The AR.Drone takes up a lot of space and so does its box.
Parrot have upgraded the battery charger for the new AR.Drone and it seems more durable and easier to use. The batteries are the same as those used in the original, however, they have an extra easy-charge terminal. The new batteries are backwards compatible which is nice, however, we would have loved it if the new batteries had a higher capacity. The only way to prolong the flying time of the AR.Drone is to get an aftermarket battery and charger which right now are really expensive.
The bundle has not changed a lot since the original Drone was launched.
Parrot have stuck with the very bright color scheme for the second version of the AR.Drone. It makes the outdoor hull easily recognizable against any type of surface and almost all colors you would normally find outdoors, except maybe hipsters.
The second incarnation features the same motor, rotor, and hub assembly as the original which is both good and bad. Good in the sense that there is an immediate availability of relatively cheap spare parts, but bad in the sense that it does not offer any improvements in this area over the original. The rotor and hub assembly is very durable, after several high speed outdoor crashes everything is still in perfect working order.
The new 720p (30 fps) front-facing camera is much better than the 480p on the original. Even with the wide angle lens (92 deg) it is fitted with it performs above what you would expect for such a small lightweight system. The color accuracy is surprisingly well (of course this depends on the setup of your device's screen settings) and the amount of noise is definitely acceptable.
It is nice to see that the AR.Drone 2.0 features upgrades where it matters in terms of usability. The new version has two ultrasonic altitude sensors which should make it more stable in flight. A new pressure based altitude sensor also made its way into the new drone, this should help keep it steady at greater altitudes.
The shell has been updated in its design but the material is still EPP foam which is very durable and light weight. The EPP foam is basically an ultra-low mass closed cell foam material with very durable cell walls. This makes it ideal for use on a vehicle like the drone that might hit various objects. The foam also takes a beating when the propellers hit it during accidents.
Tile designs are in! Parrot's recently revamped controller software is a pretty little thing. It starts reasonably quick, considering the features it packs, and has proven to be stable both on iOS and Android platform. After our review of the original drone several other 3rd party controller software have gained popularity, however, for this review we will focus on Parrot's standard controller software.
The basic control screen is relatively clean. It allows you to setup the connection and there are buttons at the top bar allowing for quick toggle of video on/off and photo capturing.
The flight control adjustments are the same as those featured on the original AR.Drone.
The AR.Drone works in access-point mode and it broadcasts a network ID that you can connect to via one's phone or tablet. Once you have connected you can start the application and begin to fly.
Parrot now allows you to control the AR.Drone in joypad mode which makes it more like flying a RC-helicopter. We loved the joypad mode setting which just feels a little more precise. Whether this setting is usable or not will to some extent depend on how your phone or tablet is to grip since you need to have your thumbs on the screen at all times when maneuvering.
Everything you record with the drone is available through the media screen which makes it semi-easy to find previous recorded flights. It would be nice if there was a label underneath or some way to alter the sorting mode. Sharing captured images and video is easy, you can share to Facebook, Dropbox or mail them via the click of the share button. Sharing of multiple items in one go is not supported at the moment.
The status screen summarizes both software and hardware installed on the drone.