President Barack Obama's decision to drastically increase the number of unmanned predator drones spying and raining down missiles in foreign territory has drawn a fair amount of criticism. But there's nothing controversial about buying your own mini-Drone, which is controlled via smartphone app and features two cameras.
At $300, the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is the best way to live out your fantasy of being a CIA spy. The miniature drone is controlled through your iPhone or iPad and features multiple sensors, including a hi-def front-facing camera, a vertical camera and absolute mode control. The 2.0 model also lets you recod video and take pictures during flight and easily share them online.
Controlling the drone is intuitive and fun. Power it on and four propellers will lift the miniature aircraft up off the ground. Simply press a button and the drone will rise up a meter higher into the air and then sit and wait for your next command. To move the drone around, simply tilt your iPhone or iPad in the desired direction.
One lucky Gizmodo writer got to play with the Parrot AR, who seems to have had a pretty good time test driving it despite temporarily getting the drone stuck on the roof of a building in midtown NYC. The WiFi remote connection apparently only extends 200 feet, which is shorter than it sounds.
You can also find some impressive hacks online that will turn your drone into a hunter-seeker or make it follow you around like a pet. The AR Drone also comes with a protective Styrofoam hoops accessory for indoor flying. However, the material apparently breaks pretty easily.
Overall, the Parot AR 2.0 Drone is the best, afforable miniature drone on the market. However, it seems like Parrot may have a ways to go working some of the kinks out of both their poduct and their customer service.
Weight: 380 grams with outdoor hull; 420 grams with Styrofoam indoor hull
Motors: 4 brushless 14.5-watt, 28,500 RPM inrunner motors
Battery: 3 elements 1,000 mA/hour LiPo rechargeable
Camera: 720p, 30fps HD
Lens: 92-degree diagonal wide angle
Processor: 1 GHz 32-bit ARM Cortex A8