Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Review
We review one of Parrot’s leading drones
Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Review (Elite Edition)
Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Review Summary
A good drone and at the price it is hard to grumble. The lack of real feel controller was an issue for us but if you can get away from that then you will be good to go. Perfect for beginners and intermediate users or for those wanting to get some decent aerial photography without breaking the bank. Not the most fun drone in the world but one that is effective at what it does do.
- Ease of use
- Value for money
Parrot may be synonymous with bluetooth and in-car gear but when they made the foray in to the world of drones they made quite a splash. Nowadays, Parrot are just as well respected for their drone tech as they are for any of their other hardware lines and rightly so. The France based tech company were the first company to really bring drones to the mass market for domestic use and they also had a big part to play in showing the world that drones were not just fun to use but could also be incredibly safe to use.
Here we are in 2017 and we have the updated 2.0 version of their much applauded AR Drone and there have been some impressive upgrades made. Here in our full Parrot AR Drone 2.0 review we take the Elite Edition for a spin in all it’s camouflage glory.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition comes in a choice of 3 trims; Jungle, Snow and Sand – we opted for Snow and at the time of testing we managed to save over £40 on the price of this version compared to the other two.
The first thing to note is that the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 comes in at around the £250 mark so whilst it is not anywhere near the high end premium models such as the Mavic Pro or Phantom 4 Pro it is also not classed as an out and out budget drone either.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Specs
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 has some decent specifications and for someone looking for good quality HD footage or someone who wants to purchase their first ever drone then the Parrot is going to be sufficient for most.
The specs of the Parrot include a powerful ARM Cortex A8 1GHz processor and it has 1GB of DDR2 RAM. The camera is pretty sufficient for basic use as the Parrot sports a 720p 30FPS HD camera with a 92 degree wide angle lens. It also sports a second (more basic) camera that points vertically which captures video in QVGA at 60FPS.
In terms of connectivity you will not be left disappointed with the AR Drone 2.0 as it includes WiFi b, g and n as well as a high speed USB port.
The drone comes with two attachable hulls – one for internal use and one for external use – which is very handy, particularly for beginners as it allows different modes of operation whilst you learn.
Out of the box you are greeted by the neat and pretty mean looking Drone and we really liked the Snow version of our indoor and outdoor hulls that come neatly packaged inside ready for attachment, the outdoor hull weighing around 40g heavier than its indoor counterpart.
The 1000mAh Lithium Polymer battery is also packaged neatly alongside the mains charger (which also includes European adapters).
The most noticeable omission at this stage is that there is no controller – something you should be aware of if you are buying this drone. Parrot have not been quiet about this and have largely marketed this range of drones around the smartphone connectivity for years now. You will need to operate the drone from a smartphone or tablet which we will discuss in more detail shortly.
The drone is fairly large (just over half a metre each way) and feels very sturdy and our first impression was one of quality – it has a good quality feel to it.
Flying the Parrot AR Drone 2.0
Flying the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is pretty simple and this is what makes it suitable for beginners. The take off mode really helps as you can get your Parrot up in the air with just the press of one button on the FreeFlight app that you need to download to your mobile device. We tested the app on an Android mobile phone but we are assured that it also works with iOS and all Kindle Fire, Android and iOS tablets.
The app itself is well designed and has all the functionality that you would expect from a drone controller. Although we found the app to be pretty well designed and very easy to use we did miss the feel of a real controller in our hands. Added to this that there is the ever so slight lag between using the controls and the reaction on the drone – probably due to the fact that the controller communicates with the drone using WiFi rather than through the usual radio frequencies more commonly used.
To control the flight of the drone you can use two different methods from the app. The first is the use of virtual joysticks which allow you to control flight direction and altitude very easily. The second method is using your mobile device’s gyroscope and tilting your smartphone to make the drone move in that direction – needless to say we preferred the former.
Aside from the WiFi lag we found the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 a dream to fly and had no issues in wind in terms of stability and we tested it in some quite testing conditions. The only other real downside to the usability of this device was the range of flight, this was limited to around 20 metres – again this is a serious limitation of the WiFi communication between controller (mobile phone) and the drone itself. That being said, 20 metres will be fine for most users and particularly if using in more built up areas.
You can expect around 12 minutes of flying time from a single battery charge so you might want to invest in a couple of extra batteries if you want to extend your fun per flight.
We tested the camera on stills and video and we have to say that we were not disappointed by either. We didn’t get the height of more premium drones but we still managed to get some very impressive aerial shots. The display of the high def front facing camera shown on our smart phone looked very clear and this is where the WiFi helped as there appeared to be almost zero latency.
Another really nifty feature of the Parrot drone is that when you record video or take pictures it stores directly on to your device so there is no need for extra SD cards or USB cables etc. You can share directly from the app if you want to add your footage to YouTube or social media which is also a very handy feature for casual users.
We found moving video footage to be pretty stable thanks to the built in stability control of the drone – according to Parrot this is good in wind conditions of up to 15MPH.
Overall we have to say that we enjoyed our time with the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition and a few of the team decided to invest in one. You can check out the latest prices on the model we tested on Amazon here.