Hands-on Gear Review

Parrot Bebop 2 Review

Price:   $550 List | $359.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Portable, lightweight, generally stands up to crashes
Cons:  Poor video quality
Bottom line:  Can serve as a selfie machine or a toy, but can’t produce usable video clips
Editors' Rating:   
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Video Resolutions:  1080p
Weight:  1.2 lb
Max Claimed Flight Time:  25 minutes
Manufacturer:   Parrot

Our Verdict

The Parrot Bebop 2 is a small, lightweight camera drone with no gimbal. While the small size makes it fairly inexpensive and fun to fly, the lack of a gimbal makes the resulting footage very shaky and unstable. This model would be a great toy for a young kid, as the footage produced would be fun for kids to look at, but not suitable for any sort of movie-making venture. The Parrot further endears itself to kids by performing tricks in the air. So if your hero is Peppy from Starfox and you want to do a barrel roll, this is the model for you. If you're looking to capture better footage the DJI Spark offers much more stable, high-quality video at a similar list price.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Tuesday
March 13, 2018

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For those seeking a relatively inexpensive drone that is fun to fly the Parrot Bebop 2 is worth consideration. Like the YUNEEC Breeze and DJI Spark it is meant to be controlled by a smartphone app and doesn't have a gimbal for its camera, which leads to some very shaky footage.

Performance Comparison



Video Quality


Without a gimbal, the Bebop 2 just doesn't have the camera stability to produce good footage, though it was slightly more steady than the YUNEEC Breeze, and its relatively low-quality camera often produces grainy footage. Accordingly, it received the lowest score of 3 in this metric, well off the top score of 10. The video produced by the Parrot Bebop 2 would be fun for a kid who had just flown the drone around to look at, but not for much else. This model does do a decent job of taking still selfies, but the YUNEEC Breeze does a much better job of that.



Ease of Use


The Bebop 2 received the worst score of 3 in our ease of use metric, well behind the top score of 9. This was mostly due to its controller. It relies on a third party smartphone or tablet as a controller. There are a few different controller modes. One utilizes the phone's accelerometer, allowing you to steer the drone by tilting your phone. While this sounds intuitive, we found that it actually wasn't, and some lag in the copter's response time made it incredibly difficult to pilot this way. Things worked much better when we switched over to the mode that uses two virtual touchscreen joysticks. While piloting this way was much better, it was easy to slide beyond the joystick and telling the Bebop 2 to do a flip. We would have far preferred a controller with actual joysticks. There is one available for the Bebop 2, but the extra expense brings the total price tag into the range of much, much more capable drones.

The Bebop 2 relies on a third party smartphone or tablet to act as its controller.
The Bebop 2 relies on a third party smartphone or tablet to act as its controller.

Outside of the controller, the Bebop 2 is easy to set up out of the box. First flight feels fun and easy due to the drones lightweight making it hard to damage in a crash. Opening the FreeFlight Pro app you'll see a takeoff button. Pressing it lifts the drone into the air and puts it into a hover at about eye level. The touchscreen joysticks don't lend the best control, but you get a general feel for them relatively quickly and can at least zip the drone around a bit. Double tapping on the screen makes the Bebop 2 do a flip, which is fun, but those flips don't really show up in the video. When it's time to touch down again a landing button automatically sets the copter back onto solid ground.

Flight Performance


The Bebop 2 shared the low score of 5 in our flight performance testing, which was well behind the top score of 5. It tended to drift and bob quite a bit during takeoff and landing. It was a bit more steady when we tried to put it into a steady hover, but due to its light weight, even a small breeze could move it around. It has some autonomous flight modes, such as a cable cam type waypoint function, but we found them to be so unstable and unsteady that they were nearly useless. Additionally, the range is only 1000 feet. This is much better than the other non-gimbal model, the YUNEEC Breeze, but still not quite enough to get a big panning shot. The Bebop 2 does have a nice long maximum flight time of 25 minutes.

Video Downlink


The Bebop 2 shared the bottom score of 4 in our video downlink metric, which saw scores as high as 10. The video feed from the drone was decent, but not particularly crisp, and did pixelate at points during flight. The biggest issue was that the most usable controller layout required putting both of your thumbs on top of the actual video feed, so most of it was obscured. The Bebop 2 really isn't suited to capturing high-quality video anyway, but not be able to see the shot you're capturing makes any feeble attempt at doing so near impossible.

Portability


Despite being one of the smaller drones in our review the Bebop 2 was only average in terms of portability. It doesn't come with a case and putting it directly into a backpack felt risky since the arms and propellers are delicate. The Parrot Bebop 2 Travel Case lists for $100 but we think that the DJI Spark is a better option overall if you're seeking a portable drone that comes with a case.


Value


The Parrot lists for $550 but is often sold for much less at retailers. This feels quite steep considering its best use is as a toy and there are plenty of toy drones with mediocre cameras available for much less. The DJI Spark lists for $500 and is far superior to the Bebop 2 in every regard.

Conclusion


The Parrot Bebop 2 can serve as a selfie machine or a fun toy for a kid but definitely is not filmmaking material.

Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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