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PowerVision PowerEgg hatches into a 4K camera drone

PowerVision's kinder, gentler camera drone aims to appeal to more than hobbyists with its unique design and controllers.

Now playing: Watch this: This 5-pound egg has a 4K camera drone inside

It's very difficult to say "PowerEgg" and not smile or giggle, and that's sort of the point.

Robotics company PowerVision was looking for a drone design that is friendly and approachable and not intimidating to anyone -- and the result is the PowerEgg. When closed up, it looks like a giant shiny white egg, roughly the size of a rugby ball. Press a button to drop its legs, pull up each of its four propeller arms and it's transformed into, well, a flying egg. A 4.6-pound (2 kg) one at that.

Under a cap on the bottom is the PowerEgg's 4K-resolution camera on a three-axis motorized gimbal that, once flying, is completely unobstructed and can rotate 360 degrees. The quad's visual positioning system is then also uncovered, to assist with indoor flying up to 13 feet (4 meters) above the ground.

When flying outside, the drone relies on GPS to keep it stable and to assist with a handful of automated shooting modes. Follow Me tracks the moves of the controller; another orbits a subject; one does waypoint navigation; and one does selfies.

Those things aren't unique to the PowerEgg, but the drone's controller is. PowerVision made it modular by breaking out the flight processor and base station into a separate unit. Bundled with the quadcopter is a fairly typical gaming-style two-stick controller as well as the one-handed, gesture-based PowerEgg Maestro. The Maestro basically lets you point to where you want the drone to fly and it follows.


The Maestro controller lets you use gestures to guide the PowerEgg where you want it to fly.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

The drone is capable of delivering real-time video transmission up to 3.1 miles (5 km) to a phone or tablet (Android or iOS). The battery, which loads vertically in the top, has a maximum flight time of approximately 23 minutes, which is disappointing but understandable given the drone's weight and size.

The PowerEgg can be ordered now for $1,288 (approximately AU$1,700 or £975) through the PowerVision site, but won't ship till October. That price gets you the drone, the Maestro and two-stick controllers, a battery, a charger and a light-up base station that does nothing more than display your PowerEgg. If you order before the end of September you get a backpack for everything, too.

We did see the PowerEgg in action, and it did manage to take off and land on its own and fly around a loft space if nothing else. We didn't get to see any video off the camera, so I can't say what the quality is like. Or how it will behave outside. The price seems too high to me, given how much competition is out there. It does offer a couple interesting features, however, such as its rotating camera and modular controller, and a distinctive design that is made for travel and starting conversations.

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