DRONES REVIEWS

Parrot AR. Drone 2.0: Fly Cheaper, Fly Better

Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 drone
Jack Brown
Written by Jack Brown

The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is among the very best quadcopters ever produced by the Parrot Company and an improvement of the earlier version, Parrot 1.0. Not much was improved in the design, but a lot was improved in its performance. It serves best if you need a cheap drone that is both lively and swift. It also has a stable balance when shooting videos and pictures, like no other drone.

Product specifications:

  • Easily updates to meet FAA requirements
  • Remote control quadricopter controlled using an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet
  • 720p high-definition live video streaming & recording to smartphone or tablet while flying
  • Record & share videos & pictures straight from AR
  • Automatic stabilization system for assisted control for indoor and outdoor flight

Check the current Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 price on Amazon

This quad is quite huge for a drone and, even if the size is not specified on the manufacturer’s site, it can be estimated to be 0.5m X 0.5m. But, despite its humongous size, the Parrot AR. Drone version 2.0 is quite agile. When it’s only protected by the outdoor hull, the drone can take off at speeds of up to 3 m/s and accelerate to a maximum speed of 11.11m/s!!

Friendly warning:

  • Flying fast may become too fast to control: while it will be fun to reach high speeds, this practice may lead to loss of the control signal. Eventually your drone will experience a premature landing and perhaps break down if on a rough surface. So, flying your drone pretty fast is not so good, unless you want a broken/malfunctioning drone.
  • Don’t land the drone on tall wet grass: most sellers won’t tell you this, but this quad has a relatively short landing gear/feet. If you chose to land it poorly on wet grass, some of the inner parts and sensors may malfunction due to corrosion or simply through interference by water droplets.

Build specifications

Packaging

Just like many other Parrot Company drones, the AR. Drone 2.0 is also packed in an almost ready-to-use state. From the package, you should confirm the presence of the following:

  • The Parrot AR. Drone 2.0
  • An outdoor hull
  • An indoor hull
  • One 1000 mAh battery
  • 3 sets of colored propellers
  • The drone charger
  • The user manual of the drone

NOTE: Some online buyers had indicated cases of the drone being shipped with malfunctions or lacking some of the components. Such cases could be merely mistakes or they also could be indications of counterfeit drones. You should proceed to set it up and try it only after you have fully confirmed and verified the drone. Otherwise, contact the drone seller.

To get the quad in the air first, you need to fully charge the battery. Next simply insert the battery in the battery slot and the drone is ready to fly.

Take a quick peek at the setup process above.

Design and durability

The looks of the AR drone 2.0 are very similar to its earlier version. It is quite robust in size and it has, of course, four propellers that enable it to navigate while on air.

However, it has an upper hand when it comes to stability. The drone is capable of stabilizing itself easily and it can take stable images while performing airborne drills.

Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 design

The outdoor and indoor hulls are designed to protect the drone’s propellers from breaking. In addition, the drone has been crowned with sensors to detect its altitude, the distance from the controlling device and an additional feature that enables it to be located by the GPS.

These sensors enable the drone to refrain from flying to uncontrollable distances like its predecessor. With the indoor hull, no matter how many times the drone will crash, it is less likely to break.

Camera

This quad has two cameras:

  • A powerful front camera
  • A less powerful camera located at the lower part of the drone adjacent to the pressure detector.

The Parrot AR. drone version 2.0’s front camera is capable of doing full 720p HD video recording. The camera also streams images at a speed of 30 frames per second to the controlling device.

Though the image quality is somehow way below the average cameras on the market today, the drone has really taken a great step of quality when compared to its predecessors.

You can have a look at videos taken with the quad in the above video.

Battery & flight time

The standard AR. Drone 2.0 has a single 1000 mAh Lithium-Ion battery. Within the package, you will also find its charger.

Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 batteries option

It takes about an hour to fully charge the battery, yet it drains within 8 – 12 minutes when in continuous use. Perhaps this could be the drone’s main drawback. About seven in ten complains about the drone were mainly focused on the battery life. Since this is a major issue, there are a few suggested solutions one can adopt to solve this common problem, though at an added cost.

  • You can opt to buy multiple batteries. With many batteries, you can choose to use one battery as you charge another. This will enable you not to miss out the fun when flying due to battery draining. A typical normal drone battery costs about $40.
  • You can buy the AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition: Seemingly, the Parrot Company also detected this flaw and developed the Drone 2.0 Power Edition to solve that issue. The Power Edition of the drone is quite highly priced than the normal edition. However, it comes with two 1500 mAh HD power batteries that can last up to 20 minutes each enabling one to gain a longer flight time.

Be sure. Don’t take chances. The earlier productions of the drone had a particular charging procedure that had to be followed. When unsure of how to charge the battery, it is advisable that you read through the drone’s user manual. Failure to do this may create a polarity flaw that will spoil your new battery. You can find out much more about that by reading our article about the ways of prolonging your drone battery life.

Controller

The drone can be easily controlled with any mobile device with an operating system. For example, to transform your smartphone into a controller, all you have to do is install the FreeFlight 2.0 app (proprietary to Parrot products).

The app is free to download and is available for all smartphones and tablets that run on Android and iOS. The application is also available for PC in Linux OS with the aid of Intel XDK version 2.6.32 or later.

Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 and controller

The control of flying the drone is done via WiFi. When the drone is on, it will initiate its own WiFi that you need to connect your controlling device to. Thereafter, you will start the FreeFlight 2.0 app on your controlling device and begin piloting. If all goes well, controlling this drone is easier than counting 1, 2, and 3. Even kids will love it.

Nevertheless, the drone may at times become irresponsive. In such cases, you will need to restart the controlling app and try piloting again.

Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 controller

When controlling the drone in an area that is congested with WiFi networks, you are likely to experience poor signals from the drone.

In order to address this, it will be advisable to modify the WiFi settings in order to assign maximum capabilities of the phone to the drone’s network e.g. assigning maximum transmission band to the network. In extreme cases of connectivity problems, you can purchase a manual motor controller which looks like a playing pad.

Flight performance

The drone is pretty easy to control when using the FreeFlight app. In fact, a novice will be able to fly this quadcopter perfectly without any hiccup. There are several awesome airborne drills you will be able to perform with this drone. You can flip it, rotate it, and spin it among many other acrobatics.

Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 flight

In addition, the FreeFlight 2.0 application has got some free games too to train you on how to fly and control the drone. At your free time, you can always play some of them.

Value for money & guarantee

Currently, the complete package of the drone as described above is priced between $250 and $300. As stated before, this quad comes when already welded and can begin functioning immediately it leaves the box even without buying any additional accessory. In addition, the FreeFlight 2.0 controller app is also free to download. This makes this drone among the cheapest quadcopters of its class.

This drone lacks a warranty from both the Parrot Company and its sellers. But just like any electronic gadget, you can negotiate terms with your seller. Most sellers will accept to take it back in case it arrives when incomplete or if it arrives when broken. Thus, though there is no warranty, there is always a degree of security for the drone’s purchase.

Unique features

A 720p HD camera: one of the earliest features that will thrill you is the quality of the drone’s cameras. Whereas the front camera focuses on quality of images (720P), the vertical camera focuses on relaying them with speed (up to 60 frames per second). This bot is obviously awesome for shooting short videos. It may not be the very best, but it is a great feature.

Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 features

2 drone hulls: the Parrot AR drone 2.0 also has two different body casings that protect the drone’s fragile parts from breaking. The outdoor hull is open by the propellers while the indoor hull covers the propellers. Thus, the outdoor hull enhances its performance whereas the indoor hull lowers performance but increases its security. The two casings also help to give it two different looks.

Similar models

Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition

The AR Drone 2.0 power edition is very similar to the AR drone 2.0 drone. However, it has an improved power system in comparison with the Parrot AR drone 2.0.

Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition

The main difference between the two is that the Power Edition is equipped with a battery that lasts up to 30 – 36 minutes unlike the AR. 2.0 that takes only 8 – 11minutes. Usually, the power edition also comes with two batteries and is priced about $50 -$70 above the normal drone.

Like this product? Then you can check its price here.

The Holy Stone X400C quadcopter

The Holy Stone X400C is a formidable competitor to the Parrot AR. drone version 2.0. This drone has a killer design.

In addition, it is priced between $95 and $120 which is far much cheap when compared to the Parrot AR 2.0. It is also a little fancy as it incorporates goggles and a manual radio controller for the drone.

The Holy Stone X400C quadcopter

However, besides the looks, the design, and the cheap cost, the drone has a relatively poor camera. In addition, it is not easy to control as not many people are familiar with the manual controls. The drone also loses signals frequently.

As such, the drone is best for kids or for fun. It is not good for commercial photographing or for professional tasks. It is also recommended for learning. You can have a look of the Holy Stone X400C drone in action here:

If you think that this product could be useful for you, then you can check its price on Amazon.

The DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter

The DJI Phantom 3 is the market’s ultimate professional quadcopter. It combines looks, performance, durability, and ease of use to make it a masterpiece.

Currently, the DJI Phantom 3 is priced at anything between $500 and $800. This drone utilizes both the WiFi and the GPS to be controlled. This means, its flying distance is almost limitless. Thus, it can be controlled even remotely!

The DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter

In addition, its camera is able to rotate and stream 1080p Full HD images directly to the controlling device or store it on a USB stick. It is also among the easiest drones to control much like the AR 2.0 drone. This drone has also an upper hand when compared to others as it comes with a varying warranty, and you can get more familiar with all the bells and whistles of this generation by reading our Phantom 3 in-depth series review.

However, the DJI Phantom 3 is quite costly, especially when compared to the AR drone 2.0. The drone also has a short battery life of 15 to 17 minutes. As such, it is often recommended that one buys two batteries for convenience.

Despite the few challenges, this drone is a better alternative to the Parrot AR drone 2.0 if you are not running on a fixed budget. It is recommended that you buy it for purely professional use. This owes mainly to its exemplarily performing features and its high cost. You can have a look at the drone’s performance here.

Like this amazing product? Then you can check its price on Amazon.

Overview

On an average scale rating of 10, this drone will deserve a score of 7.5. It is preferred because it does not require any technical knowledge to set it up and it is extremely easy to control. Besides, it is cheaper than DJI Phantom 3 drone yet it can perform almost similar tasks.

In spite of that, this drone fails to some degree because it has a non-friendly charging system that is coupled with a battery that accommodates very limited flight time.

Pros

  • The drone’s stability and agility are second to none. Though the drone has a very huge size, it takes off with ease. It then rotates, spins and keeps a very stable balance when shooting videos. Thus, it shoots videos expertly.
  • It is cheaper: most commercial quadcopters with an ability to take HD videos often cost more than $300 that is the AR. 2.0 drone costs.
  • It is relatively durable: unlike its earlier versions, it has two casings to shield it. The indoor hull protects its propellers from breakage when in an enclosed space while the outdoor hull protects the battery and the USB device. It also has an altitude sensor that ensures the drone does not wonder too far from the ground and the controlling device.
  • It is easier to control.

Cons

  • It has a poor battery: about 70% of complaints on the drone were basically on the short flight time the drone offers. In addition, some buyers also encountered polarization effects when charging the battery. This led to the battery becoming malfunctioned almost at the first instance of charging it.
  • A short landing gear: since most components of the drone were at the lower part of the drone, a short landing gear makes it more fragile.
  • Connectivity issues: the drone hasn’t been totally devoid of connectivity issues. Some users experienced connectivity problems when the drone exceeded 50 meters while is some instances, drone could lose signal completely.

In conclusion, the Parrot AR drone 2.0 is a far better drone in the market for one who is seeking a cheaper professional quadcopter. About 7 in 10 buyers of this drone in Amazon did recommend it to other buyers. This means, it is way above the average drones.

Buy on Amazon

Though it has a major issue with its power system, you can decide to opt for the power edition of the same drone and have fun.

About the author
Jack Brown
Jack Brown

Jack is the Chief Pilot at MyDroneLab.com bringing experience, expertise and knowledge in this quite new industry. He is a graduate of the Drone/UAV Pilot Training Certificate program and member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Besides having all the necessary technical knowledge when it comes to drones, Jack and his team love to spend the time outside by the ocean, working on new features and teaching others how to pilot these amazing and exciting new robots.

  • Andrew Taylor

    Parrot is definitely one of my most favorite drone manufacturers. They have so many quality, cool drones for low prices. A.R Drone 2.0 is one of them. I like this drone for its design and easiness of using with the FlyFree application.

  • Alison Bailey

    For $300 this drone comes with everything you need. It’s very easy to fly and it’s pretty stable.

  • Elliot Giles

    So for basic beginners this is a great drone to use. I had one back when it was released a few years ago but sold it. You do have to use your phone/tablet to control it but for me it’s easy. There are mods that you can do to make it use a 2.4ghz controller. Yes there are better drones out there but for the price, it’s definitely worth it. You may want to invest in an extra battery or two. Each standard battery lasts between 7 to 10 minutes of flight.

    • Yup, that sums it up about right 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  • Jason Mendez

    Very user-friendly. Anyone can fly it. I tried flying it through winds that are about 15 mph and it did just fine. Just a bit of a problem though with the control. It creates its own WiFi network, thus the limited range. Beyond 35 yards the signal becomes weak. Also you use the phone as control. I prefer real joysticks, they’re easier to maneuver.

  • Jack Brown

    Many were complaining about getting used to piloting with your phone, but I guess it all comes down to getting the hang of it… Personally, I prefer using the traditional controller, but I wouldn’t mind giving the phone control a shot 🙂

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