Review: Parrot Bebop

From the DJI Inspire quadcopter that sliced poor Enrique Iglesias’ fingers in Mexico to the many near collisions with Boeing 777s, drones often get horrible press. This is probably why the lovely PR folk who sent #GNTECH a Parrot Bebop to play with included an email detailing need-to-know information about piloting 
this Dh2,399 flying machine.

The 400g Bebop boasts a signal range of up to 250m, 14-megapixel fisheye camera and 8GB of flash memory. It also comes pre-packed with two batteries that provide about 11 minutes’ flight time each. However, it takes a fair bit of time to get used to navigating the Bebop with a touchscreen device’s accelerometer — though once you do, it’s terrific fun making the quadcopter zip around.

It’s simple to snap pictures and record awesome video at 
up to 4K quality. However, the results when snapping photos were far less impressive, and I found that the drone didn’t actually go much higher than 15 feet — not the best vantage point for a truly stunning snap.

There’s also a Road Plan mode that lets you pre-set instructions for your drone to move specific distances forward or backward, up or down, swivel, record for a minute, snap five pictures, 
and more.

Parrot Skycontroller_Blue_Tablet

If you’re an absolute noob when it comes to piloting drones, pick up the optional Skycontroller, which is packaged with the Bebop at Dh4,199. It features a pair of joysticks that allow for preciser control while gamepad-like trigger buttons can take pictures and video. Most importantly, there’s a Wi-Fi range extender that lets you send the drone an extra two kilometres away, which is a good fix for the aforementioned altitude issue. The drone is also Oculus Rift-compatible, though we sadly didn’t have ours on hand to try.

And before the next round of drone-bashing begins, remember: it was really Iglesias’ fault. Nobody forced him to grab 
that drone. As for a quadcopter colliding with a commercial aircraft, #GNTECH advises pilots to steer clear of airports.