is connected to a smartphone and the Snapchat app. Then, it will send all its files over wirelessly, where they can be shared and edited using Snapchat’s various tools and filters. Pixy’s memory isn’t expandable—you won’t find a memory card slot on board—but that’s not needed, since its rechargeable battery is only good for about five to eight flights limited to 10 to 20 seconds each. If you want to expand that flight time, you’ll need to stock up on additional batteries at $20 a piece.
With a price tag of $230, Pixy’s biggest selling point is presumably its ease of use, given that more capable alternatives like the DJI Mini SE can be had for just $50 more. Right out of the box (and after a charge), the Pixy is ready to start capturing memories with no flight training needed, but unlike Spectacles (which were a mostly unobtrusive way to photograph friends and family without whipping out a smartphone), it’s hard to imagine anyone being happy to see (and hear) a Pixy take flight during a memorable moment.