Battery Life (for it's size)
Value (bang for your buck)
Summary : The Parrot AR.Drone 2 is a decent quadcopter for looking for drone equipped with a camera at a relatively low price. The AR.Drone 2 is becoming a bit dated, but still easy to fly and very stable. Recommended for hobbyists looking for a FPV camera.
Pros: The Parrot AR.Drone 2 has innovative handheld device control and a built in HD 720p camera. The AR.Drone is easy to fly, and incredibly stable, due to it’s internal technology. The AR.FreeFlight App for handhelds is very well done, and easy to use. For pilots looking for a FPV Drone, this is an excellent choice.
Cons: The Parrot AR.Drone 2 was leading edge when released in 2012, and while still an really great quadcopter, the drone is beginning to show it’s age and it’s features are being surpassed by other products. The low battery warning occurs far too late, and requires immediately landing to avoid crashing the quadcopter. We’re hoping Parrot releases an updated version.Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Quadcopter is one of the best selling and most prolific personal drones on market. The AR.Drone 2.0 was the first affordable personal quadcopter that contained a built in high definition camera.
The inclusion of the HD camera on the Parrot AR.Drone was attractive to hobbyists looking to upgrade their “toy” grade quadcopters, but more importantly to photographers and aerial photographers looking to add an inexpensive quadcopter to their toolkit.
The 2.0 AR.Drone is a significant upgrade to the original AR.Drone 1 released by Parrot in 2010. The AR.Drone 1 took the drone market by storm, and became the first drone owned by many RC hobbyists, early drone adopters and photographers looking to begin exploring aerial photography. One of the most innovative features, was that the AR.Drone was the first commercially available drone that could be controlled from a personal device like and iPhone or IPad.
The 2.0 model introduced in 2012, added a number of new features, including:
- New HD (720p) front camera
- “Absolute Control Mode” causes the AR.Drone to turn in the direction you turn your phone, regardless of which direction the drone is facing.
- Adds the ability to do flips, by double clicking on the control interface app
- Improved gyroscope, making it more stable and able to automatically hover
- New control options for more options during flight
- USB port
- New hull design
Flying the AR.Drone is incredibly easy, and the AR.FreeFlight application is very user friendly and well designed.
Also controllable via your phone or tablet, is the HD (720p) front camera. The AR.Drone 2 is the first quadcopter, equipped with a HD camera that is reasonable priced, and within the price range of most consumers. The HD camera allows for aerial photography as well as FPV (First-Person View) flying, which basically means you get to see what the drone “sees”.
While a leading edge feature when released, the 720p definition camera is now becoming a bit dated, as the AR.Drone 2 is now more than 2 years old. Models with higher definition cameras are available for only a little more, and offer much better quality for aerial photography. But for FPV flying, the AR.Drone is still one of the best options.
The AR.FreeFlight App, allows you to not only stream live video from the AR.Drone to your device, but record it and share your records all from within the app.Another unique and innovative feature of the AR.Drone are its two different hulls: An indoor hull and an outdoor hull. Both hulls snap onto the main body of the AR.Drone. The indoor hull allows you to more easily fly the unit indoors, by providing protection to the blades. The outdoor hull removes these protective rings, and focuses on protecting the main body. Many hobbyists have also built their own customized hulls, to make their AR.Drone’s unique.
The AR.Drone is powered by a LiPo rechargeable battery, which is included in the box along with a charger. Flight times are around 10 minutes which at the time of it’s release was on par with more expensive models, but today is somewhat short for it’s price and size. The AR.Drone comes with a built in warning to tell you when the battery is low, but this feature is deemed useless by most AR.Drone owners. The warning occurs only seconds before the unit stops functioning. When the warning pops-up on the AR.FreeFlight application, you must immediately land the device or risk it falling to the ground.
The bottom line
At a little over 2 years old, and becoming somewhat dated, the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 is still an amazing quadcopter. Good enough to be one of our top picks. The cons we mentioned overall are very minor compared to the features provided by this personal drone for the money.
The unit is incredibly easy to fly, the handheld device based interface is innovative and highly functional, and the AR.Drone is resilient and high quality. Definitely recommend this as buy for anyone looking for a great quadcopter that offer FPV capability. The AR.Drone 2 is an awesome upgrade to lower cost “toy” quadcopters, like the Hubsan X4.
Photo credit: Andrew