This is a swift reminder why you should not waste your money on toys, and just stick to the well known reliable brands and products.
I sometimes visit JB-HIFI, for the usual consumer electronics, and sometimes glance at their drone products out of curiosity. Today they had a special on the Parrot Disco, on special from $2399 down to $499. A flying wing, controller, and FPV all in the box.
I had a look at the video in their display goggles and it seemed impressive.
So I thought I would give it a try.
When I got home I unboxed it.
1) The main body and two wings went together easily.
Verdict, this was not much more spectacular than a foamy kit you could buy from hobby king
2) There was a boxed flight controller, sonar sensor, camera etc inside the main body. One thing that struck me was the words Linux.
Verdict, you can get an off the shelf auto pilot, an open source one is Ardupilot, and you can buy cheap control boards from from Hobby King that are ardupilot compatible. However, Ardupilot is raw C code that runs straight on the microprocessor, which is the technically correct way of doing things. There was the word "linux" on the parrot flight controller, I therefore would be suspicious that perhaps there could be an entire operating system on the controller. There is no way a control system would be as fast on an operating system, as raw code on a micro controller.
3) The controller, seemed okay.
Verdict, this might use Wifi as the communication protocol. If so, bad, very very very bad.
4) FPV headset. Its not a FPV headset, its one of those $25 VR headsets you stick your mobile phone into. Then you plug your phone into the controller.
Verdict, the cheap wankers, they couldn't even provide a screen in the headset, you have to use your mobile phone. Even HobbyKing have some pride and dignity and sell headsets with a screen.
5) Charger and battery. The charger can only charge one thing at a time, either the controller, or the battery.
Verdict, this is really dumb, you can only charge one thing at a time.
I needed to do a quick calibration, which went somewhat smoothly. The FPV video feed seemed okay on the ground.
It got the thing up in the air, and had put on their FPV headset. The video seemed not quite right, it was more like looking at a slow sequence of photos. The resolution was not as good at the video in the shop, you could see major things like the ground, trees and sky, but it was hard to see anything else. It was slow and lagging really badly.
I took the FPV headset off, and did a circuit in a normal way, it flew okay.
I thought I would give the FPV one more try, so I put the headset on, it did not seem right, so I took it off, and before I knew it was in a tree.
The final verdict.
Thank f**k I bought it on special for $499.
If I had paid the full original price of $2399 , and I got the performance out of it like today, I would have been really, really really pissed off. Even $499 is charitable.
You would be better of making your own one using Ardupilot.
For $499, you can get a SAB 380 goblin kit cheaper.
For $2399, you can build and outfit a helicopter.
Parrot are out of their minds for charging $2399.
Save your money, and put it towards real toys.
Whats really dumb, some general consumer websites dare even to say that the parrot bebop is better than the DJI. This is highly misleading and the authors of those websites don't know anything about RC transmission systems. Those authors and parrot will deprive and rob the general public out of a enjoyable and reliable RC aeromodelling experience.