Saturday, 2 February 2013

A.R.Drone 2 by Parrot, full review.





I've had a parrot AR Drone 2.0 for a few months now, and I've made my conclusion of the product based on the flight test conditions, durability of the parts, and ease of use.





When I first opened the box and took the drone out, my first impressions were that it was very light, didn't look very technologically advanced....but looks are deceiving!

Underneath the outer shell belies a huge amount of technical electronics like a dedicated wifi board, ultra sound detector, and two cameras, and all placed on a carbon fibre cross boom and encased in a robust shell.


My first flight started with setting up the unit via the free app called 'freeflight' on my iphone 4s which is available for free on the app store. You first have to configure the flight settings to accommodate if your flying indoor or outdoor, and select which hull to use. If you fly indoors you'll need to use the hull with the 4 protective rings which surround the propellers, and if outdoor you can use the outdoor hull which is just a body which allows the propellers to spin freely in open air.



Once you have configured the settings press the 'take off' button and the drone will start up and hover effortlessly 2-3ft off the floor!
There is a function called 'absolute control' for beginners, which follows the exact movement of your smart device, allowing for a more controlled flight.


 





The camera on the under belly of the drone 'sees' the ground and uses the images to 'track' the ground to provide a more stable flight, however,  if you fly at night, it won't see the ground and you have to solely rely on your piloting skills, so make sure you get plenty of practice in the day to assist you night flying!!

The 720p HD front camera is great! It relays the picture to your device and even enables you to take pictures and record footage. It then saves to your device so you can look at your flying at a later date!


The drone will perform mid-air stunts like 360* spins and backflips etc, via the gesture you give it from the device you use.

The fine tuning in the settings are great, you can limit the height in which the drone will fly, you can adjust the lift speed, turn speed, and the tilt too, which is great if your new to them, as you can set them up differently each time as you get more confident with it.




The one down side to this is if you crash the drone,(which I have done), the plastic gearing is exposed, and is prone to the teeth being flattened off on impact, so it's best to buy a spare set of gearing which is easily available via online auction sites the Parrot site itself, and dedicated drone sites.
They are very easy to maintain at home, and all parts are readily available to the public.

If you want to go that step further you can modify the drone hulls with LED lights and different stickers etc.

If the drone had the gearing protected and used metal pinion gears instead of plastic ones, it would make the drone so much more robust, and less prone to damage caused by novice error or sudden gusts of wind, which could result in a damaged drone if you crash it hard enough, but on the whole they are pretty tough, and withstand minimal bumps and knocks.

Overall, based on my experience with the drone, I can say it is a great piece of kit to have, and will give you endless fun.

For more info visit http://ardrone2.parrot.com/