3DR Solo Review
3DR Solo review. The 3DR Solo is the most recent high end offering from 3D Robotics and as you would hope and expect is a very capable machine. We review the 3DR Solo camera drone and see how it stacks up.
It is built to use the GoPro cameras and while it is sold with the GoPro Hero3 as well as the Hero4, I’d recommend the Hero4 Black. This takes 12mp still pictures and video in 4K. These days with camera technology being what it is, you better buy the best for only a couple bucks extra. If you decide to save a few bucks and get the Hero3, well you’re already a step behind right out of the gate. If you check out the GoPro website you can’t even find the Hero3. You should be aware that if you want complete functionality of the camera from the ground, you need the 3 axis gimbal, otherwise you will need to start the camera before takeoff and it will record right up until you land. A common complaint about the gimbal isn’t its functionality but rather the fact that you have to install it yourself and this can be a real pain is the ass with all the wires. A nice thing about a third party camera is that you can detach it and use it elsewhere if you like.
The controller by all accounts is quite well designed. For those of you that do a lot of gaming, this will feel very natural to you. The fit and finish of the controller is great and like all high end drones now, it can accommodate a smartphone or tablet. Also it obviously has apps for Android and Ios. Some complaints about the controller are the high gloss finish will reflect sunlight and be very distracting. Another is that the neck strap attaches right at the bottom and when you have a tablet at the top of the controller, it gets very top heavy. It would balance the weight out way better to attach in the center. An issue that would be of more concern to me is the fact that there is NOT a solid link between the controller and your smartphone or tablet. All 3 units depend on a WiFi connection to talk to each other. If you’re flying from a treed area this could really limit your range. If it does lose the signal it will automatically return home. Be aware this does not mean that it will return to the controller but rather to its takeoff point using its GPS signal. Besides this it also has a pause button which will just as it sounds like and initiate a hover.
The best thing about the 3DR Solo Drone is the duel 1 gHz computers. They are designed to make flying the 3DR Solo Drone very easy and foolproof and it really is. You can choose from several autonomous flight modes such as the follow me mode as well as an orbit mode and the cable cam mode. The cable cam mode basically allows you to set up to points in space with your camera framed on the object that you want to record. Press play and it will fly between these two points and all the while keeping the object in frame. A drawback of the follow me mode is that it follows the controller. Depending on what you’re filming this can be fine or impossible. If you’re snowboarding or riding a dirtbike you probably don’t want the bulk of the controller with you. Something like a small key fob with GPS capability would be great and allow some very cool freestyle shots.
I just finished writing a review of the DJI Inspire just before this so i am a bit underimpressed with the 3D Robotics Solo drone. However to be fair the Inspire platform is a more expensive and better drone even though the cameras are comparable. You will need to spend about another thousand dollars for the Inspire. The 3DR Solo Drone is probably more comparable to the Phantom series of drones although the 3DR Solo Drone will cost you more when you start adding the extras such as the 3 axis gimbal and the better camera.
Update – We were quite disappointed with the 3DR Solo review and now even more so the DJI Phantom 4 and the Yuneec Typhoon H are out now and both offer better technology than the 3DR Solo obstacle avoidance and TapFly make those drones incredibly easy to fly 3D Robotics has to step up their game or lower their price accordingly
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