Parrot Anafi Review
Pros: Portable, good video
Cons: Relatively short battery life, slow
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Parrot Anafi aims to shake up the DJI dominated drone world, and in our opinion, it doesn't quite succeed. While it is a compelling product that offers good overall performance, its price point of $700 means you're still probably better off getting a DJI drone. If you're balking at the $800 price of the Mavic Air and happen to find the Parrot Anafi on sale for considerably less, it might be a worthwhile purchase. Otherwise, you're much better off ponying up the extra $100 for the Mavic Air.
The Parrot Anafi did well in our testing but was largely lost amongst a sea of much more impressive DJI models, failing to carve out a significant niche for itself.
We would describe the Anafi's video quality as good, but certainly not great. The video generally looks okay but has some clear shortcomings when compared to the footage from some competing drones.
The Anafi's video looks fairly crisp thanks to the 4K resolution, and the gimbal is able to keep that footage very stable. However, it suffers from a few flaws. First, it tends to add a slightly warm hue to everything, making it look a bit redder than it does in reality. This actually improves the looks of some things but looks odd in most situations. Also, the camera often fails to pull out the fine details in an image. For instance, flying over a field in late fall ended up making the grass look a bit grainy, rather than a majestic wave of grain.
All of these flaws are fixed if you can spend a little more and upgrade to the DJI Mavic Air. It provides better detail and a much more accurate color profile. The less expensive DJI Spark also has a more accurate color profile, though it maxes out at 1080p resolution rather than 4K.
Can It Zoom?
You've probably noticed that most of Parrot's advertising touts the capabilities of the Anafi's 2.8 times lossless zoom. We'd like to make it clear that this is a digital zoom, and we were able to tell a slight drop in clarity. It can't nearly match the quality of the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom's optical zoom. That being said, it doesn't look too bad, and can let you get some creative shots.
While the Anafi flies reasonably well, it just can't match the fight capabilities of the DJI models. It offers a maximum flight time of 25 minutes (though after a few flights we started to feel like 20-22 minutes would be more accurate). That's comparable with the 21 minutes of the Mavic Air and a good bit better than the 16 minutes of the DJI Spark. However, the maximum speed of 33mph pales in comparison to the 43mph capability of the Mavic Air, and isn't much better than the tiny Spark's speed of 31mph.
Autonomous Flight Features
The Parrot Anafi offers most of the autonomous flight modes you would want, thing like cable cam, return to home, and a unique geofencing feature that can keep you from flying your drone too far away. We generally found that these flight modes worked well.
One flight mode that we found to be a bit lackluster was the follow-me mode (which you must annoyingly pay $0.99 for as an in-app purchase). It did a relatively good job of following subjects and keeping them in the frame, but they often drifted towards the edges. It felt like an earlier version of the comparable DJI technology and wasn't nearly as sensitive as the follow-me functions of the newer Mavic drones.
Notably, the Anafi lacks any obstacle avoidance sensors, a technology that is present to varying degrees on all of DJI's current drone lineup.
Both the Anafi itself and its controller fold down fairly small, and the drone weighs only 0.71. This is even lighter than the 0.95 pound Mavic Air. The Anafi also comes with a convenient, padded carrying case.
All that being said, we still think the Mavic Air is more portable for 2 reasons. First, the Mavic Air just feels much more sturdily built. In comparison, the body and legs of the Anafi feel a bit flimsy, to the point where we were a bit reluctant to toss it in a backpack where it could be squished by a water bottle. We had no qualms doing the same with the Mavic Air. Secondly, the Anafis controller is thicker than that of the Mavic Air, and its joysticks don't remove, resulting in a less streamlined profile.
Ease of Use
We found the Anafi to be incredibly easy to set up, easy to fly, and easy to fold up. However, we had a few qualms with its user interface.
When compared to DJI's user interface, we thought the Anafi's felt a bit clunky. We were generally still able to find the settings and options we were looking for without too much fuss, but it just felt more intuitive with DJI's platform. We also feel that DJI's controllers are a bit more ergonomic. Particularly if you have small hands you may find the Anafi's controller a bit uncomfortable to hold.
The Parrot Anafi's combination of performance and a $700 price tag leave us feeling that you can get a much better value by spending a bit extra on the $800 DJI Mavic Air, or by saving some money and getting a drone/controller package with the DJI Spark for $520.
Though this is the first compelling, non-DJI offering to pop up in the drone market in quite some time, we don't think the Parrot Anafi offers good enough performance or value to make it a top recommendation for any use.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata