Drones aren’t just used to maim, and ruin lives. Drones can be used to capture awesome footage, they can keep a track of you while surfing, or just walking in a forest, and why not, even when you’re skying on a mountain-side.
These tiny-to-humongous drones are the perfect toys for children, and jaded adults alike. They are fun. They are tons of fun, and the ones that do it best are the Parrot drones. The company builds gadgets, and toys for every drone enthusiast, but they also aim at the hobbyist niche.
You see, they can be quite hard to handle, and dangerous at times. In the past couple of years, markets have been flooded with >$100 cheap drones, micro drone, mini drones, to sum it all up – hobby drones. The Parrot AR drone doesn’t fall in the latter category, and newcomers aren’t that welcome. Unless you’re keen on chopping fingers, and windows shattered.
Are they worth trying as a hobby? In my book, definitely. Mostly because in the past couple of years, drones have seen quite the price drop thanks to crowdfunding which helped a lot of start-ups get supported by big corps. Our Parrot drone review will mainly discuss the Parrot AR Drone, but we’ll dwell in other cheaper, more affordable drones, and mini drones.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0, which can be found in the middle price-range at $300 – and its older, and tougher cousin the Parrot AR.drone 2.0 Power Edition which is $370 – it’s basically something the industry calls a quadricopter which can be controlled using your tablet or smartphone of choice. Some drones come with a controller.
This AR Parrot drone comes with not one, but two built-in cameras to see what it’s like flying the wide blue sky alongside birds.
Dubbed a dream toy for those who want the satisfaction of flying, shooting pictures, and taking silent videos, the Parrot drone is a must have.
Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Review – Is it a hobby worth trying?
This app-controlled Parrot drone is made almost entirely out of plastic, and even its four rotors are made out of plastic. It has two bodies built out of styrofoam – there’s an indoor body that has foam rings which surround the rotors, and the outdoor body which ensures that the the exposed rotors are stable.
Bodies are sitting tightly in their place, and they put a little bit of pressure on the machine so they don’t get scattered while flying, and meeting heads-on a terrible wind.
You won’t see a power button on your quadricopter, as it’s activated by simply adding a battery in its battery slot, and covering the body back, so it doesn’t fall from the sky.
The Parrot AR drone doesn’t come with a controller of any sorts, because the drone itself creates a Wi-Fi hotspot which you can connect to using a tablet, or smartphone of choice. It’s iOS, and Android friendly.
It may be a deal breaker to some because it doesn’t feature a controller, but don’t get scared away just because you need to use a tablet. It can display the point of view from the on-board cameras, and more so, you can optimize how you control the drone based on your preferences. It’s fully customizable – to some extent of course.
So, once you launch its app, you’ll see a two-stick control scheme. The left stick can be aimed at four-directions that controls the Parrot AR drone’s elevation, and direction, or yaw. The other stick, which you can find on the right side of the screen, is also features a four-directional scheme that can be used to move the drone, backwards, forwards, right, and left.
If you don’t like how the touch-pad feels, or if you just simply don’t feel like you can control it efficiently this way, Nvidia has a portable gaming device called Nvidia Shield which can be paired with your Parrot AR drone. Gamers will most likely prefer this option instead of a touch-pad. I know I do.
In all fairness, it does make the Parrot 2.0 drone more responsive.
It can take pictures, and shoot video at 720p, but don’t expect extraordinary quality – think of an inexpensive, budget smartphone. It’s more than enough for showing-off to your friends.
The AR Parrot Drone 2.0 doesn’t have an built-in storage, and whatever data it captures, whether it is pictures, or video, it stores on your tablet, or smartphone – the one that is currently controlling the drone. Remember, it doesn’t capture sound because the noise from the rotors would drown everything.
Expect a couple of failed tries when trying to fly the drone. It’s recommended that you take keep the indoor shell on it until you get a hang of it. If you have a backyard, or a big enough room, you should try handling it for a couple of hours before taking it to the streets.
Experimenting with it is highly entertaining, and even though a controller is best used, I managed to fly the darn thing using my Galaxy S5 without a hitch.
The Parrot AR drone 2.0 range consists of 200 feet, that is about 55 to 60 meters. Which isn’t that bad at all.
The Parrot AR drone 2.0 battery takes a beating, but it’s on par with other drones in this category. You’ll be swapping batteries, or recharging them, once 10 to 12 minutes. The Parrot AR.drone 2.0 Power Edition comes packed with two high-capacity batteries that prolong the life of your drone to about 35 minutes.
A full recharge, with the included AC adapter will take about an hour and a half. This meaning that if you don’t come packed with enough batteries, you’ll be in a world of pain, and sorrow, and you’ll have to keep your flights short, sweet, and scheduled.
The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 quadricopter has stunt commands which you can use to do barrel rolls or flips by simply doing a double-tap on the touch screen, but be warned, it will drain the battery way faster, and instead of a life-time of about 12 times, you’ll be down to 7.
Expect some crashes while flying this tiny beast. Parrot AR drone parts can be either bought from the official website, or other retailers like Amazon.
This drone Parrot is a quadricopter that you should consider. It’s not aimed at newcomers, and those accustomed with flying drones should consider taking the AR drone Parrot on escapade.
Parrot AR drone 2.0 Mods
You can do a lot of tweaking, and meddling with your Parrot drone, and you an also add mods that will either consist of adding more battery life, increasing flight range, or adding an RC radio mod. These mods can get quite expensive if you buy them from the official store. FYI, if you add an external antenna mod on your drone, and you use it paired with a Google Nexus 7 tablet which has a much more better WiFi radio, you’ll increase your drone’s range.