Tech Review: Parrot AR Drone

Yes, it’s a flying parrot, but not the talking, feathered variety.

Yes, it’s a flying parrot, but not the talking, feathered variety.

Price: £289.00/$299.95

What is it?

It’s the closest thing to the military’s drone remotes that patrol the skies of Afghanistan on search and destroy missions. Except the AR/Drone uses four helicopter-style rotors to take it to the skies and switches heavyweight armaments for an on-board hi-definition video camera. The genius bit of Parrot’s latest boys toy is that the copter’s control is all via a WI-FI connection that links directly to your iPhone/iPad, so there’s no need for nerdy oversized radio sets, just touch screen command cool from your handset or tablet.

Why do I need it?

Well aside from the obvious voyeuristic ‘pervert cam’ opportunities the Drone offers – yes, it can hover and snoop at unparalleled heights and beam back footage direct to your phone – it’s also becoming something of a sport for those who’ve dropped their dosh on one. We’ve heard of tag team battles and stunt teams taking to the skies, though most of the growing YouTube hits are all fails or monumental wipe outs. Don’t think of the AR Drone as a gimmick either, as its tech-laden frame (pressure and altitude sensors are standard!) really sets it aside from the other flying ‘toys’ you can pick up.

Top Tip

Gusts of wind are your worst enemy, especially at high altitude, so rather than try to fly your way out of a head-on with a brick wall, hit the ‘land’ control and the Drone will override your panicking opposables and automatically, and calmly, descend for you. Of course if you do stove it into terra firma don’t panic too much, as pretty much all of the Drone’s components are replaceable and a doddle to fit.

Find the AR Drone here!

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