Parrot Bebop 2 Review
One of the first drones to come with smart GPS follow me mode and an actual HD camera that can capture pretty good aerial images and videos. This drone is no longer in production but you can still purchase it from third-party sellers and still remains an impressive drone. It comes with a digital 3-axis gimbal for image/video stabilisation and has a very good flight time of 25 minutes.
- 1080p HD Camera
- 14MP still images
- 3-axis electronic gimbal
- 25 minutes of flight time
- 36 mph top speed
- Follow me smart mode
- 300m transmission range
Welcome to my review of the Bebop 2.0 the popular drone from Parrot.
Parrot has been making wireless products for well over two decades and they have been making consumer drones since 2010. Their first drone, the A.R drone was met with a lot of positivity as was its successor.
This drone is a few years old now and no longer in production, however, it still is a good drone and you can purchase one for less than $300.
The Bebop 2 is their first foray into the higher end of the drone market, specifically, drones for aerial photography. Although it doesn’t match up to the DJI models, if you want a drone with decent camera capabilities and not want to spend over a $500, then the Bebop 2 is still a good choice.
The Parrot Bebop 2 is the successor to the bebop 1, and visually they look almost identical. The body is made of plastic and is very lightweight with no moving parts apart from the motors.
The front end of the drone is equipped with a 14-megapixel camera with a 180° fisheye lens that gives it a wide field of view. Whilst most other high-end drones use a 3-axis gimbal to deliver distortion-free images, the Bebop 2 has a piece of software that does this job.
Despite its lightweight design (weighing around 0.5kg) it holds up pretty well against windy conditions and will make a great drone to travel around with.
It can record in HD 1080p at 30 fps and it can be controlled with your smartphone via its FreeFlight app (available on Android and iOS) or you can purchase its sky controller.
The standard package comes with the drone, 1 lithium polymer battery, 8 coloured propellers, 1 charger and cable, a propeller assembly tool and 1 USB cable. Parrot has re-engineered the frame width of the drone making it more durable in rough weathers and even more lightweight.
Its li-polymer battery is more securely fixed onto its back unlike in the previous version where it was secured via a Velcro strap. The motors are now colour coded so it makes it easier to identify which propeller goes where. There is also a LED at the back which makes it easier to keep track of if you fly during twilight hours.
Parrot Bebop 2 – Features
The bebop comes with some good features that will please both beginners and experienced pilots but if you are a professional photographer then this drone’s capability will disappoint you.
That is not to say that its video and image quality is poor, the drone takes quality images. However, when you have the likes of DJI and Yuneec spitting out high-end drones with UHD 4k cameras, then the bebop 2 falls way below those standards.
Everything on the drone is controlled by a smartphone or tablet via the FreeFlight app which can be downloaded from the Apple app store or Google play store. The app is a complex piece of software that has a lot of features and some extra ones that can be unlocked through in-app purchases.
As mentioned earlier you can also purchase the sky controller which will set you back a couple of hundred dollars and is quite large and would negate one of the positive aspects of the drone which is its portability.
Never the less the sky controller does make flying the drone easier and since you will be able to connect it with FPV goggles, this will give you a more immersive flying experience.
If you want more options at a similar price point, check out my list of the best drones under $500.
The FreeFlight app is fairly easy to use, the interface looks a lot like the tile design that Microsoft windows have. Other than controlling the drone, which we’ll get to later, the app has other features that are worth mentioning.
The app has settings where you can access all your photos and video footage through the internal memory button that is available from the drop-down menu. As there is no way to increase the memory size, the 8GB internal memory will fill up quickly, so it’s best advised to transfer your files regularly.
You will also have to register with parrots drone academy, which is done via the app and also give your drone a name.
The drop-down menu also gives you access to firmware updates, a word of caution you should always check before any flight if there are any software updates. This precaution is taken just to be on the safe side in case there are any glitches in the app that only becomes apparent during flight.
Unfortunately, with the Bebop 2 you can only update the app with your phone or tablet whilst the wi-fi is not connected to the drone. So make sure to update before connecting your phone to the drone wi-fi.
There are other features that may be of personal use, for instance, the app records your previous flights and you can access the data and analyse it.
The interface for controlling the drone is fairly easy to use, the left and right controls mimic the traditional controls, for the left you have altitude and yaw while the right controls pitch roll. There is an emergency landing button at the top, which if pressed will shut off the drone.
There are als0 one-touch buttons to take images and video footage. There is a button on the top that will make the drone do fancy manoeuvres and there are other telemetry data that informs you of how many satellites you have locked on, battery charge as well as other data.
Within the app, you can also set how high the drone goes and its maximum inclination along with camera settings for video and images.
Intelligent Flight Modes
There are also in-app purchases that can be made to unlock further features for the drone. Features such as waypoint, which lets you plot a path for your drone to follow on the app. Also, point of interest (POI) which allows you to focus the camera on you or another subject while the drone follows the POI.
This is another place where it falls behind the other high-end drones such as DJI, Yuneec and 3DR solo, as these smart shooting modes plus more come with drone app for free.
There is real-time video streaming in HD (although the quality is lagging behind the others) and you can take pictures in RAW format to edit later on.
One other problem faced with the Bebop is the wi-fi connection isn’t that reliable and is only improved If you buy the expensive sky controller. The good thing is if you do lose wi-fi connection during flight, the drone is programmed to return home.
The battery for the Bebop 2 has been greatly improved over its predecessor and the flight time has been doubled. The previous battery was 1200mAh and gave you around 10 minutes of flight time, this new one is 2700mAh and provides roughly 25 minutes.
This is a massive improvement especially those looking to make extended video footage. The batteries take just over an hour to fully charge so it’s always advised to buy extra batteries to extend your flight time.
If you want to improve the range of the drone control and have a better wi-fi connection, then the sky controller will give you these. This is a large transmitter that looks more like an aeroplane control. It has all the buttons you would find on the app and has an HDMI input. This is where the FPV goggles can be connected giving you a more interactive flying experience.
The Bebop 2 is a vast improvement over its predecessor, it has a longer flying time and improved battery life. Its camera quality is good although not breathtaking like the DJI or Autel drones. It’s smart shooting modes are also limited and has to be purchased with the app.
Having said that it is a pretty good drone overall and you can have lots of fun with it, flying the drone is made easy by its intuitive app controls. It’s lightweight and can be carried around easily, it’s digitally stabilised camera does produce distortion-free HD images. All in all, if you are looking for a drone under a grand but with features of the likes of DJI and Yuneec, the bebop 2 is your drone.