What is the Parrot Disco Price? The Parrot Disco FPV ($1,299.99) is a rarity among drones. Instead of utilizing a quadcopter or hexacopter design to facilitate vertical takeoff and landing, it has a single rear prop and fixed-wing design—to put it simply, it’s an airplane. The result is a flight experience that stands apart from the crowd, but also the need to have a decent amount of open space for safe landings. As fun as it is to fly, it’s not practical for a lot of locations, and video quality leaves a lot to be desired. If you’re more interested in the thrill of flying it’s a worthwhile purchase, but aerial videographers and photographers are better served with a DJI Phantom 4 or Phantom 4 Pro at this price—both DJI quadcopters are Editors’ Choice winners.
Parrot Disco review
The Parrot Disco is a big, foam airplane with a single rear propeller, detachable wings, a nose-mounted camera, and an advanced flight controller. When assembled the aircraft measures 4.7 by 45.0 by 23.0 inches (HWD) and weighs 1.6 pounds. Because of its weight you will need to register with the FAA before flying, and follow the same rules as you would with a quadcopter.
The aircraft features a black-and-white color scheme. It ships with Parrot’s compact Skycontroller 2 remote control and a VR headset. The Skycontroller looks a lot like an Xbox controller with a big antenna attached; it also has a clip to mount your smartphone. If you prefer first-person view flight (FPV), you can lock your phone into the included FPV goggles.
Everything ships in a box with cardboard inserts to keep it organized, and a plastic carrying handle. It’s not impractical to carry the Disco in its box, although two levels of storage are required—the wings sit at the bottom layer, with the fuselage and accessories in a cardboard insert above it. If you end up buying a Disco and find yourself frustrated with transporting it in the packaging, Parrot sells a $199 backpack.
Getting the Disco in the air is pretty easy. Once you’ve attached the wings, taking care that the aileron motors are locked properly in place, set the drone down on the ground and power it on. You may have to calibrate its compass (the app will guide you through the process, which just involves spinning the drone on three axes), but you won’t have to wait long for it to acquire a GPS lock.
The Skycontroller is required to fly the aircraft. Plug your Android or iPhone into the controller and fire up the Parrot FreeFlight Pro app. To launch the drone, hold it by the bottom and press down on the takeoff/landing button on the Skycontroller. You’ll feel the rear propeller start to spin—when it does, throw the drone upward.
If all goes well it will enter a steep ascent to a set altitude (165 feet is default, but you can change that in the app) and fly in a circular holding pattern. If it doesn’t go well the Disco will crash to the ground; it’s designed to land like that and the worst you’ll need to do is to clean off the lens. With a little practice you’ll get it into the air consistently.
Controlling the Disco is simple. You use the right control stick to ascend, descend, or bank left or right. The left stick is used to put the drone back into a holding pattern (by moving it left or right) and to adjust its speed—forward makes the drone fly faster, back slows it down. While you’re flying you’ll get a live feed from the camera on your phone’s screen, along with a horizon indicator, video and still capture controls, and telemetry data.
The drone really flies itself. The onboard flight controller makes it so you don’t have to know anything about flying an actual fixed-wing aircraft in order to keep it aloft. You don’t have to worry about adjusting the flaps, setting the throttle, or putting the aircraft into an ascent that would cause it to stall. Parrot does make it possible for model airplane enthusiasts to fly sans autopilot with a standard RC controller, but it’s not something I attempted. I know my limitations.
Landing isn’t as hard as you’d think it would be—you just need some clear space. I flew next to a few acres of open field and was able to bring the Disco down in a steep descent until it was close to the ground, then land it gently by holding the controller’s landing button. You can also land in an automated circular pattern, but you’ll need a lot of space—262 feet at minimum—around the center of the circle.
I did try to get cute with one landing and bring it down in the yard. As you can see in the test footage, despite having some runway space, I managed to almost fly the drone into the back of a Honda Accord. Thankfully the control stick continues to function when landing and I was able to veer away into the soft grass. But it’s a maneuver I won’t attempt again.
The Disco ships with a set of FPV goggles. I don’t recommend using them with this aircraft, and neither does the FAA. Its guidelines state that you should keep a drone within line of sight during operation, and even though you can feed your phone’s rear camera into the goggles at the press of a button, the video feed is an extremely poor substitute for your eyes. It’s fairly low resolution, which makes it difficult spotting the Disco in the air.
In fact, I was too concerned about the speed and power of the Disco to risk obscuring my vision of the world around me. I tried the goggles with the Parrot Bebop 2 FPV—it uses the same app and headset. First-person flight makes sense for tiny racing drones, but not for high fliers like the Disco.
Range and Performance
Parrot states the Disco has an operating range of about 1.2 miles, but that’s under absolutely ideal conditions. I didn’t quite manage to fly it that far away from home in my standard rural testing spot—I started to get a choppy signal at around 2,900 feet, at which point I turned the Disco around and started to bring it home. If you’re concerned about flying too far from home you can set up a Geofence in the app, limiting the distance it flies from its launch point.
I didn’t perform any suburban testing with the Disco due to safety concerns. I simply didn’t feel comfortable flying the drone in an area where I’d have to land with other people around. It’s one of the drawbacks of the fixed-wing design—you really want to be in a wide-open space to use it safely.
In terms of speed, the fastest I managed was 58mph according to my flight logs, but averages were around 35mph. Parrot says the top speed is 50mph, so I’d imagine some tailwind and a descent helped me better that. Battery life is going to vary based on how you fly the drone, but I averaged about 35 minutes per charge. That’s shy of the 45 minutes Parrot says to expect, but it’s still an excellent amount of air time. Most quadcopters are closer to 25 minutes of flight time per charge.
Flight logs keep track of speed and altitude, and show your flight path over a world map. They’re a neat way of finding out just how quickly you flew and where you were in the world. Parrot’s logs aren’t quite as good as the DJI’s, as you can’t retrace your path in animated form, but I still find them to be a good resource.
Video and Image Quality
The Disco records silent video at 720p or 1080p quality. (If you don’t see 1080p as an option, upgrade the firmware.) If you opt to fly with goggles, the capture resolution is limited to 720p. Regardless of the resolution you select, video quality is, well, meh. The footage is just soft and lacking detail. It is quite steady, however, thanks to some solid digital image stabilization.
The drone is actually using a very small portion of its lens to capture video. If you look at Raw stills you’ll see that the lens is a circular fish-eye design. The 16:9 video frame is digitally cropped from the full field of view. There’s plenty of sensor resolution to do this—the camera is backed by a 13.6MP image sensor and a 1080p video frame is just 2MP—so the fault lies within the quality of the lens itself. You can see this in stills, which are also fairly soft when viewed closely.
The lens design does let you adjust the angle of the video, even if the camera itself can’t tilt. You can pan up or down to get more sky or ground in your shot. I was able to fly above a car driving down a country road and pan down with the camera, tracking it from overhead as it ambled down the road.
But if you’re serious about aerial video and want to record pro-grade footage and stills, the Disco is one of the worst options on the market. Go with a quadcopter instead. All DJI Phantom 3 models record in at least 2.7K quality and Raw still images don’t show any fish-eye distortion.
Parrot Disco Price
So if the Parrot Disco FPV is big and expensive, delivers underwhelming video quality, and you need a lot of room to fly it, why am I rating it this high? The answer is a simple one: The Disco is a heck of a lot of fun to fly. Don’t get me wrong, operating a quadcopter also has a certain thrill to it. But you can take your hands off the controls and have it hover in place. With the Disco the aircraft is always in motion, even when it circles in place, and knowing that puts you in a different mindset when flying it. I recognize that $1,300 is a steep asking price for what is essentially a high-end toy, but if you take an interest in remote-controlled flight and have the expendable income, you’ll find the Disco to be rewarding. But if you want an aircraft that can go more places and capture better video, a quadcopter is a better choice. In this price range, our favorites are the DJI Phantom 4 and Phantom 4 Pro.
- Fun and easy to fly.
- 35-minute flight time.
- Detailed flight logs.
- Android and iOS compatibility.
- So-so video and image quality.
- Requires large, open space for landing.
- FPV goggles encourage unsafe operation.
Types of Drones
At the lower end of the drone spectrum are toy drones, like the Parrot Mambo and the Hobbico Dromidia Kodo. These simple and inexpensive drones come in at about $100 and are more focused on fun than features. Their controls are straightforward and easy to learn, and they can be accessed through a smartphone app or included remote control.
The flight times of beginner drones and drones for kids are also more limited – generally less than 10 minutes, or even fewer than five for the very cheap models. Designed to perform some tricks, like midair flips, spare parts are available at fairly low prices if anything goes awry. Some small drones also come with video cameras, though the quality captured tends to be poor. But don’t count them out too soon – getting a cheap drone is a fantastic way to learn to fly before upgrading to a more expensive model. They also won’t cost a fortune to fix or replace in the event of a crash.
Drones with cameras – like the DJI Mavic Mini, the Parrot Bebop 2, and the GDU Byrd – are specifically designed to capture images, and range in price from $500 to $1,500. Built to provide a steady platform for the lens, which can either be an add-on or built-in, these sophisticated flying machines are more focused on recording high-quality video and still images than performing midair tricks. Because the equipment needed makes them larger and heavier, video drones need to be registered with the FAA.
Video drones often come with gimbals, which is a system designed to pan and tilt the camera – and cushion it from the motors’ vibrations – to cancel out the drone’s motion and keep the lens steady. Gimbals can either come as an electronic system built into the camera, as seen in the Parrot Bebop 2, or as a physical system made of motors and gears, like in the Mavic Air. Either way, the gimbals allow users to direct the camera at whatever angle they like, to capture beautiful pans like those seen in nature documentaries.
Bigger drones need bigger batteries, which often translates to longer flight times. A fully charged battery typically lasts a video drone around 20 minutes, and they can usually be swapped for spares to extend the session. Like toy drones, video drones are also built to be repaired, and replacement parts are generally easily available. Parts are relatively inexpensive as well, with Mavic Air’s replacement rotor blades running about $20. The quality of video these drones capture can vary widely, from the Bebop 2’s decent but sometimes choppy HD video to the Mavic Air’s super-smooth panning shots. While the videos produced by cheaper models like the Bebop 2 will be good enough for most use cases, it’s worth investing in the more sophisticated DJI drones when quality’s the main focus.
From photographing special occasions to surveying construction sites, drones are being used for an ever-expanding range of purposes. In fact, dedicated drone film festivals have popped up in major cities like New York and Berlin to showcase the creative new ways amateur moviemakers are utilizing their flying machines. Not only that, but the more innovative drones – like the Mavic Air – have built-in autonomous flight tech to make journeys on their own. They can even use cameras to detect and avoid obstacles in the way of their flight path. These more advanced drones allow users to play with their device’s autonomy by letting them navigate a predefined course on their own via GPS. Autonomous flight does, however, come with some restrictions – these drones must be registered with the FAA and have to be kept in the pilot’s line of sight at all times. The pilot must also be able to take back control of the drone at any point.
With the rise of drones came the rise of drone-based competitions – and drone racing might just be the most exciting of all. Racing drones are on the smaller side and designed specifically to offer pilots speed and agility. Users see through their drone’s lens via first-person-view headsets, navigating around a course and trying to beat other fliers. Most racing drones are adapted by hand to shed unnecessary weight or increase motor power. Cheaper models, like the Aerix Black Talon 2.0, start at about $115. Ready-to-fly drones on the higher end of the spectrum, such as the Uvify Draco, can run up to $700.
Drones can be an incredibly fun and fruitful new hobby, but they must be flown responsibly. Even a small toy drone can hurt someone if hit by it, and fingers can get injured if caught in the rotor blades. To fight this, some drones have built-in shields to protect the rotors, but even these aren’t foolproof. It’s best to fly any kind of drone, big or small, with proper care and caution. Here’s five quick tips for drone safety:
- Know the drone. Before the first flight, take the time to read through the instruction manual and get familiar with the controls.
- Check the drone before flight, looking for any damage to the motors or rotors that could fail in the air.
- Never fly near people or animals.
- Fly with caution, particularly when first using a drone or taking a new one for a spin. Always be sure to land before the drone’s battery runs outs.
- Fly with care. Drones can be noisy, annoying and even scary to those near their flight path. If someone asks to stop flying, be reasonable and courteous.
To learn more about drone safety, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is a fantastic resource on all things drone. The AMA can help connect drone enthusiasts with others in the area to share both beginner’s flying techniques, and more advanced tips and tricks. Remote-control flying clubs often meet regularly to discuss and fly drones together. But remember that with great power comes great responsibility. Make sure to update all software and firmware before any takeoff, and read the drone’s manual thoroughly before use. For FAA registration requirements and further information on drone safety, check the FAA website. Additional local jurisdiction requirements may apply, so it’s important to stay informed on the latest drone regulations for the area.
Drones & The Law
Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) introduced registration requirements for anyone flying a drone weighing over 250g recreationally. Most drones that fall under the toy category will not have to be registered, while those built for video, racing and autonomous flight likely do. Drone registration can be done via the FAA website – and separate, more stringent requirements are applied to professional drone fliers.
Once registered, the registration number must be displayed on the drone. This can be as simple as a sticker or shipping label placed under the battery, along with the owner’s name and number in case of theft or loss. The FAA also defines restrictions on where drones can be flown. They can’t be flown higher than 400 feet, in restricted airspaces, or over emergency areas, like traffic accidents or wildfires. They’re also banned from flying through national parks and cannot be flown within 5 miles of an airport without informing the air traffic controllers. Federal, state, and local regulations can vary, so check with the organizations directly if unsure.
Drone Accessories & Add-ons
Additional hardware can be added to drones that have ample lift from their propellers and motors. Lift specs can be found via the drone manufacturer’s website. In general, drones built to support external cameras are usually equipped to carry an additional half pound or more of weight above that of the drone on its own. Added weight increases stress on the motors and can affect flight time and stability.
The most popular and useful drone accessory is undoubtedly the spare battery. Drone batteries can provide between 5 and 25 minutes of power in the air per charge but can take an hour or longer to recharge. Fortunately, most drone batteries can simply be replaced with a freshly charged one when the power levels get low. To get the most airtime out of each flying session, users should invest in several spares.
The next most useful accessories for drones are spare propellers and parts. Because occasional mishaps and less-than-perfect landings are an inevitable part of flying drones, they were designed to survive crashes. The exterior components are made from sturdy materials – such as polypropylene foam and carbon fiber – that protect the more sensitive parts, like the CPUs, motors and transmitters. The parts that break the most easily, like the propellers, are the cheapest and easiest to repair or replace. New drones often have extra propellers included, and additional spares are usually available for purchase separately as well. Remember that drones need different propellers to spin clockwise and counterclockwise for stability, so it’s wise to get both kinds of spare propellers.
Depending on use cases, other drone add-ons that may be of interest include LED bands, propeller guards and extra landing gear. For photography drones in particular, various lens filters can be added to alter saturation levels, reduce glare, and more. Getting a quality bag or case specifically designed to carry a drone is an important investment as well. Drone bundles can often be found with a number of accessories. Drone cases should have a foam interior built to fit the device and its accessories and protect them from damage during transit.
Here are some featured Drone products.
GPS Assisted Flight
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249g Ultralight + 30-min Max. Flight Time
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Waypoint function choice the best flight-route.
Built-in 1080P HD camera
Things to Consider When Buying a Drone
There is a multitude of options on the market now, with each model excelling in something else. Hence, before you go ahead and buy your drone, decide what are the most important things to consider when buying one.
Drone to Learn Flying
When you just wanna try and see if it’s something for you, learn how to fly a drone and have some fun, it may be better to go for a cheap UAS. You can get one for as little as $30 and it will have all the functions you’ll need. It may lack in video quality, or it can get heavy, but you will be able to play with it without worrying as much about crashing. It’s a good idea to start with this and learn the ropes.
Here’s a list of best drones for under 200 dollars in 2020.
Drone for Hiking
You can capture some of the best videos of yourself and your friends, as well as the landscapes, when you go hiking with a quadcopter. The most important things to consider when you buy a drone for hiking are weight, flight time, camera resolution and camera stabilization. It’s also important to make sure it will fit into your drone backpack (yeah, that’s actually a thing now).
With this in mind, we created a list of the best drones for hiking in 2020.
Drone for Selfies
It’s no longer uncommon to see someone swapping a selfie stick for a selfie drone. From pocket drones that can take photos of you and your friends to machines that will follow your movement and react to voice commands/ hand gestures, there’s a whole genre of devices built to accommodate the need for us to capture each moment from another perspective.https://6a7216e4485e9de66bead7c4465a0d81.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
We created a list of best selfie drones in 2020, and there’s even one that doubles as your phone cover so it’s always with you.
Depending on how you want to use your drone, its weight is probably the most important factor to take into consideration. If you want to take it with you everywhere, heavy UAS will soon prove to be a burden. Lightweight, however, often lack the extra features and have shorter flight times. Hence it’s a trade off you’ll need to consider first.
Important! Many countries regulate the licensing and use of UAV based on their weight. Do consider your contry’s regulations before buying a drone. Many places around the world do not require licensing or registration to use drones under 250 grams.
Flight Time/ Batteries
How long you can fly your drone on each battery will determine how far you can go with it. When the first personal drones come out you had a minute or so to play with. Now there are drones that can fly for 30 minutes non-stop and then you can just swap a spare battery to continue.
Flight time of each battery charge is one of the most important things to check before making a purchase decision. Also, do not forget to see if the batteries can be easily replaced or even if the drone comes with spare ones.
Flight/ Control Range
How far you can fly without losing control can make a huge difference in the footage and fun you can get from your drone.
There are 3 main methods of communicating with your drone, which impact it’s control range:
You’ll need a controller to send and receive the radio waves to and from your drone. Depending on the size of the antenna, the range can extend up to 5 miles.
The maximum control range using Wi-Fi signals is about 650 yards (600 meters). It’s often much shorter so you’ll have to see the specs of each drone you consider. The good thing is that with some models you may not need a separate controller to fly your UAS.
It’s also possible, with some models, to define a flight path that your drone will then follow using Global Positioning System (GPS).
With the things mentioned above in mind, there is a trade off between flight range and total weight of the equipment you have to carry with you. On one hand, it would be best if we could use your smartphone to fly the drone, so that you don’t have to carry an additional controller, but on the other hand the range would suffer without it.
If you just want the drone for selfies, then lack of controller would be fantastic, but if you want to go far into the sea to capture whales, then you want to be in control at all times and from afar. Consider this before you choose your quadcopter.
Most people use drones for videos, so you should check if your new drone would capture the world in low resolution, Standard Definition (SD), 720P High Definition (HD), 1080P Full HD (FHD), or 4K. Each one is at least twice better than the one before and something to consider.
It’s also very important to check if the footage is recorded to an SD card in the drone, or sent to your smartphone before getting recorded there. If it’s not built-in, whenever you lose connection, you lose that part of the recording. Whereas, with the on-board SD card you’ll have the full footage at your disposal after retrieving your drone, even if it lost the connection with the controller.
Your drone, if it has any camera stabilization at all which you should check, will either stabilize the recording with software or mechanically.
The best for the job is a 3-axis gimbal. Thanks to which, your videos will be filmed with a steady, cinematic motion that compensates for the shakes and wind movements.
Alternatively, some models compensate for the shaky conditions with built-in software. Not as good as a gimbal but much better than nothing at all.
First Person View (FPV)
Check if it’s possible to see through First Person View directly from your drone while flying. While you can control the AUV by looking at it directly, it would be better to sometimes see for yourself if everything you want to record stays within the frame.
The importance of your drone’s speed becomes crucial when you need to fly in a strong wind. It may not be able to return back to you if you’re standing upwind, and there are places where it would not be possible to retrieve your drone by walking up to it (imagine shooting at sea).
If you just want to use your drone for fun, then speed is important as it’s just more exciting to fly it faster.