Bebop 2 FPV Review (Parrot)

Bebop 2 FPV
PRICE CHECK
   
EDITOR'S REVIEW
OVERALL EDITOR'S RATING:
What It Is

Do  you want to buy a drone, but you're afraid of accidentally destroying a hugely expensive toy since you've never flown a drone before? Well, Parrot almost solves that problem.

The Parrot Bebop 2 FPV is a relatively lightweight drone that offers many fun and useful features and accessories, including the drone itself, which has an embedded 14-megapixel camera, a Skycontroller remote control that's supposed to extend your WiFi connection range and Cockpitglasses that offer a camera-eye-view of your flight, which is fun.

One important thing to know immediately is that the Parrot Bebop 2 it is not strictly a toy. It weighs 1.1 pounds and has to be registered with the FCC, which costs about $5 a year, before you fly it. You also need to be familiar with all drone laws in your area to ensure you aren't breaking local ordinances about drone flying. And, as a full drone, the Bebop cannot legally be flown by anyone under 13 years old.

Now that that's out of the way, there's both good and some bad in this package. Let's start with the good. First, the Bebop 2 features about 25 minutes of flight time on a single charge, can climb nearly 500 feet and claims to have a 1.2 mile range. That's a lot of flight time and really good distance, and in testing flight time never felt rushed or compromised due to the 25 minute limitation.

The drone is also easy to put together thanks to color coded stickers and and caps for the rotors and bases that guide you without impacting the aesthetic of the unit.

Beyond the hardware, Parrot offers a downloadable app that connects your phone and drone. The flight controls available through the app are easy to use and even feature a few pre-programmed tricks. The ease of use in flying with the app makes the learning curve of the drone relatively short, and you can start flying comfortably with about an hour of experience.

The app also lets you access two different programs for $19.99 each. The first, called Flight Path lets you program a path for your drone to fly automatically. Just make sure you plot your location as the last point or the Bebop will hover in place until you go to the last set location, which can be a challenge if it's hovering over someone's roof.  The second program is called Flight Follow, and it allows your drone to follow you around automatically. This is great for outdoor activities like boating where your hands are likely to be otherwise occupied.

Finally, the 14 megapixel is definitely good enough for the pictures you're going to take, even though it's not the most current camera available and it has limited functions. In fact, it only features a fisheye lens that doesn't zoom or move - it's imbedded in the nose of the drone - so you can only get a head-on view. The tradeoff is fine due to the relatively low price of the package.


Is It Fun?

Even with a critical flaw and the loss of the test drone, the Bebop is a really great item. For its relatively low price, it's packed with features and is a lot of fun to fly. And, you never feel rushed thanks to the extensive battery life. While the dropping WiFi is an issue, it's something that can be overcome if you fly in areas where it's easy to retrieve and you  can easily retrieve your drone. 

Who It’s For
The Parrot Bebop 2 FPV is best for beginner drone flyers. It's relatively inexpensive when compared to the competition, and the flight controls make it perfect for a novice to use almost immediately after opening the box. Due to drone laws, it cannot be flown by anyone under the age of 13.
What To Be Aware Of

One important thing to know immediately is that the Parrot Bebop 2 it is not strictly a toy. It weighs 1.1 pounds and has to be registered with the FCC, which costs about $5 a year, before you fly it. You also need to be familiar with all drone laws in your area to ensure you aren't breaking local ordinances about drone flying. And, as a full drone, the Bebop cannot legally be flown by anyone under 13 years old.

To fly the Parrot Bebop 2, you'll have to download an app, which has one minor challenge - the app you're instructed to download isn't the right one. After downloading the outdated app, you're directed to the new one. This is minor, but the instructions should have been updated to avoid the unnecessary step.

Additionally, two software features - Flight Path and Flight Follow - require an additional $19.99 to access. This may cause some disappointment, but due to the relative low price for the entire package when compared to other drones, it's not surprising that there are in-app purchases.

Using the included Skycontroller offers multiple challenges. Charging it was an issue because you have to use the same base charger with interchangeable cords for both the drone battery and the controller. That means you can't charge both at the same time. It's more of an annoyance than a real problem, but the lack of instruction to cover this didn't help.

The Skycontroller itself is a mixed bag. Flying the drone was much more responsive with the controller than when only using the app. That led to some more subtle movements to achieve the same result. The real issue is that you need to tether your phone to the controller to get it to work, since the phone still acts as your eyes when the drone is too far away to see. The problem here is that you can't charge your phone while using the drone, and flying the drone is a huge drain on the phone's battery.

Due to an over-reliance on a spotty internal WiFi network to connect the drone and controller, the Parrot Bebop 2 has a critical flaw. While the Bebop boasts a 1.2 mile range, it's not easy to actually make use of it because the drone constantly loses its connection with the phone and the Skycontroller. Considering the Skycontroller has a range extender, this issue is major.

One counter to this issue is that you can set the Bebop 2 to return to "home" - or your last location - when it disconnects for 30 seconds. While this can counter the disconnection issue, it led to another problem. The test drone crashed into a tree when it disconnected and became stuck. After reconnecting to the drone, the app offered a "motor" issue alert, which can generally be fixed by turning the drone off and on. Unfortunately, there is no way to remotely reset the drone through the controller, and the test drone is still stranded about 100 feet off the ground.


AT A GLANCE:
  • Fun

  • Repeat Play

  • Assembly & Instructions

    None or Very Easy