By Luke Maximo Bell
The Parrot Disco is one of Parrot's latest drones. What makes the Disco unique from the rest is the fact that it’s a fixed wing drone. You’re probably wondering what the benefit of using a fixed wing drone is, and the answer to that question is speed and battery life.
Battery Life And Speed:
The Disco claims to reach speeds of up to 80km/h or 50mp/h, which is faster than any mass produced drone on the market today. In my testing I actually got up to 100km/h or 70mp/h which is very impressive!
The other benefit of a fixed wing drone is the battery life. Parrot claims that the battery life is up to 45 minutes, which is also longer than any other mass produced drone on the market today. In my testing I found that the Disco will do about 45 minutes of flight time if it’s in loitering mode. As soon as you start to pick up the speed you’ll start seeing battery life times of around 35 minutes, which is still very good in drone terms.
Like all drones today, the Disco comes installed with a camera. It adopts digital stabilization which means the camera uses only a part of the sensor while cropping and rotating the image to get smoother video. This also allows you to pan up and down with the camera without any moving parts.
The benefit of this is this is that the camera is lighter and there are less moving parts which can potentially break. The downside is that using only a part of the camera sensor drops the quality a fair amount.
The video is still pretty good and suitable for a bit of fun flying and FPV, but it’s not going to match up to the 4K cameras on the DJI drones. It records at a maximum of 1080P at 30 FPS.
Ease Of Use:
The Disco is extremely easy to use. The wings clip on quickly and the controller is simple to set up. Just connect a smartphone or a iPad and the Freeflight Pro app automatically opens. From there the app is very intuitive. It even starts recording video for as you take off.
The drone takes off and lands automatically. You simply push the takeoff button and throw the drone to launch. When you want to land you fly close to the ground and push the takeoff/land button again. As soon as the Disco leaves your hand it rises to a set altitude and loiters in a circle until you take control. It also features a return to home feature which works just as it should when the drone loses signal from the controller. Another cool feature of the Disco is that it’s actually impossible to fly into the ground as the drone will not let you fly below 5m unless you’re landing. The Disco has simply been made as easy to fly as possible. Anybody who has never flown a drone or plane before will have no problem learning.
One disappointing thing about the ease of use of the Disco is that it uses internal storage instead of an SD card. This means you have to connect it to a computer using a USB cable. The storage is good at 32GB and will store almost 3 hours of footage.
Controller And FPV:
The Disco uses the Skycontroller 2 which is a welcomed addition. Unlike any drone controller I've ever used, it actually charges the device plugged in while in use. This is very helpful as these apps drain smartphone battery life very quickly. The controller is very ergonomic and houses dials for camera tilt, buttons for video recording and basically everything you need. The range is advertised at 2km, and in my testing I found this to be pretty accurate.
The Disco also comes with FPV goggles which work with most smartphones and are comfortable and easy to use. The FPV experience with the Disco is very cool, and a welcomed addition. It's fun and a much more immersive way of flying.
The Parrot Disco FPV is a very unique drone experience unlike any other currently available. It’s fun and easy to use and FPV offers a very immersive way of flying. While the camera quality isn’t as great as some other drones on the market, it’s still good for sharing your experiences! I can honestly say the Disco is the most fun drone I’ve ever flown and fixed wings are a welcomed addition to the world of drones.
Check out it's flight in Cape Town (Noordhoek beach)