Parrot Disco Review. Is it Really Worth it’s Price?

The Parrot Disco is honestly a good drone but it just doesn’t work the same way as the models we are used to today and I think this is the reason why it gets mixed reviews from people. In this particular one, I want to examine this model and give you the good and bad sides of it.

There are just some GREAT things this drone has that no other model on the market has today but at the same time, there’s bad parts of it which I think don’t make it worth buying for as much as Parrot is charging for it today…

Stats and info on product:

Name: Disco.parrot disco review

Company: Parrot.

Flight Time: Up to 45 minutes.

Range potential: Under the NORMAL set up, you’re looking at about 1-1.5 miles, BUT I have personally seen (and I will provide the YouTube video in this review) of a man who modded this drone and it managed to fly over 25 miles.

Size: A very large, yet light drone (made of foam mainly). It’s about 2-3 feet in length.

Price: $599.

Camera Quality: 14 megapixels, 1080p footage.

Rating of product: 55 out of 100 points. This is a good drone, but is more for experienced pilots. It just operates differently than most people who have seen other popular drone models are used to and I think this is lack of understanding is why people give this model mixed reviews.

I have to note personally that I don’t own this drone model, I prefer the Mavic Pro because it actually has a fixed wing option of flight, and it’s just superior so I prefer that:

Let’s examine the Disco’s pros and cons…

Pros:

Flight time is awesome.

One thing you cannot take away from the Disco is that it has the longest flight time of any known hobby drone today. 30 minutes is considered extremely high and it’s tough to find drone models which reach that (Mavic Pro Platinum has it, Phantom 4 Pro has it, Yuneec Mantis Q does as well and so do the Inspire 1 and 2 models), but those are just a select few out of the many which don’t even come close and even then, it pales in comparison to the Disco’s flight time of 45 minutes, wow.

Now of course, anyone who flies drones knows that conditions reflect the flight time but still, this is at the top when it comes to hobby drones.

Camera’s not bad at all.

Yes 4k drones are the rage today, but 1080p is still awesome footage. Considering how much time you have to film with this drone, it’s not bad at all.

It’s very durable. 

Considering most of it is made of literal foam, this thing can crash just about anywhere and against anything and still be fine. I’ve seen videos of this thing crash into trees and land and be completely fine. The foam is what makes it so durable.

Don’t let the short range trick you.

I though it sucked when I saw that the Disco could get a little over a mile in range, until I saw a YouTube video of a popular drone flier by the name of Dustin Dunhill, who modified the connection inside the drone and basically installed some sort of sim card to basically make this drone have as much range as a cell phone.

Then he tested it out by flying it in Hawaii between 2 islands, both of which were 20+ KM apart (one way!). This thing handled it VERY well, the connection was fine and it even had PLENTY of battery to spare after it returned. Here is the video:

It’s very light. 

I’ve often had to carry heavy and light drones on my trips and believe me, I elect to use the lighter ones anytime I can. Considering how light this model is, it’s not a big deal to carry it around, if nothing else, the carrying case that goes with it is more annoying to carry than the drone itself.

Cons:

Only 1 kind of flight mode: Fixed wing mode.

There’s a few very important things you need to understand about this drone and one of them is that it simply CANNOT hover in 1 spot like other models do. It only operates in what’s known as “fixed wing mode” which basically requires that it always needs to be in motion in order to actually keep flying.

This isn’t really a bad thing, but unless you’re a beginner and expecting a regular hover over ground, the Disco is not for you.

Fixed wing mode is fun to use, but it makes it tough to get good shots (which is another con coming up).

It’s tough to capture good footage.

Because this drone can’t really hover in one spot, it makes it tougher for those seeking to capture good footage to actually do it. This model is made more for the flying experience rather than shooting good shots.

The foam material can be an issue.

Despite being light and durable like I indicated in the pros above, the problem is that it’s hard to justify paying $599 for a drone that is essentially made of foam…

I mean unless you can mod it like Dustin did in the video above, you’re really looking at short range drone model that can’t really shoot well. And even though it can survive crashes, the actual foam material may be more breakable than other models on the market. So be careful when flying this thing.

No sensors:

There’s none on this drone, and even if it were possible to install it, there’s no way you can really use it because this model relies on constant motion to fly. It does have an auto landing feature, but that requires a flat surface. 

Taking off can be a mixed feeling.

This thing doesn’t take off on it’s own, you have to basically throw it with your hand like a paper airplane in order for it to get going. Perhaps you’ll enjoy it, perhaps not…

Landing isn’t exactly easy.

Like I said, you need a flat surface, particularly flat grass fields. This thing can land on it’s own, but it’s literally like an airplane without wheels when it does it so it can get scratched up (it’s foam, but it’s expensive stuff still!), so if you do it on grass, you can avoid having issues.

Not many safety precautions. 

As far as I know, there is no return to home option (as well as sensors like I mentioned). It does have a GPS, but there’s no real auto pilot to guide it back in case you lose connection. 

Is the Parrot Disco the drone for you?

Although I listed more cons than pros in this review, I wanted to point out every single good and bad thing I could find regarding this drone to help you decide if it’s for you.

My personal opinions on it are that it’s not really a good drone for beginners and if you seek a model with fixed wing mode, get yourself a Mavic Pro since it can always turn back into a normal drone that hovers around and takes awesome footage (it has intelligent flight modes you can switch to for this).

I just can’t think of why it would be good to pay $500-$600+ for a drone that is made mainly of foam all the while you have other, better shooting models that can do more.

Yes the Parrot Disco can fly longer and if modded enough can fly further, but what is the point of that if you can’t get great shots of stop in the mid air, hover and take your time. Believe me, flying a drone for even 20 minutes can get boring, let alone 45 minutes. 

This model is in my opinion one that is for a die hard, who is a very experienced pilot and fan who can afford it, otherwise, I believe the majority of people who try to fly the Parrot Disco will be disappointed…

5 of The Best Portable Drones. You Can’t go Wrong With These!

With the Mavic 2 and Pro 2 being announced and released pretty soon, I figured it would be a good idea to list what I consider to be the 5 best portable drones on the market today, in terms of pretty much every feature you can imagine:

Great camera, actual portability, ease of us, reliability and more. Now I do believe that once the MP 2 comes out, it’ll probably (ok, let’s be honest, it’s 100% certain) be better than any of these I am about to list, but if you’re tighter on money or perhaps just want a GREAT drone to fly around with, I assure you, these 5 models are absolutely incredible and I would even bet you’d have a hard time seeing the difference between the awesome footage they shoot vs the MP2 and when it comes out.

Update: There is a new #1 portable drone. Scroll down below to find out what it is 🙂

This list of 5 is going to be a countdown type of list, so let’s start with the last on it (it is by no means a bad thing, it’s still a great drone!):

#5: Parrot ANAFI.

Parrot released a new model in 2018 to compete with the top tier ones in their market and it comes in the form of theparrot anafi drone ANAFI, a 20 megapixel, 4K @ 30 FPS model that is honestly remarkable in a few ways (and lacking in some).

The first AWESOME distinguishing feature is it’s 180 degree camera which NO portable model on the market today has and it’s a brilliant idea I hope is mimicked by other models. This allows people to film whatever they want from a bottom up view and it offers an entirely new world of filming opportunity.

Added to this is the awesome zoom capabilities the camera has as well as the fact that the camera is awesome. The model itself is very quiet and can fly around for a good 20 minutes.

Although one of the biggest issues is the fact that it has no sensors and requires some advanced flying skills to use properly, it’s still a very good model to consider.

I rated the ANAFI at 70 out of 100 points. You can read a full review of it here.

Price: $700.

#4: Mavic Air.

There was a brief moment in time when I got the Mavic Air where I rated it 95 out of 100 points and that wasmavic air drone picture because I was REALLY impressed by how well it flew and even more so how well it shot footage, but as time went on, and I started seeing some of it’s flaws, I reduced the rating, but never the less, this new and updated rating is still quite high.

The Mavic Air in general is one of the smallest and convenient portable drones on the market today. It’s camera shooting capabilities are remarkable and it’s flight capabilities are no joke either.

Coming in with 3 safety sensors and a decent 1-2 mile range (it depends on certain things), this model is one of the best ones out there for shooting footage especially if it’s within your line of sight. In that regard, I consider it to be one of the most reliable for taking pictures and videos. 

It has a 12 megapixel, 4K @ 30 FPS shooting capability and also includes an internal filming/picture storage of 8 GB. The only downside I’ve found is that there’s a pretty short battery life and that it can’t really fly too far when there’s too much range interference, otherwise, it’s awesome. Here’s a full review of the Mavic Air. It’s current rating is 80 out of 100 points.

Price: $600-$700.

#3: Yuneec Mantis Q.

This model marks Yuneecs first drone in the portable field and it’s awesome. It takes ideas from many of the greats in the existing portable models today and utilizes it VERY well in itself. It has a 4K, 30 FPS camera and suposedly gets close to 30 or more minutes in flight time. 

Although one issue is that there’s no obstacle avoidance, it still flies very well and I would put in line with the ANAFI but more reliable in my opinion. I’ll be doing a more thorough review of the Yuneec Mantis Q very soon but as of now, I’d rate it at 83 out of 100 points due to it’s GREAT camera and AWESOME flight time.

Price: $500-$600.

#2: Autel Evo. 

Anyone who is familiar with the Autel Evo may wonder just why I would rate this as number 2 and not 1 on this list. After all it does have the best camera in ANY portable drone model on the market as of TODAY (wait until the Mavic 2 comes out), and I even admitted it, but then why does it rate as #2? 

Well because I have said that many of the promises this model was set to show us prior to it’s release did not meet expectations once it actually was released. Yes it does have an awesome camera, but in many of the other promised areas, it seriously lacked backing up those promises and I know the people of Autel are working to improve it, but it still needs a long way to go to reach what it was said to be capable off.

Now despite those set backs, the Autel Evo is still a GREAT model and gets an 85 out of 100 points. In fact, if it met the promises it had on paper, I’d probably make it a 95 out of 100, but that lack of meeting expectations really set it back.

  • Can you get great footage with it? YES!
  • Can it fly well and is it reliable? YES!

So in that regard, this is #2. Here’s a full review of the Autel Evo.

Price: $999.

#1: The original Mavic Pro.

Despite being 2 or so years old at this time, I still believe the Mavic Pro is the best portable models on the market.mavic pro portable drone Once again, when the Mavic Pro 2 gets released, it’ll be a different story, but if you’re still on the fence about buying this original model, and you’re tight on money to spend $1,000+ which is what the MP 2 will most definitely be, don’t wait, get it the original because it’s still the best one.

I rate the Mavic Pro at 90 out of 10 points because in many ways, not only does it film incredibly well, but it really EXCEEDS expectations in just about every regard you can imagine: Filming capability, flight time, RANGE potential (it’s still the best), and overall the reliability of it as a whole is at the top.

In my opinion, anyone who has flown this drone for an extended period of time AND has tried the others on this list would either agree with me placing it at #1 or at the very least agree, it’s in the top 3 and there’s a good reason for it.

The Mavic Pro can and WILL be a classic in how well it films. To this day, my jaw still drops when I look at what it’s able to capture and how well it flies (full review and footage). I also make the argument that it’s so good, that the other models, actually model themselves from it. After all, the Mavic Pro WAS the first original PORTABLE drone to be released in the drone market and it’s solidified it’s status as being one of if not the best portable drone today.

Price: $800-$900.

New #1: Mavic Pro 2.

If you’re seeking a portable drone that will be sturdy, reliable, safe and will shoot better than any other drone on this list, then the Mavic Pro 2 is the one to go with. While the others are good and even great, this is the greatest one as of right now. Learn more details about this drone here.

Price: $1,475.

Which drone would you rate at the top on this list?

Do you agree with this list of 5 I made? If not, how would you rearrange it? Is there a drone you’d add to this list that I didn’t include? Let me know 🙂

Autel Evo vs Mavic Pro. Is The Evo Really That Much Better?

The answer is that it’s not and in many factors, the Mavic Pro still wins against this model, despite it being newer. However, there is no reason to discount the Evo as it’s still got some amazing features which the Mavic Pro can’t compete again. So in other words, one model holds advantage over the other and vice versa.

But instead of saying it’s a “tie” between which is better, I do want to discuss in detail where the Evo holds an advantage and where the Mavic Pro holds an advantage. However, both models essentially look and weigh the same.

Here’s a quick history on the Mavic Pro:

It was released in 2016 by DJI and was the first of it’s kind in that it was very portable and still shot extremely well, at least much more well than the models that were before it and that actually includes the regular Phantom 4 (not the advanced or pro though). 

To many including myself, the Mavic Pro was considered to be the best in the drone world, even compared to the higher tier models such as the Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire series and that was because of it’s many perks, but mainly the portability in being able to carry it anywhere and film anytime in addition to it’s awesome range and reliability.

Since it was out, newer portable models have also come out, but the impact this drone has made is one of a kind and to this day, at least until the Mavic Pro 2 comes out, there’s still many who believe this is still the best.

Now here’s a quick history on the Autel Evo:

Autel itself was pretty absent in the drone world until 2018 when an announcement for the Evo came out. This company had been working behind the scenes to try and compete against DJI and this model was supposed to be the next level, next generation of portable drone models.

With a 4K 60 FPS camera, a 7KM range, no geo restrictions, and a 30 minute flight time (in addition to other stuff), based on first impressions prior to it being released, it was believed by many that this drone was going to destroy the Mavic Pro and based on those specs, who could argue?

So what happened when the Autel was released? Did it meet the expectations?

Not exactly…

When it came out, the stats that were marketed weren’t exactly the stats which people got. As I explained in a review of this drone, there were several promised specs which under delivered:

  • The 7 KM range wasn’t close to that.
  • The 30 minute flight time was more like 20-25 minutes (like the Mavic Pro). 
  • In addition, some reports came out that the back sensors were having issues.
  • There was a horizontal tilt issue that by the way has been fixed.

Now I’m not going to omit the fact that the Mavic Pro had it’s own bugs (gimbal errors mainly, update errors but that’s because of the DJI Go 4 app, not the drone) but they were honestly not as huge as the Evo’s, and also you have to take into consideration that when the Mavic Pro came out, it was a first generation model of it’s kind, and for the most part, it met and over exceeded it’s expectations which is one of the reasons it’s so beloved by people.

And when the Evo came out, it clearly tried to mimic the Mavic Pro and with the promised stats, I really wanted it to deliver on that. Yet in regards to the bullet points above, it has not. But there are still very important specs where this model owns the other drone.

So let’s get into where the Evo wins:

1) At the forefront of it’s benefits is the camera. I don’t think anyone can doubt that the camera on the Evo is better than the on the Mavic Pro. In this regard, it met the spec expectations and based on the footage I’ve seen, it indeed is better.

2) No geo fencing. A lot of DJI people complain about this safety feature where the app stops the drone from flying into areas which are restricted. Now while you shouldn’t be flying in restricted areas, some people HAVE reported that the geo fencing on the DJI models has kicked in, within areas where there was no restriction. 

I’d rather leave it to the pilot to decide and then let them take responsibility. But that’s an article for another occasion, let’s stick to the drone comparison…

But you won’t have this red tape with the Evo, since it doesn’t have this feature at all. Pilots are expected to follow the rules and be responsible for themselves which I absolutely love on Autel’s part.

3) Autel itself is a company which gets very high ratings on it’s customer service. I am still extremely surprised how DJI, the existing king of drones hasn’t made this area of their company better, but yeah, if you read reviews, people are almost consistently praising Autel’s customer service and complaining about DJI’s. 

4) 3 sensors vs 2. The Evo has 3 of them, although the backward one needs improvement based on what I’ve heard so far about people saying it isn’t getting triggered when it should.

Now let’s get into where the Mavic Pro wins:

1) I still think the camera is up there in quality. 

Yes the Evo’s is still better but I have also made the argument that it’s not THAT much better and you’d be surprised to know just how many people who do comparison footage of drones get it wrong as to which footage belongs to which one. I’ve owned several models and done these tests and never scored 100%.

The point is that it is very tough to tell the difference in footage when you’re dealing with such high level models and these 2 are definitely up there.

I’m personally still blown away by the footage and I also own a Phantom 4 Pro which you could argue has the same quality camera as the Evo (well it’s still a bit better because it’s larger) yet, when I look at the footage, while I do see a difference, I’m telling you guys, it’s like comparing great and awesome footage, it’s just hard to tell and 99% of people agree it’s great, unless you speak with pros who could point out the differences. 

2) Overall I think the model is more reliable. Let me explain:

The range is far more reliable because it’s on ocusync. I absolutely guarantee that people who like to fly far will be able to do it with the Mavic Pro better than with the Evo.

The battery life, one could argue is the same, despite the spec sheet saying otherwise. People are reporting the same type of flight time on both models, so I guess the fact that this one costs less now makes it an extra pro in getting over the Evo.

Overall, I know what it’s like to fly with less reliable drones that don’t have the kind of range or battery life. Take for example the Mavic Air and Spark. While the Air is good, the lack of range really inhibits my shots that I wish to take from long range and the Spark? Oh my goodness, don’t get me started, it can’t go that far, period and that really makes me appreciate the true quality of the Mavic Pro.

Yes you’ll get good range on the Evo, but it’s WiFi connection makes that more flaky and less reliable unfortunately.

3) Price is about $200 less now.

The price of this model used to be the same as the Evo, but now that it’s out, and the Mavic Pro 2 is on the horizon, the price has gone down. Depending on where you get it, it can be around $800 today and I’d argue still worth the savings and extra benefits you’ll get.

My scoring for both drones:

autelevovsmavicpro

I think the scores I put up for these 2 models are pretty fair if you consider as many angles as possible:

  • The Autel Evo gets 80 out of 100 points, which is a VERY good score. 
  • The Mavic Pro gets a 90 out of 100 points, which is slightly better. 

Yes one holds advantages over the other, but it’s the weight of those advantages which in my opinion pushes me more towards the Mavic Pro and the Autel Evo. While you get a better camera with the Evo and a few other perks, I believe you just get a better flying experience with the Mavic Pro (and great footage too).

Do you agree with these drone scores? How would you guys score it?

Note: Ever since I did this comparison, the Mavic Pro 2 has been released and if there was any doubt that the original was not better than the Evo, then this new drone should put that debate to rest. Click here for full specs on the Mavic Pro 2! I gave it a 98 out of 100 point rating.

The Steps to Legally Flying Drones Near Airports.

So anyone who knows even a little bit about drone rules knows that one of the first and most important ones to note is the FAA rule that says you can’t fly within 5 miles of an airport. Now it’s not always 5 miles, and it can vary depending on which state, or country you’re in, so make sure to check the rules in your area.

But getting back to the main point, there happens to be a legal way, at least in the United States to get authorization to fly your drone within that 5 mile limit and this is something I recently tried and proved to be true.

Here’s my story:

I was vacationing in Florida recently and came up with a list of places I wanted to film. At first, I estimated if all the locations I was interested in were out of the 5 mile range and all seemed to check out fine, but once I got to one of the locations, I looked at my GPS and guess what? The nearest airport was 3.8 miles away. 

So I did something I’ve been meaning to try for awhile, I got the number for the control tower in that airport nearest to me through my “AirMap” app, got in touch with someone there with authority and told them the following:

Where I wanted to use my drone, how high I planned on flying it, what time and day I wished to do all of this, and then I awaited their response. 

To my surprise, they said yes, and it happened pretty quickly.

Now this is a common practice and one that I would say is absolutely mandatory if you wish to fly legally near an airport. Failure to notify the FAA control tower that is nearest to your location where you wish to take off can lead to a felony and while I’m not a lawyer, the basic rules the FAA has set, especially in this regard should absolutely NOT be violated, lest you wish to have a hefty fine, lawsuit and possibly arrest happen to you…

How to apply the same rules in your situation:

By this time, it should be pretty obvious what you need to do to gain legal authorization for this stuff, but just in case you skipped my story, here’s the step-by-step stuff you need to do:

1) Identify if the location you’re planning on taking off at is close to an airport (within 5 miles or whatever the distance rules are in your area).

Note on step 1: I recommend the Air Map app, it’ll give you the details on the location as well as if there’s any restrictions/airports in the area and if there is one, it’ll give you the number to the control tower. Here’s an example:

Now it is important to note that even if you are outside that 5 mile range, the App may still trigger a warning. So keep this in mind and make sure you’re outside that 5 mile range, if not, contact that number it gives you.

Now I did blur out the contact number, but in your case, you’ll see it just fine. This is just a way to save time and not have to look up or Google the number yourself, the Air Map app will do it for you.

2) Call up the number you’re given.

If you don’t reach the control tower (it happens sometimes), ask to be transferred to it and/or ask for the direct number to call and let them you know want to fly a drone and need authorization. 

3) Once you reach the control tower, be polite and say the following things:

  • You want to fly a drone.
  • Give them the location of where.
  • Give them a time and how long you wish to fly for.
  • Let them know the altitude. While in the U.S, the highest is 400 feet, it varies. In some cases, Air Map may say above what altitude isn’t allowed. In my case, it was over 100 feet, so when I called, I told them 90 feet.

Be polite and respect them. When you show them that you are a law abiding drone user and give off the responsible, respectful vibe, you are FAR more likely to get that approve and quickly.

Note: You may be asked if your flight is for recreational or business use. This tutorial is for hobby users and those who are using their drones for business or part 107 may need to work within other rules, so keep this in mind. In my case, I was using my drone for recreational purposes, so that’s what I told them. 

4) Once you get that authorization, leave them your name and number.

They will ask for this in case they need to reach you, but also make sure to ask if they can provide you with a confirmation of some sort in case you get complaints or a police offer shows up and demands you prove to them that you are doing a legal activity. 

5) Set a height limit with your drone, the same one you told the FAA, you’d abide by.

And you should be good to go. Now the limit you can set depends on the model you have. DJI drones like the Mavic Pro have a setting where you can give a number for the max altitude. I was measuring mine in meters so 90 feet ended up being 27 meters, which I set it to and remained within the limits.

And there you go, a legal flight approved by the FAA.

As long as you follow the rules and get that approval, which isn’t hard, you should be fine with flying within the 5 mile limit. Keep in mind other rules you don’t want to violate such as going over property or near people (unless they consent). I always use my drone with the intent to not bother anyone, film nature, get my shots and move on.

I’m hoping this tutorial was easy to understand. Don’t be nervous about calling up the control tower when you do this on your own. Believe me, the more people do this, the more it shows the authorities that we are responsible users and they just want to know if you’re obeying the rules, that is it. It’s almost like a legal, mandatory courtesy.