Parrot Bebop Drone
Four rotors for the price of a drone
£780 Manufacturer Parrot, parrot.com Connectivity 802.11ac, MIMO dual-band (2.4 and 5GHz) Camera 1920x1080 at 30fps (video), 4096x3072 Memory 8GB Dimensions 80x320x36mm Weight 400g
Parrot drones have finally grown up. We’re used to slightly childlike toys such as the Rolling Spider topping Christmas lists, but the Bebop drone is about to claim that spot. It’s a diminutive drone, but it’s got some serious kit on board.
In a body section that’s just a few inches long you get a substantial battery and an HD (1080p) video camera that shoots 14 megapixel stills. It can be bought just as a drone (£430), but the Skycontroller bundle gives you a traditional twin-stick remote control unit capable of generating its own Wi-Fi hotspot, enabling you to fly up to a claimed 2km (it went well beyond our sight!)
The Skycontroller is a big unit and you’ll need the shoulder strap as it’s heavy too. You can secure an iPad or iPhone into the middle, giving you a live view from the Bebop’s camera. If Parrot’s FreeFlight software wasn’t so good, this could seem gimmicky, but it’s delivered with aplomb. Freeing yourself from the constraints of touch control (the only option if you haven’t got a Skycontroller) makes delicate adjustments a cinch.
There can be a slight delay in horizontal control when starting from a landing position, but once in flight the Skycontroller’s twin sticks make drone control far easier than touch. It’s quite a thrill too when you get the drone out of sight and you’re flying like a real drone pilot, by just looking at a screen. Thankfully, there’s a button on the Skycontroller that returns the Bebop to its starting position if you ever feel like it’s lost.
Naturally, the view from the camera has a slight frame rate issue so you still need to be pretty confident of the kind of area you’re flying into. The drone should only be used in the lightest of winds too.
The Bebop itself is light but can withstand some pretty serious knocks. The only weighty component is the battery (lasting about 12 minutes), but its clip mechanism is flimsy. It doesn’t exactly click into place; it comes out too easily and looks untidy.
These small criticisms didn’t dent our enjoyment, however. If you can afford it, you’re in for some brilliant aerial antics. Christian Hall
Who’s a pretty boy then? Those who can afford this premium plaything are in for high jinks.