Iris+ Quadcopter Review
You might have read in our news section that the quadcopter manufacturer 3D Robotics has announced a new drone called Solo. While we wait for that new jewel, we thought it would be good to have a look at the current model, the IRIS+, which is still a very capable quadcopter, and we expect it is going to get reduced in price as the new one comes out. So it’s worth looking for a bargain!
Automatic is the key
This quadcopter, made by the Berkeley-based 3D Robotics has a pleasant, sturdy design. The landing legs seem to be well placed to be out of the way of the camera, even though they look a bit flimsy. The main electronic parts are enclosed in the central black body that also supports a gimbal for the camera. This quad is packed with useful features, but what really stands out, is the autonomous flight capability. Not only can it take off automatically, but also the path of your mission can be set up on a smartphone. Draw with your finger the path where you want the drone to fly, and it’ll go. How clever is that? The on-board computer is also capable of following the subject at a distance, and returning home at the press of a button. [glossary]FPV[/glossary] functionality is also available through the smartphone app. Whilst the software is quite good and also open source, it is reported to occasionally crash on certain tablets. However, a software update could easily solve this problem. There is also a very capable piece of software that runs on a PC (ground station) and can record all the details of a flight using the telemetry module included with the quadcopter. Basic telemetry information is also displayed on the controller.
Good overall performance
The IRIS+ has an impressive overall performance, with just a few glitches. It is easy to fly and very stable, especially with GPS lock. The GPS mode is slow, but this is not a bad thing as it is generally used for filming, where slow movements are required to get the best possible images. It is a heavy quadcopter compared to the competition; the total weight including battery, legs, Tarot T-2D gimbal, GoPro Hero3 is 1692 g or 59.7 oz; this is quite a bit more than the 1242 g (43.8 oz) of the Phantom 2 Vision+. Therefore we did not expect superlative flying times; however they are comparable to some of the competition, with declared 12-15 minutes using the stock 3 cell battery. The heavy weight does contribute to the slightly slow response to commands. We appreciated the number of safety features added to this quad. For example, you have to press a button on the body to start the checking procedure before taking off. Furthermore, the IRIS+ won’t take off if the battery level is too low. We also liked the controller, which feels of good quality and has more functionality than that offered with the Phantom; as we said it provides the user with basic telemetry information, which can be useful during flight.
Features and Specifications
- Weight (with battery): 1282 grams
- Average flight time: 10-15 minutes
- Telemetry/Control radio
- uBlox GPS with integrated magnetometer
- Motors: AC 2830, 850 kV
- Battery: 3-cell 11.1 V 3.5 Ah lithium polymer with XT-60 type connector. Weight: 262 grams
- GoPro camera mount
- Injection moulded legs
- Tarot T-2D gimbal (optional)
The 3D Robotics IRIS+ is a great little quadcopter. It flies very well and has many advanced features. It is particularly good at autonomous flying. At the moment of writing this review, there are 46 reviews on Amazon and it gets an average of 4.2/5 stars. Let’s look at some of the comments:
“This this is so amazing you will not believe your eyes.”
“The IRIS+ gave me the most amazing photo shots. I bought the gimbal as well to outfit this to my go pro. The GPS system works amazing on this. The follow me was very cool as I was able to do a jog with it connected to my pebble watch. Super easy to fly I would highly recommend.”
“This is my second drone my first was a DJI which was ok. Once you fly the iris+ you will be hooked”
A few people that were not fully satisfied with this product complained about some erratic behaviour. But this happens in most models including the DJI Phantom.
Well, if this is what 3D Robotics offers with the current model, we very much look forward to the Solo. As we said this model is probably going to get discounted then, and it will be well worth it. There might be some glitches with the software, but that will improve. The attractive design, good filming capabilities, amazing autonomous features and expandability make this quadcopter a worthy choice for the beginner and more advanced user.