CES 2015: Attack of the ZANO Nano Drones


This palm-sized quadcopter might look like a Hubsan X4 H107C-HD, but the ZANO Nano Drone packs more in its 1.9 ounces than many quadcopters weighing ten times as much. Controlled via an iOS- and Android-compatible smartphone app, it boasts autonomous flying for beginners with no RC experience, a feature typically reserved for larger aircraft with GPS. For FPV and aerial photography, there is a 5MP built-in camera, which can record HD video and take full-resolution stills internally to an SD memory card. For the first-person view experience, you can monitor what you are recording (a presumably dressed-down version) in real time on your mobile device. In addition to video, the app also displays OSD telemetry data, such as battery life and altitude.

At first glance, the characteristic most likely to strike you is an odd-looking LED array below the camera. It turns out this apparatus serves a dual purpose. Normally it acts as a full-color (RGB) 8 x 8-pixel resolution display that can show icons or animations—presumably created through the app. But it can also be set to output white light to help illuminate the subject when recording or taking photos in low-light conditions.

As with most multi-rotors, flight stability relies on a collection of sensors, such as gyros and accelerometers. In addition, the ZANO features IR collision detection, helping it to avoid collisions when it’s in an autonomous flight mode. For users who do want manual control, the "Free Flight" mode provides onscreen joysticks to give you a similar experience to flying with a traditional transmitter. A "Follow Me" setting will cause the ZANO to track your every movement, homing in on the signal from your smartphone for guidance. It can also return to you automatically if the signal gets weak or the mobile device's battery drops below a critical level.

Now, we come to what is arguably the ZANO's most notable—some might say horrifying—feature: "Swarming." A single mobile device can be used to manage multiple micro quadcopters— although I can't tell you exactly how many. Presumably, each copter would be left to more or less find its own way, based on some procedural algorithm, with only minimal explicit directives required from the pilot. While a swarm of buzzing drones might send shivers down many people’s spines, it could turn out to be a pretty useful feature, especially when capturing aerial video of a live event from multiple angles.

The battery in the ZANO is estimated to last 10 to 15 minutes, though this figure will vary a great deal due to wind resistance, the amount of maneuvering you do, how fast you fly, and other factors. Because it relies on a mobile device's Wi-Fi, the range will be relatively short; ZANO estimates up to 100'. It might be possible to extend this if ZANO decides to release a Wi-Fi range extender similar to what several other companies offer for their Wi-Fi-operated flight control systems.

ZANO expects to release the quadcopter sometime this month. How soon it will start to roll out to retailers is still unknown. Though I can't tell you when you'll be able to get your hands on one, it's a pretty safe bet that resellers will want to get their hands on inventory. 

Please fill in the form below to be notified when this product becomes available at B&H.

Enter your information to get notified

Add new comment

would like to check it out....

cant wait!

I would like to know how much for each one of these babies?

The early editions on kickstarter were going for 139 britsh pounds

I am Martinique resident but a Florida resident could buy me.

Do you have a store in Florida Miami.

It's a pity you do not deliver in Martinique French West Indies The members of my association and I could buy so much for your many interesting products

We actually do deliver to Martinique.  Most items (except those which have a restriction from either the manufacturer, or the USA Federal Govt) can be exported to Martinique.   You may calculate your actual shipping options/order totals by adding the items you want to a shopping cart and entering a destination zip code or country.  You will then see a list of shipping options and Estimated Shipping Times to your location.

 Hi Thierry,

Alas, we do not have a location in Florida. I should also note, it is not yet certain if or when B&H will carry these. But if we do carry ZANO, you are in luck as B&H ships worldwide! Including Martinique. Do keep in mind certain products may have restrictions imposed either by the manufacturer or the government on where they can be shipped. Generally this isn't the case with RC aircraft, though.

Please let me know when the Zano Drone is available

At the tail end of this article, before the option to post a comment, there is a section listed to sign up to be notified when this item becomes available.  Please provide the required details there, and when this item becomes available, you will receive an email notification from us. 

Me gustaría saber cual sería el costo estimado de una de estas maravillas. También me gustaría saber si son legales y si lo envian a Chile.

Lastimosamente, en este momento no tenemos informacion de precio ni tampoco datos de disponibilidad concerniente a los ZANO NANO drones.  Al final de esta nota, tenemos un formulario que Ud. puede llenar para recibir mas informacion sobre los Nano Drones cuando estos datos se encuentren disponibles, incluyendo el precio.  Para determinar si los Drones son legales en su pais, Ud. tiene que contactar a las autoridades a control de aviacion en su pais.

Any idea on the cost yet?


Looks interesting 


Filled out the TOP form (but did not see the bottom blocks,pressed "notify me" and immediate got somebody's smart-ass reply: "There was a problem with your form submission.  Please wait 2592000 seconds and try again.  That's 43,200 minutes, 720 hours, or 30 days. You couldn't just say that?  No wonder some people have so much respect for on-line sellers and distributors, such as B&H.  (Kind of makes you want to take your business elsewhere, don't it?)

Keep up the "good" work.


I have several drones and a few nano's.  Please let me know when this puppy is ready for distribution to the general public.  I'd be interested in adding it to my growing collection of drones.

Thank You!

can you change the attitude of the camera or is it fixed.  i need it to "look down" at 45 degrees.  also need it to mover laterally whlle maintaining stable altitude.  can it do that?

From the design, it looks fixed to me. We will have to wait for the final details once they officially release it to know for sure--last minute updates are always possible.

The camera is a fixed angle camera but you can set the position for the copter to fly using the control app.  And, it will always stay close to the tethered mobile device.

Need to see the features: battery life, image quality, frame rates, etc... and the price!

As noted, the battery life is estimated at 15 minutes--but with RC aircraft this varies a lot. Other features may not be finalized yet. Once ZANO officially releases the camera we should have more concrete details.

  First time I see new brand copter, I want to study first then I give my comments, Regards, Razi

10 to 15 minutes battery life?  Are you kidding?

Hope that the announcement comes with good information.    Looks interesting