2014 Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition Quadricopter Review: Best Phantom Alternative Quadrotor?

Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition - What's The Big Deal?

I've had the Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition for more than a year now, and despite having purchased several other drones since then (Phantom 2 Vision+, you're my favorite), something keeps bringing me back to to this fun little quadcopter. The experience of flying one is similar, yet strikingly different from that of piloting a DJI drone, and I'm going to put away my Phantoms for a few minutes to tinker with the AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition and share what makes it a pretty awesome drone to have in your flight hangar. For example, when's the last time you got 35 minutes of flight time out of a single set of batteries on a drone?

Structure, Design, and Guts

The AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition makes me smile as soon as I unpack it. Why? Because Parrot took my advice years ago when I suggested multiple batteries in a kit would encourage people to fly more, which would encourage them to fly more. I'm still waiting for DJI to acknowledge this, but in the mean time, we can be happy that Parrot ships two batteries with the AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition, which means that you can fly for up to 70 minutes, as long as you remember to land halfway through to swap batteries. Each battery lasts up to 35 minutes, and a pocket-sized wall charger is included.

Looking at the body of the drone itself, it's clear that Parrot designed the AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition to be used in a variety of conditions, or at least both indoors and outdoors. They include two hulls or fuselages for the drone, with one optimized for indoor use, and the other for use in the wide open spaces of the great outdoors. I'll admit that I use the indoor hull outside as well, as it simply looks cooler than the outdoor one. However, the point of the indoor hull is to keep your various accouterments from being smashed up by the rotors. I don't have anything fancy enough to be wrecked by drone blades, but my wife loves her curtains and standing mixer, and there's no way I'm going to risk damaging either, so on goes the indoor hull when whizzing around the house.

Another reason to use the indoor hull when flying outdoors is because it keeps  others safe from the rotors, which can do serious damage if they contact a person just about anywhere. The rotors themselves come in three different colors, which is an easy way to personalize your drone.

What's It Like to Use It?

This is my favorite part of any review, and let's be honest: it's why you've read this far. Using the AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition is simply a fun experience. The drone flies quickly and is highly responsive to the control system. Speaking of the control system, the primary method suggested by Parrot is a smartphone or tablet, which isn't my preferred method, since I was raised with a radio transmitter in my hands. However, it does work, and you get used to it pretty quickly.

There are two cameras connected to the AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition; one is mounted toward the front, which streams via a Parrot app to your smartphone. The app for flight control is available in both iOS and Android, which is nice. The front camera gives a decent quality (720p), and is definitely usable as a way of steering the drone, but you don't get too much detail with it.

To fly the AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition, by default, your phone controls it via tilt. In other words, you hold your phone the way you would a joystick, and off you go. This was my lesser favored method, as Parrot also lets you set up a pair of joypads on the screen, and use the left thumb to control your direction while your right controls height. In other words, the left thumb decides whether you're heading forward, backwards, left or right, while the right will help you move up and down and will determine where the front of the drone is pointing. This method makes much more sense, and I quickly grew to prefer it to the other.

The second camera I mentioned points downward, as it is mounted beneath the drone. I only found it useful when trying to land on particular things, such as the top of my wife's head while she slept (just kidding!). You can also use the front camera to take pictures at 1280x720 resolution. For recording, you can stream video to your piloting device and record it from there, or there is a USB socket on the AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition that you can stick a memory stick in and use for recording. I preferred this mode, as I found I could get more than an hour's worth of video out of a 2 GB stick, and since a single battery doesn't last that long, it's more than enough between flights.

I'm a fan of the app included for a few more reasons, including the effortless relay of the video from the front camera to my smartphone. There's next to no lag, and I love it. I also like how if I drop the phone by accident, the drone simply stops and hovers wherever it may be until I pick up the controls again. This is a great "panic" feature. Similarly, there's even a "land" button that you can press to take the guesswork out of executing a landing. Crazy, right?

Should I Buy It?

In short: I would, yes. It's not a Phantom, but it doesn't need to be. It's a fun drone that offers a different flight quality from that of the Phantoms; it feels more organic and less mechanical, somewhat like making rice from a pot instead of with a rice cooker. Yes, I'm somewhat addicted to rice. The main downsides to the AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition are the video, which isn't nearly as clear or stabilized as other options out there, as well as the lack of physical controls for the drone. But if those features don't matter for you, I can't think of a better drone for beginners or intermediate pilots.

I completely recommend the AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition. You can buy it from Amazon here. Extra regular batteries are here, but I'd spend a bit more for the enhanced batteries here.


Hi! My name is Mike, and I'm the author of this personal drone blog. If you find the information on my flying drone review blog useful, you can shop through Amazon here.

No comments:

Post a Comment