Parrot Bebop Quadcopter Drone w/Fisheye Lens

User Guide PDF

I bought one of these on a previous Woot, and I’ll share some of my thoughts here, in case it is of help to someone.

The short version: It’s got some flaws, but for the price, I think it’s a decent buy. Anything better is hundreds more at this point.

Long version:

It generally flies well, but seems to sometimes respond slowly to commands. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m using an old tablet to control it, or if it’s an issue with the drone in general.

Flight times are around 10 minutes max with the included batteries, which for me is not an issue, but I may not be a heavy drone user. I think the bigger issue might be that it takes an hour or so to recharge the batteries, so you get two 10 minute flights and then have to wait at least an hour to fly it again.

Video quality is borderline, in my opinion. It is 1080p, but looks grainy. It actually looks better after uploading to YouTube. The camera has low dynamic range, so if there are varying bright and dark areas in the scene, some things will either be blown out or too dark to see. Cloudy days, with brightly lit clouds can render the ground very dark. Bright, sunny days look good.

Image stabilization works well, for the most part, and one of the things I like about the layout of this drone is that you rarely see the rotors in the camera.

The image feed is not 100% real-time, and skips frames, but is usable. The drone gets a little unstable when low to the ground when I’ve flown it, so you probably don’t want to rely on the video feed then.

I found the Skycontroller for $100 on ebay, direct from Parrot, but haven’t had a chance to use it because it seemed to be defective. I contacted their support through their website, and it was very slow, taking over a week to get a response. Their phone support is only available during business hours on the West Coast, so I couldn’t easily call without taking time off from work. One day I had the opportunity, and I got through quickly and they were very helpful. I currently have the Skycontroller sent back under an RMA and expect a replacement, but have not yet received it.

I’ve had it lose connection to the tablet a couple of times, when it was about 75 feet above my house, but it did manage to regain the connection. I assume the Skycontroller would help with that, as well as making it easier to control than using the touch-screen of a tablet.