Parrot Drone BeBop 2 Review
The Parrot drone BeBop 2 is mid-range video-capable quadcopter, a significant improvement over its successor, the Parrot BeBop. While it does offer a very similar, hardly distinguishable design to the original, almost everything else, including build quality has been upgraded.
The folks at Parrot say they have completely redesigned the whole frame in order to make the BeBop 2 more durable white retaining its light weight and compact size. We have found this to be true, as BeBop 2 feels very sturdy and resistant.
The design itself looks quite impressive and modern-looking. It is available in white and red color, both which look nice. Compact design makes this drone small and portable, possible to fit in any larger bag.
While many drones in this range do not have an integrated camera, rather opting for a camera-ready mount, making it possible for users to mount a GoPro camera, this is not the case with Parrot BeBop 2.
With this drone, for better or worse, you will get an integrated camera, providing you with what we call a RTS (Ready to Shoot) experience, that is to say you will be able to use this drone for photography and aerial videos out-of-the-box.
Weight: 0.5 kg
Colors: Red, White
Max. flight time: 24 m
Max. speed: 18 m/s
Max. photo resolution: 14 MP
Max. video resolution: 1080p
The camera in question is a 1080p Full HD camera with a 180-degree Fish-Eye lens. While the camera does offer rather wide-angle field of view, you will not actually see that Fish-Eye effect or the full 180-degree view. This is because of the software image stabilization system, which uses the extra wide field of view and crops into the sensor in order to compensate for camera shake and provide you with smooth and stable video. While many other drones use a physical image stabilization, Parrot has chosen to do this using software only. While physical stabilization is usually more reliable, software stabilization can work well too, and the Parrot drone BeBop 2 is not exception. Most of the time, you will get smooth video, while it is possible for some artifacts to appear on the edges of the screen in some instances.
Video and image quality is pretty good, with a reasonably fast and accurate Auto Focus system, accurate color reproduction and white balance, as well as image sharpness. With that being said, you should be aware that this camera is nowhere near in quality compared to the likes of DJI’s latest high-end camera drones. Video produces by Parrot BeBop 2 is mostly intended for internet and social media sharing, home TV viewing and similar purposes. It can be used for commercial footage as well, but do not expect to overly impress anyone in the business with this level of quality.
One major upgrade to the original BeBop is the battery size, featuring a 2700 mAh battery which is more than double in size and weight to the original. This of course translates to a much higher numbers in flight time, moving up to an average of 23 minutes of continuous flight, which is a huge increase compared to the original’s 7-8 minutes of flight time. If you really strain the battery by flying aggressively, flight duration might fall under 20 minutes, but most of the time it will keep above the 20 minute mark. This battery life is indeed very impressive for a quadcopter in this price range.
Controlling the Parrot Drone BeBop 2
There are two ways to control the Parrot drone BeBop 2; with a smartphone or a remote controller in combination with a smartphone. In either case, a smartphone or a tablet is required. Yes, you can control the drone using your smartphone or tablet alone, by connection the BeBop to the FlightAware 3 app. The app connects to your drone using a Wi-Fi signal and you can use it fly the drone, access all relevant settings, view feedback data as well as use dedicated functions such as automatic lift off, landing and return home. Of course, you are also able to view real time telemetry sent by the drone’s camera.
The app is feature-rich and reliable, but it can be a little confusing for beginners, as there are lots of options and data being thrown around, all arranged somewhat unintuitively. After you get past the learning curve, it gets better, reasonably easy to operate.
If however, you opt out for the remote controller, there are several important things you should know. First of all, the dedicated remote controller is called Skycontroller Black and it does not arrive with the drone, rather it is available as separate purchase. It has several important advantages over the smartphone app when it comes to actual flying.
Skycontroller is a rather bulky black device, and that is it’s only disadvantage which completely counters one of BebBop’s main selling points – portability and compactness. Having the drone by itself you can take it anywhere and place it inside almost any bag or travel compartment. Adding the controller the whole mobility experience becomes very awkward.
In the center of the controller there is a mount for your smartphone or tablet, which wirelessly connects to the Skycontroller, while the Skycontroller connects to the drone.
There are two joysticks, one on each side of the controller. The left one is used to control altitude and rotation while the right one is used for front/back and right/left movement. Other than that the joysticks, there are several dedicated physical buttons for automated functions such as Land, Take off and Return home.
The Skycontroller comes with a large Wi-Fi antenna, which enables you to fly the drone much farther way than you would normally be able. Without the controller, you can get the drone as far as 100-200 feet (30-60m). With the controller, we have been able to go as far as 400 feet (120m), and the manufacturer says it could go up to 3.5 miles (6km).
The Parrot drone BeBop 2 is a capable quadcopter with impressive flight time and a decent camera. It is certainly a worthy buy for the price. You will not be able to capture any award-winning aerial footage with it, but it will do fine for internet videos and maybe even some basic commercial footage. It is also a capable drone in itself for flying for fun or sports.