The original Parrot Bebop is a nice option for anyone that wants a drone that can take good pictures and video and is lightweight and portable. There are not many GPS-enabled drones that can boast full 1080p HD video, a 14 MP camera and cost less than $250.
The Bebop is a lightweight but durable drone made from fiberglass reinforced ABS plastic. This allows the drone to weigh less than one pound, yet still be able to handle the occasional crash. The internal gyros and GPS work to help keep this drone stable as you fly. This lightweight drone will give you about 11 minutes of flight time.
The Bebop is unique in that it does not ship with a dedicated remote transmitter. The drone can be controlled completely by your smartphone or tablet. It uses a free dedicated app that can work on both iPhone and Android. Not having to lug around a boxy remote transmitter is helps make this drone even easier to transport. The Parrot Bebop is small, about 11” x 12.5” and less than a pound at 0.88 lbs.
The phone connects via a WiFi signal and its range becomes limited to that signal. It does work on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands so you can choose the one with the least amount of interference. In general, we are not big fans of drones that have to be controlled with your smartphone because it limits the amount of feel or touch associated with flying your drone. Also, the WiFi signal tends to be weaker due to interference in urban areas. You can solve both of these issues by purchasing an optional Skycontroller. The Skycontroller will increase your range and give you the tactile feel and touch of a physical remote. The Skycontroller is quite large and takes away from the portability of the Bebop. One potential fix is using a WiFi extender to increase the range of your Bebob. Check out the video below.
The 14 MP camera is nice and takes clear pictures. The video is crisp and filmed in full HD 1080p. There is no stabilizing gimbal, but Parrot does use software to help stabilize the image. The camera position is in the front of the drone to help avoid seeing the propellers or landing gear. The camera is pointed almost straight forward, which is a small issue that was corrected by angling it downward in the updated Bebop 2. The Bebop does boast a nice wide 180-degree field of view which is particularly helpful when piloting the drone in first person view. Their software does a nice job of avoiding the rounded fish eye view.
The Bebop comes with an “indoor hull”. A more appropriate name for the indoor hull would be a propeller guard. Either way, it does make the drone easier and safer to fly indoors. Another nice safety feature of the drone is that it will shut off all motors when it senses an impact. So you won’t have to worry about it slicing a finger on its 5.5 inch propellers when picking it up after a crash.
This drone also has a nice return to home feature. You can activate it to come back to you by pushing on the return home key. There is also a flip button and you can indicate which way you want the drone to roll by selecting the button. The smartphone app is pretty straight forward and easy to use.
Should you get the Parrot Bebop?
Overall the Parrot Bebop is a nice drone. This drone takes good pictures and video. It is small, lightweight and portable. The Bebop has nice intuitive features and it is relatively affordable. It’s biggest drawback is the lack of a physical controller. If that doesn’t bother you then the Bebop might be the right choice for you. If you want a similar drone with a physical controller we’d recommend the Syma X8HG. It lacks some of the features of the Bebop, and the camera isn’t quite as nice, but it is less expensive and can be found for around $150 on Amazon. If you are looking for a better camera on a gimbal the Phantom 3 Standard is a good alternative, but it comes at a higher price point. Parrot did update the original Bebop and also produces the Bebop 2. It is a good drone with some improvements, but at nearly twice the price of the original Bebop is a little pricey.
|Bebop 1||Check Amazon Price|
|Bebop 1 with Skycontroller||Check Amazon Price|
|Bebop 2||Check Amazon Price|
|Syma X8HG||Check Amazon Price|
|Phantom 3 Standard||Check Amazon Price|
If you want to see how the Bebop stacks up against other drones in this price range check out our article on The Best Drones under $500.
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