Considering all the crazy stuff that shaped the world in the past decade, the word drone doesn’t make anyone think of entertainment. Most likely, images of UAVs – unmanned aerial vehicles; are conjured governing military airstrikes.
Yet, the Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo is far from it. It’s a ground drone, and some don’t even consider it a drone per se. It’s a simple gadget that’s borderline incredibly fun to play with. It’s a toy for adults. You can pilot the Parrot Sumo with your tablet or smartphone via a specially designed app.
Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo Review
The parrot Mini Drone Jumping Sumo resembles a two-wheeled toy car. It has a camera that streams in first person so you can sit back and relax while you scare your pets, or spouse. The camera can take low-res pics and videos.
Yet, the camera is highly restricted. It can shoot video only in VGA. You’ll need a separate-bought micro-USB stick for storage. Battery life is quite decent, and it lasts up to 20 minutes. The Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo needs about 90 mins to fully charge.
Wi-Fi connection has its issues.
At the moment of writing this review, the Parrot Sumo Drone costs $119.
It works great with Android and iOS smartphones or tablets, and manufacturer Parrot has noted that it will eventually support Windows 8.1/Windows 10. It can be controlled only with a device – so you need a budget smartphone/tablet if you plan on piloting the Parrot Sumo around the house.
You can either program it to follow a predetermined road plan, or do some tricks out of the few built-in.
And, of course, you have the jumping – hence, why it’s called Jumping Sumo. The drone can easily balance itself using its two wheels, exactly like a Segway, but when it’s resting, you’ll see it sitting on its rear leg.
If you want to start it up, just tap your screen and the rear leg will retract. It will begin compressing the two springs it has in order to release the drone upwards – for about 80cm, or 2.6 feet; or forward.
The Sumo can also flip itself over in order to use its leg to kick a small ball. But, I found it the best helper when I want to annoy my friends, pets and family. Nobody is safe from my childish pranks.
How do you pilot the Parrot Jumping Sumo?
Firstly, you need to connect the drone to your mobile device of choice through Wi-Fi. To do this, you need to start the Sumo so it appears as a network when looking for connections in your Wi-Fi settings. Chose the Jumping Sumo and you can open the FreeFlight app to meddle around the house.
After the app has started, it should connect to the Sumo immediately.
Yet, I found that pairing the two – drone and smartphone/tablet; didn’t work from the get-go. I performed all my tests using an iPhone 5S and a Samsung Galaxy 4S. Sometimes it would automatically and immediately start-up, while other times nothing would happen. I had to restart both devices to make them work.
After you have successfully paired the two, the Parrot Minidrone Jumping Sumo will stream video to the smartphone. To start it, just get it in gear by sliding the virtual stick forward.
The pad on the right can be used to do 180 and 90-degrees turns by swiping right, left, down or up. Also, you can tilt the smartphone left and right and the drone will take a right or left turn.
The tires are pretty great, but they are made out of a spongy foam. Inside the house, I can’t think of any way you can shred them to bits, but outside, through the rough terrain, they can get easily destroyed. They cost $15 a pair.
If your main goal is to go fast, I recommend pulling the wheels out so the drone has a wider base. It’s also more stable this way. Yet, if you want to get through every little tight space, you can easily push the wheels in.
On the right side of the app, you’ll find all the buttons you need for the sweet tricks the Parrot Jumping Sumo can do. You can make it do horizontal or vertical jumps, and also kicks.
The spring can be compressed while rolling so the drone can jump further and without lag. The drone can immediately stop after a jump.
However, if you take a look at the top middle of the screen, you’ll notice an Animation button. If you tap it, it will display a list of pre-programmed tricks like – spins, S-curve, and a couple more.
It’s worth saying this because the guide that comes in the box doesn’t explain some of these details. But, there is a fully-fledged manual within the app, and you can also download it from the official Parrot support page.
You can take to YouTube for tutorials as well.
It’s time to talk a little bit about how you take videos and snap photos. Tap the top right buttons and you can either take a 640 x 480 pic or record a video at the same resolution. Manufacturer Parrot claims that hundreds and hundreds of pictures can be stocked within the minidrone’s built-in memory. Yet, for video, you’ll need a micro-USB stick.
Regardless of what micro-USB stick you choose, it has to have a width of 1.5cm and height 2.5.cm – no more, no less.
Video quality at 640 x 480 resolution isn’t great, but it’s decent for the random lollygagging. The more light you expose the camera to, the better the quality, and you won’t see those annoying artifacts.
When you are connected to the drone, via the app, you can transfer videos and pictures to your tablet or smartphone. The process doesn’t take more than a few seconds to complete.
As we mentioned earlier, the Sumo’s battery life lasts up to 20 minutes, depending on what you are doing. If you take a lot of recordings and pictures, jump like the roof’s on fire, then expect that time to cut drastically.
It recharges via the micro-USB slot, and it takes somewhere between 80 and 90 minutes to fully recharge. The Parrot Minidrone Jumping Sumo comes with just one battery, but you can purchase additional ones for $20 a pop.
It’s fun, and it doesn’t have a hefty price tag – for the low price of $119, it can be yours. Yet, I found it to average at around $140. Considering that it came out last year, we expect to see its price lower in 2016.
You can buy it off of Amazon right now!