DJI TELLO REVIEW
The latest offering from DJI is the Tello – making drones fun again!
DJI Tello Review
DJI are well known for bringing their high end premium UAV’s to market, but the Tello is something different – even for one of the most innovative manufacturers in the world!
The Tello was announced back at the turn of the year and was officially launched in March 2018 in the US and shortly after in other markets across the world including the UK. We couldn’t wait to get our hands on one but like everyone else we were forced to wait amid stock shortages. Around 10 days after ordering we received the Tello and to say we were excited by DJI’s foray in to the budget drone arena is an understatement to say the least.
DJI can’t actually take all the credit for this one as they have enlisted the help of Ryze Tech – a startup tech firm from Shenzhen. Joining forces with DJI and Intel, this drone looks to put the cat amongst the pigeons in the sub £100 market which is booming right now.
The Tello is priced at $99 in the US and £99 in the UK – whilst UK consumers might be put off by the lack of parity in the pricing in real terms, it is quite a steal compared to some other brands. We did find it slightly cheaper here.
DJI Tello – In The Box
You can find out a lot about the Tello from the DJI website as well as Ryze Tech’s site and you can now place orders (with up to two available at the time of launch). Strangely, DJI seem to have removed the Tello from their online store periodically – we will update more on this when we have reasoning for it.
Upon receiving and opening the box, it is quickly apparent that you will get everything you need to get started and a little more with an extra four blades thrown in for good measure. If we know DJI there is also sure to be a range of accessories available for the Tello with various colours already been touted in a similar way to the Spark.
Despite the price point, DJI and Ryze have managed to pack some decent technology in to this tiny package and it comes with a 720p HD camera that is capable of transmitting in real time to VR goggles if you so wish and can capture images at 5MP in glorious high resolution. The test shots that we took look pretty impressive.
Under the hood, the Tello has a 14 core Intel processor (the Movidius Myriad 2 VPU) which was last seen in the Spark and it is this that allows you to launch the drone from the palm of your hand – something that has been replicated in the Tello and that will very much appeal to younger users. In fact, according to the Amazon product page for the Tello the manufacturer has a minimum recommended age of just 8 years – although we advocate 14+ as with most other drones.
Battery life is one of the areas that the Tello is set to excel with a whopping 13 minutes being claimed from the manufacturers – just 3 minutes less than the Spark. We found this to be pretty accurate and with charging taking around an hour using the mini-USB port it really does blitz its sub-£100 rivals in this department. It has a top speed of 8m/s which is one area that the Tello does not particularly impress and it doesn’t perform well in moderate wind. Upon testing more rigourosuly we found that general outdoor use in calm conditions is fine and average battery time for us was pretty much in line with manufacturer guidelines, squeezing 12-13 minutes flight time out of the Tello pretty consistently. In fact, the downward facing vision positioning sensors really help to keep the drone quite stable which helps with taking crisp photos.
Measuring in at 98 x 92.5 x 41mm the Tello fits easily in to the palm of your hand and will even fit in to most children’s palms too. It weighs just 80g making it well under the the 250g that drone owners will have to comply with the new drone law regulations.
The drone has a vision positioning system which keeps it safe from collision (more so than other drones at this price point anyway) and of course features auto take off and landing with users being able to just throw the drone out from their palms and it automatically taking flight.
All of the inflight features are controlled by the Tello app which connects the Tello to your smartphone via WiFi. You simply swipe to take off and press a button to land. If you do want to launch from the palm of your hand you will nee to select this setting from the app – so don’t go throwing your new drone around on first use.
The flight and image stabilisation is similar to that found on the Spark but the Tello does have a few aces up its sleeve too which we will cover in the camera section of this article.
The Tello is very much being pitched at young people and many are already coining it a toy drone – although that may be slightly underselling for this lovely piece of tech at this stage. Nevertheless, it does feature some rolls and 8D flips that can be controlled simply by swiping on screen.
In terms of flight range, you should expect to get around 100m for image transmission and the Tello combines the use of 2 antennas to ensure you have the most responsive and interference free flight possible.
In addition to this, the Tello also has a piece of flight mapping software (known as Scratch) which will allow the user to easily plan a flight path and then execute it. Pretty neat and innovative stuff! This is a real pull for educational establishments and parents wanting to give their children the opportunity to learn simple coding in a fun way and really sets the Tello apart from anything else on the market.
It may be too early for us to give a true verdict on the camera but early indications are good. It doesn’t quite live up to the camera on the Spark but 720p and 5MP is a standard we are happy to take at such a cheap price point.
What really sets the camera apart from other sub-£100 drones is the software that comes with the Tello app. This allows a range of different types of shots that are pretty automated and allow you to shoot some incredible photos and videos.
EZ shots is the flagship shot type that DJI and Ryze are pushing allowing 360 degree shots, a quick and smooth upward pan out as the drone flies up in to the sky away from you and circle mode which will cause the drone to circle around a central spot whilst recording.
For those who are wanting in on the POV experience but have not wanted to invest in the DJI Goggles then there is good news here. The Tello will work with standard smartphone VR headsets meaning you can enjoy true POV for under £20 – this is the first DJI product to ship that can be used with a non-proprietary headset and this seems pretty simple to get going with.
We love the DJI/Ryze Tello and it looks like we were right to get over-excited by this new drone. The release of the Tello in Q1 of the year bodes well for what the rest of 2018 should bring. DJI do not put their name to something lightly and the very fact that they are pushing it on their website shows that they have real faith in this product.
We would even go as far to say that this could be the top selling drone of 2018 thanks to a price point that makes it super affordable and a very good level of tech bring provided. Not to mention DJI’s excellent marketing skills!
The fact that the Tello can handle true POV in a standard VR headset and a 13 minute flight time could be a massive win for the leading UAV brand and the only negative at this stage is that the drone is more likely to be successful indoors than out – but for those looking to dip their toes in to FPV or selfie-drone territory then this could offer something different – this is the most accessible and fun drone of 2018 by far!
- Ease of use
- Value for money
The DJI Tello could be the best selling drone of 2018 - that is a bold statement to make when it has only just launched. However, it looks to have everything it needs to dominate a growing market place of young fun seeking drone owners who want a bit of everything.
The potential for educating the young (and old) on coding is a unique selling point and could see it used in schools and colleges and having the ability for POV with non-proprietary VR headsets is a game changer for DJI. Give it a killer app to boot and it means that this drone could literally be flying off the shelves.