The Dobby is a tiny selfie drone with some big features (hands-on)

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The Dobby selfie drone is small. At least, it's small enough to fit in your pocket. It's cheap. At least, it's cheap compared to its competitors. And it packs in features like 4K video recording, image stabilization, gesture control and target tracking.

Zerotech's Dobby is available now for $399 in the US and AU$599 in Australia. There's no UK distributor, but the price coverts to around £325. Compared to rival drones with built-in cameras that can retail for over a grand, the Dobby's an attractive option for hobbyists.

The rotors fold in, making for a very petite package.

Dave Cheng/CNET

Key Specs:

  • Digital image stabilization
  • Removable battery with 9-minute flight time
  • 13-megapixel camera, 1,920x1,080p video recording
  • Target tracking and facial recognition
  • Automatic takeoff and landing
  • Foldable design
  • 199g
  • Companion app
  • 16GB storage
  • Can hover indoors/outdoors in winds up to 28km/h (17mph)

Using the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight platform (the one unveiled at CES), the Dobby's tracking mode uses facial recognition and target lock to get the drone to follow you around. Little features like that and the one-button takeoff and orbit mode make it feel very clever.

That said, the Dobby isn't exactly hands-free -- while you can leave it hovering or set it to automatically grab some footage, it's going to need steering from the app at some point.

The four rotors are on arms that fold into the body, leaving you with a slim profile that'll slip comfortably into your pocket when you're done flying your drone around.

You pilot the Dobby through a companion app with a live camera feed.

Dave Cheng/CNET

From our brief hands-on time, the target tracking and facial recognition held up reasonably well, and I only clipped my fingers in the blades once going for the gesture-controlled palm landing. More impressively, the live camera feed to the app and touch screen controls made piloting the Dobby a very smooth experience.

Speaking of the companion app, you can also instantly push photos and videos from the paired drone to your phone and out to social media with a couple of button presses.

For your troubles, you'll get about 9 minutes of flight time from the battery (and fast charging gets you back in the air in about 45 minutes). Those minutes go by very quickly, especially if you're out and about or have the drone set to follow you on a hike. It makes the extra batteries -- available for AU$59 -- close to a necessity.

Zerotech packs clever features into a very small package for a surprisingly low price, and apart from still waiting on features like voice control to roll out and a few struggles getting airborne indoors, it's a fun way to play around with drone photography.

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Where to Buy

Zerotech Dobby

Part Number: D100B-NA-S

MSRP: $399.00

Visit manufacturer site for details.