Thanks to the Android OS we here at AndroidSPIN get to play with quite a few toys here and there. Some of these devices blow our mind while others just fall short, thankfully the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is mind dynamite, oh yeah I went there. I got to review the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 for AndroidSPIN and after playing around with this fun little toy I am happy to say the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 met all my expectations, well almost all of them. Let me show you what I mean in this review of the Parrot AR Drone 2.0. Elite Edition.
Whatâ€™s In The Box:
- Parrot AR Drone 2.0
- Outdoor Hull
- Indoor Hull
- Wall Charger
- Assorted Wall Outlet Plugs
- Infrared Stickers (For AR Drone Game)
Android Control App:
This is the main reason I wanted to test out the AR Drone 2.0. I wanted to see how well it would perform with the Android OS and see if there would be any issues when using the device outside. The Android app has a pretty functional design although I did get some force close pop ups here and there. The one thing I would definitely change is the placement ofÂ the emergency-landing button. When there was a real emergency it sucked having to reach across my Note 3 screen to hit that little button. Hiccups aside, the app controlled the drone beautifully. The thing I enjoyed the most was the settings section of the app, why you may ask? Well I enjoyed it because of what you can enable in the settings. The first setting is the option to enable the Drone flip. This is after all the coolest thing to do with the AR Drone so it was nice of Parrot to make it so easy to do. All you have to do is go into settings and choose what direction you want the flip to go (left, right, forward, backward). Then head back to the main screen and double tap; voila you just flipped your AR Drone in midair. This, for me, was the coolest thing about the Android app.
I did not really find myself using the direct video feed from the Parrot Drone 2.0 on my phone simply because it sucks when it comes to actually controlling the AR Parrot Drone. The camera has a limited view (forward facing) so you canâ€™t really see what is behind or on the side of the drone. That paired with a small testing area made for some pretty nasty accidents. It a bit difficult to focus on the live video feed when having to a playful dog.Â The Parrot app also has a neat little feature in which you can upload your video directly to YouTube, which is a nice little bonus. Again, this something I did not use more than once.
Now this was one of the reasons that I really wanted to test out the Parrot 2.0 drone, the built-in camera. This camera is pretty small but it can record at 720p, downside is that if you record at this rate battery life disappears pretty damn quickly. The video is pretty smooth when recording and well the camera video quality is passable but not amazing. Still it was a lot of fun getting a bird’s eye view. There is also a down facing camera but the quality is about the same quality video you would get with an old school flip phone video camera so I did not find myself using it as much.
If you want to have decent battery life with the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite I suggest you purchase the 1500 mAh extended battery. Maybe purchase 3. I know that time really flew by (get it J) when I was using the Drone. Seems like I had just turned it on and the low battery warning was already flashing. That is the one big downside to the Elite 2.0, battery life. If you want to use this over a long period of time make sure you get extra batteries, the 1000 mAh battery that’sÂ included is not enough. I was only able to get about 5-7 minutes of flight time with the standard battery. When I used the camera at full resolution the number dropped down to about 4-5 minutes, tops.
When I initially received the Elite EditionÂ Drone I had an issue with the wall charger. The battery was not receiving a charge from it and if it did it was barely trickling in. Due to this issue I had to wait for Parrot to send me a replacement charger for this review. The new charger worked perfectly, I was able to charge the battery in a few hours. Parrot also includes different plugs for their wall charger, so international customers you can rest easy.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition got some great distance when controlled with my Note 3. Even the gyro controls performed well for me. The one thing I did not like was how high the Parrot Drone could go. Now donâ€™t get me wrong this is obviously something we all want, height, but the issue wasnâ€™t that it couldnâ€™t go up high enough, no, the problem was that it went so high that I lost my connection to the drone. I got it up to about 120 feet and thatâ€™s when I lost the wireless connection. The Drone just hovered in place while I ran around looking for a way to get close enough to the drone to re-establish my connection. Sure enough I did not have to do any of that as a pretty big gust of wind came in and pushed the Drone into a tree branch causing some damage to the indoor hull and propellers. This loss of connection is a big problem.
I would have loved to see Parrot put in some sort of fail safe in which when the connection is lost the Drone flies back to the last known location of the controlling Android device and lands. That would be a much-welcomed feature. No one wants to have his or her $300 drone just hover in mid-air without any control until the battery dies. That is not a good feeling, trust me on that.
The Elite AR Parrot Drone 2.0 is a great toy and the fact that it works with your mobile device is a great bonus. With that said it is still a toy, a very expensive toy to boot. It is a lot of fun when you first start playing with it but after a while you start to realize that the limitations (short battery life and connection loss) really keep you from doing too much with it. To me, this is a toy that I have to play with inside or in a very big field where I can easily go recover the drone should something happen. The $300 price tag is pretty steep for this device but if you were looking for your first drone, I would say look no further than the AR Parrot Elite 2.0 Drone. It is a beginnerâ€™s drone and you can learn a lot from it.