Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Quadcopter Review

8.2 Total Score
Still Great Fun!

The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is a great beginner tool and fun for those pilots at a little higher experience level, too. With the ability to record HD video footage while doing barrel rolls, you can’t go wrong.

 

Compare Prices on AR Drone 2.0

The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is one of the lesser expensive quadcopters that have been released. That’s not to say that it’s not worth the money. It is a remote controlled flying machine, but has been rated easier to fly than other drones because it uses a smart phone or a tablet as the controller. Since almost everyone today knows how to operate a smart phone, it’s safe to say that they can operate the user-friendly app to fly the Parrot AR.

It is ready to fly (RTF) straight out of the box, meaning no assembly is required. However, you may want to charge up the battery first. Also, get the FreeFlight app installed on your smart phone or tablet. It is available in the App Store and Google Play. Then you’re ready to go.

AR. Drone 2.0

AR. Drone 2.0: Basic Structure

The frame is made out of nylon and carbon fibers which means it can take a few hits without accruing excessive damage. It has brushless motors which are more reliable and durable than brushed motors. The electronics and embedded sensors are all secured inside a protective styrofoam shell.

There are three styles to choose from when you decide to purchase a Parrot AR. Each style was inspired by different environments: sand, snow, and jungles.

The camouflage was meant to help it blend in with its surroundings in case the pilot decides to go covert to gather some footage. It does operate on battery power, and comes with a 1000mAh lithium polymer rechargeable battery. When fully charged, the battery can supply up to a 12 minute flight. A battery charger is included in the drone package. It takes an estimated 1 – 1.5 hours to recharge the battery if it has been completely drained.

The hardcore AR. Drone 2.0 specs are listed below:

  • • 1GHz 32 bit ARM Cortex A8 processor with 800MHz video DSP TMS320DMC64x
  • • Linux 2.6.32
  • • 1GB DDR2 RAM at 200MHz
  • • USB 2.0 high speed for extensions
  • • Wi-Fi (b/g/n)
  • • 3-axis gyroscope (2000° per second precision)
  • • 3-axis accelerometer (+-50mg precision)
  • • 3-axis magnetometer (6° precision)
  • • Pressure sensor (+/- 10 Pa precision)
  • • Ultrasound sensors used for ground altitude measurement
  • • 60 FPS vertical QVGA camera for ground speed measurement

 

Wi-Fi Controlled

The Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 is a remote controlled quadcopter, but it does not actually come with a remote control. The pilot controls the aircraft via a smart phone or a tablet (Android or iOS). Download the app, and voila! You’re ready to start flying.

The quadcopter is controlled from your smart phone, yes, but it is not necessary to have phone service in order to fly it. That is the glory of using Wi-Fi. Keep in mind, though, that using Wi-Fi can be draining on some phones, so be sure to get your phone completely charged up before flying.

There is no global positioning system (GPS) embedded in it, but one can be purchased separately. GPS is not necessary for flying the Parrot AR since it only uses Wi-Fi, but it does provide a few enhancements such as automatic piloting features.

If the drone loses its signal, it will stabilize itself and hover until it can find another Wi-Fi signal. So you don’t have to worry about losing it or having it simply keep on flying. If, during the flight, the battery begins to die or it loses signal completely, it will automatically decide to stop flying and make a soft landing where it is.

Because it depends on Wi-Fi for controlling it, the drone can only be flown approximately 35 – 40 yards away from its pilot. If you would like to expand the flight range, this is where the GPS accessory would come in handy.

High Definition Camera

The quadcopter comes equipped with a 720p HD front facing camera for recording live aerial photography and video (APV) at 30 frames per second (FPS). With an impressive 93 degree view, it can capture some great angles of video and photo stills (in the JPEG format) as it soars through the air.

The pilot can control the camera angles and switch between the frontal view and a vertical view. You can view exactly what your camera views in real-time as it flies with no latency because it runs on a self-generated Wi-Fi network.

The camera is HD, so it can be used indoors or outdoors while providing the same quality of pictures. Settings can be adjusted via your smart phone. If you have no desire to tweak the settings, the default settings will get you going with no problem. Outdoors is preferable because drones of any size need lots of space. Flying indoors increases the chance of crashing your drone.

Record Straight to Your Smart Phone or Tablet

Since the smart phone is the remote controller, the live feed and photos are stored in the memory of the smart phone. That means you can share videos and stills right from your phone and upload to your favorite social networking sites.

The controls are simple to use when you fly the Parrot AR. Once the drone is in the air, press the “record” button to start or stop the video. You can watch an instant playback on your phone of what you just shot.

Because the app installs everything you need to fly and control the aircraft right into your phone, you don’t have to worry about hooking it up to your come computer with cables, there’s no SD card, and nothing else is required.

If you do want to record a little bit of a longer video but don’t want to use your smart phone or tablets memory, the Parrot AR does have the capability for USB recording. Just point, record, and share your footage.

AR. Drone 2.0: Easy to Fly

The Parrot AR is not as difficult to fly as some other drones. Experts may become bored with it, but if you’re searching for a decent sized durable APV vehicle that can be controlled from a smart phone, then the Parrot is what you need.

In Director Mode, the pilot can pre-program the drone to conduct automatic movements while in flight as you record video. The settings in this mode let you determine exactly how you want your photos. You control the exposure, color saturation, and brightness or darkness of the photos. And you can do all of this straight from your mobile device.

Parrot AR Drone 2.0

Using the Absolute Control Piloting Mode was designed specifically for beginners. This mode helps to alleviate the complication of figuring out how to control the aircraft. After installing the app on your smart phone, it will be the only point of reference that the drone has. So by tilting the smart phone in any direction, that is the direction that the Parrot AR will fly.

The Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 has embedded sensors and navigation system that gives great stability. Having a steady position in the air is imperative to shooting quality video. The quadcopter corrects any movement that does not come straight from the pilot. It can fly in winds up to 15 miles per hour and still adjust itself to remain still and steady as it records.

Flying the aircraft is fun and capturing awesome photo opportunities is all well and good, but sometimes it’s even better if you can do a little air acrobatic moves. The Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 does just that. The press of a button tells the drone to perform “the flip.” It can do a forward flip, a backward flip, or a complete barrel roll mid-flight. Then the navigation system kicks in so that it automatically rights itself to regain a steady position to continue recording. Being able to perform a four-axis flip on command is definitely a perk of this little quad.

In case of an emergency, don’t panic. The app provides a kill switch. On your smart phone, there is a red emergency button that, when tapped, will turn off the motors and instantly drop the drone where it is. Be sure not to do this when flying over a body of water.

Spare Parts

Everyone – expert or beginner – is going to crash their toy sooner or later. Replacement parts are available and affordable for the Parrot AR. They are extremely easy to find, and how-to videos are abundant which makes installing them not so difficult.

Parrot AR Drone 2.0: Conclusion

The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is a great beginner tool and fun for those pilots at a little higher experience level, too. With the ability to record HD video footage while doing barrel rolls, you can’t go wrong. The price is on the lower end as far as drones go, so it is more affordable especially if you’re new to flying. With a durable body that can take a soft punch or two, compatible with Android and iPhones, HD recording capability, and a user-friendly interface, this drone can provide tons of flying fun.

Tags: