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Flying the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Quadricopter with a Windows tablet (Hidden Gem)

Hidden GemsThe word 'drone' has certainly entered the mainstream vocabulary of everyday citizens, in part due to the US government, and the other part due to consumer-grade vehicles that are readily available. It should be no surprise that military technology trickles down after all look at the history of the Internet itself.

Parrot is no newcomer to the drone scene and their AR.Drone series is possibly the iconic representation of the growing market. The AR.Drone 2.0 came out two years ago, and it has since gone on to be one of the most widely adopted quadricopters in the consumer segment. Back in May, Parrot finally released their AR.FreeFlight app for Windows 8.1 and the company told us that their Windows Phone app was on the way.

Do you want to see it all in action? Then watch our demonstration video and see what I think! Remember, by leaving a comment on our Hidden Gem, you are entered to win one (of two) Parrot AR.Drone Quadricopters!

What it is

The AR.Drone 2.0 is a personal Quadricopter, which is almost as fun to say, as it is to use one. Think of it is an RC car for the sky, except that you use your tablet (and eventually your phone) to control it. Toss in a decent camera with recording capabilities and you have what probably is the neatest toy you can pick these days. Take off, do flips, buzz around the neighborhood, and freak out your elderly neighbors, – it is all possible with the AR.Drone 2.0.

How much is it?

Yesterday I shared with you the $129 Sphero 2.0 connected orb, which is cheap compared to the $299 Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Quadricopter (Amazon link). Then again, the AR.Drone is slightly more awesome and let me reiterate that you are buying a freaking drone.

What is in the box?

For $299, you get the AR.Drone with two hulls (indoor and outdoor), one battery, one-charger instructions. However, I strongly suggest you opt for the $329 package, which comes with an extra battery. Trust me you need it.

The AR.Drone 2.0 is made from a highly durable foam that wraps the core mechanics. The blades are plastic, and the whole vehicle is surprisingly light.

The camera

The AR.Drone 2.0 comes with an HD 1280x720 front camera and a 480P bottom camera. Neither are fantastic, though the front camera is good enough to keep most people satisfied for a $300 toy. By connecting a USB thumb drive to the drone, you can record at any time with the free AR.FreeFlight software. There is no audio.

Battery life

The (lack of) battery life is probably the biggest shocker, or maybe not. The AR.Drone 2.0 gets maybe 15 minutes of flight time from a single battery. No joke. Not only do you need a second battery, picking up a third may not be a bad idea either.

Just like smartphones, RC toys do not have advanced in batteries either, and powering four rotating blades fast enough to lift a small drone sucks up some juice. Luckily, the batteries can be swapped in, and out in seconds, and the handy wall charger replenishes the battery within an hour.

AR.FreeFlight for Windows 8.1

The software for the AR.Drone gets the job done and fits well with Windows 8.1. To connect the drone up, you plug in the battery and let the drone do its brief engine diagnostics. Once completed, it fires up its own Wi-Fi network (Wi-Fi direct), and you connect the tablet by selecting the Drone's Wi-Fi channel. This is a better system than Bluetooth as the range, and bandwidth are better. After the two have connected, you can launch the AR.FreeFlight software and begin your flight.

The controls for the AR.Drone 2.0 require some practice, but they setup is understandable. Like other RC devices, you pilot the drone with two virtual D-pads: one for steering horizontally, the second for vertical control and rotating horizontally. Users can choose outdoor or indoor mode, with the latter restricting height and speed, making it more forgiving in confined spaces.

Outdoor more lets you set the flight ceiling (up to 165 feet, which is crazy), acceleration, speed and just about everything else. Outdoor mode also enables 'flipping,' where the drone does a flip in mid-air. You can control the flip direction, including front, back, to the right, to the left, and double tapping the D-pads executes the move.

If you are flying outdoors (which is much more enjoyable), then I advise you remove the blade-guard hull and use the minimalist one. The reason for that is two-fold: The blade-guard hull is likely to get caught in branches if you crash and the AR.Drone 2.0 is remarkably resilient to crashing, including the blades.

The software has two prominent buttons labeled 'Emergency' and 'Land/Takeoff.' The latter button is an autopilot feature that lets the drone rise for a takeoff or to land when the flight is complete. The drone uses two-ultrasound sensors on the bottom for altitude measurement, and guidance during 'Land/Takeoff. The emergency button is in case you are coming dangerously near someone (or something) and you need to kill the power. Doing so shuts down the drone, and it falls like a rock from the sky. In other words, unless you want to break the drone, best to avoid using it unless you have to do so.

Users can toggle the camera view (front or bottom) with a touch of a button and initiate recording for video.

Flying the drone

Piloting the AR.Drone is like riding a bicycle. It is not easy at first, but after a few sessions, you notice a marked improvement. Every time I took out the drone for a flight, I got fancier and more adept. Crashing is part of it, but the drone holds up well to the abuse. I do recommend flying over a grassy field and obviously avoiding large, solid objects.

The battery life is a real bummer on the AR.Drone 2.0 but this is hardly a trivial problem to solve with today's current lithium-polymer batteries. The fact that you can swap the battery in 30 seconds means there is very little downtime, and to be honest you probably won't fly it for too long as each session can be quite intense.

Video recording is a bonus, and although it does not holdup to many cameras in 2014, it still super fun to view after a flight. You can additionally add a GPS add-on to the AR.Drone 2.0, which lets you map a flight path and set a 'home' location to return too, though reviews for it are mixed.

Replacement parts and third-party accessories (like a headlight kit) are affordable and bring some expendability to the system. You can even buy larger batteries, knocking the 1000 mAh default battery up to 1800 mAh.

Conclusion

For a cool factor alone, the AR.Drone 2.0 is a ton of fun. Flying the copter around the parking lot and improving my flight skills is a great way to kill some time in the evening or on the weekend. Your neighbors may be scared, but don't let that stop you.

The Windows 8.1 software is fun to use and once connected I rarely had any issues. Like Sphero, there are third-party options available too if you prefer a different design for your app.

Personally, I cannot wait until the Windows Phone app becomes available. In conclusion, if you are looking for a new, slightly expensive hobby, then go pick up an AR.Drone 2.0. On the other hand, you can wait a few months for their highly anticipated Parrot Bebop Drone with its f/2.2 1080P stabilized camera. Drool. I know I will.

What do you think of connected toys like the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 – passing fad or is it the future? Let us know in comments and don't forget to check our other Hidden Gems!

Thanks to Mark Guim for the work on the video review

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Reader comments

Flying the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Quadricopter with a Windows tablet (Hidden Gem)

520 Comments

Remember: Leave a helpful comment about the AR.Drone 2.0, you're entered into our contest to win one of TWO drones! Helpful comments include what you like, what you don't like and how it could be made better.

Winners will be announced next week, so you can enter at any time. Multiple comments allowed, but only one will be picked. Contest is open worldwide.

Need more info about our Hidden Gems series? Read our announcement post here.

An AR. DRONE!
I've got myself an quadcopter quite some years ago, and I've spent much time flying it, but now it's kinda down...

The AR concept really catches me, and that combined with an controllable copter, it would make me be at parks for days.

AN AR.DRONE IS TOTALLY NO WASTE OF MONEY NOR TIME!!!
I WOULD RECOMMEND TOO!!!

Helpful? Like stay away from trees?  Not sure i have any. Although i do wonder, i have seen AR drones that when they lose connection, they automatilcy fly back to the starting point. Does this one?

I will better get a cheap Drone and hang my Lumia 720 to it... It would still be much cheaper and better HD video recording along with the sounds...

Very cool. Can't wait to see what Go-Pro uses for their next product. I gotta imagine they are already working on expanding into this market of integrated cameras/drone devices. Right?
I Would love to have one of these either way, camera looked good enough to me. Good enough for a drone selfie! :)

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

Since Nokia published the videos that were recorded with an optocopter; I've been thinking on getting one. I have a Lumia 920 so I'm guessing that if I somehow load the phone in the droid and lift battery will last for 5 mins or less.

The integrated camera would be awesome to inspect the roof without getting up there :)

I'm wondering if the author can specify the effective range of the drone. Is the drone going back if it detects it's going too far?

Even though it is more expensive than the Sphero, I could see myself picking one of these up. The battery life is unfortunate, but not surprising. If I were to buy one, I would definitely wait out for the Bebop, but I certainly wouldn't say no to one if I won it.

had a go on this at the gadget show UK last year using android device and loved this. The camera was amazing for what it is. It was very well built and very durable as i tested it. This was inside Earls court and was impressed, the controls were very precise managed to get one to hover infront of my borthers face very close...and crashed it as well to test how durable it was and didnt break on a drop of about 20ft on to a concrete floor. as stated battery life was short, however they had racks of batteries there.

the demonstraterors then got to to fly side by side and follow each other as such looked good.

Drones like Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Quadricopter are definitely not a passing fad, I think they will reinvent the meaning of the word toy and how people use their toys (gizmos, gadgets). It's portable, it has its own local network (connects to your tablet via WiFi) you can control it over your device, I can already imagine hundreads of kids flyng these babies in parks all over the world.

The only downside of this drone is its battery. It's a 1000mAh but alternatively you can buy 3rd party ones that are significantly larger (up to 1800 mAh).

Drone itself looks very cool indeed, and if you are looking for a new way how to kill time and entertain the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Qaudricopter is definitely for you. 

I would really like to get one of these.  I had a cheaper drone that I purchased that I had a blast flying.  One of its four engines stopped working though and made it unusable.  Lots of fun while it lasted.

I have an original AR Drone. Version 2 lools a lot better. I haven't used mine in a while due to apps currently not supporting video. If someone cam make one I will be sure to get it.

The first was borderline junk. A slight breeze would blow it out of the air. Dead motor after one month, $50 each to replace. Even if given one, it would be a white elephant. Can't speak for 2.0, but burned once for $300...

Same with me. That's amazing if it goes 165ft high. Like someone mentioned it looks lighter and if heavy wind blows it may be flipping around without the control. Anyways its fun to have it at your home. Since they an app for a tablet they could have made a bigger control like its done for Sphero. Could have been easy to control.

But the toy costs more than the phone :) I agreed with article, RC toys needs to get batteries. 15 min is actually a decent flying time from flying RC perspective, I have seen people get only 7-8 mins with their planes.

Really like this product! Seems alot better then most of the cheap drones you see around, looks kind of flimsy but I love the camera interface. Might consider buying this.

Would make a cool addition to my r/c stable, but tragically, what kind of control distance can you expect? Does it use its own repeater our the house WiFi our the phones WiFi transmitter?

I am wondering the same thing, if I use the Dell DV8 pro, how much distance would it get? And would it simply crash to the ground, or does it go into an auto pilot mode? I would love to have one to try out. Maybe someday, after I get an Xbox One.

I'd like to see how it handles a maneuverability test of sorts. A obstacle coarse. This is how I would use it if I got it. Build an obstacle coarse somewhere and race other drones.

Multiple cameras would be cool when using it for obstacles. Side and rear views would be sweet. Split the windows tablet screen in quadrants. Also maybe a sensor of sorts to tell you when you are too close to another object

Nearly picked this up when I was at Challenger in Singapore last year. This September I will just get one now that the Windows app is already available.

The first mod I'm looking at is upgrading the camera as I plan to use this for beach volleyball.

Making the app universal is a good idea and having an option to view the live video streaming on windows 8.1 while controlling the drone from the windows phone app is even better and vise versa.

I agree, although a microphone should be added so you can get videos with sound. It would be cool to fly the drone over a soccer field and watch my sibling's games that way.

EDIT: I just had a thought, duct tape my Lumia 521 to the bottom to record videos with sound.

Not really impressed with drones, they seem pretty basic to what I imagine technology would have come up by this time.

An app is an app though.

Wow! This looks incredible! I hope a WP version comes soon.
P.s:-I'll still not sure how long it could last though, the last helicopter I bought(which could fly up to 50 feet) crash landed and broke after 1 week so yeah, durability is always an issue for me when buying hardware, this looks sturdy though :P

This one is amazing. Reminded me of my childhood when I tried to add a camera to my RC helicopters to spy people. This is not a joke. I really did but never succeed. This helicopter looks beautiful and well designed. The app rather looks like playing some game from the screenshot. Love the idea. As said in the article, they need to work with high power lithium batteries so that we can use it for longer durations. Anyways seeing this I can say that we are moving to a world where we will have everything connected with our smartphones.

Cool I got one for Christmas but haven't taken it out of the box because of the lack of WP support, so I guess a helpful thing would be to app WP support

I've used the drone with my Surface. Works well but app still not fully featured. More functionality using my kids iPod, esp when using GPS waypoints.

I've never owned one of these babies! How I would love to fly an AR drone through my friends window. I've heard the propellers break easily? What do you think

The drone aesthetically beautiful. How well were the flying conditions when you tested it outside? Even a slight breezes can really mess with smaller drones, does this drone have good stability?

It auto adjusts pretty darn well and compensates for wind. But, yeah, if a gust hits it, it will affect its flight. Just use it in an open area and you'll be fine ;)

These things are amazingly fun. My buddy has one, never ceases to amaze me how quickly I turn back into a 12 year old when we fly it.

I'm just trying to think of some practical uses for this thing... If I spend $130-$300 on this thing I don't want it ending up sitting around after the initial excitement wears off.....

Ever since I first saw this parrot drone I have wanted one. Simply the design and features are amazing. My friend has one, and he uses it with his iPad. The app looks great and he says its really responsive too. Fingers crossed, this would work awesome with my surface!

I would love to have one of those, because it looks so fun and is something that I've never used before.

It looks super cool! Me and my brother have always been fascinated with remote controlled cars, and RC planes. This looks to be pretty sweet. When I was a kid we would use up whole notebooks of paper making paper airplanes, trying to make ones that flew better, higher, or straighter. (my mom wasn't too happy..)
This looks like something I would enjoy quite a bit.

Wow! I was just looking to one of this online and disapointed it did not run on windows (according to the store's website). I am soooo hapy right now!

To bad not a better camera. It would be awesome to use somehting like this to record events like, parties, wedding, concerts and anything else.

"Note: Wi-Fi streaming from a camera is not possible because it may interfere with the Phantom's remote control."

Bebop might be the better option. :)

@dj0502 I attached my ContourHD helmet cam to mine, it flew surprisingly well, it was cool having sound! You can check out a couple of pictures I have on Instagram @psutherland6

I was at a music festival last week looking at the chopper above hoping one day I'd have one.

Maybe I was day dreaming but then a drone with a nice camera might be a realistic compromise.

Its pretty quiet. You hear it a little indoors (makes fan-like noise), but outdoors there are louder things around than the drone itself.

Now we're talking. Much more fun than a remote controlled ball. I just wish the camera was better. Can we strap our phones to it for better video?

Looks like a pretty solid app. Even so, the 15 minutes battery limitation is pretty, well...limiting. I wonder what kind of warning you get before the bugger dies and comes crashing down to earth or into the lake I might be flying it over.

Really want this! I need to test drones for work...need to monitor agricultural operations. Will this drone do it?

The battery life is definitely something that would keep me from purchasing this awesome toy. Getting a couple of extra like Daniel suggested would be a good idea. Also PROTIP make sure you look at the no fly zones for drones by checking your local laws. Some defaults are : No use within 5 sq. Mi. Of an airport, army base, etc... Happy flying :)

This looks pretty impressive. A RC toy that can connect to a Windows Tablet? Very intuitive. Im really honestly liking the third parties embracing the WP platform, and creating more compelling apps and other features. This is just a start. Personally I wouldn't have much practical use with the thing other than messing around with it from time to time, but it still looks great.

Oh man that is awesome. I have forever been enamored with the cheap $20 helicopters you can get everywhere but always wanted a grown-up version with touchscreen controls. I would definately get one of these if I had the disposible cash!

I will engineer this thing to carry my 1020!! I have a whole fully equipped technical workshop to my disposal but unfortunately no disposable income for something like this :( so If I win just give me a month or so and I will post a DIY vid on how to modify this drone to carry phones :)

The AR.Drone is cool but, while it's more useful than Sphero, the short battery life doesn't allow us to fully use the quadricopter, and that's a shame because the signal's range is quite wide, the camera's quality is good and it's pretty easy to control. Actually, the main problem can't be solved directly by Parrot, because it's legislation about these drones: here in France, you can only fly them over the land you own; a few people have already been condemned for not respecting that. So unless you have a huge area to keep under surveillance, a drone isn't that useful.
P.S. Please don't pick my comment because it's totally useless for me, I prefer that someone who will enjoy it gets it.

Higher end drones like the DJI Phantom 2 get nearly 30 minutes of battery life, but you pay much more (3x the cost). You get what you pay for, and a least in this case, the AR.Drone 2.0 is a nice "starter" drone to get your feet wet ;)

Exactly! I'm a complete amateur when it comes to RC especially copters so this would be perfect to get into the game!

Really wish I could justify one of these, it's been something I've wanted for a while but have no reason to use it.

Battery last only 15 min. Thats a big drawback. I would have prefered it if its at least stays for 45 min to 1 hour. Also adding an APP for windows phone will be helpful.

The Parrot AR Drone looks to be a decent piece of equipment and then to be paired with a decent WP8.1 app should be pretty awesome however, they should really look more into the battery situation as 15 mins run time isn't really alot.

@Daniel_Rubino ... Really.... You guys are really going to do this to me!? First Sphero and now this!! I thought Sphero was a pretty great prize but it just get's better with each new hidden gems article! @Daniel_Rubino I have two questions, will the software work on a windows 7 laptop? (it probably does but if not and I win, all the more reason to get me a W8 tablet) and Daniel the first thing I would do is try and fabricate a holder & maybe a gimble setup to attach my Lumia 1020, will this thing be able to handle the added weight? Another awesome article that was a joy to read. I live in the perfect place to film some amazing video with a drone like this and it has always been a dream of mine to do so (well ever since I watched Parrot unveil there first drone on youtube at CES) the 15min battery life is a bummer, dont know why they would even put a tiny 1000 mAh battery into something like this and then only put one in the box!?! But as you said... Stop bitching and buy more batteries for the thing LoL. Parrot has some seriously awesome products and more will be coming soon. I myself have never even flown a RC helicopter... Well not proper ones, just kids toys, so I was a bit unconvinced at first that I would be able to fly something like this without breaking it on my very first try, but the design and materials they used seem to be ok for the casual crash into a tree or bush. Thanks for another great article and yet another awesome "toy" for me to be dreaming of winning. :) .......oh yea and I almost forgot........ PICK ME PICK ME PICK MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! LOL :) Cheers @Daniel_Rubino and thanks for replying to my last comment. You guys at WPC keep well and try not to break that drone please :)

Hah, thanks for the comment.

RE: adding a camera, probably not. Haven't tried, but I doubt it could handle the weight. A company called DJI makes one called the Phantom 2, which can do such things (even hold a GoPro). But it's like 3x the cost, so...

The app looks to be Win 8 only (Modern App), and I don't think there is one for Win 7.

Basically, this is a starter drone. If you buy it, you don't break the bank, but it may lead you to the bigger, more expensive drones like a Phantom 2 (which I really want, lol).

It must hold a GoPro, look at the youtube videos and compare them to the ones you made :)

Also, some has in description that it was taken with a GoPro.

You and me both! That phantom 2 is so awesome! The video footage they showed off that was captured with it blew my mind the first time I saw it! One day when I'm rich I WILL have one LOL! I just can't get over the shots you get from drones using high quality cameras. Even Hollywood is ditching the Helicopter and camera rigs for drones as it is WAAAAAAAYYYY cheaper and the shots are just as good and even sometimes better due to the agility and size of drones!

the battery life is a deal breaker for me, make it bigger & heavier with at least 30-40min flying time and i will pay 500-600usd for it

Won't happen, not for awhile (needs more market saturation, these are still niche). Check the Phantom 2 by DJI, which gets nearly 25 minutes but costs around $1k. It's consider the ideal next level up for consumer drones.

Always a fan of RC anything, but this is just too expensive and not special enough. You can get a good indoor helicopter on Amazon for $20 that has the same battery life. Granted, there are a few differences, in that it won't work well outside, doesn't have cameras, and no windows integration. On the last one, I think a remote from the manufacturer is actually much easier to use than a tablet, but whatever.

Quite an awesome drone, cheap if you compare with the real good ones, plus this one does a lot too. Like that camera, images look good... Battery will always be a problem when talking about portable remote controlled flying objects. True, 15 minutes sucks and changing battery interrupts video in case your filming something, but what are you gonna do?! Now that camera below it could be 720p also. That's the actually image we want! We want to be able to look down from above. They really should think about that... And maybe a Windows Phone app!

Always wanted to test out one of th Reese things, just to look like I'm in the future or something, my friends freak out when I'm simply playing music through a Bluetooth speaker, so this would blow their feeble mins :P

So based on the battery life and the amount of time it takes to charge it, you should consider getting 4 extra batteries. That way you can fly it around the clock.. Assuming you had a couple of assistance to work the pit crew.

I think this would be awesome for selling stuff on eBay or kijiji.....set the product up, fly around it taking videos, and sell, sell, sell!

An open Windows RT/Phone API would be great. I could use the camera on the drone to orientate and fly towards a QR tag or similar.

Or use the difference between the controllers GPS coords and the Parrot ARs to make it follow you around.

i think i would be cool if we can buy some kind of case/contraption to house our lumias with its awsome ois on to these things, also may be find a way to use the battery from the phone to extend the usage by few minutes.

You mentioned accessories... are any of the components (beyond the battery) upgradeable? Thinking I'd want to tinker and replace the cameras.

I'm also curious about what these devices do when they fly out of range. Does it do an occasional hand-shake test, and if that fails, fly itself to the last-known-good location?

 

This is awesome. The little kid inside of me wants to jump and shout by the idea of it. But, it's a bit too expensive a toy for me, at least now. Again, the young me would've gone for it, but today I can't imagine spending the money for something I can't exactly see myself use more than a few times in any given time frame.

I have this one, developed an app for it on WP8.

It's good fun, really tricky to fly in absolute mode using the camera. Especially when there are branches near. So I use that relative mode (don't know what it's called, Progressive probably), which is nice in a phone, but sucks in a tablet where there is no compass.

The video quality is like Daniel said. Expected a little bit more, don't be fooled by the youtube videos, they are GoPro shots. It's also kinda lame that there is no sound.

The real shocker is the price of the replacement parts. Insanely expensive.

 

If you are fine with the things I wrote, then buy it. Endless hours of fun, a GoPro is recommended, then you will be the king of the facebook.

 

In the winter when you don't fly DO RECHARGE the batteries, one of mine is died because I forgot to do so. This is a problem with Li-Po batteries, not with the drone.

By chance do these drones have optional cargo adapters? Would be cool to snap on cargo hold or phone adapter (if you want to use phone for additional footage).

I've always loved this kind of toys! I'm RC enthusiast! Must consider to buy one of this.. Or maybe wait for the Bebop?

This drone looks awesome.as a fan of playing with machines I love to own it ..it worth the price and it looks really coool..the machine is not just a play toy but more than what U expect..its working is really impressive and its tons b fun with it..

Simply put, there's nothing I don't like about these quadcopters. I have spend some time looking into them to see what they have to offer and the truth is the Parrot ones are the very best of them all, at least on paper. What I most like about them is the cameras because it allows the user to view the world from a whole new perspective that was unthinkable just a few years ago. I would play a whole lot with one of these.

I am SO excited that this finally got support! I love the AR Drone. It makes it so people like my dad can use it for his real estate stuff. I love how 2.0 improved on 1.0 by a great amount. When the WP version comes, I hope it is a universal app, as that is better than having two separate apps, imo.

Pretty good toy. Would love to have it when I was a kid. Nowadays, not so much, although AR Parrot Zik's are nice addition to my headphone collection.

Haven't seen one this on my real life i mean flying drones but I think to have this toy is great. The only issue I found what if I don't have wifi connection at home. Am I still able to play this? Nice vid btw.

This looks awsome, love the idea of leaving your human field of vision for an aerial view. Not a fan of the battey life, it may restrict the fun but I can´t imagine a bigger battery and having that swift movement ability. So many fun stuff to do with this gadget would love to test it on some remote places. great review

nice toy. looks like it is priced fairly although i think an upgraded version with better cameras would be welcome but i think mostly larger batteries should be available (that might add weight though so i don't know how that balances with flight time as more energy is needed to lift it off the ground)

I must be getting old...they used to be called remote control (rc) planes(or helicopters, or whatever). Did that take too long to say?

I dont know if this exist but it would be cool to have a drone like this and fight with other drones. (not real fight) like you see the other drones in the camera and its like a game.

Well for battery I guess ENERGIZER RECHARGEABLES might help as they help me get my Xbox 360 remote play for a month with a single charge (and no its not a joke. I play usually ~4-5 hours everyday and seriously it lasts a month)

Hmmm, looks like an easier way to check the gutters. :) I have played with the cheap helicopters and would be interested if this easier or harder

Cool! 15 min is reasonably sufficient for few short planned flights. It would be nice if it was possible to control it using the gyroscope sensor of the tablet, instead of touch controls in the screen. It also could be nice if it did use rechargeable AA batteries as those are cheaper and have higher power capacity (some are 3000mAh) but I don't know if it would have negative effects on weight.

Well i think this is future as now in future things can be done just using mobile(Windows phone)..
We can control home with insteon, a ball with sphero...
Now a drone..
Well it looks impressive and the ui looks good to though it needs some improvements to make it look more like interior of the drone..
Overall great app and drone

Looks fun. Toys connected to devices is not just a trend. You can do so much more than a dedicated remote ever could. Unless, of course, you spend an extra $300 or more.

Have definitely bought one if they had phone app. Release the universal app soon and as well reduce the price as it seems costlier and increase its battery, it would definitely be a success :)

I think it would be better if they used a MicroSD for storage. That would save a.lot of weight. You can use an RC heli Lipo charger that would the battery in just 20 minutes and with the add on GPS system you can set a maximum altitude so you would not loose it.

I love this, I love that it had a camera so you can see what the drone sees. Would be cool if there was a way to record from that camera.

Windows tablet will consine a lot of time using AR Drone. Although wr can carry tablet with it. I find if phone is used against the parrot tye its worth giving a try to such kind of things. I used to play such kind toys with controllers b4 made by Funskool.

Want to be a pilot so I would like more to buy this as soon as arrives looks like a very reliable and affordable one happy I got the WP app the most important to do with this great WP

I am surprised this took so long to make the GEM post.  I remember when Daniel got hold of this, I thought he would take all kinds of time off to fly this thing.  lol.

My concern is battery. Waiting an hour for battery to recharge after just 15mins of fun ain't good enough. I'd love a big capacity battery say 3000mAh will be great . Also thought of controlling an RC quadricopter is ridiculously awkward it's like taking a picture with an iPad 3 (or any of the other big iPads) at a wedding amongst many other ppl also taking pictures with their sleek smart phones. I can't stress how urgent a WP app is needed for this Drone

I bought one 2 years ago and I have been using it as a door stop for the past 20 months. I have really enjoyed using it all summer long. I wish they they made more upgrades for it. I understand that they have a new one coming out with a 1080p camera, but I really want an add on for my drone. I love it, I just want more shiny new stuff for it.

I think it is simply awesome that products like the AR Drone are finally making their way to the world of Windows and Windows Phone. For far too long isheep and android fans have been able to use ammo like this against us, but no more. Whether it is the future or not, the fact that I could now fly a drone from my windows phone is cool as hell. The amount of fun or mischief one could create with this is just awesome. I would love to have one.

This would be a great new toy. I'm mostly interested in the camera. Being able to record things from a whole new perspectives would be alot of fun.

That looks really cool and I'm glad they decided to support Windows!!! Windows Phone would be nice but..... you know.

First, as others have said, it's great to see these types of companies supporting the Windows ecosystem. 

I think that these types of gadgets have a broad apeal because we get to control them with yet another gadget we love!  This concept also allows the manufacturers do more than what a basic controller would do if they included them with the drone.

The most exciting feature about these drones for me is the camera.  I'm an avid waterskier and i've seen some of the most creative videos and photos taken with drones.  Shots we could only dream over 5 years ago.

As technology improves, it would be nice to see a higher resolution camera included.

Looks very cool. Thanks for The video. Feature I liked the most is its programmability. Although you said there are mixed comments on this, I'll give it a try whenever I get one.

for $300, thats one pricey toy. but for hobbiests, theres no price limit. thats unfortunate for the low battery life but anything with more capacity would be too heavy.

drones...toys today, skynet tomorrow :P

 

The drones/quadricopters available now are really cool. I will probably buy one sooner or later. But I wonder if it is maybe better to get a bigger RC plane (one of the styrofoam/pseudo-glider types) and mount a front-facing camera on that. I've seen videos on YT and it seems pretty nice. More like a flying experience, and I guess the battery time is a lot better. It is also controlled with a real RC radio for much better range. Anyone got any experience with this?
 

I would love to take one of these to a music festival to fly around for a bit.  I can think of a few places in nature that would be great to explore, too.  What happens when you try to fly this guy out of wi-fi range?  I feel like it should have a built in virtual boundary for this sort of thing??

By looking at ur review, it's clear tat battery and video clarity must be improved.

But video stability must also b improved.

Tats main. So including a gyroscopic sensor wu'd b a good idea.Regarding battery,  they shut hav include thin solar carbon fiber body parts.

Wat I like abt tis parrot drone is the aerial filming,  our ordinary shooting will b awesome using tis

Would love to get my hands on this. Battery life an issue, but what can you do with four blades to run. Love the camera view while controlling it.

I could see this being great fun during the kids' sporting events. A bit of a learning curve to do it safely, but great shots there would be!

oh god how I wish I not being an poor student so I can bought one, or have lucky enough to win one D:

still it really look entertaining, really like the experience that it gives as I seen in the video... the only problem is that it required been on the same wifi network so mostly is a downside if you want to go an play on the street, but anyway it is a great toy

The drone makes it's own network. Basically you connect to it's individual WiFi network to fly. Daniel explained that in the article.

So far I've seen the drone, it is very fun to use and also the controls in the app are very easy to use. I wish i could see the drone with some little LED's just to warn people you are flying that thing (it would be very helpful if you use the drone to play in afternoon) or have a little speaker so it can make a soung in case it crashes or lands in a bush, maybe a feature similar to a treasure tag, just saying... and also adding a feature so you can use de drone as a speaker, you can make so funny pranks with that. Overall it looks like an amazing toy :D 

Wow! another robot just like sphero...looks cool. I haven't heard about this drone and it looks bery promising that
it can do all kinds of stuff what a normal drone could do....
Good and trying this would be a mere childs play i think so...It will be awesome if it has windows phone app...

I have played with my friend's AR.Drone 2 a number of times now. It is indeed a lot of fun. The controls take awhile to get used to, but once you're used to them it becomes quite easy. The nice thing is that the drone is capable of steadying itself and "hover" in place, even in a decent wind.

A couple other suggestions:

1) Get a bigger battery. The included one will only last you about 10 minutes of flight and takes awhile to charge. So you're going to want a 2nd battery anyway. You can pickup a 3rd party battery that will last ~50% longer fairly cheaply online, and it's a worthy investment.

2) Parrot now sells a GPS module you can plug into the unit which gives you MUCH more precise controls as you can plot map routes and the drone will follow along it, as well as telling it to return home and it'll pilot itself either back to where it took off from or to where you are now standing. It is about a $125 add on unfortunately, but the upcoming Parrot BeBop drone will have GPS built into it.

All in all, it's a fun gadget and a worthwhile investment for those that are new to this kind of thing.

This would be amazing. If I had one, I'd try flying around the city of Cincinnati to get some cool views of the city from up high - that is, until the police say to stop because people are scared haha. Would love to try one out sometime, especially when the windows phone app comes out!

Woot and Newegg sell this drone refurbished(at least they used to). I bought mine for $175, and also ordered the Parrot-made extended battery, which lasts close to a half hour. It's pretty fun, but is easy to destroy unless you take it some place open to fly it. I fly it in my front yard sometimes, but even a slight wind will make it crash into things.

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

I would LOVE one of these things to fly it over my inline hockey games or soccer games! Maybe it'll get me into coding, creating something to link the camera to always follow the puck or ball would be AWESOME!

Nice design of the drone. Looks to be really durable. I'm just imagining the possibilities of the types of shoes you can get with this. Would be nice if it came with night vision

This looks so cool! What happens when it goes out of range though? It would be cool to have the capability to use the jets as propellers and be able to use it in the water as well. Still an awesome find... I could probably use it to pass something light to one of my friends across the street, the possibilities are endless! Arms that you could toggle and grasp things with would give it so much more appeal I think! But sooo cool. I want!

If you get disconnected from it, it'll try to find it's way back to where it took off from. It does so with reasonable success, but regardless it doesn't just go plummeting to the ground suddenly either.

I was really happy to see this software being launched for Windows. Earlier I used to see my colleagues using iPad and all, but now I am gonna get my personal Parrot soon :)

I didn't know that the app was universal, is a good idea. Having an option to view the live video streaming on windows 8.1 while controlling it from windows phone I'd even better

Don't like that the original AR drone required a camera on the bottom to maintain stability... Was very shaky to fly at night when trying to get pictures of Xmas lights. Wonder if this is any different with 2.0?

I still remember my childhood days, always crying to get one of these remote controlled toys. But never was that wished fulfilled, as my father was an army officer and would strictly forbid any toys. But i still couldn't resist the desire to get one of these. I wish I had one right now in my hands. Would totally go crazy. And this parrot looks fantastic, and sturdy except for the battery.

And that is one of the coolest drones aka flying machines one can possess. Added to that is the compatibility with Windows 'tablets' - something that calls for an applause. In a world of technology primarily dominated by smartphones and computers, something like a drone is a rare sight and kudos to WPCentral for reviewing such a product. Hopefully this will provide some information to people who believe that technology is all about phones, tablets and computers without actually knowing how broad the term is in its truest sense. :)

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

The drone is really cool. Wish there was a Windows phone that worked more like the Windows 8.1 app. I might get one one of these days.

Now this is more like it. An aerial RC! Too bad I can't mess around with my Corgi with it. Maybe if I gave him a parachute... Hmmm... And I shall call him Fox McCorg. It's gonna be an epic battle! I can already picture his stubble of a tail on my crosshair.

I really love the idea of cameras on these. I tried flying some model planes and found it to be a bit hard to gauge distances and clearance since I wasn't used to them. 

Holy Toledo another cool giveaway by WPC.

Dunno if its a worldwide comp but damn I'm in for it anyway.

Its cool stuff like this and informative reviews that makes me gald I found WPC.

I mean who wouldn't want to use one of these things at a party or any gathering. With peoples permission of course.

 

Heck what a cool setup for a dirt track motorcycle meeting.

Just hover in the centre and you have a 360 view of all the action. The possiblilities are endless.

With the Windows Phone app coming soon I'll be saving up to get me one of these for sure.

Tossing up between a Tamiya Durga or this I'll probably get this one first.

This is a nice toy. I think with time these will get much better, 15 mins is too little. Needs some stabilization for the video which is a bit too shaky sometimes. I am sure they can hook up two of those batters in the unit, but I don't know how much that will effect its flight with the added weight. I suppose swapping out the battery isn't too bad. What is the range on this thing?

I believe drones will be part of our future and its nice how they are now somewhat accessible to consumers. It would be much more appealing of they has stunts or tricks like flips.

My neighbor has one of these and I have always right thought that I cannot afford these "toys"... It looks really nice and fun to use.

I keep almost pulling the trigger on Amazon but then think of the Bebop :)

Oh well back to playing with 8.1 on my 1520!

I love this week's Hidden Gems! Here is another great item that I didn't know exsited. It is a little pricey though, and the battery is quite small, but both are to be expected.

 

How easy is it to make the AR Drone hover?  Is it an automatic function of the drone?  Also, 15 minutes per charge seems too fast a session.  It would have been better for a higher capacity battery.

But it looks way cool to own one.

Hey Daniel, do you know if the Parrot Bebop Drone will have a Windows (Phone) app or the app that it's right now in the store will be able to control the Drone?

This seems like a really cool "toy". Battery life may present itself as the problem though. As these are relatively new things, I guess baterries aren't there yet to power them. However, something in me wishes that this had been like mobile phones: when they came out, batteries lasted for days.

But apart from that, this should be a cool thing to play around with. The fact that it comes with its own Wi-Fi network is also a plus as if it used a normal WiFi I'm affraid it would be as temperamental as ISP's WiFi's normaly are.

I am pretty excited that windows is starting to get big name projects.  From the videos I have seen online, a parrot drone is pretty fun to operate.

Say what you will about Microsoft's mobile efforts (i.e. Windows 8.x and Windows Phone), but had it not been for making Windows powered phones and tablets possible, the ecosystem wouldn't have apps such as this. It's good to see Microsoft's platforms still relevant (albeit to a lesser degree than in previous years).

Well back in the day everything used to come up on Windows. Today however it's a world dominated by iOS and Android, so to see Windows support is a good thing, it indicates that Microsoft is still a major platform player. And I'm not using the term "major" lightly, Windows Phone is attracting something like 25% of developers despite ocmmanding around 4-5% of the market!

The fact that Microsoft got Windows and Windows Phone to punch above their weight is awesome, and we're seeing the results. I could not have imagined in 2011 or 2012 seeing Parrot and Sphero push controller apps for Windows and Windows Phone, so this is awesome.

From a business point-of-view, the implications of this are just staggering:

1. Microsoft Stores will continue becoming more colourful and diverse in their product offerings. Consumers will have the opportunity to actually experience the Microsoft eco-system in real life. Drones, robotic balls, high graphical games hooked to Xbox One/360 controllers, etc, just looks awesome.

2. Gaining apps from Parrot, Sphero and others is a huge stamp of approval, it demonstrates to consumers that whatever their views of Windows/WP may be, Microsoft's platforms are here to stay.

3. I really hope we could see some custom Parrot drones and Sphero balls, e.g. custom designs, custom colours, etc, for Windows/Windows Phone exclusively.

 

As for "droning" ... No, I don't think it's just a fad, I see it becoming a serious hobby in the long-term. Sure, the current crop of drones may be off-the-shelf, but as the technology mainstreams in terms of standards and costs, I wouldn't be surprised if we see customization and development options.

I would love to work on a drone with a custom camera, wing-based hardpoints (for sensors), more powerful powerplant, etc. Imagine drone vs. drone dogfighting!

 

Now if they'd only add an infra-red sensor they could be very useful as moving targets for infra-red guns.  The gaming possibilities are endless.

This looks so cool.  I would love to get one of these for my kids, but am waiting for the battery life to get a bit longer.  I realize it is a weight to power ratio but a 30 minute flight time would be the magic trigger for me.  Maybe and extra battery depending on the cost?  Hopefully battery tech continues to improve.  Oh and no trees like that in Dallas, at least not near my house!  

Is goOd to see drones in Windows Phone too ;)

Sadly materials look not very professional, there's noy audio in videos and battery is VERY short, even so... is only a toy, so, it's ok.

I want one ;)

This is do awesome! Hopefully next generation will have better battery life. Keep improving it parrot!

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

So how does this thing connect to you phone/tablet? Via Bluetooth? And can you see the videos while flying? I didn't know Bluetooth is that good xD . But this is quite expensive, why would I buy one for my phone if I can get a similar one for 100$ less, with a good controller???(ok it's cool to use a phone but is it really worth it?)
Ok, though it looks cheap because of the material (I know they can't make it out of metal) I understand it has to be very lightweight... All the nice pricey beautiful toys you show us, I want em all :D

The AR. Drone 2.0 could be use for some useful tasks, like, checking you house roof to see if it need maintenance without having to grab a ladder and go up there yourself to check. Also for recording family outdoor reunions.... And for having fun playing with it! .... Really cool... I would love to have one! Greetings from Chile.

The dji phantom 2 quadcopter is one hell of a title but then this is one hell of a machine, note machine NOT toy. It is, however, a machine with built-in fun. My experience is somewhat limited but I belong to a small group and what I am learning from them is amazing. I have... Read More 

 

These are so cool! I've wanted one for quite awhile but have never saved the money to get one. Hope the app they come up with works well.

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