PowerVision PowerDolphin Hands-on Review

Capture the world beneath the waves

PowerDolphin
Review

What is the PowerDolphin

The PowerDolphin is an aquatic drone that enables you to capture imagery above and below water. It’s quite unlike other water drones in as far as it floats on the surface rather than being able to dive into the depths. The camera is also fixed on a pivot enabling it to rise above or below the surface, which is all very neat.

As well as the potential to capture the world under the surface, there are plenty of extras that can be purchased enabling you to map the sea bed, tow things and even carry and dispense bait for fish.

The PowerDolphin boasts a sleek design and comes equipped with a high-quality 4K camera that’s capable of shooting both video and stills.

Info

Aquatic drone / powervision.me/ from £799 / $799 at time of review

Intro

Ever wondered what lurked beneath the waves? Well now is the time to find out with the futuristic PowerVision PowerDolphin.

This aquatic drone arrived with me at the end of last year, just as the rain started here in the UK, and as I discovered that also means that the underwater world gets pretty murky.

However, as the rain stops leaving puddles everywhere, a cold snap has hit with temperatures dipping below -4. However, the sun is out, and that makes everything good.

A quick drive to the coast and it’s time to check out the power of the PowerDolphin. I’m quite sure that a part frozen beach isn’t quite what PowerVision had in mind, but the water seems clear if a little on the chilli side.

The location I had in mind is a good half hours hike, and the beach is relatively sheltered with a cafe a short distance away, which is essential, for food and hot drink afterwards.

Features

I’ve been sent the PowerDolphin Standard; this is the base model without the remote. This means that you have to use your mobile phone to connect and control the craft up to a max distance of 330ft (100m).

There are two other models, the PowerDolphin Explorer that arrives with the remote control; I’d recommend this model as the range and control is far better.

Then there’s the PowerDolphin Wizard; this features a bait box for fishing. An interesting addition, but as I’m not a fisher, and I don’t have the bait box I’m not sure how useful this would be.

There are also a host of other features that the primary device has, including a tow hook at the back and an accessories port underneath.

Couple the features with the design and there’s something very futuristic about the PowerDolphin and slightly sinister.

As you’ll inevitably need to carry the PowerDolphin to its launch point, it’s good to see that the size at 530 x 230 x 130mm (21 x 9 x 5-inches) and weight of 2.3kg making it easy to carry. It also comes with its waterproof bag, which is very handy.

Although the PowerDolphin is designed for use in the water, it doesn’t go underwater, unless hit by a large wave. It has a waterproof rating of IPX8 at a depth of 2m for 30 minutes.

The max speed is 10 mph on still water, and with three sailing modes, Cruise (C), Normal (N) and Underwater (U).

In U mode you can get a sailing time of 2.5hours, switch to N or C, and that cuts down to 20mins.

Two props power the craft at the back, and there’s a camera mounted on an ingenious pivot on the front. This needs to be released before powering up and can then tilt the camera up or down when used in U mode.

The camera is the bit that we’re interested in, and this features a large 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor. Fronting this is a large lens with a 132º field-of-view (In the air) with f2/5 fixed aperture to ensure plenty of light hitting the sensor where it’s needed.

The camera can capture both video and stills. Stills are captured at 12mp with an ISO range of between 100-6400. There are a variety of stills modes that enable Single Shot as standard., Burst and interval.

Switching to video and the camera can shoot 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps and 720 at 120 or 240fps. The bitrate is pretty average at 60Mbps with all footage captured on a MicroSD card.

The camera itself is mounted on a pivot that you release before powering up if desired; then in U mode, you can tap to tilt the camera up or down. In total, this gives you the ability to tilt the camera underwater to -150° and back up to +70°.

The PowerDolphin has two options for control, mobile or through a controller. The controller will set you back, and an additional £100/$100 but is well worth it.

Using a mobile, you have a range of 100m (330ft) in ideal conditions, whereas the remote is 800m.

Full review on its way

The PowerDolphin review is on its way – more on the performance and sample video to appear this week.

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