Parrot Bebop 2 Drone Review & Rating
Introducing the Parrot Bebop 2
Parrot have updated their popular drone the Bebop 2 which holds a lot of promise with its ability to fly completely independently without costing an arm and a leg. The drone is fun to fly without a doubt and has very top end specifications and battery life. The video is solid. So, this could be a good option for somebody looking for a good value easy to fly video drone. It’s not perfect, but we like it a lot.
The drone’s set-up
Ready to go right out the box. No specialist assembly required.
There is a redesign of the drone, but there is not a lot to see as far as difference goes with the previous model. Most of its weight is down to the battery a common occurrence with drone design.
Parrot claims 37mph, and we achieved this, slightly under but it was a windy day. It did take well over 10 seconds to achieve this speed, but this is not a racing drone.
Flying the Bebop 2 to driving is a breeze, and you can use either the sky controller that comes with the drone or you can use an app. It is known as ‘free flight’ and can control all aspects of the drone. The sky controller works okay but is quite heavy and not the kind of thing that you can just throw in your pocket. However, it does allow you to use all the features of the drone easily. Thank goodness it comes with a neck strap. It’s nearly 2 kg. To control it properly you have to use both hands. It has all the usual features including a return to home button the all-important function.
Your iPad or iPad mini or iPhone will plug into the sky controller so that you can view a live video. This drone also comes with a pair of goggles so you can view a video in real time by plugging them into the sky controller’s HD port. It’s all great and very portable until the sky controller is involved.
Getting the drone off the ground is a pleasure. All you do with the app is tell it to take off, and the drone will fly off. Even hover several feet above the ground without further ado. Several tricks are also readily available from the app including somersaults and the like.
There is a very small delay between putting commands into the app and the drone responding, but this is a minor criticism and will not be a problem for most people. This issue is not present when using this sky controller as opposed to the app.
You can achieve autonomous flight by using functionality from the app a cost of £20. Using this system, you can save flights and create flight routines with image capture etc. One thing though is that with pre-recorded flights the Bebop 2 may fly into an object as it is just following instructions and not using its usual collision avoidance functionality. It is also possible to fly outside of signal range using this app!
Shooting video is quite simple and the stabilisation system incorporated by this drive makes shooting video on a windy day totally doable.
Videos are in HD 1920 x 1080 pixels, and the frame rate is a very respectable 30 frames per second. Videos come out smooth and professional we have to say that we were very impressed with performance here. Is the video of the same quality as that of a DJI Phantom? Not quite. Although very good it doesn’t quite hold the same clarity and depth as that of the DJI. Sorry about that! Also, the wide angle lens is also susceptible to occasional lens flair – just something to be aware of.
The drone has 8 GB of Flash memory built into it, and it’s easy to get your videos which are stored as MP4 files new can either plug a USB cable into the back of the drone or get the videos onto your app. It will store up to 50 minutes of video.
Battery life is an improvement over the previous model, and we found that the claim of 25 minutes flying time to be about correct.
There is a software video stabilisation system which works by using the fisheye lens camera. It is a little bit different to other drone stabilisation systems but works very well for the Parrot Bebop 2. It gives the Bebop 2 an incredibly wide view of what is surrounding it and allows it to make adjustments to its position based on what it ‘sees’. Overall it seems to work well and makes for smooth videos even in windy conditions.
The battery in itself weighs nearly 7 ounces, and you can get spares for around £50 pounds, which you can swap out while in the field.
We do like this drone very much and can see how it could be used as a very portable system in the outdoors however it is slightly limited by the sky controller. You can use the app if you are good with that. The size and weight of the sky controller don’t lend itself to a quick day out in the outdoors. If this is what you’re looking for, then you may be better to check out the new DJI Mavic.
A final word on the Parrot Bebop 2
If top end video quality is not a massive deal breaker, then this could be the drone for you.