Whether you have already heard of the Lily drone or are simply looking for the best camera drone available on the market right now, we have everything you need to decide if the Lily is right for you.
Learn how the company started out and nearly never made it to the production line, see what features the drone has to offer, and read what real users say about flying this drone before you buy your own.
What is the Lily Drone?
You may have heard about the original Lily drone in recent years. The drone received a lot of attention as a model that you can launch simply by throwing it into the air, and the drone would then follow the user, but the 2015 crowdfunded campaign ultimately shut down last year. The company, who has had a rough time, finally released their Lily model.
In the first released promo video, Lily showed users a sleek drone you could toss into the air for takeoff that was unlike any other model on the market.
Not only could it self-navigate around objects as it follows the user, but it also proved too good to be true.
After one delay after another, the company finally admitted they wouldn’t be able to finance the production of their model and issued refunds to backers.
Lily sent out an email to buyers announcing their reasons for closing up shop and offered to issue refunds within 60 days.
Hundreds of disappointed customers were frustrated with this loss, and finally after the popular Mota Group bought Lily’s brand name and relaunched in 2017.
The Mota Group, who previously designed the popular $30 toy Jet Jat Nano drone, made some modifications to Lily’s too good to be true design.
Unlike the original design plan, the completed model is not exactly what was originally promised.
Named Lily Next-Gen, the drone offers the original blue and black color scheme with a smiley face around the camera. But it isn’t waterproof, and you can’t toss it into the air to initiate flying.
These changes, while unsurprising, resulted in a much more realistic drone.
The original design received over $30 million in funding to design the technology that would allow the drone to follow you, throw it in the water, and even take flight from the water.
Using a band you place around your wrist, the drone was supposed to track your movements perfectly and allow you to record yourself as you move about. But the new company created a newly remodeled Lily.
The Lily Next-Gen offers sleek and expensive-looking packaging, and it comes with a carrying case that allows you to keep this pricey model safe during transit and stay organized. It comes with separate compartments to store all your needs, including:
The drone itself can fold up for storage as well, and it offers the ability to fly indoors or out. Lily also comes with some premium features, like an automatic return to home, object tracking, and SmartHover – which allows the drone to be extremely easy even for first-time users to fly easily.
When flying, the lightweight drone can handle high wind speeds. In many smaller models, the sheer size makes them not perform as well under moderate or high wind conditions, yet Lily is created with geofencing to help prevent flying into restricted places.
It also comes with electronic image stabilization, a high-strength polycarbonate for added durability, and a flyaway and loss protection warranty.
Here are some of the best features Lily offers:
- 18 minute of flight time
- 4k video recording in ultra HD or 1080p via a
Sony IMX 214 camera
- One-touch functions for media sharing and flight
operations via a mobile app
- Object tracking software that orbits 360 degrees
around the target
- Image stabilization for smoother footage and
great photo resolution
- Ultrasonic positioning to avoid running into
- Automatic return to the take-off point
How Does It Work?
To fly the Lily Next-Gen, you won’t need an RC transmitter as you do with most drones. The Lily uses a smartphone app that allows you to control the drone’s movements.
Simply access the app the get started and slide your fingers across the screen of your phone to pilot your drone further distances than most can handle.
You will, however, need a WiFi connection.
Using your phone makes it easier to take your drone on the go, as it is one less thing you need to remember to pack.
The app is easy to use, and its connectivity allows you to transfer the videos or photos you take directly to your camera roll or upload them to your favorite social media channel in seconds.
You don’t need to worry about memory cards or even wait until you’re done flying!
Just take your Lily out of its storage case and unfold the arms into the flight-ready position. Make sure you have the app downloaded and working.
You’ll want to look over the user manual’s pre-flight checklist to make sure you have carefully gone through the startup process and get to flying.
Then, use the one-touch take off and landing button to get started.
What Makes Lily Unique?
While many drones don’t use batteries to stay charged, this is a nice touch. The batteries help extend the amount of flight time you have when using this model, and each battery is known to extend flight time by up to 18 minutes.
With multiple batteries and the ability to carry extras as a backup, you can fly this drone for hours on end without needing to find a plugin to recharge after just a few minutes.
It also does not have a controller, which isn’t entirely unique to the drone market but is a feature you don’t see very often.
The added features this brings that allow you to upload your new aerial shots easily is a great feature that many people enjoy.
Instead, Lily uses an app you can find for free in the App Store, and you can share photos in seconds.
One of the coolest features of this drone is that it can follow you. This allows you to run or adventure, while your drone captures the moment for you. Lily’s camera also offers 4k photos and HD video.
The Lily is an expensive model, and you can only buy one from the Mota Group. Priced from $699-$799, it comes with free shipping and can be purchased on the Lily official website.
Early investors may be able to get a Lily for $499. There is also a one-year limited warranty that covers damage, depending on the drone’s condition and flight conditions.
What The Public Thinks Of The Lily Drone
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Overall, Lily as a company has disappointed many users. Regardless of the initial start-up problems and the drone’s near demise, Lily Next-Gen doesn’t really hold up.
People love the carrying case, foldability, and how easy it is to get the drone into the air in a matter of minutes.
Moto tried to please the thousands of already angry customers by offering people who contributed to the starting up costs of the drone, along with propeller guards, extra guards, added batteries, a charger, and a controller.
But reviewers have said they didn’t fully deliver on their promises, and customer service was next to nonexistent after sending multiple inquiry emails.
However, the app does not work as you’d like. Because it will sometimes disconnect at random or decide it is unable to find the drone, you need to go through the entire setup process once more by closing the app and restarting.
This is a pain when you have issues while in flight, and you will only be able to use this app where you have WiFi which limits the areas you can use your drone in.
The Android app may have less trouble. It even offers video editing, the ability to create custom shots, and you can even adjust other camera settings. Lily also comes with 16GB of built-in memory just in case.
The camera on the Lily is also limited. It can’t rotate, which only allows one aerial view, and where your point is the area the camera will shoot.
You can also see the propeller guards in the images, which is a downside when you’re trying to capture views of the mountains.
The videos and photos it captures, however, are high-quality shots for an amateur or hobby photographer.
However, Lily really shines when it comes to its aesthetic appeal, tracking speed, high photo quality, and easy to use features.
The images you capture with this drone are stunning, and users say they were not able to outrun the drone. The stream was stable, clear, and it produces utterly gorgeous images.
How Lily Matches Up To The Competition
Lily’s main competition comes from DJI, which produces some of the best drones and quadcopters on the market today.
Because this model does not have a controller, it’s hard not to compare it to the DJI Spark. While Spark also uses an app to control the device, there is an upgrade controller you can purchase for an added $100 that’s an awesome addition.
Because the Spark is priced nearly $200 less than Lily even with the added controller and an extra battery, it’s a better price than the Lily.
In fact, the Lily is often compared to the Spark. Users have even said the Lily feels like a cheaper version of the Spark.
It doesn’t fall apart or anything, but the materials used to create the drone don’t feel as top-quality and the drone doesn’t maneuver as well as those used to create the Spark.
When it comes to using the apps, Lily offers its own app via the Apple store. You need to set up an account and connect to your drone, and using the app is said to be responsive 80% of the time.
Sometimes the drone disconnects, and you have a limited distance both upward and in the distance that constraints your flight plans.
The Spark, on the other hand, offers more features that work better. The Lily model is also similar to another famous DJI model, the foldable Mavic Pro.
Whereas both models allow you to fold the drone for easy storage, the Mavic offers spring-loaded arms that spring into a flight-ready position to allow you to fly faster.
The Lily does not offer spring-loaded arms, which means you will need to carefully make sure you have them in the right position before flying.
Otherwise, if you don’t fold the arm out all the way, you may crash and utterly destroy the drone in under 10 minutes.
If the propellers aren’t folded out all the way, they will grind against each other until they’re nearly chipped away, and your drone will come crashing to the ground.
This would never happen with the Mavic model, and should never happen in such an expensive drone.
DJI’s drones, on the other hand, think ahead to protect their users. They create drones with added safety features, such as geofencing, auto-locking propellers, and aggressive in-app notifications.
This helps make it harder for the drones to crash, which makes them more user-friendly and affordable.
What We Think
For the price, there are other models out there like Mavic, Spark, and more that offers the same or better feature for less cash.
Sure, the Lily drone has some awesome things going on, like a decent camera, a simple set-up process, and the ability to upload videos and photos easily.
But it’s not worth the price and seems to have been a huge disappointment for many buyers.
If you have the money to blow or were an early investor in Lily, it makes sense to purchase this drone.
However, this is an inferior product that seems to have a toxic name, and although Moto tried to save this brand, they failed to create a product worth the wait.