Aside from the weird name that given to this drone, the Parrot Mini Drone Rolling Spider is actually one of the most popular and loved drones on the market.
This is mainly due to a bunch of interesting features offered by the manufacturer at a price that’s considerably fair. Something that you will notice about the drone is the fact that it looks pretty regular.
- No FAA registration required
- Indoors and outdoors, fly up to 18 km/h or 11 mph with most stable quadcopter of this size
- Turns 90° and 180° and performs acrobatic 360° forward and backward left and right with easy double tap on control screen
- Fitted with a propeller circuit-breaker in the event of a crash
- Removable wheels to roll anywhere: across the floor, up the walls or across the ceiling
- Take aerial shots and video from the sky with the embedded vertical mini-camera directly connected to smartphone
Actually, it is so regular that you wouldn’t guess the amazing features that Parrot has decided to include in this little drone. Still don’t believe us? Read on to find out what we are talking about.
The drone comes packed in a compact cardboard box, with all the essentials neatly arranged. It contains the following items:
- The quadcopter itself
- The two big wheels for driving and other tricks (more on that later)
- The battery
- 12 stickers for customizing the look of the drone
- One USB power connector.
The packaging is somewhat sturdy and you shouldn’t be facing any problem if you accidentally drop it a few times.
Assembling the drone isn’t a big deal either since it’s literally just a matter of fitting the stick that connects the two wheels in the middle of the drone and then sticking those two wheels onto either end of the stick. Charge your drone, connect it with your phone via Bluetooth and you are all set for action.
You can watch the unboxing of the drone in the below video.
Design and durability
The Parrot Mini Drone Rolling Spider is built entirely out of plastic (similar to most other drones) but it looks like the company has actually paid attention to the design since it looks absolutely amazing and sleek.
Combine that with the included 12 stickers and you can actually make it look like the drone has eyes and a mouth. What’s more, is that there are 2 included LED lights that make it look like the drone has eyes; these also indicate that the drone is charging when connected to a USB power source.
But enough talk about its looks, let’s actually see if this drone can tank a fall or two. Most users and reviewers have vouched for its durability, and so do we. Not only can this thing live by falling on the floor, it can also stay intact when you crash it while flying over a pavement/concrete.
The only thing that gets somewhat damaged in such a scenario are the rotor blades, which can be fixed by mounting them again without any hassles whatsoever. And, if somehow you have managed to actually damage the rotor blades to a point where you can’t use them anymore, it’s just a matter of buying another pair for $6 to get this drone back in action.
When looked closely, you’ll notice that this quadcopter features an ultrasonic sensor, a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis gyroscope, and a pressure sensor for stabilization and better flight movement.
Here is the most interesting part about this quadcopter: the two big wheels that allow you to drive the quadcopter on the floor as a remote controlled car, and also prevent it from bumping into walls/ceiling when flying indoors. This makes it both beginner friendly and something that a regular drone pilot would like to do for a change.
Now here is something that is very interesting about the Parrot Mini Drone Rolling Spider: since you control the drone through your phone (more on that in the controller section), you can actually double up your phone’s camera to take some pictures and record videos of the quadcopter in action. However, the video doesn’t support audio record so you won’t get any audio from the recorded file.
With such a recording system, you get the freedom of choosing the quality. That is, the better the camera quality of your smartphone, the better result you get.
Also, if you are an enthusiast and record videos in higher resolutions such as 4K, the inbuilt storage in your phone can be really useful since higher res videos tend to be very heavy and use up more than 8 or even 16 GB of storage.
Last but not the least, the exclusion of a camera on the front of the drone allows for an inbuilt camera to be fitted on the bottom of the drone, which allows you to take drone selfies. The best part is that you get rid of the hassle of transferring from SD card to a computer in order to upload your files.
The inbuilt camera is not anything spectacular since it only has a resolution of 0.3 megapixels or 640*480 pixels so obviously, you can’t expect the best quality out of it but it should be enough to get the images of awed faces who watch your drone as it passes by.
Battery and flight time
The Parrot Mini Drone Rolling Spider actually disappoints a little bit in the battery department. Even though the drone includes a 550 mAh rechargeable battery, you only get a total flight time of 8-9 minutes.
Apparently, the reason behind such a short battery life, despite a higher capacity, is the fact that there are a bunch of sensors included in the drone which might be using up the juice quickly for the sake of a better flight stability. It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it still is something to think about if you are looking for something with a better battery life.
It also goes without saying that there are spare batteries available for sale by the company itself. An extra 550 mAh battery will set you back for around $20, which is a fair price. The drone takes a total of 90 minutes to charge according to the company, which is true in real usage as well. However, there are some things you need to know about the proper way of charging your drone batteries and you can read our article about drone battery life and the ways to make the most out of them.
As far as we know, there aren’t any tweakers who have suggested that higher capacity batteries could work on this. After looking up on Amazon we couldn’t find any higher capacity batteries either so, for now, we suggest that you don’t do any battery related modifications on this drone unless you want to experiment and are ready to face the consequences should anything go wrong.
There’s no doubt that the company innovated the control system and made it simpler by allowing people to use an app on their phone as a remote control. And honestly, it is working quite well. Plus, having an app means that you have certain other features than with a traditional controller.
For example, you get different controller types, altitude limitation, and others. Yes, you can limit the altitude and the rotation through the in-app settings as well, thus allowing you to learn better if you are new to flying drones.
Not only that, the app also has a preset for ‘takeoff’ and ‘landing’ so you can perform those two movements without having to worry about doing something wrong if you are new.
The controller method is not without its limitations, though. For starters, since it operates via Bluetooth 4.0, the range is a bit lower than what you’d expect from a Wi-Fi controlled quadcopter.
Secondly, the controllers won’t be tactile at all since you are practically touching a piece of glass to control the drone. Third, the Bluetooth mode of operation actually causes some sluggish controlling system as you move further away but hopefully, that can be fixed with a firmware update that you can also perform via the app itself. The app is available for both Android and iOS.
As far as the actual controls go, you can easily perform some backward flips and tricks with the flick of a few buttons. But the real mode, enjoyed by enthusiasts, is the joypad mode wherein the accelerometer sensors are disabled and you are left with better control over your drone. This allows you to bypass the limitation of a stabilized drone and do some pretty neat tricks with it such as passing through narrow spaces.
Since the Parrot Mini Drone Rolling Spider actually includes a pressure and an ultrasonic sensor, you can practically drop it on purpose and turn on the drone mid-air. This will make those sensors come into play and correcting the position to give you a stabilized drone that’s ready for you to fly.
In its full limits, we discovered that it can get pretty fast, topping up to 18 kilometers per hour (or 11 miles per hour) or a height of 20 meters (or 66 feet). Sadly, the Bluetooth connection hampers the control when it is moving faster at a further distance.
Another downside is that the absence of an on/off switch makes it quite annoying since every time you intend to fly the drone, you have to connect it to the laptop/PC and unplug it (even if the battery has some charging left) so that the drone gets activated.
On the plus side, the drone is intelligent enough to just hover above the ground when it loses connectivity instead of crashing on the ground. Once you get close enough and reconnect with the quadcopter, you can start flying it again.
We recommend the pros and those who simply want the drone to fly well, to remove those stabilizing wheels since they add weight to the drone. This weight is enough to make it lean towards left and right while taking off instead of having a smooth vertical rise.
As a matter of fact, those wheels bump up the drone from 54 grams to 66 grams which might not look like much but is enough to hamper flight performance.
Below you can check out the drone in action over.
Value for money and guarantee
Considering that the quadcopter goes for ~$100 right now, we won’t say that it is the most budget friendly drone or the one that provides ‘bang for the buck’ either. However, the price isn’t too high by any means.
Actually, you get what you pay for. You get a 12 months warranty by Parrot for the entire drone. Obviously, that doesn’t apply to those cases when the damage was done due to a user mistake.
What really appealed to us about the Parrot Mini Drone Rolling Spider in terms of value for money is that Parrot is really enthusiastic about keeping the product updated. The firmware updates are constantly being pushed to the app to make the controlling even better.
By now, it shouldn’t come off as a surprise that the drone comes with many unique features spread across many departments. Here is a compiled list of the great features this drone supports:
- Smartphone Controller: your controller acts as a smartphone by connecting to the drone via Bluetooth. There are many types of controller presets to choose from and you can also adjust the height/speed limit from within the app.
- Rolling Wheels: there are two rolling wheels which prevent crashing on a surface for beginners and can also be used for some tricks.
- Sensors: the pressure sensor is used in stabilizing the drone when flying 3 meters above the ground. Keep the drone anywhere below 3 meters and the ultrasonic sensors come into action which will do an even better job at keeping the quadcopter stable.
- Camera: you can record footage of your drone in action through the app itself.
Similar models or main competitors
Hubsan H107D X4
This drone has followed the rule of keeping it simple by offering what most other drones do at a price slightly more than the Parrot drone. The cost is justified by features such as 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi controller for better connectivity, faster charging through a lower capacity battery, LED night lights and some more.
You do get a somewhat similar flight time of 8-9 minutes, but the battery is smaller than with the Rolling Spider. The Hubsan X4 only supports one 240mAh Li-Po Battery, but this also means faster charging implying that you can recharge and play with it a lot faster than with the Parrot.
There isn’t much of a difference between the Rolling Spider and this one in terms of the build since both of them support a plastic case that is durable enough. The main difference can be spotted in their acrobatics as the X4 doesn’t have the necessary wheels to roll like the Parrot does. The X4 is just for flying while the Parrot offers a lot more possibilities of fun. For more information on this model, we suggest checking out our Hubsan X4 in-depth review.
The F2C is one of those drones which we actually recommend over the drone we are reviewing right now. Still, you need to know that the GPtoys F2C is an amazing machine, but it comes without bells and whistles. On the other hand, almost every aspect of this drone is on-par or better than the Rolling Spider.
Here are some of the most important features:
- It has a higher capacity battery of 650 mAh which allows the flight time to be as long as 12 minutes
- It is equipped with a 6-axis gyroscope
- It has a better controlling distance of up to 100 meters
Lastly, it is also considerably cheaper ($60) which is why it can make a great gift for a child or a beginner in the art of drone flying.
When it comes to differences, the Rolling Spider has the upper advantage of being able to actually roll over a surface. The GPtoys F2C doesn’t support wheels.
SKEYE Mini Drone
Similar to the Rolling Spider drone in terms of the price, the SKEYE mini-drone also manages to offer some pretty good features and performance.
Everything from the fast charging time of 30 minutes to the six axis mode of operation makes the SKEYE mini-drone a worthy competitor to this drone. But that doesn’t mean that the Rolling Spider is left behind either. The Parrot still has some of the most important features such as better stabilization, superior durability, better recording quality, and so on.
In a nutshell, we would say that both drones are neck in neck with each other and it is hard to recommend one over the other.
In the end, it is hard to deny that the Parrot Mini Drone Rolling Spider is a very good overall drone that is only let down by a few drawbacks.
- Extremely effective stabilization
- Innovative features
- Great flight performance
- Excellent durability
- Fair price
- Relatively low battery life
- Battery takes longer to charge
- Controller range is limited
With that being said, the question still remains: would we suggest you to buy this drone. Yes, and no. Yes, if you are looking for something that can be considered as ‘beta’ but is bleeding edge so you might expect it in the quadcopters of the next generation.
The price is nothing to be argued about since you get what you pay for. What’s also inevitable is the fact that this will definitely be improved in the future, and we can’t wait to see the release of a Parrot Mini Drone Rolling Spider V2.