Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Review
My Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition review is based on personal experience and will hopefully give you a better insight in just what this quadcopter has to offer. The second-generation AR. Drone from French company, Parrot, comes with a few new features from their original drone. If you’re after a drone that’s compact, fairly easy to use, with a High Def camera and is decently priced, this may be the drone you’re looking for. Sorry for the bad pun!
A couple years ago, AR. Drone 3.0 was released, which meant the price for the 2.0 dropped to a much more comfortable price. Sitting at $299.99 on Amazon, you may not see this AR. Drone used by serious hobbyists, but I find this to be a very good place to start if you’re new to drones and want something a little bigger than a mini drone. Let’s get into the details…
What’s included in the box?
Unboxing this unit, you will find the AR.Drone 2.0, the indoor hull and outdoor hull, one 1000mAh lithium polymer battery, charger, adapter, user manual (which I would advise you take the time to read, or do what I do and download it online before you receive your drone and so you’re all prepared once it arrives).
One thing you may have noticed is absent is the remote control, or transmitter. This is because you operate the AR.Drone 2.0 using an app on your tablet or Apple device that must be installed beforehand. This is pretty neat and convenient if you have a smart device, those who do not will unfortunately not be able to fly this unit.
The very first thing you’ll notice is how light it is. Much lighter than other drones or RC helicopters. This is because it’s made out of lightweight foam and carbon fiber tubes, designed specifically to withstand crashes or bumps and still maintain flight. I was quite pleased with how well this quadcopter maintained itself after knocking into a few things while flying indoors. It takes pure talent to be able to fly inside my small house!
Parrot has now fitted a 720p HD camera, at 30 frames per second, enabling you to take amazingly stunning pictures or videos. The drone itself does not have any internal storage, however, you still have the option of either recording directly from your smart device or you can insert a USB and it will save recordings onto it. It’s also worth mentioning that the camera streams the footage directly to your smart device in real time, giving you a pilot’s view.
I found setting up the drone extremely easy and hassle free. After you’ve charged up the battery, which can take over an hour, you download the AR Freeflight 2.0 app from the Apple Store or Google Play. Then install the battery onto the drone and wait for it to initialize. Once you open up the app, you’re all good to fly! As with anything new, you’ll want to take it slow and steady to begin with, and if possible, learning to fly on a clear day with little to no wind would be most ideal.
Piloting your drone is quite simple, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be having loads of fun! As you become more comfortable with controlling the drone mid-flight, you can then teach yourself how to do manoeuvres. There are also sonar senses fitted to prevent your drone from crashing if you lose control or range. As a bonus, the app has a basic and advanced option for more experienced flyers, though, I stuck with the basics for now.
This is a great drone for both indoor and outdoor use, and with practice, you’ll be taking amazing videos and pictures in no time!
A neat little feature you can do with the AR.Drone 2.0 is making it flip while flying, simply by tapping twice on the screen of your smart device. However, I found doing this sucks up the battery life very fast! So I’d suggest be very cautious of your remaining battery life, as well as the drone’s surroundings. I flew this in an open field, away from any trees and obstructions.
What this drone has over most other drones out there is a safety mechanism where if your drone flies out of range, instead of crashing to the earth, it will hover in one spot until it’s back in range. There are also pressure sensors that will keep your drone vertically stable, even at altitudes of 164 ft (50m). I tried attempting this myself but couldn’t quite make it 50 ft as the wind made it difficult. I found this to be a good opportunity to take it out on a windy day to test the stability, and the pressure sensors worked flawlessly.
What I personally like is the ability to share videos directly from the Freeflight app to YouTube. Not only that, but you can also sign in to Google, YouTube and Picasa within the app itself and post your videos and pictures. I managed to upload so many images without any dropouts or glitches.
Signing up to the AR.Drone community gives you the chance to interact with other pilots, share videos and pictures as well as flight data. It’s a great way to make friends with others who clearly share your passion!
Note: If you crash your AR.Drone and it has suffered some damage, fear not! There’s nothing to worry about as every part of your drone can be replaced. Just head over to Parrot’s official website.
The most obvious thing to point out is the battery life. Given that it takes so long to charge, you’d think you would get more flying time out of it, however, with just 15-20 mins, it’s hardly enough time to get a really good run out of it.
Having said that, you can buy additional rechargeable lithium polymer battery for $53.38 from Amazon.
Another downer for the AR.Drone is the picture quality from the second camera that faces down. Compared to certain smart phones, pictures taken from this camera aren’t as clear, and I feel there could be improvements here. I know it’s not meant to be used as the primary camera, but there were still some shots that could have been great had the quality been better.
Where To Buy
Below are the links for the AR. Drone.
Brand Name Parrot
Item Weight 4 pounds
Product Dimensions 23 x 5 x 23 inches
Origin Made in USA
Item model number PF721800BI
Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
Wireless Comm-Standard 802.11B, 802.11G, 802.11n
Number of Items 1
Popular Questions & Answers
Q: Does a controller come in the box?
A: No, it doesn’t. You can only operate the drone using a tablet or Apple device.
Q: How many cameras does the AR. 2.0 have?
A: There are two. One HD camera at the front, and the second facing down for measuring ground distance and navigation using sonic sensors.
Q: Does this drone have its own Wi-Fi like the Parrot Bebop?
A: Yes, it generates a Wi-Fi Hotspot for your mobile device.
Q: What range does this drone really have?
A: Anywhere from 75-100 feet, unobstructed from your mobile device.
If you’re not willing to spend over $300 for a high-end drone, but still wanting something that’s good quality and ready to take videos and pictures on the go, then the AR.Drone 2.0 will not disappoint. Compared the other drones, learning to pilot and controlling your drone is really easy. They’re a great toy for both adults and children who don’t want to spend hours to learn the basics.
The downside is how little the battery lasts for. Anywhere from 15-25 minutes isn’t long if you are planning on taking it out to the largest park in your state, so I’d suggest either staying close to home for a quick recharge or give in and buy an additional battery, giving you approx another 20 mins of flying time!
But overall, I feel the positives outweigh the negatives, and I personally had a blast flying the AR.Drone 2.0. I trust Parrot, they’ve been improving their drones with each new release, and I believe we’re going to hearing more from Parrot in the years to come.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Parrot AR.2.0 review. Please stay tuned for more posts very soon and if you have any comments, I’d love to hear them below.