The Ryze Tello and Parrot Mambo might just be the two best drones in their class. The Parrot Mambo is an excellent starter drone and probably the closest competitor to the Ryze/DJI Tello. They both are extremely stable and have good cameras. That makes them both excellent option for beginners.
When it comes to small toy grade quadcopters, these two are heads and shoulders above the rest. So if you have about $100 burning a hole in your pocket and you want a small but fun drone then keep reading because you want either a Tello or a Mambo.
Tello vs. Mambo: Cameras
Let’s start by comparing their cameras. The Parrot Mambo takes fairly good pictures and 720p video but it uses a pretty limited 0.9 MP camera. Parrot corrects for vertical distortion but not for horizontal. While the Tello also shoots 720p video it does so with a 5 MP camera. That means the still images should look much sharper coming from the Tello. The Tello also has electronic image stabilization that will smooth out the video as well as EZ shot modes to help capture the shots you want.
Live First Person Video (FPV)
Both the Mambo and Tello transmit the live video stream via WiFi. You can expect a little bit of lag. The Mambo FPV package includes a remote and a set of goggles. The goggles are nice and compact and feature inter-pupillary distance adjustment. Unfortunately, I was unable to align the image on my iPhone 6 – I just couldn’t get the two images to align using the goggles. The Mambo didn’t come with a holder to attach my smartphone to the remote, which meant I was at a bit of a loss for how to hold the screen that is presenting the video feed. The image is wide enough to fly FPV at 108° so you may need to come up with your own solution for holding your phone if you want to take advantage of the live view.
We haven’t yet tested the FPV transmission from the Tello, but we suspect it will also have a bit of lag. Most WiFi FPV drones have some kind of noticeable lag. The Tello doesn’t come with goggles or a remote, so you’ll be flying it with your smartphone and viewing the image on the same screen. This isn’t ideal for flying FPV. What’s the solution? Pick up a remote and a set of goggles. The recommended remotes are the GameSir for Android and the MFi controller for Apple devices. A decent pair of goggles will cost just under $20.
Tello vs Mambo Specs
If we look at the specs of these two drones they are pretty similar in many regards. Have a look for yourself.
On specs alone, the Tello beats the Mambo in a few of the important categories like camera quality and price. The longer flight time of the Tello is also a nice bonus. The flight time is thanks to the great propeller design and large high-energy-density battery.
The Tello features EZ shot flight modes but the Mambo is still a nice quad and is super stable. The camera can be removed and switched up with a cannon or claw grabbing attachment if you are looking to have some fun with your quad in ways that typical drones just can’t do.
What Makes These Two Drones Different Than the Others?
There are a lot of similar looking drones out there for $100 and even less. Why would you want one of these when you could pick up one that looks similar for only $40? One thing that sets these drones apart is the cameras. Most drones under $100 have cameras with 0.3 MP cameras. You can’t take decent pictures with a 0.3 MP camera. These drones sometimes have altitude hold but rarely have any other stabilizing features. Both of these drones utilize bottom sensors and optical flow cameras to make them incredibly stable. A similar-sized quad would typically have a 4 to 6 minute flight time, but you’ll double that with either the Mambo and nearly triple it with the Tello.
So… Tello or Mambo?
Both of these drones are excellent options, but the Tello takes it to another level. If you go for the Tello, and we suggest you do, we would also recommend spending the extra $30-40 on a Bluetooth controller so the Tello is easier to control. The Mambo isn’t a bad drone, in fact, it is one of the best drones we’ve flown for under $200. It just so happens that the Tello takes it to another level.
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