2014 Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo Review: Another Good Drone for Beginners and Kids?

MiniDrone Jumping Sumo - What's The Big Deal?

If you've read this blog, you know that I'm crazy about drones. I might have around 200 of them in my garage in various states of flight-readiness. However, that doesn't mean I'm done looking at them, and when something new comes out, my wife will confirm that I'm first in line to pick it up and try to crash it. I mean not crash it. Well, Parrot released their MiniDrone Rolling Spider the other day, and I loved it, so when I was offered the chance to pick up a MiniDrone Jumping Sumo, I decided I was up for it, even though it's not technically a flying drone.

 Structure, Design, and Guts

The MiniDrone Jumping Sumo has a somewhat silly name, but it's not designed to be a serious drone; when I want HD coverage and the ultimate flying experience, I turn to my Phantom 2 Vision+. When I'm looking for something far out in left field, the MiniDrone Jumping Sumo can fit the bill. The drone is honestly designed for either beginners who are curious about drones but aren't willing to spend tons of money on them or kids. Between the two demographics, I'd say it works quite well as a kids' drone, especially with the wackiness of it. I mean, it's a drone that jumps.

Inside the box, besides the drone, you also get odds and ends like stickers for customization, a battery, and so on. There's no radio transmitter; it's designed to be controlled through your smartphone or tablet. I've got both, and find it easier to control through my iPad, especially since the screen, being bigger, gives you more room for your fingers when steering. However, either will get the job done well enough.  The app for controlling the drone, Free Flight 3, is a free download and is available in both iOS and Android functionality.

The drone itself has a funky look that reminds me of some kind of large bug crossed with a muscle car. It's strange, but it works. The wheels are large and made of rubber.

OK, a bit more about the camera. It's capable of shooting video and streaming it on the fly, which I like, and it's the typical wide angle that we've come to expect from most cameras attached to drones. The resolution is rather low at 640 x 489, but considering that this resolution is greater than that on regular SD TV, and we enjoyed that for years before digital came along, it's not that bad. If you're looking for built in HD coverage of the car chase you're hovering above, however, you'll want to look toward the larger AR Drone or the Phantom FC40, Phantom 2 Vision, or Phantom 2 Vision+, which is my favorite of the three. Yes, I have all three. Maybe my wife is right when she calls it an addiction.

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. The experience of using the MiniDrone Jumping Sumo is a pretty fun one. You can make both vertical and horizontal jumps with the drone, and you can execute quick 90 degree and 180 degree turns. You also get to press buttons to make the actual jumps occur, and you can target jumps that either go higher or farther.

You also get a live video feed through the MiniDrone Jumping Sumo's camera, which provides a squirrel's eye view of the world as you're moving around with the drone. I'll be honest; when you're not jumping, the effect of controlling it is rather similar to that of using a radio-controlled car. However, there aren't any R/C cars that can jump like this.

The battery life isn't the best on the drone, and it's a good idea to buy some extras. However, it's a lot better than it is on many other drones I've used, especially the MiniDrone Rolling Spider. I'd estimate you'd get somewhere around 20 minutes, which is more than enough for a good amount of jumps.

To be honest, the biggest downside to the drone for me is simply that you can't use it to fly. However, my kids don't mind that when using it, and my son astutely pointed out that this meant the drone was much harder to lose in a tree. I had to admit he was right.

Should I Buy It?

In short, yes, as long as you're okay with staying on the ground with it. It's a fun, sprightly little drone that has the potential to entertain drone pilots--err, drivers--all day long.

I readily recommend the MiniDrone Jumping Sumo. You can buy it from Amazon in white, black, and brown.


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.

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