3DR Solo Quadcopter (No Gimbal)
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- Solo’s video game-style controller will feel familiar the second you pick it up, even if you’ve never flown a drone. Pushbutton commands put both camera and copter at your fingertips. Take off, land or instantly pause your flight midair with a single touch. Click to start and stop recording or snap a photo, even adjust camera angle while you fly
- In case you missed it in the picture…that’s a high-quality HDMI port directly from the controller so you can connect Solo to practically any screen you can think of. Refer user manual below
- Full-featured app for iOS and Android puts total craft control at your fingertips.
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From the manufacturer
3DR Solo Drone
The World's First Smart Drone
Solo with Gimbal
Solo’s intelligence unlocks powerful and one-of-a-kind computer-assisted Smart Shots. Just set up the exact shot you want, then tap 'play' and Solo will execute it with a level of precision and a soft touch that even seasoned cinema pilots can’t match.
- Follow Me
- Cable Cam
3DR Solo Drone
Solo, powered by twin 1 GHz computers, is the world’s first smart drone.
The world’s smartest drone is also the easiest to fly. With features like pushbutton flight and computer-assisted Smart Shots, Solo makes it easy for anyone to get professional aerial photos and video. Solo is powered by two 1 GHz computers for the best and smoothest aerial photography experience imaginable, and includes many world-first technologies and a host of built-in safety and support features. It’s also the only all-in-one drone to offer wireless video streaming in vivid HD from your GoPro directly to your mobile device—at ranges up to half a mile.
World's First Features
The first consumer drone with a brain, Solo is powered by twin computers.
Only drone to stream wireless HD video from GoPro direct to iOS/Android devices.
Powerful Smart Shot technology makes capturing incredible cinematic footage easy and automatic.
First with in-flight GoPro access: Start/stop recording and adjust camera settings from the ground (with Solo Gimbal).
Revolutionary, intuitive video game-style controller.
Solo Gimbal (sold separately) delivers smooth footage, GoPro power and control, HDMI video and intelligent camerawork.
Future-proof accessory and gimbal bays make Solo ready for tomorrow’s technology : Concepts under development include LiDAR for super stable indoor flight; ballistic parachute system; flight rewind and more.
Full-featured app for iOS and Android puts total craft control at your fingertips.
Unique safety features like pause and 'safety net' mean you can fly with confidence.
Take to the air in seconds with effortless pushbutton flight.
Free software and feature updates ensure your Solo grows and adapts with advancements in technology.
Get an iconic wraparound shot by locking your GoPro onto any object. Orbit mode puts Solo on a circular track with an adjustable radius. Fly around the circle in either direction and Solo will keep the camera locked on your subject. You can also adjust altitude and flight speed to create dynamic and sophisticated aerial shots.
Go completely hands-free. Whether you’re taking the road less traveled with your friends, cruising our boat around the lake or just out exploring the world, Solo will automatically follow along in the air. This mode keeps the camera centered on you at all times, capturing your every move.
With Solo locked on a virtual cable in the air, you’re free to pan and tilt the camera without worrying about piloting the copter. Solo can even memorize the shot at each end point and fly itself from one frame to the next, while working the camera for you as smoothly and evenly as a seasoned pro.
Put yourself in the center of a scenic aerial pull-out. As Solo flies itself up and back, your surroundings expand, building and revealing more and more of the world around you—it’s a portrait and a landscape all at once. Record the clip directly to your phone for easy saving and sharing.
3DR Solo Gimbal
The 3-axis Solo Gimbal taps Solo’s computers to execute perfectly stable shots automatically. It’s also the only gimbal to offer exclusive in-flight GoPro control, charging and wireless HD streaming from your GoPro direct to mobile.
Designed from the ground up as a companion to the GoPro HERO, the Solo Quadcopter with Gimbal from 3D Robotics features aerial imaging-specific flight modes including Cablecam mode and Follow Me. A quad-rotor configuration, flight stability and autonomous flying are enabled thanks to a twin computer flight control system. The flight controller relies on GPS for navigational coordinates, plus uses data from gyros, accelerators, and other sensors to keep the aircraft safely flying. The Solo includes the Solo Gimbal, a 3-axis stabilizer compatible with the a GoPro HERO3+ or HERO4 action camera. This is a ready-to-fly bundle, featuring a pre-bound transmitter (radio controller) that has been styled after a video game controller for more intuitive operation. In addition to dual joysticks for flying, it features dedicated dials for operating the Solo Gimbal. In addition to the transmitter, there is a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. The app provides full control over the aircraft, gimbal, and even the GoPro itself. A mount is provided so that you can mount your smartphone directly to the transmitter.
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Then, on a standard landing after about 10 flights, it jerked sideways and went full speed at a hard tilt and slammed into a tree, snapping off a rotor and nearly hitting someone. It landed upside down, and when I picked it up, all the rotors turned on full blast and nearly sliced my arm open. I managed to turn it off while holding it from taking off like a zombie drone, then went immediately to write the incident to the support email.
I was offered an extremely dry and robotic-toned response of instructions to "download the log files from the vehicle and send them for review". No "sorry, that must have been a scary experience" or "wow, we're going to make this right". It's like the support emails are being fielded by backend software engineers.
Realizing I should take advantage of having made contact with someone (albeit not very helpful), I noted that I had an unanswered ticket on the broken GoPro issue. They said to test it on iOS and Android, as well as prove the GoPro works on a TV. I did all of this, taking a picture of the phone screen showing a magenta screen instead of a live video feed. The guy responded basically suggesting I was lying because he could see ceiling lights in the live feed view, citing that as proof that it's working. I promptly clarified that it was the reflection of the ceiling lights on the glassy phone screen when I took the picture, and that our ceilings aren't solid magenta. Idiot. You'd expect something instead like "I'm sorry to hear it's not working, let's get to the bottom of this to resolve the issue as soon as we can." Nope.
They finally agreed to address it by having me send the vehicle back so they can look at it to determine what's wrong and whether they can fix it for me. Again, no "we'll do what it takes to make up for selling you a broken expensive drone that almost hurt you and didn't work properly from the first use out of the box". Just a "we'll take a look".
They asked for my mailing address to create the shipping label. I sent it. Then they asked again 2 hours later. I sent it again. They said I'll need to go purchase a box to send it back in since I didn't keep the original shipping box. Then the shipping label they sent me has the wrong address under my name (remember how I sent it twice?). I just got their reply that I must have sent them the wrong address. No, I didn't.
Literally every touchpoint with the 3DR team has been absolutely horrible, and it's clear they put all the investment into the product and zero into handling customer support issues. Just no human touch or consideration at all. Cold, suspicious, and unhelpful tone of service.
While I'm at it, it's worth mentioning that after initially purchasing the Solo, they asked me two separate times to take photographs of my credit card to email them proof that I bought it before they'd approve the purchase. That process took about a week. Why they had to do this once is beyond me, and twice is just insulting.
If I were an investor with them, I'd have the ass of whoever forgot to build a support structure for customers spending $1500+ per purchase. If you buy and are lucky to get a great one, I'm sure you'll love it. But if you have 1 single issue to deal with, God help you.
UPDATE: I mailed the drone back to them about 10 days ago and haven't heard anything at all. I emailed today and still haven't gotten a response. Nothing to assure me it's arrived, or in the right hands, or status. Just silence. #thisJustKeepsGettingWorse
UPDATE #2: After 2 weeks of radio silence, I Tweeted the founder and company and the VP of support has commented here assuring it would be sent out the next day. Many days went by and I still haven't gotten the drone. I got an email 6 days after asking for tracking information, notifying me that there was a problem with delivery. Remember above how they botched my address and I corrected it twice to get the right return label? Well they sent the actual drone to the botched address instead of the correct one. They asked me to call FedEx to sort it out myself. I said I'd prefer if they would just fix it. They asked again for me to contact FedEx. I insisted that it's not my problem to fix, and I shouldn't have to spend my time cleaning this up. So he contacted FedEx and learned they'd addressed it incorrectly. Keep in mind, this is the level of service when the founder and VP of support are aware of the situation.
How many thousand of dollars in lost sales because of this review will the company have to eat until they get a single competent person from the support team to take a few minutes to get this right?
UPDATE #3: The unit was sent back to the billing address, which is my office in Los Angeles. I live in San Francisco (remember how I've supplied my address like 5 times now?). I had my office in LA overnight it up to me. A big sigh of relief that I finally had a fixed Solo abruptly ended when I opened the box. The controller screen was all scratched up now. It was missing the charging cable. The bottom of the Solo was also scratched up. The video feed still didn't work. One of the rotors had been replaced and the plastic was left stuck in the seam that I can't pull out. I called the support line and we were able to get the video feed working, though the app no longer had a record button so I couldn't actually capture any of the footage while it was in flight.
I've now asked for an entire replacement unit. We'll see how that goes. Here are the photos of the unit I got back that was "fixed" - (...)
The DJI is looking pretty attractive right about now.
UPDATE #4: I sent the unit back over two weeks ago to be replaced. I was promised that the moment my return shipment was logged by FedEx, they would get the confirmation it was on its way back and immediately ship the replacement overnight. Two weeks later, I haven't gotten an email or phone call, and the replacement hasn't arrived. I just called to see what the hell is going on and they said it hasn't been shipped yet, but they could offer me overnight shipping and send it out today. This is the final straw. I've asked for a full refund and never want to deal with this company again. 2+ months of my time wasted, countless frustrations, $1,500, and both the founder and VP of Support are aware - and this is the result. No human being should have to work this hard to get a company to simply get a working product to a customer who's paid for it.
This company is a nightmare. They'll happily take your money, but clearly don't care about you. KEEP YOUR MONEY AND STAY CLEAR OF 3DRobotics.
UPDATE #5: When I last called demanding a refund because they literally forgot to send me the replacement I'd been waiting for (and was promised would be overnighted as soon as they got tracking confirmation that I'd sent the broken vehicle to them), they confirmed that the replacement wouldn't be sent and instead they would process the refund. Days then went by, and it hadn't come through. I called and learned that instead of issuing a refund, they shipped the vehicle to me, and that I'd have to send it back to get the refund. Seriously!? So I waited a few days and received a small box with only a battery charger. I called and asked what's going on and they said their systems showed that I have received the new drone. I explained that I only got a battery, and they said it must have been (ANOTHER) mistake from the shipping department. So they emailed me a label to send the charger back, and promised the refund would be sent right away. Of course, 6 days later (at the time of this update), I'm still waiting with no update from them.
UPDATE #6: It's been 12 days now since I got the message that the refund was being processed. Still no refund. I'm currently on hold waiting for them to find someone in customer support who can figure out what's going on. This review is turning into a eBook.
Comcast is a customer support dream compared to this s***.
First of all, this is a serious quad-copter. At the height of its popularity, a 3DR Solo package sold for about $1,100. Fast-forward to April 2017 and it's been discontinued, disowned by 3DR, and has a bad reputation. Do not expect support from 3DR! The trade-off here is self-sufficiency, so buy from Amazon who has a great return policy. Heck, maybe buy two so you have parts for months or years to come.
My experiences with Solo have been fantastic- like the kind I would have paid twice the price for. Since we're talking money here, while the thing is ready to fly right out of the box, you should factor in a phone or tablet plus a GoPro into your total cost of ownership.
Optionally you might want to purchase extra propellers and a neutral density filter kit for your GoPro.
I got both one that was perfect. Luckily the first one, otherwise my review may not have been as positive. The second I was not so lucky. It did not require a financial investment, but did require my time (about 30 minutes of reading and 10 minutes to perform the fix) which I was more than happy to give since I knew that it's a great performer when it works as it should. All in all this is an awesome buy at its current price. No doubt this is a 5 star value.
Top international reviews
As a note the stock gps is not the best. There a lot of easy to install after market gps boards that can be installed though.
Zero problems and a lot of fun.
Take your time with it and it will keep you amused for a long time.
So many features built in to it and a very strong community to help with problems makes it that much more enjoyable. That it is such a good price for what you get is just a bonus.
Yes the company isn't making any more but customer service still functions.
Where else you going to find so much for so little.
For 3rd party applications try downloading Solex on Android and use with a Android tablet for best visual experiences.
This product screams quality in the production of the drone housing and will satisfy anyone looking to do 4K video shots on the 'cheap' from the air using a Go Pro Hero 4 Black.
Words of warning, don't use a Hero 3, firmware compatibility will disable the camera from functioning correctly.
Tested using Go Pro Hero 4 Silver w. version 5 firmware.
Pretty excited to be the first to review this item! My primer for this review: I have a GoPro Hero 4 Silver and have now taken my 3DR Solo drone on 4 flights. I'm going to cover a few different things in my review, including why I chose to purchase this drone as well as my positive and negative experiences with it so far. I'm going to go pretty in-depth about this item as I already have a LOT to say about it in the short time that I've had it, which I would encourage everyone who is considering buying this drone to read, but feel free to skip ahead to the conclusion where I summarize my findings.
Let's start with why I decided to buy this drone. Mainly, it was because it was on sale for $700, which was about 50% off its advertised price. That being said, I did a LOT of research before committing to this purchase. I watched video reviews, read online reviews, and also watched and read lots of comparisons between this 3DR Solo drone and its main competitor, the DJI Phantom. The reviews seemed fairly even, with lots of people highlighting specific advantages and disadvantages to both. Overall, based on everything I read and watched, it seemed like the DJI Phantom had an anecdotal edge over the 3DR Solo, in addition to MANY negative reviews about 3DR's customer support (I have not contacted their customer support yet, so I cannot speak to the validity of those comments). But since I already owned a GoPro, and since this package included both the gimbal AND backpack on sale for half-price, I ended up choosing the Solo.
The drone itself arrived between 1-2 weeks after I purchased it on Amazon. It was packed quite well, which I was happy to see, given the expensive and delicate contents inside. One thing I will say right off the bat - if you do purchase this drone, make sure you also buy the gimbal and backpack...they are both, in my opinion, essential accessories for the Solo. The gimbal is required to steady the camera and the backpack is extremely well-designed in terms of protecting its contents. The backpack is also surprisingly comfortable to wear in spite of its rather large size, and the design of the interior space and padding is excellent - I am confident it will protect my drone very well. The backpack also has a hard outer shell on the back, which helps to offer some additional protection and peace of mind.
As I mentioned earlier, so far I've taken this drone on 4 flights. Unpacking, assembling, and updating the drone was quite simple and straightforward. The 3DR Solo App that you have to download onto your phone or tablet is very helpful in terms of guiding you through how to update your drone and controller software. One thing I didn't understand right away (it's obvious to me now, but wasn't obvious initially) is the propellers - it comes with 8 in total: 4 silver propellers and 4 black propellers. Initially I thought the propellers you need to use were based on the type of GoPro you have - i.e. the silver propellers for the GoPro Hero 4 Silver and the black propellers for the GoPro Hero 4 Black...this is not the case! You need to use two silver and two black propellers, which are colour-coded on the propellers themselves as well as on the individual rotors where you need to connect them. I assume the remaining propellers are extras, in case you damage them while flying.
The controller seems really well designed and is very easy to use once you get the hang of it. I had a pretty good handle on how to fly it after my first flight...it's quite simple once you understand what each joystick does and how it controls the drone. Connecting everything together is fairly straightforward as well, but it does seem like things need to be done in some sort of order. What I do is power on my controller first, then connect my phone to it via the Sololink wifi, then I power on the drone, and finally I connect my GoPro. During both of my most recent flights, I have had problems with the GoPro's live feed displaying on my phone...sometimes it works properly at takeoff but then stops working mid-flight, but it has also not worked at takeoff and started working mid-flight. It also seems that when the video feed doesn't work, you also lose control over the camera through the app...which is very, very bad. So far I have not been able to figure out why this happens - regardless, it is extremely frustrating to not be able to see the live feed or control the camera, especially since the battery life/flight time is so short.
Speaking of battery life/flight time, this is another huge constraint, however, it is not specific to this drone. While researching the differences between the 3DR Solo and the DJI Phantom, I found that both have a fairly similar battery life/flight time, with the Phantom having a slightly longer battery life. I've been able to use my 3DR Solo for about 15-20 minute of continuous flight time, whereas many of the reviews for the Phantom say the battery lasts about 20-25 minutes. Not a huge difference between the two, but obviously, a longer flight time is preferable. Another gripe I have about the battery and battery life is that the batteries themselves cost about $200 each, which is another substantial cost that any Solo owner will likely have make since one battery with 15-20 minutes of flight time probably won't be enough unless you're strictly using it for fun. The battery takes about 1.5-2 hours to fully charge, so keep that in mind when considering whether to buy extra batteries. The drone also has a built-in failsafe that will make it return home to the GPS coordinates where it was launched when the battery reaches about 15% life, to ensure that it doesn't crash or fall out of the sky. When this failsafe activates, the drone ascends high into the sky (to avoid running into any trees or other objects while returning home) before moving to its launch position in the sky and slowly descending to the ground - this is an absolutely wonderful feature, and it has activated at the end of each of my 4 flights when my battery was almost depleted.
During my first 3 flights, the gimbal worked great. It did a fantastic job of keeping the camera steady and stable, and the pitch and angle controls let you aim it up/down/left/right if you're trying to capture something specific or are just trying to frame the shot better. There are some instances (depending on how you've set up your GoPro, whether you're shooting in "Wide" or "Medium" etc.) where the drone's propellers may be briefly visible in the shot, also depending on the angle and speed at which you're flying. It doesn't seem to happen too often, so it's likely not something I would worry about too much. When it does happen, it only seems to be for a second or a fraction of a second, so you could likely cut or even edit it out of your video. But overall, the gimbal seems to serve its purpose well. However, during my fourth flight which was just this morning, the gimbal did not seem to be working at all - it just hung there, and was rocking back and forth, front to back and side to side. Needless to say the videos I captured during this flight are unusable. I have no idea why the gimbal wasn't working, but I will be going out again this evening (once my battery has charged back up) to test it again - if the gimbal fails to work properly on my next flight, I may have to return the entire package as I've only had it for less than a week and have only flown it 4 times...far too few for anything to have stopped working!
One thing I can't speak to yet is about the built-in flight options/patterns such as Orbit, Follow Me, etc. these modes were another feature that made me purchase the Solo over the DJI, as they sounded quite simple and user-friendly - I did try the Orbit feature during my first flight, however, it didn't seem to work the way I expected right away and since the battery dies so quickly I didn't want to waste any of my flight time trying to figure it out. I am planning to test these options during my next few flights (if my gimbal starts working again, that is) and will update this review when I know more about them.
A couple of other things I've noticed about the Solo that I feel are worth mentioning: this drone is LOUD. I was actually kinda scared when I fired up the rotors for the first time and took off. If it's pretty high up in the sky or far away from you, you won't hear it...but if you're anywhere within a 20-30 foot radius you will definitely hear this thing. Which is probably fine for most situations, but don't expect to silently film anything or fly anywhere because you will absolutely hear this thing if it's nearby. It also creates quite a forceful current of air beneath it, so be careful when flying it over water as the water will definitely splash up around it if you're too close. Also, I don't recommend launching it on or near any sand, as it will kick it up like crazy...similar to water, if you fly too low over a beach it will really throw the sand around so be careful. I think it's best launched from pavement or grass...grass makes for a safer-feeling landing, but it means your GoPro will also be in the grass (something worth noting if you're like me and hate when anything touches the front element of your lens).
I've mentioned some of my positive and negative experiences in my explanation above, but here's a point-form list of all the good and not-so-good things I've noticed about the 3DR Solo so far:
- Arrived well-packaged and fairly quickly.
- Easy to assemble. Now that I now how to assemble it, I can do it in a matter of minutes.
- The backpack and gimbal are must-have accessories for this drone...the backpack is very well designed and has lots of protection for the expensive and delicate contents.
- The controller feels good in the hands and is relatively easy to learn how to use.
- The failsafe "return home" feature is great - when your battery reaches approximately 15%, the drone will automatically return to the location it was launched using its GPS coordinates. This feature ensures the drone won't fall out of the sky if the battery dies.
- The pitch and angle controls on the controller are great for re-framing or dialing-in your shot.
- When the video feed works, it's quite nice. It's a little choppy, and gets choppier the further away the drone is from the controller, but it's extremely important to be able to see what footage you're capturing.
- Sometimes the live video feed doesn't work - sometimes it works at takeoff and stops working mid-flight, and sometimes it doesn't work at takeoff and starts working mid-flight...I have yet to figure out why this happens.
- If the video feed doesn't work, the camera cannot be controlled, either.
- The battery life is awful. This seems to be the case for most if not all comparable drones on the market, however, given the $200 price tag of a spare/extra/replacement battery, it is not very efficient in terms of its operation. Anyone who expects or plans to use this drone professionally will almost certainly require an extra battery, if not several.
- If you don't connect the devices in the proper order, certain things may not work properly, which ends up eating your battery life, which ends up cutting down your (already very short) flight time. Again, I have yet to determine what the proper order may be, since I continue to have difficulty with getting the live feed on my phone.
- This drone is crazy loud. I mean it's LOUD. I have admittedly never flown or seen a comparable drone in real life, so I can't speak to how it stacks up in terms of noise vs other drones, but you can definitely hear this thing if it's nearby.
- My gimbal worked for my first 3 flights, but did not work for my 4th flight. I have packed and unpacked it the same way each time, being as careful as possible (I am extremely careful and gentle with ALL my equipment) so I'm not sure why it didn't work on the 4th flight. If the gimbal doesn't work, the drone is practically useless as footage won't be level, steady, or even controllable.
- I don't understand why the video feed works sometimes, but then doesn't work other times. As I already mentioned, not only is the video feed vital in terms of knowing what footage you're getting, but since the camera controls also seem to disappear when the video feed does, it basically turns the entire drone into a really expensive RC toy when this happens (and it has happened on 3 of my 4 flights).
- As I already mentioned, I didn't spend very much time with the built-in flight patterns like Orbit and Follow Me, but since they initially didn't seem to work the way I expected them to, I have a feeling that they aren't as simple as the 3DR descriptions and videos make it seem (they make it seem like you literally just have to press a button to put it into one of these modes, but I tried this, and it didn't seem to work the way it did in the video so this will require more testing on my part).
In conclusion, this drone is a lot of fun and I think it would be great for any amateur videographers, or anyone who already owns a GoPro Hero 4 camera. I think the advertised price ($1,500 at the time of writing this review) is extremely high, and in my opinion, it is not worth that amount. If you have a budget large enough to afford this price, you may want to consider the DJI Phantom drone instead. But for $700, this drone+gimbal+backpack package was a great deal. At this point in time I am very wary about some of the issues I have described, such as the loss of video feed/camera controls, the gimbal not working, and the generally weird connectivity problems, so if these issues persist during my next few flights I expect I will be (sadly) returning it.