In today’s world, drones have become a popular entertainment and recreational item. The Parrot Bebop drone 2 is one of the most sought-after drones on the market as it provides many features for a low cost.
In the parrot bebop drone 2 review, Lucidcam will go over what you can expect from this product as well as some pros and cons that come with owning one.
Pros And Cons
- SkyController 2 a big step up
- Straightforward assembly and setup
- Repairable, with spare parts options
- Cheaper than competition
- FPV headset needs reduced latency
- The camera is better, but still needs work
- Susceptible to strong winds
Parrot Bebop Drone 2 Review
You’d be forgiven for assuming that the Bebop 2 is a modest upgrade over the original Bebop, purely down to the fact that they look so similar.
The Bebop 2 drone is not an “FPV version”. It’s the same design and mechanics. Parrot sells separately the CockpitGlasses VR headset, SkyController 2 remote controller as a bundle. You can purchase these accessories if you already have a Bebop 2 drone and pair them together.
This means that the drone weighs in at 500g and has the same 2,700 mAh lithium battery. They are identical, but they must be mounted on the Bebop 2 which comes with the new accessories.
Parrot placed them in the box so that they correspond to which rotor they belong to. This is due to small differences in their design, which ensures they stay in place.
This 14-megapixel camera has 1080p resolution. However, Parrot appears to have improved image quality via software optimization. I’ll discuss this later.
8GB internal memory isn’t very large and can quickly fill up when you record longer videos. You can download still images and footage directly from the FreeFlight Pro app to your phone or tablet. You can also plug your drone directly into a PC or Mac and then offload them.
If you want the same FPV experience with a twist, Parrot’s Disco fixed-wing drone uses the same camera, controller, and headset. These glasses can be used with any drone and they are interchangeable. Parrot keeps things in the family. These accessories represent the most significant design changes. The CockpitGlasses headset has been updated, and the SkyController 2 has undergone major changes.
SkyController’s first drone version had a heavier build and an optional neck strap to improve stability. It also included two handles to keep it in place with a Wi-Fi antenna.
The new controller is half the size of the original and feels more like a game controller. The Wi-Fi antenna has a smaller footprint and the tablet/phone holder can be removed.
The battery is now internal and not external as before. SkyController’s previous version used the same 2,700mAh Bebop 2 battery, which meant that you only needed one extra thing to take along on a flight. The rechargeable battery is convenient and lasts just as well, according to our tests.
Although the headset is similar to a standard VR headset it doesn’t look as good as Google Daydream View and Samsung’s Gear VR. It can be used with any iOS or Android phone that has a screen size between 4.7 and 5.5 inches.
Specifications and Features
The Bebop 2 Power comes with all the sensors that you would expect for this price. GPS and GLONASS positioning are available, as well as an ultrasound base with visual positioning and an altimeter. These all work together to provide return home functionality.
You can trigger it manually or automatically if there is no connection.
The DJI Spark comes with a MicroSD slot, but the Parrot Bebop 2 Power has 8GB integrated flash storage. Of which, about 7GB can be used. A microSD slot would have been my preference, both for its greater storage capacity and because it makes it easier to get content off the drone.
Getting photos and movie clips off the drone can be done either by slow wireless transfer to your mobile device or by running a Micro-USB cable from the Bebop to a computer.
The Parrot Bebop 2 Power can be used either via the app (which means slow transfers over Wi-Fi direct) or by connecting to a computer using micro-USB.
The camera has a 14-megapixel sensor, which can capture JPG and DNG RAW still images. This camera can also record Full HD video at 30fps. The DJI Spark’s 2-axis stabilization is preferred, but there’s only 3-axis digital stability. (A third is digitally stabilized).
The successor to the original Parrot Bebop model, it features a fisheye lens which allows for surprisingly judder-free footage and even boasts user-serviceable rotors.
Flight – Parrot Bebop Drone 2
The Bebop 2 can be flown with your smartphone, tablet, and Parrot FreeFlight Pro App. You can also fly the Bebop 2 without your smartphone using the included remote, either with your phone connected via a USB cable to the remote or with your phone plugged into the remote and inserted into the included FPV glasses.
Although I prefer to use the Skycontroller 2 with the FreeFlight Pro app, it is nice to know that the Bebop 2 can be flown even when your iPhone or Android runs out of battery. You will still be able to change settings and see what the camera is seeing.
FreeFlight Pro app offers the option to download footage and still images directly to your phone or tablet. You can also plug your drone directly into a PC or Mac and then offload them.
It’s not my favorite thing to fly with the phone. It doesn’t provide tactile feedback, making precision control very difficult. Parrot does not publish the maximum operating range for flying without Skycontroller 2. Flying via FPV headset is a fun and immersive experience.
However, you can bet that it will be quite limited depending on how congested WiFI is in your area.
If you are looking to improve your skills and learn a few tricks, the Skycontroller alone is an excellent choice. The Bebop 2 can turn forward, backward, or barrel roll in any direction.
Connect your smartphone to the phone holder in a matter of minutes. You can then see what your camera sees and you can adjust settings and remap buttons.
Two control sticks are used by the controller. The left controls altitude, yaw, and moves the aircraft forward, backward, left, right, or in the air.
You’ll quickly get used to it if you have flown a drone or played a video game. You will find A and B buttons on your face, as well as photos and videos by default. There are also takeoff/landing and return-to-home buttons.
Digital pan and zoom controls on the left and right of the camera allow for image adjustment (brightness) and pan up and down. Two bumpers are used by default for FPV flight. The left bumper toggles between your phone’s camera, and the Bebop.
This is useful for locating the drone in the sky. However, it’s not as satisfying to use your own eyes to track its flight. The right adjusts how much information is displayed over the live video feed.
If you opt to slide your smartphone into the Cockpitglasses–Parrot’s name for its headset–you’ll see what the drone sees. This method of flying is extremely disorienting to me, but you might disagree.
The FAA does not recommend wearing a headset. The FAA recommends that pilots keep their drones within easy visual view when flying. The FPV mode is a great option for racers who want to fly at low altitudes and avoid other people or dangers.
FPV Mode – Parrot Bebop Drone 2
CockpitGlasses are now collapsible for easy storage. They can take phones with screens ranging from 4.7 to 5.5in. They are comfortable and allow you to switch to direct view so that you don’t need to take the headset off to see the drone.
While it is still a good idea for someone to spot you in FPV mode, it is a bad idea to do so. It is also a requirement of UK drone law to keep your drone within your line of sight at all times. This is something that you cannot do if your phone is strapped to your face.
Performance – Parrot Bebop Drone 2
When paired with Skycontroller 2, the Bebop 2 has a range of 1.24 miles. However, you can expect to see less in practice. In rural conditions, there was no wireless interference so I was able to fly approximately 1,500 feet before losing the video signal.
I was testing the drone in a suburban environment, where the range was an issue. I usually do a test flight at my local athletic field. First, I ascend to 400 feet. Then, I fly the drone until the video becomes blurred. This gives me an idea of the real-life operating range.
I lost video from the Bebop 2 at only 100 feet from my starting position at 400ft in the air. I also lost total operational control.
The drone’s safety feature for returning home kicked in, and I was able to avoid losing it. This is a major limitation for anyone who lives in densely populated areas and uses the drone to capture aerial views of their neighborhood.
Parrot allows you to create a geofence in the Parrot app to limit your Bebop’s range. This is especially important if you fly in an area that has many wireless networks.
For capturing cool video from the sky for sharing online or viewing at small sizes on a mobile device, you’ll probably be pretty happy with what you get from the Parrot 2, especially if you’re flying in full daylight. Compared to the DJI Phantom 3 Standard, though, it misses the mark.
It delivers more than 20 minutes of flight time on a single charge, boasts a 14-megapixel camera that can capture 1080p video, and is rated for a maximum range of 300 meters.
Video and Image Quality – Parrot Bebop Drone 2
Front-facing cameras can shoot video at 1080p resolution at 24, 25, and 30 frames per second. The quality is not bad. The drone has a large circular fish-eye lens. Video is also cropped from the small sensor. The resolution is sufficient to cover the 2MP per frame that you get at 1080p.
However, because it was cropped from a small point-and-shoot-sized image sensor with an ultra-wide lens, there are blurry edges and details. Lens flare can also occur when the sun is shining on the lens or if it’s coming in from the sides.
You can expect to spend a lot more if you need better video quality from a small drone. For professional-grade work, the DJI Mavic Pro offers native 4K recording and uses all of its image sensor’s width. It costs $300 more.
Video is very stable when you consider that stabilization can’t be done with a mechanical device. The Parrot 2, which incorporates four shock absorbers and digital stabilization, keeps footage stable. There are occasionally some wobbling artifacts, but it’s not nearly as bad as you get with the similar Xiro Xplorer Mini.
While the Parrot 2 feels a little flimsy in the hand as a result of this design, it means video recording is less prone to shake from the powerful motors on each arm.
If you are okay with a circular image and a visible border, the photo quality is quite good, with photos coming in at 13.6MP resolution. I recommend using the entire sensor and lens and cropping as needed. Raw and JPG capture options are available. Another option is a pre-cropped 2MP JPG, which is basically a frame grab from a video.
The crew also tests the Bebop’s digital image stabilization, which provides gimbal-like performance while capturing aerial video.
Parrot Bebop 2 Power – Battery Life
It might seem a bit disingenuous to claim that the Parrot 2 Power can provide an hour of flight, considering that you will need to change batteries in order to get this time. It’s still impressive that the Parrot 2 Power can fly for up to 30 minutes on one battery.
Battery life is improved for Parrot 2. Joshua Goldman/CNET What did get fixed from the original is battery life, mainly because the body supports a larger pack. Gone is the flimsy connector and Velcro strap.
You can view the length of each flight and a visual map. I was seeing close to 30 minutes per battery. It takes around 80 minutes to charge a battery. The Skycontroller 2 battery lasts over 4 hours.
Price – Parrot Bebop Drone 2
The Bebop 2 is the best drone under $300. Check out the Parrot 2 for around $199 for just the drone, $249 for a drone with remote and FPV goggles frame. The DJI Spark is closest, but it costs $100 more. In many ways, the Spark is superior to other drones. The Spark is smaller in size, has a better camera and a mechanical two-axis stabilizer.
Although the Bebop is still faster in-flight time, it’s only 11 minutes longer than the Spark. Parrot Bebop 2 is one of the best drones to buy for under $300. If you have $400 to spare, I recommend the DJI Spark. The Spark’s compact drone size and camera are enough to justify the extra cost.
The Bebop 2 actually mirrors the Bebop 1 almost in every way. The camera has a resolution of 14 megapixels and attempts to compensate for the lack of a gimbal equipped with three-axis video stability software. The drone still has 8GB of internal storage, and you can still control the drone with an iOS/Android application or a $400 ” SkyController” remote. The flight control app now offers a “flight plan” feature if you’d like to plot your route ahead of time. However, this will cost you $20 more as an in-app payment.
Parrot Bebop Drone 2 is a relatively affordable quadcopter that still offers some of the most advanced features on the market. This is a fun drone that you can fly with the phone. It’s perfect for beginners and seasoned drone pilots alike, with a range of great safety features to ensure you fly safely without worry. If you want an easy-to-use, high-quality camera drone that won’t break the bank, this may be your best bet. We hope our review has been helpful!