Review: Parrot Bebop 2

For those who might not be aware, I recently acquired a Parrot Bebop 2 FPV and have been toying around with it almost exclusively since getting it.

Since I’ve had it for almost a month now it’s time to jot down my thoughts about it.

In a nutshell, pretty awesome, but has it’s own flaws.

Let’s get into it.

Pros

  • Relatively inexpensive entry to the mid-to-pro-grade drone market.  It’s no DJI Phantom, but it’s also not a $50 Amazon special drone.
  • High quality (1080p) videos and pictures.
  • GPS on-board.
  • Gyroscope stabilization.
  • Intuitive controls.  You can jump into flight very quickly and have a reasonably good range of control on it very soon.
  • First Person View is amazing.
  • Responsiveness even at a distance is very high.  You won’t be cursing at the drone or the remote because it didn’t stop when you told it to.
  • Very high range (up to 1.25 miles on Wifi with Skycontroller).
  • Can go high (~500 feet is where it caps off).
  • Skycontroller and Drone both come with rechargeable batteries and a charging system.

Cons

  • Features locked behind a paywall.
    • You just paid $700 for a drone with GPS.  To make use of the GPS features you need to pay $20 in the App to unlock route flights.  If you want to do Follow-Me flights, it’ll be an extra $20 on top of that.  $40 doesn’t sound like a lot, but after $700 for the drone itself (at the minimum), it’s kind of a slap in the face.
  • Some design flaws.
    • No included blade guards (a’la the usual $50 Amazon drones that have blade guards).
    • Camera lens attached to camera, easily scratches.
      • That is to say, the lens protecting the camera is attached to the camera body, not the drone body.  That means instead of $20 to replace the drone body with lens, you’re looking at $150 to replace the entire camera assembly.
      • Theoretically I can understand that the lens needs to be close to the camera to prevent problems, but making a lens replacement part of the camera at $150 seems like a dick move in my book.
  • Software bugs.
    • I was doing a pre-programmed flight at my parents house and had a route set to do multiple loops around the property.  I stopped it at one point and manually flew it back to me.  I re-loaded the route and started it again.  The drone flew back to it’s last known position and (since there was a building in the way) smashed into the wall.  The software decided to pickup from where it left off instead of starting the route again.  This is how I came to know that the camera lens is attached to the camera assembly and costs $150 to repair.
  • No warranty.  At all.
    • Parrot warranty states contact seller for warranty.  That means that Parrot doesn’t really offer any kind of warranty on it.  Any sort of defect is considered damage and you’re responsible for it.  Again, for a $700 piece of equipment, come on man.
  • Meh battery life.
    • We’re talking 30 minutes per charge, or less.  Parrot says 25.  I’ve averaged about 30.  This is pretty OK, but nothing spectacular.

Overall

I’m in love with this drone, so I might be a little… biased.  It’s a great drone for the money, despite some blatant flaws.  You can find it on Amazon and Best Buy for less than Parrot suggests ($595 on Amazon, $599.99 on Best Buy).  Despite having to drop about $100 on parts to repair the camera about a month in, I’m very happy with it.

I can’t wait to try the follow-me features while I’m on the boat.  Should make for some interesting footage.  Boating license exam May 16th and 18th.  More news to follow. 😀

If nothing else, this drone is teaching me about the beauty of NJ.  There’s lots out there, and I sometimes lose sight of that because I don’t have time to go exploring usually.  Now I’m making time to explore, and it’s totally worth it.

Videos

This was all a flimsy excuse to post some footage of me flying the drone.  So here’s some of the videos I upload to YouTube.

Catch ya in the skies.

-M, out

Leave a Reply