French consumer technology company, Parrotare well know fortheir super impressive headphones (of which the latest model, Zik 3, was released this month). What you may not know is that they also make drones! In 2015, the French brand released the Bebop drone and it was a nice, lightweight alternative to other consumer products on the market at the time. This year Parrot are following up with the highly anticipated Bebop 2, which builds and improves on the features which the original was well known for.
Bebop 2 remains similar in shape and design to the first generation drone and weighs in at only 500g. The heaviest part of it is the battery, which is the most significant improvement from the older model. The new one allows for 25 minutes of flight time which is incredibly impressive for a drone of its size and for its price.A point of difference between Parrot and other drone makers is that you control them straight from your smartphone or tablet via Parrot’s dedicated app, FlightAware 3. They connect to each other via WiFi and it’s pretty good knowing you don’t have to carry too much around with you when you want to capture some footage. When I tried out the Bebop 2, I found the app quite simple to use, especially when taking off and landing which was as easy as pressing a button on my phone’s screen. Alternatively, Parrot also offer a separate controller called the Skycontroller Black Edition which extends the flight range between yourself and the drone to 2km (about 300 metres without it), and it also gives you greater control in navigation. It’s also pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it and I liked that I could attach my phone between the two joysticks to act as the screen for the live video feed. Through the FlightAware 3 app, you can also get your drone to do some pretty fun pre-programmed tricks like flipping forwards, backwards and sideways.Like its predecessor, the camera on the Bebop 2 is an embedded fisheye style on the end of its nose. Other drones tend to have their cameras mounted separately underneath but the unique design of Parrot’s product makes it a lot sleeker. The fisheye camera gives you a 180 degree view and I found it easy to control the angle of the camera from the app. I was impressed by the full HD video footage I captured with it which was quite smooth and movements felt seamless. In terms of colour and clarity, it’s not the best that’s out there at the moment but it certainly doesn’t detract from it too much – especially when you take into account its other good attributes.
Being so lightweight, compact and completely controllable from a smartphone or tablet, I think the Parrot Bebop 2 would be ideal to take travelling. It would also be pretty decent if you’ve never tried flying a drone before and want to start out with something really simple to use.