The consumer UAV market is expanding with a fury. Micro Air Vehicles – MAVs –small enough to launch and land on your hand, little more than highly mechanized toys, inhabit the low end of the function and price spectrum. They are challenging to fly but fun to chase fellow residents around the domicile with. Some of these little airbots, like the diminutive Hubsan H107C+ even come with cameras: UAVs big enough for a small payload and fairly sophisticated image capture and gimbals systems capable of extended flight time and distance hover at the top.
Fluttering about the lower to middle price/function realm lives the Parrot AR Drone 2.0. A plastic quad-copter, it offers dual body construction, meaning that it comes with an indoor Styrofoam ring rotor-guard snap-on body and an outdoor version, which leaves the rotors exposed for those who throw caution to the wind. Either of the bodies are pressure mounted to the frame. The AR Drone 2.0 is activated by plugging in the battery, placing it in its receiver and snapping the body of choice onto the frame.
The Parrot AR has a typical short battery life of about 12 minutes. This can be prolonged for a few dollars more by purchasing the Power Edition, which comes with two extended batteries. Relatively easy to fly, this one even does stunts with some practice . It comes with two 720p cameras, facing forward and down, allowing you to take stills and silent video because really, who wants to hear the sound of spinning rotors? Image capture is accomplished by either Smartphone or Tablet.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 comes with no controller, which means that to enjoy its wonders the owner will need at least one of these devices to get off the ground. Those who own an Nvidia Shield portable gaming device can control the AR Drone 2.0 with its physical analog sticks, which provide more hands-on responsiveness.
It's not a remote controlled helicopter for hobbyists and it's not a quadricopter camera mount for professionals, but it's much more than just a toy helicopter.
Having run down the juice, recharge times are quiet lengthy too, with a couple of hours needed for each battery to return to full power.
You will fly it outside and have fun for 1-5 minutes until wifi briefly loses connection.
I fly this thing all the time and have been able to get some incredible video. I am disabled but can use my hand enough to fly this drone better than most people.
What's nice is that the app offers lots of advanced controls, such as limiting the drone's altitude and also its speed.
Provided you have the disposable income and free time to justify it, the AR.Drone 2.0 is a satisfying purchase.