Parrot Mambo Review
Parrot’s entry level drone has a few gimmicks but it is hard not to love – find out why in our full review.
Parrot Mambo Drone Review
The Parrot Mambo has so many things going for it as an entry level drone. It is easy to fly, pretty robust and has a few cool little features that will amuse (albeit temporarily) even the most ardent of drone enthusiasts. The battery and camera leave a lot to be desired at this price point and in a sea of competitively priced drones it may take a lower price to tempt you in to buying the Mambo.
Parrot have done plenty right in the world of drones and the Parrot Mambo that is marked as their entry level drone is supposed to be a perfect introduction to drone ownership. We assess whether or not the Mambo lives up to this expectation and whether it can go beyond that and actually hold its own against more expensive drones.
The first thing you notice about the Parrot Mambo is the size and weight of it. At just 64g the Mambo is less than half the weight of an iPhone 7 and the length of the Mambo is just 13.2cm which looks insanely small in the palm of an adult hand. With dimensions like this you can imagine that the Parrot Mambo drone does have a little bit of a flimsy feel but that being said it feels well made and with quality materials – just what you would expect from Parrot.
The Mambo looks like a whole heap of fun right from the unboxing stage and it comes with a 6 shot cannon and a grabber for added fun – did we mention it is a little gimmicky? Whether Parrot are aiming the Mambo at big kids (like me) or actual kids is not for us to say, but right from the off we knew we were going to have a lot of fun with the Mambo. So let’s take a look at the full review.
The attached VGA camera is nothing to shout about and is probably the worst feature of the Mambo as it sits in a fixed position and is not controllable in any way in terms of direction. Images are okay in good light but anything less and expect graininess – in all honesty though this drone is not about the camera.
Flying the Parrot Mambo Drone
The first thing to point out when talking about flying the Mambo is how easy it is to get the drone up in the air, not only that but (like most Parrot drones) it will actually stay in an a very precise fixed position should you suddenly stop controlling it. The Mambo flies true and is pretty responsive to the controls on the FreeFlight Mini app, although as with most Parrot products, we did prefer controlling it via the (optional extra purchase) Parrot Flypad remote controller – this does cost an additional £39.99 and is by means a necessity.
The Mambo is a very steady flyer and can be used indoors or outdoors, beware when flying outside though as this Parrot is not keen on anything more than light wind.
The Mambo comes in to its own with the two unique and nifty features that it has and although some might call them gimmicky, we rather like them. The cannon when attached allows you to fire small balls at objects from a distance of around one to two metres. You get 6 balls loaded at a time and the cannon sits on top of the drone and makes it appear quite menacing. This is a lot of fun in the office or at home and whilst we would only advocate firing at stationary targets such as plastic cups or bottles, there is plenty of fun to be had firing it at Mark in the office from behind his laptop screen.
The second great feature (although you have to be a little more creative with this one to make it as fun) is the grabber. Simply replace the cannon with the grabber and your Mambo can now lift small objects and carry them around – of course you can also drop them on somebody… oh sorry… something. Don’t think you will be able to use it steal the TV remote from the wife though as it will only pick up objects up to 4g in weight. The example Parrot like to give is a sugar cube – we like how they mixed modern tech with the 1920’s. That being said, if you wanted to get really sexist then you could send a note over asking for a cup of tea to be made.
The Parrot Mambo reaches top speeds of around 30KM/H and when you remove all of the added paraphernalia it is quite nimble in its flight and much more impressive with its pre-programmed flips and stunts. You will also get a minute or so of extra flying time which is important as you only get around 6 minutes as standard from a single charge.
What don’t we like
On the whole we have to say that we were pretty impressed with the Mambo but there are a couple of things that are little niggles for us. The first is that the drones propellers are quite exposed when flying outdoors and we did manage to break one when crashing the Mambo. Parrot provide no extra propellers which is a bit of a shame as you will almost definitely need to by spares. The battery life is pretty poor and the drone itself is quite noisy to fly.
That being said, for an entry level drone for less than £100 with some neat features and one that is accessible for all levels of piloting skill mean that the Parrot Mambo is a firm favourite with us and would serve as a good first drone or an addition to a more extensive fleet.