The Parrot Bebop is Parrot’s first drone made for photography/video. The AR Drone is meant for fun and messing around, but the Bebop is for people who are interested in shooting aerial footage. The Bebop 1 was released in 2014, while the Bebop 2 was released in late 2015. Earlier this year, Parrot released the Bebop 2 Power, which has some minor upgrades but mainly has more battery life and faster speeds (hence power). The Bebop is also designed for portability, as I’ll get to later. All in all, it’s a perfect entry level drone for anyone.
This drone is high quality, so naturally it’s not super cheap. There’s some different options for it: Drone by itself (no controller) is $349; Drone with skycontroller 2 and cockpitglasses (VR headset) is $449. (Edit: the skycontroller 1 pack is discontinued by Parrot). Now, I’ll get into the difference between the controllers later (spoiler: they’re basically the same), but it really just depends on what controller you are comfortable with. Maybe it’s worth it to spend another 100 dollars to get the newer controller with the VR goggles. But considering that the price ranges from only 349 to 449, you’re getting a great drone at less than half the price of most DJI drones. Also, extra batteries come at 66 dollars, which isn’t that expensive.
The flight on this drone is comparable to the DJI Mavic, which is saying a lot. The Bebop 2 can get up to 37 mph, which is crazy considering how small this thing is. It gets about 25 minutes of flight time (similar to mavic), and can go 1.24 miles away. The range is the only thing that differs from the Mavic; the Mavic can go 4 miles away, so not even close. The 1.24 miles is only with the skycontroller (either one, the get the same range), so if you’re controlling it with your phone the range will be significantly lower, because your phone’s wifi signal is the range.
Flight stability is pretty good on this drone. I say pretty good because it does wobble a lot when it’s flying, but it still holds it’s spot well. The wobbling has no effect on the video though, because the camera has stabilization. The Bebop has some smart features like follow me, and the one where you plot out your flight before you fly, but each of those costs an extra 20 bucks. It’s not a lot, but I do wish that they would include that in the original price. I should also mention that the drone only weighs 500 grams, so it’s pretty lightweight. Overall the flight is really great on the Bebop, especially since it’s so inexpensive.
The camera on the bebop is good. Not amazing like a DJI drone, but it’s good enough. It can shoot video in 1080p resolution, which is full HD. For most hobbyists, 1080p is great for showing friends, making youtube videos, or pleasure, but it’s not for professional work. That being said, it has a 3 axis stabilized camera. The stabilization works really great. I said there was wobbling earlier, but the camera takes care of that. If you tell the drone to stop and hover, the video will be as still as a photo. Now, when I first saw a picture of this drone, I was skeptical that the camera could move around, cause it looks like it’s fixed in position, right? Wrong. Turns out that the camera is behind that big lens you see, and it moves around inside the lens. So you can pan from side to side and up and down easily. When it first came out, the camera was criticized because the footage was really wobbly and unfit for good videos, but Parrot has fixed most of that through firmware updates.
Like I mentioned earlier, the Bebop 2 has two controllers; well, three if you count that it can be used with just a phone. The [discontinued] Skycontroller 1 (see picture on the left) is big and bulky, but but you have two separate control grips for each hand, giving you more of a real piloting feel. Plus, the size gives room for a bigger tablet, if you have one. The Skycontroller 2, on the other hand (see picture at the top), is designed very similarly to an Xbox 360 controller, so it’s smaller and lighter than the Skycontroller 1. The controllers have the exact same features, so the only real difference is which layout you prefer. Either way you’re getting all the buttons you need, and a 1.24 mile range. Also, the skycontroller 2 (Not sure about the skycontroller 1) will also work with the Parrot Disco, their glider drone.
The Bebop is designed for size: it can easily fit in a backpack or in a suitcase. It’s nice not to have to lug around something as huge as the Phantom, so if you just want to head over to a park and pull out a drone, the Bebop’s a great option.
Parrot really put everything into this drone. The only complaint I really have is that the camera can’t shoot 4k, but hey, maybe that can be a Bebop 3 upgrade. Plus, the under-500 dollar price point is a killer deal, for such a great drone. If this price range is where you want to be, check out the DJI Spark, which is a comparable price. If you want to get something a little nicer by spending some more money, look at the Mavic Pro or Air. In the end, the Bebop 2 offers everything that most people need. If you just want to shoot some good videos without emptying your wallet, get the Bebop; you won’t be disappointed.
(Note: Amazon’s prices are usually cheaper than Parrot’s)