Parrot Minidrones Review
Parrot just changed the game with the release of their two new minidrones, the Rolling Spider and the Jumping Sumo. Both are reasonably priced at $1oo and $159 on Amazon, which is pretty low when you consider what the machines are capable of. One can roll up walls and the other can leap up in the air! The two drones go hand in hand. They share the same battery and your phone can control both (although not at the same time). One person can command the air while the other controls the ground. In this awesome video that Parrot put out you can see why owning both might not be such a bad idea!
Getting Started: Parrot MiniDrones Review
The Rolling Spider
The Rolling Spider is a quadcopter on wheels. It can fly or roll depending on what mode you are in. It can perform U-turns in just one swipe…it does front and rear loops with one click…and it comes equipped with removable wheels and a propeller cutout in case of collision. This drone is sweet! The Rolling Spider only weighs 55 grams, making it 6x lighter than the AR.Drone 2.0. Nonetheless, it still has the same flight stability.
The kit includes the Rolling Spider, two wheels, a battery, a set of stickers, and a quick start guide. The battery is Litium-Plymer and removable. It lasts about 8 minutes on average, but the flight/roll time is lowered to about 6 minutes if the wheels are attached as it requires more power. It takes about 90 minutes to get a full recharge.
The drone and transmitter are connected through Bluetooth technology with a range of about 20 meters. In order to fly, you must download FreeFlight 3 on your smartphone or tablet. It is compatible with iOS and Android. This is the same exact app used for the Jumping Sumo as well.
You would be surprised at how advanced the technology is in this little guy. Pressure sensors are built-in for flight altitude, and the ultrasonic sensors allow for precision flying near the ground. Another really cool feature is the free-fall takeoff mode. When you drop the vehicle the engines automatically start. With this ultra-sophisticated technology the Rolling Spider is one of the most stable drones in the world.
The vertical camera allows you to take photos from an aerial view. You simply tap the camera icon on your smartphone or tablet on the piloting screen. It automatically saves to the device’s memory. The Rolling Spider allows you to take several hundred pictures. You can recover these photos using the app Free Flight 3.
The Rolling Spider comes available in red, white, or blue.
• 55 grams – 6x lighter than AR.Drone, same flight stability thanks to an autopilot based on 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis accelerometer
• Vertical camera at 60 fps measures the speed comparing previous image
• Indicators – Bicolor LEDs indicate the status of your Rolling Spider
Although the Jumping Sumo can’t fly, we still love this drone because it can do just about everything else. The drone can roll, rush, circle, zig-zag, turn on a dime, and even leap! It rolls up to 2m/s, leaps 80cm, and weighs 180g.
The kit includes 1 Jumping Sumo, 1 micro-USB cradle, 1 battery, 2 rubber pads, 3 stickers, and a quick start guide. The battery is compatible with the Rolling Spider. The battery lasts much longer with the Jumping Sumo though. It can last up to 20 minutes and it takes 90 minutes to get a full recharge.
Before you can roll out, you must download the free app Free Flight 3. Just like the AR Drone and Rolling Spider, your smartphone or tablet is used as the transmitter. You will be able to maneuver the drone as well as perform acrobatics with the click of a button. The application is compatible with iOS and Android.
The Jumping Sumo can express its mood with the new customizable sound animations feature. The LED eyes indicate the status of your drone. If you pick up the machine the LED lights will turn red which means jumping is disabled.
There are 3 control modes and 2 piloting experiences. The Jumper mode allows it to leap 80 cm in height and length, and it always lands on its wheels. The Kicker mode enables the drone to push objects. In the third mode, Auto-Balance, the drone acts as a Segway. When reaching high speeds the wheels widen to provide greater stability. In compact mode the wheels will retract to enhance agility. This will allow you to drive through narrow areas.
The Jumping Spider will move in a perfectly straight path due to the embedded technology. It can also perform a U-turn in less than a second, making it more precise than any other remote controlled car. You can choreograph your drone to move in any sequence you would like. This includes turning and even acrobatics! You must go to the Free Flight 3 app to access this ‘Road plan’ feature.
Taking photography is identical to the AR Drone. It’s equipped with a wide-angle camera with a resolution of 640×480 px at 15 frames per second. The video streams live so you are able to see exactly what your drone is seeing!
The Jumping Sumo comes available in black, white, or brown.