Parrot has already shown its latest fixed wing Disco drone at CES this year, but there’s also the Bebop 2, a successor to the company’s previous quadcopter that came to Canada last year. Parrot did a neat synchronized demo with about eight of the drones at the company’s booth. A smaller frame and more capable flying mechanics make this an interesting unit.
The Bebop 2 could easily be confused for the original model, but upon closer inspection, some differences are evident. What seemed clear was how smoothly it operated. Since the cage the Bebop 2 was flying in didn’t simulate wind conditions, it’s hard to say how well it will do when facing gusts from any direction, but the previous model handled itself well when I tested it, and I suspect this one will be much the same.
There are fewer moving parts inside, plus less weight, giving the Bebop 2 better aerodynamics in flight.
It still has the same 14-megapixel front camera with a 170-degree wide-angle view. The lens doesn’t have optical image stabilization, but rather digital image stabilization to maintain smooth and crisp images. Camera performance should be interesting for the way the stabilization works. The fisheye lens does the work using software, and the padding between the camera and main body absorbs the vibrations to ensure nothing comes out choppy. It’s a different way of doing it for a drone, but could be a neat alternative to the gimbal systems of others in the category.
Another big change is battery life. Parrot claims it has doubled the maximum lifespan per charge from 12 minutes to 25. Without flying it myself, I can’t verify how accurate that is, but with a lighter body and less going on under the hood, it’s a safe bet that the Bebop 2 will stay up there for a longer period. This might be explained by a battery that is both double the heft and capacity of the original at 2700mAh. Having Velcro straps keep it nestled in place is another tweak that should help.
The Bebop 2 can be flown via the free FreeFlight 3 app on iOS or Android, or the SkyController unit with its joysticks and buttons for even higher precision.
Expect to see the Bebop 2 come to Canada and Best Buy in the coming months, and I will be reviewing it right here on Plug-In when that time comes.