Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Review

The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is what you get when a top-end drone maker decides to ditch most of its standard hardware and make something for the smartphone era. Instead of a controller, you’ll be working entirely with a smartphone to fly this device. During this Parrot AR Drone 2.0 review, we found that there were some significant drawbacks and benefits to this type of control, but it’s definitely something that’s new for a drone in this price bracket. Read below and learn all about the features, specs, control and how to fly this drone.

Parrot AR drone 2.0 review

Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Main Features & Specs

The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition is a phone-controlled drone that leverages AR technology in order to allow pilots to play games and undertake virtual tasks. The drone’s main feature is the AR component, but it also features a relatively impact-proof outer hull that’s meant to allow novices to fly indoors with few problems.

Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Specs

Flight Environment Camera Battery Charge Weight Size Range
12-15 min Outdoor HD 720p 12.5 V 1500mAH LiPo 90 minutes 5 pounds 23 x 23 x 5 inches 23 m

 

The drone also features some fairly interesting attempts to make it an all-purpose camera, with a unique Director Mode that allows users to program the drone’s path in order to get better camera movement while on the fly.

All of these features are housed in a shell that can be switched from indoor to outdoor hills. It is safe to say that this drone’s main features come together to make something that’s a bit more unexpected than most might assume.

Parrot AR drone 2.0 review

Arguments: Pros and Cons

Arguments:
Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Pros:
  • Good construction;
  • Doesn’t fly away in small wind bursts;
  • Reasonable camera for the price;
  • Easy to connect with a smartphone;
  • Director mode is a unique idea;
  • Can take a lot of abuse;
  • Controls are very easy to learn;
  • AR Games are a lot of fun.
Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Cons:
  • Default battery isn’t great;
  • Not enough flight time per charge;
  • The range is very limited;
  • Wi-fi connections aren’t always that strong;
  • Lack of physical controller can be bothersome;
  • Styrofoam can break on impact.

Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Remote Control & Set-up for First Flight

Remote Control

In the course of this Parrot AR Drone 2.0 review, it became very clear that AR in this case is code for ‘flown via smartphone’, even if there are a couple of AR games included with the drone’s software. This isn’t entirely new for drones, of course, but it’s definitely something you don’t see too often at this price point. As such, there’s no custom controller included here – not even a cradle for your phone. Instead, you’ll do all of your piloting via app, which can be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

On one hand, app flying is imprecise at best. There’s no real substitute for a physical controller, so precise movements will often get lost in translation. Even worse, there’s a fair degree of latency inherent in any kind of wi-fi control, so you’re going to see your drone occasionally stutter when it’s supposed to be moving.

Having a controller feels like such a prerequisite for better drones that it becomes easy to dismiss any drone that doesn’t have a dedicated control scheme.
Parrot AR drone 2.0 review
On the other hand, picking up these controls is easy. If you’ve ever played a driving game before, you can figure out the controls in a few seconds. While there’s more of a learning curve on Director Mode, the basics will have you flying around in no time.

This kind of AR control probably isn’t for everyone, but it can be a good way to ease into flying a drone. This makes the drone a great bridge for those who are graduating away from mini-drones and into drones that require a bit more skill to pilot. Moreover, this drone is from the same manufacturer as that of the Parrot Bebop and Parrot Bebop 2.

Flying the Drone

Parrot AR drone 2.0 review
We chose to fly the drone indoors for our Parrot AR Drone 2.0 review. The drone is technically rated to fly outside and it’s definitely hefty enough to deal with at least small wind gusts, but we’ve found it’s always safer to start inside when possible. This not only limits the height of the flight, but it also ensures that the drone won’t get lost if something goes wrong. When you get a bit more comfortable with the drone, try to take it outside during a relatively clear and wind-free day.

Set-up for the drone is fairly simple. If you fly inside like we did, you’ll want to attach the hull with the guard rings. If you fly outside, attach the hull without the guard wings. Then go into the flight application and toggle the outdoor hull and outdoor flight options on or off depending on where you’re flying. After that, connect to the wi-fi network ardrone2, and once a connection is established, you can go to the app and you’ll be ready to fly.

We highly recommend trying the free flight mode before you try Director Mode or any of the AR games. None of the modes are particularly hard to handle, but getting a hand of basic flight principles can help you to avoid problems when you try some of the other modes.

We do, however, recommend that you eventually try out a couple of the AR games. These games will really put your piloting ability to the test and give you a reason to pull this drone out when you have guests around. The simple inclusion of games does help to elevate this drone above most of the rest of the pack. Some of the most fun we had during this Parrot AR Drone 2.0 review was playing these AR games.

What’s in the Box?

Since there’s no controller here, we didn’t expect to see much in the box for our Parrot AR Drone 2.0 review. Amazingly, though, there was even less than we expected! This drone really doesn’t come with anything much, not even extra propeller blades. It’s a shame, as extra parts are fairly hard to find. Still, this does mean that the drone is ready to fly out of the box. Included inside are:

  • The Parrot AR Drone 2.0;
  • The battery;
  • Charger;
  • Instruction booklet.
Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Quadcopter

The battery and Charger Included; Instruction booklet included

Our Verdict

This Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is a little hard to boil down to a simple yes or no. On one hand, a good controller would have turned this drone into a must-buy. On the other, though, the innovation of using a totally controller-free experience and adding some nice extra modes does make this drone a lot of fun. In the end, the drone stands as a good starter but possibly not the kind of drone in which you want to invest heavily. What did you think of this Parrot AR Drone 2.0 review, did you agree with our assessment? Let us know what you thought by getting in contact with us through the comment section below.

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