The French company Parrot is one of few top name drone manufacturers not based out of Shenzhen right now. Offering an impressive line of uniquely-styled fliers, Parrot likes to break out their aerial vehicles into two main categories, Minidrones and Drones.
Looking into Parrot’s two categories, I would break out the devices into four groups, including boats, cars, quadcopters and airplanes. Do not get fixated on these four styles exclusively, however, as more than one of the drones merges two groups together.
Promising a fun way to hit land, sea and air, let’s take a look at the Parrot drones lineup.
Starting off with, what we will call, the toy-class drones, the minidrones, this is where we will find the most diversity in the Parrot line. Keeping things small, lightweight, easy to control and fairly inexpensive, first time pilots and children may want to start here.
Airborne Night and Airborne Cargo
At just 54 grams, 0.12 lbs, the Parrot Airborne line offers two flavors for your tastes, the Night, which has bright LED headlights, and the Cargo, with mounting points for Lego/Mega-Blocks style cargo.
Control either by mobile application or opt for the controller for a few more dollars. Marketed to younger audiences, the Airborne drones are durable and promoted as being safe to fly indoors for about 9 minutes per charge. Get started with quadcopter flight for $80 straight from Parrot, or about $54 for the Cargo on Amazon or $72 for the Airborne Night today.
Officially replacing both the Airborne Night and Cargo, the Parrot Mambo is a slight more substantial drone, and one that takes fun to the next level. Two accessories define the Mambo, the first is a small ball launcher that mounts on top of the drone, ready to take on other drones in aerial battle, or just annoy a parent or sibling.
The second accessory has a bit more function and potential, a cargo clamp. The Grabber is a cute little clamp that is motor controlled for you to carry up to 4 grams of cargo. Simple enough, they advertise this as a fun way to deliver notes to a loved one.
The Parrot Mambo will run you $83 from either Parrot or Amazon.
Jumping Night and Jumping Race
Taking remote control vehicles to the ground, the Jumping line of Parrot drones are two wheeled vehicles that scoot along the ground, then have the ability to leap into the air. The mounted camera is perhaps the most interesting bonus to the Jumping drones, with Race enjoying higher speeds but Night offering up LED headlights.
Take video from the ground at up to 8.7 mph with the Parrot Jumping Race and Jumping Night for $65 from Parrot or Amazon.
Also seen in our Best waterproof drones list
I think the easiest way to explain the Hydrofoil is as a float attachment to a mini quadcopter. The genius is in providing two machines in one. The little quadcopter can fly alone, or attach to the floats to propel the boat portion through the water.
Check out the Parrot Hyrdrofoil for $59 from Parrot, or a $69 on Amazon.
Blurring the lines between quadcopter and airplane, the Parrot Swing is an intriguing device. This is a large foam X-shaped dual wing design, you start with the propellers facing up. Throttle up to hover as a quadcopter, then as you move around you’ll eventually get to speed forward and the wings will bring you into airplane-like flight.
With the large flat wings providing much of the lift, the propellers are then able to produce higher speeds and much greater flight time. This is the first drone on our list that exceeds the U.S. mandated 0.55 lbs registration requirement – please register this drone with the FAA before you fly.
Check out the Parrot Swing for $99 from Amazon today.
Now we move onto the serious fliers. If you will, let’s say that it is safe to fly the minidrones in the house, excluding the Swing, obviously, but the following full drones are for outdoor enjoyment.
Unlike the minidrone segment, Parrot has only two styles of flying drones, including a couple variations on the standard quadcopter and another airplane-like machine.
Parrot AR.Drone 2
Starting things off with a more standard looking quadcopter, the AR.Drone 2 comes in a few variants that differ in GPS connectivity and power options. The drone at the heart of this is a small sized qudcopter equipped with 720p camera. Large foam propeller guards protect the drone and protect things from the drone for your more basic flying fun.
The GPS enabled version includes a flight log, including a tool to visual your travels after the fact. Fly by connected mobile device for $149, fly longer with more battery life for $169 or jump up to the GPS enabled version for $299. Starting as low as $188 on Amazon now.
Parrot Bebop 2
Following after the popular Bebop (1) the Parrot Bebop 2 finally bumps the on-board camera to 1080p resolution. This foam bodied quadcopter is a high flying, fast, lightweight photography drone. The drone itself can be purchased and flown via connected mobile device, or you can seriously gear up with controller accessories.
Starting with the Skycontroller, a purpose built remote control with far better range than your smartphone, and mount for a small tablet. Basically, this is the starter pack for Parrot’s efforts that match some of the larger and more expensive drones on the market.
Related reading: Parrot Bebop 2 hands-on review
Beyond streaming video to your mobile device, Parrot also has a treat called the Cockpitglasses. A VR style head unit for immersive FPV flying.
The Parrot Bebop 2 recently received a software up date that enabled several follow-me modes, unfortunately they come in form of an in app purchase through the mobile app, but at least it exists.
Check out the Parrot Bebop 2 for $352 as the drone alone, or in various packages with the Skycontroller and Cockpitglasses up to $600 now through Parrot or Amazon.
Available with the same Skycontroller and Cockpitglasses options as the Bebop 2, the Parrot Disco is no dancing fool. A fixed wing airplane-style craft with a 45-inch wingspan is no toy, and a 50 mph top speed is no joke. A single rear mounted propeller keeps your speed up, but there are no quadcopter take-offs with this one, it flies as an airplane exclusively.
Ideal for FPV flying, this drone is good for about 1.2 miles between it and the controller in your hands. Anti-stall systems will keep you in the air and a return to home function means your flying camera will come back to you.
Check out the Parrot Disco with Skycontroller and Cockpitglasses for $899, or with extra battery and a case for $1138 from Parrot, $ on Amazon.
With a few unique designs in their stables, and a handful of majorly fun drones to fly, Parrot is a major contender in the smaller drone space. Keeping things under $1000 is a solid market strategy, but it does prevent Parrot from keeping up with players like DJI in terms of professional photography.
Appealing to younger fliers may keep Parrot in the air, but there is no question, they have some entertaining options to choose from.
Will you be taking home a Parrot drone for your land, sea or sky remote control fun?