Review: Parrot Bebop 2 FPV
This is the first drone I have ever flown, and it’s truly a crazy feeling to have this military gadget in my hands. It’s hard to believe that there is so much tech in this little device (it’s just under 500 grams!) considering the ease of use. But before we ‘take off’ with this review, let’s get organised…
Specs. & Price Bebop 2, FPV
- Drone: The drone comes in red or white. The drone I received from Novis Group for testing was white with black accents. At first glance, the drone is sleek, modern-looking and extremely light. It has a 14 mega-pixel camera, full HD 1080p video recording, 8GB of flash storage and a battery life of 25 minutes (flying time). There’s a signal range of 300 meters, a maximum horizontal speed of 16 meters/second and a maximum upwards speed of 6 meters/second. Simply download the App and you can already fly the drone like a professional.
- SkyController 2: The handheld SkyController 2 weighs 500 grams and has a cell phone dock that is compatible with many different smartphones. This accessory to the drone makes navigation and flying the drone much easier and smoother. It contains joysticks and shortcut buttons to enhance your flying experience to give you ‘simple, accurate and intense control’.
- CockpitGlasses: The Cockpit Glasses are compatible with many different smartphones and give you an ‘immersive flying sensation’. They allow you to see from the perspective of the drone and get a crazy-cool, ‘ultra-real viewing’.
The drone is super easy to use. From the moment you receive it until take off takes about 1 hour- just until the battery is fully charged and the few pieces are assembled. It’s very important to watch the instructions on the Parrot website before you begin. The reason being that there are some very basic piloting mistakes you want to avoid- such as GPS connection, flat trimm, calibration, RTH and a few more. If any of these terms don’t mean anything to you, don’t fly the drone yet. Seriously, I mean it. I know that most techies like to figure their gadgets out for themselves (myself included), but when it comes to droning, it’s worth it to invest a bit of time in learning how to avoid crashes and properly use this technology. I would even recommend watching a YouTube clip or two before you begin.
The App that can be downloaded is super intuitive to use either alone or connected with the SC2. The screen helps to visualize where the drone is- especially when it’s far away and you are not sure in which direction it faces.
So once you start droning with the Sky Controller 2, there is a button for takeoff and landing. By pushing it, the drone automatically takes off and hovers at around one meter above ground, waiting for further instructions. With the two joysticks it’s really simple to get started, especially if the settings on the app limit the speed and height of the drone. I used it with my iPhone 6S Plus, starting off with slow speeds and gradually getting faster as I became more proficient.
Proficiency came within a few times of use, and cool aerial manoeuvres (such as flips and turns) soon followed. However, be aware, that compared to other drones, such as various DJI drones, the Bebop 2 does NOT have any anti-collision sensors, so it’s in the hand of the pilot to avoid any obstacles, such as trees, cars, houses and cables. I also used the Return to Home (RTH) feature several times and it kicked in very nicely.
What can a Drone be used for?
The main reason I used it for was for aerial photography and videography. We did some beautiful flights around Zurich and St. Gallen, and got some amazing footage. I got some cool family portraits on the rooftop of an apartment building (about 20 people), a beautiful sunset and a picturesque, snowy day.
Slowly but surely, the applications of drones (aside from photography and videography) for business are becoming more important and recognised by businesses and institutions.
- The “Swiss Post Services” just announced their pilot program to deliver blood samples between hospitals with drones.
- Another nice example is the drone that can save lives. Watch it here.
I flew the drone at various times during the day but even though the camera has Full HD, I couldn’t get nice shots at night (only fly at night if you know you can do it, not recommended for beginners).
The Crash – How & Why?
Expect to crash it at one point or another. (See my next point.) First, make sure that you always keep in mind that there are many things that can happen, and do happen while flying a drone. Usually, it’s a piloting error and not because of the drone. Make sure to keep this in mind when flying, take all precautions necessary, and follow the safety guidelines given by the company.
I was flying my drone at around 1.5 meters off the ground, about 2 meters away from where I stood. It was just hovering in front of me, when suddenly the drone lost connection to the SC2 (the reason for losing the connection is unclear, but it could have been because of the cold temperature outside). I was a new pilot then and didn’t know how to get the connection back. I made several mistakes. Mistake 1: After 30 seconds, the drone went into RTH mode. It should have been 60 seconds to give me a little extra time to reconnect. The drone started flying ‘home’- which was located across the city. Which leads me to mistake 2: The GPS setting was incorrect and I should have set it to where I was currently standing. The drone rose to about 15 meters and flew about 5 meters over, and then landed in a tree. Hence, mistake 3: Don’t fly next to trees (especially not in the beginning). It then fell, and broke a leg.
This was super annoying but it just shows again the importance of really practicing first in an open field, and following the instructions that come with your drone. Once you get used to flying it will be super easy, but it’s important for your safety and your surroundings that you know how to fly the drone.
Customer Service & Repair
The fact is, at one point or another, you will crash your drone. Therefore, you are most likely going to have to repair it. Instead of trying to save a little money, make sure you buy the drone from a store that offers a great and easy customer service. Before you buy, make sure you understand how much it costs to repair (parts and time) and how they handle it. Customer reviews on Google might help with this point. Questions you should consider:
- Is the store an official Parrot retailer?
- What’s included/excluded in the warranty?
- How much do they charge for parts?
- How much do they charge for time?
- How do they handle shipping?
Novis Group repaired my damaged drone, and they had really excellent customer service. The broken arm was fixed and sent back to me within a week. The customer service representatives that I dealt with were extremely understanding and helpful as well.
This drone was provided to GlobalTechBox.com by Novis Group for testing and reviewing. All opinions are my own and were not influenced by the company. I was not paid to write this blog post, nor did I pay for the drone or the repair of the drone. There are no affiliate links nor is there a revenue share agreement.