Gone are the days when Parrot presented their first drone in Las Vegas, on the CES 2012. A couple of years later, they introduce their «mini-drone series» at the same trade show and introduced the first Bebop model.
Parrot has managed to become on of the industry-leading drone brand since then, having enjoyed notable success with its Bebop range of drones, with the Bebop 2 combining excellent performance with good image capture at a low price. They state that it can last up to 30 minutes up in the air. Let’s check it!
The Bebop 2 strenghts are basically the combination between the low price tage and the excellent performance and features of this drone.
The Bebop 2 Power is, as the name suggests, an upgraded variant of the original Bebop 2, with its most notable improvement being longer flight time thanks to the fact that it now comes in a two-tone black colour for a slightly more aggressive look and offers improved flight time, allowing for up to 30 minutes from a single charge.
Flight has been upgraded as well, with some new auto shot paths and easy piloting.
Is it really Flight Time 30 minutes? We checked out and… YES! Be careful though: Parrot’s website does not tell you that you have to swap batteries (the package comes with two units).
Keep in mind though – flying full throttle-pitch forward for too long will most likely lower your overall airtime by two minutes or three, so make sure your drone is close enough to be able to return to takeoff location safely. Also, Sports Mode unlocks the full potential of Bebop 2 Power so beginners should stay away from it until they learn how to properly control this beast. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
The Parrot Skycontroller 2 can manage your Bebop 2 up to 2 km. distant, reaching 65km/h in sport mode, which is more than enough for a drone of this kind.
The Skycontroller 2 remote control, is a little top-heavy due to the large transmitter and receiver but otherwise it’s a generally ergonomic controller, not dissimilar to an Xbox controller.
The Bebop 2 Power does not have a microSD slot for storage as the DJI Spark or GoPro Karma does. The device has an integrated 8GB flash storage unit. When we checked it out, a little bit less than 7GB were, in fact, usable due to the bit of space used for the filesystem of the Bebop.
The camera has a, more than enough, 14 Megapixel CMOS sensor and is able to capture both JPG files and RAW files (DNG format in this case).
It can take HD videos (Full HD 1080p video capture) with digital image stabilisation.
What do you have out of the box? Easy:
- 1 Parrot Bebop 2 Power
- 1 Parrot Skycontroller 2
- 1 Parrot Cockpitglasses 2
- 2 Power batteries – Important! You’ll always end buying a second spare battery anyway, so thanks to the Parrot guys for helping me keeping costs down!
- 4 propellers
- 1 charger + cable + 4 plugs
- 1 assembly tool
- 1 USB cable
- 1 smartphone and tablet support
- 1 quick start guide
Like all the drones of its kind, the Bebop 2 Power’s weight comes from the battery (3,350 mAh), weighting a total of 525 grams.
The drones uses the Parrot FreeFlight Pro application, coming with full manual control and some auto shot paths:
- Drone location: If you can’t seem to find your drone, Locate my Bebop lets you locate it on a map.
- Return home: Upon request or if connection is lost, the drone can automatically return to its take-off point.
- Geofencing: Define a flight zone within which your drone can continue to operate, but with set limits that cannot be passed. When your drone has reached the set limits, the drone will continue to hover at the same altitude enabling you to take control.
- Follow me mode: Object tracking to shot a following video
- Touch and Fly: The drone can travel between two points using a predefined flight patterns such as Orbit, Boomerang, Tornado or Parabola.
- Reveal: Have you ever seen a movie where the camera flies over the ocean and pans up slowly to show the shore at the distance. You can do it with this drone!
- Rise: the same as before but from a static point of view.
All of this comes at a price though. Parrot locks some of these features behind in-app purchases. Not everything is lost, as Parrot includes a voucher in the box to access some of them straigth ahead.
No surprises here. Made in China. The manufacturer states that thes tructure is reinforced with fibreglass and Grilamid. For us, the mere mortals, it is 100% plastic.
Just like its forerunner, this drone is easy to control and handles well when in the air.
Responsiveness is good and the unit is stable enough to operate in relatively windy conditions – something we were surprised at, considering how light it feels in the hand. In the standard mode it’s quite slow – especially when making turns – but Parrot has included a Sports Mode in this year’s model which gives it a top speed of around 65 kilometers per hour (roughly 40 miles per hour). Novices may wish to avoid enabling this feature until they’re comfortable with the controls, as the unit is harder to control at high speeds.
CHEERSON CX 23
Following the success of previous models CX-20 and CX-22, the company announced a new model Cheerson CX-23 with improved design and a remarkable set of characteristics. Cheerson CX-23 – a quadrocopter with a flight time of about 14 minutes, with the FPV control and a transmission distance of up to 500 meters!
- Excellent flight time
- Second battery included in the package
- Attractive design
- Very easy to fly
- Dissapointing video quality
- Only 7GB of available storage (no microSD)
- No storage case