Parrot Bebop Review
I’ve always wanted a parrot, and I mean one of those cute birds that sit on your shoulder and repeats embarrassing words as soon as a friend of yours comes round to visit you. The French company Parrot, has created a line of drones that have become quite popular. They don’t look quite like real parrots and they don’t speak, but they do fly very well. The latest arrival in their catalogue is the Parrot Bebop, an appealing drone of relatively small footprint, but very advanced features. At the moment of writing it is priced at
$899.99 so slightly cheaper than its direct competitors.
The Parrot Bebop looks a bit different than other flagship drones like the Phantom and the Typhoon. It’s more compact and the camera does not stick out at the bottom of the quadcopter, but it is facing forward, like a big eye. We would say that overall the design is attractive. The fact that it has a smaller footprint also means that it is easy to carry around.
Despite it being small, it is packed with advanced features. The number of sensors that they managed to pack in such a small body, is staggering. The Parrot Bebop has 3 axis [glossary]accelerometer[/glossary], a 3 axis magnetometer, a 3 axis [glossary]gyroscope[/glossary], an air-pressure sensor, a down-facing camera that is capable of tracking the speed during flight, and if that was not enough, the manufacturer has even added an ultrasound sensor that can detect the distance to the ground when the drone gets closer than 8 meters. Oh and we have not even mentioned the [glossary]GPS[/glossary], which, as expected, is able to track and stabilise the position of the quadcopter in flight. All this technology makes the drone super stable. You can actually poke it with your hand while it’s in mid-air and it would spring back as if it was attached to that position.
No need for a gimble
You heard that right, this drone, so full of technology, does not have a [glossary]gimble[/glossary]. The point is that it does not need one; images are processed in real time by a powerful dual-core GPU and all the shaking is digitally removed, making your footage as stable as with a gimble. The advantage, obviously, is that it the camera is firmly attached and not surrounded by vulnerable parts, even though being at the front it is in a slightly dangerous position. The camera records at 1080p and image quality, whilst not at a professional level, is still very good and would satisfy most people.
Smartphone or SkyController?
Like the previous iteration of the parrot, this drone can be controlled via WiFi directly from your smartphone or tablet, including [glossary]FPV[/glossary] functionality. Range is limited to 1000 ft and some have reported erratic behaviour. You can enjoy playing with this quadcopter using your phone, but its capabilities and the controls you have over it, are a bit limited. We strongly recommend getting the version with the SkyController, then you’ll be able to access to the full power of this machine. Other than giving the ability to finely control the quadcopter, the SkyController extends the range you can fly it to a staggering 2 km! Whilst it is very precise and comfortable to wear, the SkyController is also quite big and not very portable; we would have preferred a smaller version of it.
Features and specifications
- 1200mAh/20C 3 cells Li-Po battery
- CMOS 14MPx camera
- Camera stability: 3-axes image stabilization (feature gyroscope, 3-axes accelerometer and magnetometer for optimal stability)
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Geo-location GNSS (GPS + GLONASS + Galileo)
- 8-12 minutes flight time with one battery
Customer Reviews and Scores
At the time of writing, this quadcopter has 35 customer reviews on Amazon (version with SkyController), scoring 3.5 out of 5. Let’s see what some of the reviewers have to say…
… the Bebop is much easier to fly, particularly with the Skycontroller that comes with this bundle, and produces video as good (and in some cases better) than the one that comes with the Phantom.
… For the money, the Bebop is excellent. Picture quality is surprisingly good. Drone is easy to fly.
Flying this drone is a dream, the camera stability is truly magic, it is amazing to watch back on the big screen at 1080p.
… Don’t be fooled by its tiny size, this little machine is a powerful, stable, amazing drone. I have had it for about two weeks and I have enjoyed every second of it, I got the one that comes with the skycontroller and it flies sooo smooth and easy, I also have the DJI Inspire 1, and I even think that Parrot’s Bebop is more stable indoors, compared to DJI’s inspire 1.
Some of the negative comments are related to the way the battery attaches to the body. It is not that easy to attach! Other negative comments are related to the shorter battery life when compared to the DJI or the previous version of the Parrot.
OK, the Parrot Bebop, will never be a replacement for real parrot. But if you wanted a good drone, it perfectly fits the bill. It’s stylish, and it flies like a dream. Not many quadcopters are as easy to fly as this one. Flying the Parrot Bebop is really fun, enjoyable and entertaining, to say the least. Unfortunately, there are some things that could be improved. It does not come with a manual, but it can be easily downloaded online. The controller is too big for our liking and the battery, at this price-point should last nearly twice as long! If you can get past that, and you get the version with the controller, you’ll have lots of fun, guaranteed.