Fringe Division: Droning On Again
Earlier this year I was able to review the first version of the AR parrot Drone. Since I had quite a positive experience with the device, I was more than happy to play around with the AR Parrot Drone 2. Before I relay my experience, let’s talk a bit about what the second version of our flying friend has over its predecessor.
Camera and recording
AR Drone 2.0 features a 720p front facing camera as opposed to the lower resolution camera on its predecessor. It also features a USB port on the device for attaching a black box like USB memory stick which will record your flight’s video feed as well as various other flight statistic such as altitude graphs etc.
According to the specs, this new and improved version of the drone boasts a pressure sensor, helps keep the craft vertically stable at altitudes as high as 50 meters whereas it’s predecessor only had ultra sound sensors that would allow for stability up to approximately 6 meters A 3-axis magnetometer also now complements the already present 3-axis gyro and 3-axis accelerometer. This apparently makes it significantly easier to pilot.
The Bad News
Unfortunately these new features seemed to be only good on paper. During my testing I found it incredibly difficult to just get it off the ground. It seemed as though it just lacked the power to really gain any altitude and just sort of swung around at about 30cm off the ground. The slightest of wind conditions also made it impossible to keep stable despite the stabilization features boasted about above. To make matters worse, the battery life for this unit seemed even shorter than it’s predecessor, with the battery going to unusably flat in about 5 minutes of frustration. The officially android application also managed to hard freeze my galaxy note often. I wasn’t able to record on my phone like I was able to with an earlier version of the controller app. And unfortunately since I could barely get the unit to fly I didn’t make any noteworthy recordings via the USB black box feature.
Priced at R3500 I’m beginning to think that a budget FPV system such as the Parrot AR Drone 2 isn’t worth the money for what you get. If you want to get in to this sort of hobby I’d suggest spending a LOT of money for some proper equipment. As a great man once said: