I was excited to receive my Bebop Ambassador package this week and quickly tore into the box to check everything out. Out of the three colors available (red, blue, and yellow) I was hoping for a yellow one because I thought it looked the coolest and would be easier to spot in the sky. I was still happy to get a blue one which was my second choice out of the three colors. As a bonus, ambassadors were sent an additional battery charger and three extra batteries to go with their Bebop drone with SkyController which comes standard with three batteries.
What’s in the Box?
Overall, I was impressed by the number of options and “extras” that Parrot includes with their standard Bebop + SkyController package. It appears as though they were trying to give you the tools to operate comfortably in as many different flying conditions as possible. The first evidence of this is the inclusion of the detachable indoor hull to protect your bebop blades (and the people and furniture around you) from incidental contact and damage. Something that I think really sets this drone apart from others is the addition of a modular sun shade with a couple different configurations. The internet is filled with DIY solutions for shading your tablet or smartphone screen from harsh light during first person view flying, and Parrot attempts to tackle this problem head on to provide a better experience in bright sunlight conditions.
If you purchase a Bebop drone bundled with the SkyController it will come with three lithium-ion polymer (Li-Po) rechargeable batteries. These are 1200mAh three cell batteries that take between 60 and 90 minutes to charge and will give you about 11 minutes of flight time (according to Parrot – we’ll be testing this for ourselves later). I like that the charger comes with interchangeable adapters for a variety of different electricity power standards so I don’t have to buy converters when I travel. This highlights Parrot as an international company that take its world-wide market into consideration. The only thing that could have been engineered a little better was the way the battery fits onto the Bebop itself. There never seems to be that satisfying “click” when sliding the battery in place and, even after securing it with the Velcro strap, I don’t have high confidence that it won’t become dislodged during flight.
I’m going to do my best to keep an open mind about the quality and utility of this platform for aerial photography and cinematography. I think that using a wi-fi link between the drone and a smart device isn’t the best choice for confident control of a drone and that it could lead to connection issues. The Bebop is packed with all types of the latest drone technology. On paper, it looks like a capable machine, but I’m not convinced that it has been engineered well enough to compete with other pro-consumer drones on the market for which it claims to be in the same category. My big internal struggle is whether or not the Bebop should be characterized as an expensive toy or a capable and inexpensive tool for serious aerial cinematographers/photographers. Over the next six months we’ll strive to answer that question – I hope you stick with us and see how this mission plays out!
This article was first published on BebopAmbassador.com – visit our partner site to read more about the experiences of all the Bebop Ambassadors.