The Bebop is attractive and colourful, extremely light and small enough to be quite portable. It holds it's position well in moderate winds. It will take off and land with the press of a button. It has a downward-facing camera that helps it stabilize when it’s close to the ground. And the “return to home” function works well, usually bringing the drone back to within a foot or two of where it started from.
The Bebop takes a really unique approach to its camera. Instead of attaching a unit outside and underneath the drone, the Bebop’s camera is positioned in the nose and housed in the body of the drone itself. The camera's fisheye lens gives you a wide, 180-degree field of view. Instead of rotating the camera on a physical swivel, you simply swipe left and right within that larger image to choose your frame and focus. Most of the time your rotors don't appear in your shot.
The Parrot Bebop Camera
"Nose-mounted camera provides a unique perspective"
I liked this feature a lot. Piloting a drone and controlling a camera at the same time is tricky work, and I found this system, where I could simply swipe the image on my screen to perfect my framing, was easier than trying to fly and frame with other drones, like DJI’s Inspire One. I just had to lift up my right thumb and flick, never really taking myself out of position to steer.
The Bebop can be flown with the Skycontroller. The Skycontroller gave me more fine-tuned control while flying, but it is quite big and heavy compared to the RC transmitters that come standard with most standard drones, but still great fun. While the Bebop is great on the go, with the Skycontroller the overall package is bulkier than the competition. It also bumps the overall price up to about £400, I recently bought a used Mavic Pro for not much more.
As we know crashes are all part of any enthusiastic drone flying and the Bebop’s body and rotors proved strong and durable. The foam rotor guards that come with the unit were useful when navigating in tight spaces, allowing you to bounce off walls or the sides of trees. Many operators have had them fall out of the sky through pilot error but were back in the air again with no problems, quite a tough cookie!