41 Megapixels Take Flight: Nokia Lumia 1020 Rides Atop AR.Drone Quadricopter

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News Posted: Thu, Aug 22 2013 11:30 AM
There's no question, what we do here at HotHardware definitely has its perks.  Sure, the hours are long, the work can be grueling with benchmark run after run, take after take in the video studio or fighting with finicky, just-released products that don't want to cooperate.  So what sorts of things do we do to relax and blow off a little steam?  Well, sometimes we take the hardware for a joy ride; in this case quite literally.

You may recall our recent review and showcase of Nokia's Lumia 1020 Windows Phone, with its high resolution 41 Megapixel camera, floating image stabilization and Carl Zeiss optics.  Of course you do.  We were pretty impressed by the device actually and more-so with its on-board HD camera and Pro Cam app software.  So, when we got done putting the new Lumia 1020 through its paces, you might say we "kicked it up a notch" -- as in, say about 75 feet straight up, above the tree line.

Don't try this at home.  Okay, you can try but we think it must void a warranty, somehow, somewhere.

You see, we got this nutty idea to strap the Nokia Lumia 1020 on top of a Parrot AR.Drone, hit the record button on the 1020's camera app and point that sucker straight up to the heavens.  Why, you ask?  Why not, we would offer.  After all, with floating image stabilization on board, things should be able to float, right?  But of course... roll it.

We soar high above the tree line starting around the 2:00 mark but don't miss Yogi trying to attack.

So what did we learn from all of this?  Oh, nothing; but it sure was a gas!  There were a number of challenges that we needed to address with this recreational experiment of sorts.  First, we needed to figure out the most stable positioning for the phone.  You see, even at its svelte 157 grams (approx. 5.5 ounces), the Lumia 1020 was a bit of a workout for the AR.Drone to handle.  And then of course when you get above the tree line and the wind kicks up, maintaining stability is once again a major challenge to avoid death spirals that can result in, well, death for both drone and phone.

Ultimately, though our rig-up was a bit "ghetto," with its Velcro strapping, foam padding and painter's tape; it actually worked quite well for a number of flights.  And believe it or not, neither drone nor phone was harmed in the process.  The Lumia 1020 performed admirably offering impressive views, even if partially obstructed sometimes by the drone's spinning rotor blades and the air turbulence they cause.

Regardless, we hope you enjoyed our momentary lapse of reason and sensibility.  Maybe the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active will get really "active" next, just for grins and giggles.
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Impressive how stable it is.

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CDeeter replied on Thu, Aug 22 2013 5:54 PM

That looks like a lot of fun!

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ErazmusNZ replied on Thu, Aug 22 2013 6:01 PM

Can you imagine the fun that could be had if you could stream live video from the phone to a VR headset (thinking OcRift here), now that would be sweet :)

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Marco C replied on Thu, Aug 22 2013 7:13 PM

The AR.Drone 2.0 has an on-board camera that will stream to a tablet or phone in real time. Thing is pretty awesome.

Marco Chiappetta
Managing Editor @ HotHardware.com

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