Back in the days, if you wanted to have aerial footage you had limited options like planes and hot air balloons. Nowadays, with the rapid evolution of technology, drones developed pretty quickly and they allow users to create amazing aerial footage with a much lower budget. Most of the newer generation UAVs, including the 3DR IRIS+, are light enough to carry them with your hands and simple enough to use so that almost anyone can fly with them.
The 3DR IRIS+ drone comes with a design that allows both recreational flying as well as capturing some great photos and videos. It is RTF out of the box, and offers much higher levels of speed and range than most other drones available on the market.
- Recommended use: documenting your adventures
- Capture Aerial Photos/Video with a GoPro
- Manual or Autonomous Flying
- Integrated LEDs on all arms for trouble-free directional awareness
- Wi-Fi for Control Using Android Device
- Draw Autopilot Flight Plans with App
- Follow Me: Tracks Your Mobile Device
- Compatible with Tarot Gimbal
- 16 to 22 Minutes Flying Time
- 915 MHz Radio for U.S.
- Remote controller with on-screen telemetry for instant data as you fly
Keep in mind that the 3DR IRIS+ doesn’t come with a camera nor a gimbal and if you are into aerial filming you will have to invest more money. However, if you do choose to upgrade your drone with these accessories, you can buy a 2-axis gimbal that will provide smoothness and steadiness in your footage.
In the above YouTube video you can see the drone in action.
Depending on where you order the 3DR IRIS+ drone, the box should contain the following:
- 1x RTF IRIS+ drone
- 1x 5100maH battery
- 1x charger
- 1x Controller
- 1x ground station radio
- Set of 4 tall landing legs
- Operation Manual
Design & durability
In our opinion, the 3DR IRIS+ resembles an alien-insect looking robot. The curved body comes with 4 hands, and two of them are black while the other two are green, allowing better orientation. Every hand extends from a corner of the body, and a motor with a propeller.
The wingspan of this drone is quite big, and it comes with a length of 21.7 inches diagonally from motor to motor. Without the landing gear, the body of the drone has 4 inches of height, while the landing gear raises the IRIS+ with 4 additional inches. This particular design allows the user to have a greater camera angle, and footage without props and landing gear in the shoot.
Both the legs and arms are made of zytel nylon, which gives the drone durability and resistance to high temperatures, as well as lightweight. If you ask us, this minimalistic but strong design worked out quite nicely in this drone’s case.
As we already mentioned, the 3DR IRIS+ doesn’t include a camera nor a stabilizing gimbal.
However, it is meant to hold and carry a 2-axis gimbal and a GoPro Hero 3 camera, which you have to buy separately.
Battery & flight time
The drone comes with a 5,100 mAh battery and an average flight time of 20 minutes. This is not the best possible flight time, but it is more than most of other drones on the market offer. However, this is the flight time without any additional equipment.
If you place a gimbal and a camera on the drone, the flight time will go down to around 16 minutes, enough to capture some great aerial footage.
This model comes with a FLYSKY remote controller. Our first impression was that this controller looks like a huge video game controller with plenty of dials and switches, and an LCD menu display.
However, all those dials and switches are not so important as the center positioned main power switch, control sticks, the gimbal position control dial, and the two toggle switches positioned above the right control stick. These are the controls you need to focus on.
As far as other switches are concerned, it has a Standard Flight switch (STD), Hover switch (LTR-Loiter), and Autopilot (AUTO). It also has the Return to Home switch (RTL), which you might need if you want to send it back to the point where it took off.
In order to start the propellers spinning, you need to push the left control stick down+right, and the props will start spinning in a few seconds. The left stick control is in charge of rotating and changing the altitude of the drone, while the right one is there to make the drone bank right and left, and to move forward and backward.
When it comes to landing, most users say that it is quite simple and that with a simple movement of the left control stick to the down position, the drone lands nicely. However, many users have complained regarding the delay in cutting the power to the rotors, which eventually causes the drone to flip over while the rotors are still spinning. This might not be such an issue when landing the drone on grass, but on a hard surface like pavement or gravel, it can cause damage of propellers.
If you are new to flying a drone, starting your drone-world experience with the 3DR IRIS+ model might not be such a smart idea. That is why we suggest that you gain some flying experience with some simpler and cheaper models first, and then move on to this one.
During the flight, the IRIS+ is one stable quadcopter and easy to control if you are a more experienced drone pilot. It responds to commands quite nicely, and maneuvering is simple. Also, the hover switch allows you to take your hands of the control sticks and focus on the camera and the footage you are making. According to users, the 3DR IRIS+ quadcopter can achieve the following flight performance:
- Maximum Control distance – 3,280 feet
- Maximum Speed – 40 miles per hour
Value for money & guarantee
With a price of $830.00 and the fact that you get only a drone without a camera and a gimbal, our opinion is that you have better options out there. But, the included 90-day warranty is a huge plus, considering that some models only have a week long guarantee, and some don’t have one at all. The guarantee, however, doesn’t cover accidental damage or crashes.
In the case you encounter some problems with the drone, you can contact the manufacturer by phone and/or email.
The great thing about this drone is that it comes with a GPS system, and that means that you can make pre-flight plans using free software for your smartphone. The software is free and you can download it on the 3DR’s website.
Now it’s time for the most exciting features! The IRIS+ comes with a Follow Me mode, which allows you to pair your smartphone or tablet with the drone. This way the drone will be focused on whoever is holding the phone and this will allow you to capture aerial photos or footage of you doing stunts or any other amazing things.
It also offers a return-to-home feature in case it goes out of range or the battery is low, and it can land itself safely.
Above is how some of these features look in real life.
Similar models or main competitors
DJI Phantom 3
The DJI Phantom 3 is considered by many as one of the best camera quadcopters for beginner, as well as for professional aerial photographers. This quad comes with a professional quality camera, a 3-axis gimbal, and offers amazingly easy-to-use controls. This is why even people with little or no flying experience don’t have problems with the Phantom 3.
The easy-to-use part is basically the same in the IRIS’s case, but it doesn’t have a camera, nor a gimbal included. Furthermore, the Phantom offers 25 minutes of flight time with all the filming equipment included, and that definitely beats the IRIS’s 16 minutes. The main characteristics of this drone are:
- Follow Me mode
- Point of Interest mode
- Waypoints mode
- Return-to-Home option
- 25 minutes of flight time
- FPV capabilities
- Aesthetic design
Having in mind that for a lower price you get a high-quality camera and a 3-axis stabilization gimbal, as well as more modes and features, our opinion is that the Phantom 3 is a better choice, especially for professional aerial film makers.
Here it is in action:
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This is another great drone from the 3DR company. Unlike the IRIS+, the Solo comes with a GoPro static holder, which means that you don’t need to buy a camera holder additionally. But, you will get jello effect in your footage, so if you plan on using it for aerial filming, it might be a smart choice to buy the 3-axis 3DR Solo Gimbal for those perfect smooth shots.
Another advantage over the IRIS+ model is the flight time. The Solo model offers around 20 minutes of flight time with the gimbal and the camera on, which is around a 5 minute bonus when compared with the IRIS+.
Also, this drone offers much more filming related features, like Orbit mode (basically the Point of Interest mode, but with more customizing options), Cable Cam mode (this mode “locks” the drone to a virtual cable, and allows you to capture amazing panning footage while the drone does all the flying control), and Selfie mode (captures images of you in a perfectly framed still image).
Other features that Solo offers and Iris+ doesn’t are one button takeoff, and the choice of letting the drone do all the work (autonomous flying and filming at the same time). The 3DR SOLO does come with a higher price, but considering all the advantages it offers over the IRIS+ model, we are sure that the extra cash is totally worth it. Here are the SOLO’s main characteristics:
- Video game-style controller
- Pushbutton commands for both filming and flying
- A high-quality HDMI port directly from the controller so the drone can be connected to any kind of display
- Maximum speed 55 mph
Here you can see the 3DR SOLO in action:
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Parrot AR. Drone
To be able to fly the Parrot AR Drone you don’t have to be an ace drone pilot. Even beginners can easily control the parrot and gain flying skills in a short time.
The Parrot is considered as one of the most popular drones in the RC community, and it has been present on the market much longer than the 3DR IRIS+. You can control it in Basic mode like any other drone, or you can use the Director mode which allows you to program automatic movements.
Since this drone is pretty lightweight (just under a pound) and much lighter than the IRIS+ (which is just under 3 pounds), it offers a quite nice range for that money (around 300 feet). Not to mention that the flight time you will get from it is around 20 minutes, while the IRIS + offers 16 minutes.
Furthermore, the speed you can achieve with this drone is solid as well (20mph), but not as fast as the IRIS+ which can achieve up to 40mph. The Parrot is not too fast, but faster than many other drones on the market. It’s ready to fly out of the box and can be controlled from your smart device.
It also offers a 720p high-definition live video streaming as well as direct recording of your flight to your tablet or smartphone. You can record and share videos as well as images directly from the AR. Free Flight piloting app
The affordable price of the Parrot AR Drone ($200) makes it pretty desirable, plus the fact that it comes with a builtin camera. However, it is pretty lightweight and not powerful enough to carry a stabilization gimbal and a more serious action cam, so in our opinion, the 3DR IRIS is a winner in this battle.
Here you can see it how it looks in real life:
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You can leave all the work to the drone, and let it automatically track your Smartphone while you do your favorite activity. Knowing that this drone is a bit heavier than other models on the market (almost 3 pounds), the fact that it offers around 16 minutes of flight time, with a camera and a gimbal, sounds not so bad.
Here are some pros and cons for this model:
- Geofencing feature
- Autonomous flight option
- Fast GPS lock
- Follow Me mode
- Not the best flight time when compared to other models
- No video downlink on DroidPlanner
- No gimbal
- No camera
All in all, the 3DR IRIS+ RC drone is one of the most wanted drones thanks to its amazing control range and the flight speed it can reach. But, even though it comes with a builtin GPS, the manufacturer doesn’t offer a gimbal, which makes other models that have this as a basic offer, much more desirable than the Iris+.
However, you won’t make a mistake if you buy it, and with the additional filming equipment you will make some killer action sport videos for sure.
We hope that this article has given you an insight what the 3DR IRIS+ has to offer, and if you have any question regarding this drone feel free to ask us in the comment section below.