Parrot Bebop Drone Review
Back in 2010 when the drone market was much smaller than it is today, Parrot released the AR.Drone, which at the time was really impressive and affordable. Now fast forward 6 years and we have the Parrot Bebop. The Bebop drone comes with a compact design which is smaller than the AR.Drone, weighing just 3 pounds. The price has gone down quite a bit from when it was first released last year, from $500 to around $370 on Amazon. Since the release of this quadcopter, Parrot brought out the Bebop 2, an updated version of the original Bebop. While we haven’t had the pleasure of flying Bebop 2 yet, we’ve recently had the opportunity to fly the original version.
The Parrot Bebop is great for both casual pilots and professionals. Sure, it’s bright, it looks like a toy, but it comes with a decent amount of features that are certainly worth looking into. Just like their previous models, Bebop doesn’t come with its own transmitter, or controller. Instead, you’ll need an iOS, Android or Windows Phone to connect to the FreeFlight 3 App. From there, you’re able to control the quadcopter, record videos and take pictures, as well as share them via WiFi to the Parrot Cloud. Those familiar with the FreeFlight app would be able to navigate their way around the app with ease, however, it really doesn’t take long to get the feel of it.
- Return Home feature
- 180 degrees angle of focus
- Responsive screen controls
- 1080p HD videos/ 14MP pictures
- Embedded GPS map control
- Parrot cloud storage
- Own WiFi Hotspot
- 2nd battery included
- Battery life
- WiFi connectivity
- Recharge Time
In The Box:
If you go for the Bebop on its own, without the Sky Controller, what you get in the box is 1 Bebop drone, 2 batteries, 1 charger, 1 micro USB cable, 1 indoor hull, 4 additional propellers, 1 propeller mounting tool and a start up guide.
- Four propellers
- Return Home
- Advanced 3-axis image stabilization
- Pressure sensor
- ABS reinforced structure
- GNSS location tracking (GPS and GLONASS)
Bebop is fitted with a camera that captures still images at 14MP and shoots 1080p HD videos. The camera itself has a fisheye lens, but unlike other cameras with fisheye lens, your photos will not come out with distorted lines, meaning the horizon remains straight and not curved. The advantage of having fisheye lens is that it has a focus angle of 180 degrees, which enables you to control the angle of the camera by looking up, down and sideways without having to move the drone. Think of it as having an automated gimbal.
I was really impressed with the quality of the videos I took. Upon playback, the videos were only slightly shaky as I had my drone hover in one spot against a gentle breeze. This is quite standard, though, for such a small drone. Other than that, the only downside I would say, regarding the camera, is that being right at the front of the drone, you can’t toggle away from the direction the drone is facing. I would say this is quite a disadvantage if you wanted to look directly down, for instance.
Like most drones now, Bebop comes with a Return Home feature. As you can guess, you can simply direct your quadcopter to the point it took off from, which is always handy for when the battery is low or you’re having trouble controlling the drone. With one click, the drone positions itself 10 meters from the ground and flies in a straight line to where it took off from, and then slowly descends to around 2 meters off the ground where it will hover.
The drone has embedded GPS that lets you map out your route. Once you have loaded your map onto to app, simply map out your path, and the drone will automatically follow the points to the final destination.
The camera is mounted on the frame of the aircraft through a 3 axis stabilization to facilitate filming or taking pictures. The 3 axis stabilization makes the camera resistant to any shock that can cause your images to be shaky.
The drone is controlled using the FreeFlight 3 app that is supported by Windows 8.1, iOS and Android. The pictures and videos that you capture during flight sessions are stored in the Parrot Cloud platform, so you don’t need a memory card. The drone has the “Return Home” feature that enables the aircraft to go back to the point of take off when altitude exceeds 10 meters.
Learning to fly the Bebop is not at all difficult, and you do not require any previous experience. Taking off is as easy as tapping the green button in the FreeFlight 3 program, and before you know it, you’re in the air. To maneuver, you have the option to use the “control sticks” on the screen, or tilt your mobile device in the direction you want the drone to go.
Bebop has plenty of different sensors that keep the drone extremely stable at all times. These include 3-axis accelerometer, GNSS system, pressure sensor, ultrasound sensor, gyroscope and magnetometer, and they all work together to keep Bebop stable, from crashing, or even drift off in the wind. As a safety feature, if you lose control of your drone or simply want it to stay put, remove your fingers from the controls on the screen and it will hover in one place without fail.
There are a bunch of tricks and acrobatics that you can set Bebop to perform, and you don’t need to be skilled to this. From the FreeFlight app, tapping the tricks button brings you a menu where you can choose between flips, somersaults, and spins, just like you can with the AR.Drone.
The distance range is said to be 250 meters, although we didn’t have that much ground to cover, we took it out to around half that, approx the size of a football field, and tested the Return Home feature before setting it down to land, and it worked flawlessly. When ready to land the quadcopter, simply tap the landing button and it will set itself down gently.
Weight: 3 Pounds
Max Speed: 13m/s
Camera Pictures: 14MP
Video: Full High Definition (1920x1080p) (30fps)
Battery: Lithium Polymer 1200 mAh
Mobile App: FreeFlight 3
Required Operating Systems: iOS, Android, Windows Phone Smartphones/tablets
Signal Range: 250 meters
Flight Time: 10-11 minutes per battery.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a highly capable quadcopter for practically everyone. No, I wouldn’t recommend this to children. If it’s a toy class, it’s one for an older age group.
One of the biggest and most obvious advantage to Bebop is mobility. Not only is it light weight, but the parts are detachable, making it easy to pack away if need be. Depending how you see it, the lack of a transmitter can be a good thing as well, however, if you prefer controlling your drone the more traditional way, there is a Sky Controller, from Parrot, that can be used as a substitute. You can buy it as a package for 499.44. Both versions are have been added below, along with spare Bebop batteries and propellers….
Where To Buy
Popular Questions & Answers
Q: Can Bebop be flown without Wi-Fi?
A: No, it cannot. Your smart device will connect to the drone’s own Wi-Fi hotspot.
Q: What is the overall flight time for one battery?
A: You’ll be able to fly Bebop for around 10-11 minutes. It’s always handy to have both of the supplied batteries fully charged beforehand.
Q: Do my videos and pictures save onto my phone?
A: No, they’ll save on the drone, and at the end you have the option to transfer your recordings to your phone via the FreeFlight 3 app.
Q: Can the Bebop camera point directly down?
A: The camera can’t point down, but you can change the angle to 180 degrees from side to side and up and down due to its fisheye lens.
Q: How long does the battery take to charge?
A: It takes about an hour to fully charge.
Bebop is one of the bestselling drones in the market today. Based on its price and performance, this is really a top notch quadcopter. The controls are responsive and handle really well, plus there are many features and tricks that can make the Bebop appealing to anyone.
The quadcopter communicates with your smart device via WiFi and is operated through a FreeFlight 3 app that is installed on your phone or tablet. The app works with Windows 8.1, Android and iOS. Transferring all your recordings from Bebop to your phone’s storage is easy, along with that, you also have Parrot Cloud. which is basically a platform for keeping your pictures and films. From Parrot Cloud, you can share your content with thousands of pilots.
One last thing worth mentioning is that Parrot’s online community is huge, and is a great way to share your content, so be as creative as you can, discuss tips with other pilots, and make new friends in the process.
That’s my Parrot Bebop drone review. I tried to cover everything and I hope you’re now and little more informed. If you have any questions or feedback, below send a comment below and don’t forget to share!