Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Quadcopter - Snow
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- Piloting is easy from a smartphone or tablet
- Remote control quadricopter controlled using an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet
- 720p high-definition live video streaming & recording to smartphone or tablet while flying
- Record & share videos & pictures straight from AR. Free Flight piloting app
- Processor: ARM Cortex A8 processor 1GHz 32 bit with 800MHz video DSP TMS320DMC64x, RAM: 1GB DDR2 RAM at 200MHz, OS: Linux 2.6.32
- USB: USB 2.0 high speed for extensions, Wi-Fi b/g/n: Yes
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Remote control quadricopter controlled using an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet 720p high-definition live video streaming & recording to smartphone or tablet while flying Record & share videos & pictures straight from AR. Free Flight piloting app
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Ok, I own one of these as well as a DJI Phantom. The Phantom is the best drone ever made and some of the best money I ever spent. However, the Phantom v1 with built-in camera costs $500, which is $200 more than the Parrot. The basic model Phantom is $400, but you need to have a GoPro camera to take video.
What this drone does good:
It is simple to fly and pretty stable. I've taken it out in 15mph winds and it handled fine. Anyone can fly it without experience, and after a few hours of flight time you will be a master. The camera takes decent video which streams to your phone or tablet real-time and the video is automatically saved to your photos. It is pretty rugged and can hold up to some crashes. At $300 it comes with everything you need to fly, and it is ready to go right out of the box.
So, why only 4 stars? The main drawback is the control system. It connects to your phone or tablet via WiFi. In other words, the Parrot creates its own WiFi network, and when you connect to that WiFi network you can then use the app to fly the drone. There are two problems with this: First, it only has the range of a WiFi network, which means that at best you can only fly it around 35 yards away from you before the signal gets weak. Compare that to the average standard 2.4ghz R/C transmitter (like the Phantom uses) which has a range of about a mile. Second, since you use the phone as a control, you control it using the touch screen. If you have ever played a FPS or other type of video game on a touch screen you know how much less sensitive it is than using joysticks (i.e. like the joysticks on your PlayStation or XBox remote). You can also use motion control to fly the Parrot. This means when you hold down a "button" on the app, it will move in the way you tilt your phone. Tilt your phone left and it flies left, tilt it forward and the Parrot flies forward. This works really well, as well as it possibly could- but it's STILL not as sensitive as a joystick would be. If they gave you the option to use a transmitter to control it rather than just your phone, this would be a 5 star product.
So now I will talk about it compared to the Phantom: the Phantom is more stable, more powerful and faster, can fly farther, and is easier to control. I have taken the Phantom to the edge of the legal flying height for R/C vehicles (400 feet), I have made it zip around at 20 meters per second (45 mph) and with the GoPro3 it takes insanely good HD video and photos. However, the Phantom v1 with a built-in camera is $500, and the basic model (which I bought for $400) needs a GoPro to take video.
So my final verdict is this:
If you already have a GoPro- it's a no-brainer. Get the Phantom. The extra $50-$100 is TOTALLY worth it. Same if you want a drone and don't care about recording video.
If you don't have a GoPro and don't mind spending around $500, get the Phantom.
If you don't want to spend any more than $300 because of your budget, or because you want a drone but don't want to spend more than $300 for what is essentially a toy, get this.
It is worth the price, and you will have tons of fun with it.
TIP: Buy an extra battery. Each battery has approximately 10 minutes of flying time and takes about 1 hour to charge.
I bought a replacement, 1500mAh battery to extend the life of the drone. I am experimenting with mounting iPhones and GoPros on the drone, and the shots are unbelievable. Shots that would've once taken the budget of a Hollywood film can now be done by a geek like me in his gym shorts.
One note: The stock cameras are not great. If you're serious about filmmaking, they're not to be used. The downward facing camera is almost useless for recording.
It's definitely quite finicky to connect with the app - I often have to reset my Nexus 5 and the ARDrone before the app lets me connect, even though I've connected to the ARDrone WiFi network and checked I have the right IP.
I've also realized that, while controlling with the app is pretty simple once you know what you're doing, it's not as accurate as stick/throttle combo.
My biggest bugbear is the fixed camera, which I knew was there but didn't realize how much more fun this would be if it had a gimbal camera.
All these points I knew about before I bought the drone, but it's just not as exciting as I had hoped it would be.
1. Limited range based on WIFI range of your control device, Smartphone or tablet. You will not be flying more than a few hundred feet if that out of the box.
2. Be aware that although there is an Andriod application that works well with this product there is no "Director Mode" for Andriod. This is the feature that is supposed to provide smoother flight to assist with filming. If you have an apple device you can install the application for free but you will be asked to pay a few dollars for "Director Mode" as an addon purchase. I think that should really be free and Parrot really needs to provide Director mode for Andriod.
3. No Return policy from BrookStone. Be aware that if you buy this item from BrookStone they allow no returns or refunds of the Parrot directly to them. This means you would have to ship to Parrot in France for any warranty repair that you can't do yourself.
4. The device itself is made of plastic so you must take care when flying. I use the indoor hull outside if I'm concerned about bumping into any objects where I fly.
5. Battery life is terrible with Battery included giving you about 8 minutes flying time. You should definitely order the 1500 HD battery from Parrot that will give you maybe an additional 15 minutes of flying. The battery will take 1.5 hours to recharge so be aware. Extra battery from Parrot costs about $50
6. Bottom camera quality is terrible. Front camera quality and vid quality is good though you will have problems with stabilization. I don't think it likely you will have any professional quality video from this device but it is a toy. I enjoy it for what it is and it can be a lot of fun.
7. After a few weeks of having the device it already has some defect. Two of the rotors will keep initializing over and over like it has a problem. So far it's flying ok though.
1. Super fun to fly and very easy to fly. You will be flying within a few minutes. Anyone can learn to fly this.
2. Fairly nice front camera photos and video for fun.
3. Not that expensive compared to higher end models like the phantom
4. Using phone/tablet with camera view is nice
5. Getting out of WiFi range it will hover most of the time allowing you time to get back in range and get control. You must be aware of wind drift though.
If you are just starting to fly this watch YouTube videos on how to fly it. I would recommend using the indoor hull for your first few outdoor flights until you are sure you won't crash/bump into something causing damage to the plastic rotors or gears. Plastic replacement parts are available if you have some ability to install.
Overall for the price it's fun but be aware of some of the cons especially with flight range and battery life