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Posted on Nov 3, 2014 in Reviews | 10 comments

3D Robotics IRIS+ Quadcopter Overview


Do you wish you could map out where you want your drone to go and it would just listen to you? Do you enjoy being able to customize whatever you want? Do you wish your drone could follow you while filming automatically? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the IRIS+ Quadcopter from 3D Robotics is the drone for you.

Flight Time        16-22min
Charging Time          45-60min
 Battery Type     5100mAh 3S battery
 AA Battery        None
Camera         GoPro
Price           $599 (no camera included)

Getting Started: 3D Robotics IRIS+ Quadcopter Review

Be forewarned, the IRIS+ Quadcopter from 3D Robotics is not for the faint of heart. Although this drone comes nearly RTF (ready to fly) out-of-the-box, we recommend that you at least have some flying experience before purchasing the IRIS+.  This advanced quadcopter requires regular tinkering and firmware updates. However, the ability to customize and set many different types of settings is what sets the IRIS+ apart, making it the perfect drone for some people. Developed by ex-WIRED editor, Chris Anderson, the IRIS is aimed at makers and hobbyists who want to contribute to development of the product.

Awesome Features of the IRIS+

  1. The ‘Geofence’: before taking off, you can set boundaries for the IRIS+’s upcoming flight. If you end up running into one of these boundaries, the quadcopter will automatically return to its launch point. This can be a very handy feature while learning to fly, making sure flights can’t get out of hand. Also, with the simple switch of a toggle, you can tell the IRIS+ to return to its launch point whenever you see fit.
  2. Mission Planning: if you know exactly where you want the IRIS to fly to, then you can opt for an autopilot mission. Using the Mission Planning application from 3d Robotics, you simply plug in to your operating environment and configure the waypoints and flightpath beforehand. Then you let the IRIS do the flying for you.
  3. Set Up a Ground Control Center: using an Android environment, the IRIS lets you stream live flight-data to your device on the ground.
  4. Follow the Leader Mode: when carrying an Android device, the IRIS+ is capable of following and filming you do… whatever the heck you want! Now, you can take a lap down the half pipe with your IRIS+ locked on and filming you from above… automatically!

Setting Up

Setting up the the IRIS is pretty straightforward. First, you’ll want to find the battery kit and charge up the battery. Even though the battery is shipped half charged, you definitely want to charge the battery all the way before flying.

The IRIS also comes along with four unattached propellers. All you need to do is attach and rotate each color coordinated propeller towards the locking direction given. Don’t worry if the propeller doesn’t seem to lock all the way, the IRIS is designed to automatically lock in these propellers before takeoff.

We recommend reading through the manual for more detailed instructions on these procedures before flying.

Learning to Fly the IRIS Quadcopter

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 9.04.07 PM

Out of all the remote transmitters we have encountered while researching drones, the IRIS comes with one of the coolest remotes we have seen yet. Since its design mimics that of a video game controller, the functionality is pretty user intuitive.

The left stick controls ‘throttle’ and ‘yaw.’ To adjust the quadcopter’s altitude (throttle), simply move the left stick up or down, and center it to hover. To rotate the quadcopter (yaw), move the left controller stick to the left or right and the drone will rotate in the corresponding direction.

The right stick controls pitch and roll. This means that any way you tilt the right controller stick the quadcopter will tilt and move in the same direction.  As with learning to fly any drone, practice small movements at first at low altitudes, and work your way up from there.

Flight Modes

The IRIS has three flight modes: standard mode (STD) allows you to fly manually, hover mode (LTR) makes the IRIS hover in place – a great tool for beginners, and auto mode (AUTO) lets you set waypoints that the IRIS will automatically fly to.

Pixhawk Autopilot System

The IRIS+ draws much of its power from the Pixhawk autopilot system. Built by 3DR and developed as an open-source project, Pixhawk interfaces with downloadable ground stations for the IRIS allowing you to customize and set many different flight variables. However, making these types of adjustments to the IRIS+ voids your warranty and is recommended only for experts with previous knowledge of quadcopter flight systems.

  • Processor
    • 32-bit ARM Cortex M4 core with FPU
    • 168 Mhz/256 KB RAM/2 MB Flash
    • 32-bit failsafe co-processor
  • Sensors
    • MPU6000 as main accel and gyro
    • ST Micro 16-bit gyroscope
    • ST Micro 14-bit accelerometer/magnetometer
    • MEAS barometer


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  1. It’s true, 3DR makes a reliable, durable product that’s both RTF and a platform for tinkering. I’d add that there are many flight modes beyond the few mentioned in the review, including drift, altitude hold, and circle modes.

  2. IF you don’t mind thinking in meters & miles/hour get the IRIS+ … but if you are an American, like me, and think in inches, feet, yards, and miles per hour … 3DRobotics DOES NOT CARE … the IRIS telementary CANNOT be changed to American!! I asked for a Return Authorization for a refund … and WAS REFUSED. So much for them being committed to their customers ‘having a wonderful experience’. They DO NOT!! I’ve not even taken it out of the box yet … I’ve only read the manual!! It has cost quite a bit to find out what the 3DR company was really like!!!!

    • hey Hal did you get the tarot gimbal and stuff i will buy yours from you. email me

    • OMG stop your whining, I can’t change from Metric to English! Put it on Ebay for $500 I will buy it. I can do simple math. Don’t you just hate the 2 liter pop isle in stores.

    • Have you solved your problem yet? Would you be interested in selling your Iris +?

  3. What is it with the good ol’ USA and the metric system? It’s like its a 5th amendment right to remain in the dark-ages or something….

    The rest of the world has moved on Hal – 50 years ago. Why? Because metric is logical, simple, scalable, and reduces the chance for making mistakes, and the rest of the world is pragmatic.

    You guys need to ‘get with the program’. Good to see that 3DR has, even if some potential customer dinosaurs have not.

  4. Does anyone know what size lipo the transmitter will need instead of using the alkaline battery’s

  5. Gents(ladies?) I’m just looking for some guidance. I want to gift a drone for Christmas. It’s for a responsible teenager so hopefully frequent and life-ending crashes aren’t a concern.

    So which platform would you recommend for say, @$300? Can I get a maneuverable HD cam, heads-up, auto-roll, return-home, long flight in this $ range?

    Too many choices! Thanks for any guidance.

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