Category Archives: Reviews

Review: MzeroA’s Remote Pilot 101 course

The Part 107 exam availability is about a week away — and it’s not going to be an easy test for people unfamiliar with aeronautics.

If you’re like me and have trouble committing to — and understand — a book, then reading the FAA’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge may not be enough. There are a number of online and in-person training courses to help you learn what you need to know

I tried out MzeroA’s Remote Pilot 101 course, which consist of more than three hours of training videos, as well as 9 practice quizzes to cap the end of each section and one final exam at the end. Continue reading Review: MzeroA’s Remote Pilot 101 course

PolarPro Drone Trekker Backpack Review

Enter to win this backpack! Scroll down for details on how to win:

Looking for a backpack for your Phantom lineup of drones that also doubles as a camera backpack?

I decided to give PolarPro’s Drone Trekker a try.drone trekker

The case fits any DJI Phantom model drone as well as any laptop up to 13-inches in size with a laptop sleeve in the back.

This case seems designed particularly with the photographer in mind. While the main compartment is designed for a Phantom drone, the padded inserts can be removed or reconfigured to store a DSLR camera body and lenses. It also has an external tripod mount, which I find useful when shooting my own Drone Girl videos.

drone trekkerI review quite a few drone backpacks and what I found really intriguing about this one was a TSA approved combination travel lock. I could see this coming in handy not just when you’re traveling, but also in cases where you need to ensure the contents of your backpack are secure — perhaps even just from your kids!_MG_2119

While walking around with this backpack, I enjoyed the form-fitting and ergonomically designed shoulder straps with chest and waist supports that alleviate pressure points.

This drone backpack is 19x13x9.5 inches, so unlike most hardshell cases, this meets most airline carry-on restrictions.  If you need to check your drone in through the airport, I would still recommend a hard shell case. But for carrying your drones on hiking adventures or wherever you like to fly, the ultra-padding on this case makes it pleasant to carry.

If you’re in the market for a Phantom backpack, this one holds up!

You can win this backpack for yourself! Simply ‘Like’ the Instagram photo embedded below and ‘Follow Me‘ on Instagram at @OfficialDroneGirl by Friday, August 26 by 9 a.m. ET to be entered to win!

CONTEST TIME! I’ve partnered with PolarPro to do a giveaway of this Drone Trekker backpack. . To win this backpack, you have to do two things: 1. ‘Like’ this photo on Instagram 2. ‘Follow Me’ on Instagram. . The contest ends on Friday, August 26 at 9 a.m. ET, when one winner will be chosen at random. . The winner will be contacted via Instagram Direct Message and must respond with their mailing info within 72 hours of being contacted or a new winner will be chosen. . WANT MORE ENTRIES?! For every friend you tag in the comments who also likes this photo AND follows this page (up to 10 friends), both of you will receive an additional entry!! . #contest #dronegirl #polarpro #drone #dji #iflydji #tech #ameliadronehart #dronelife #drones #giveaway #win #2inning #droneoftheday #multicopter #p4 #phantom #liketowin #dronersio #dronereviews #quadsquad #UAV #djiglobal #dronesaregood #aerialphotography #dronetrekker

A photo posted by Sally French (@officialdronegirl) on

One winner who both ‘Likes’ and ‘Follows’ will be chosen at random. The winner must respond with their mailing info within 72 hours of being contacted or a new winner will be chosen.

 

Toy drones! Drone Girl reviews TDR’s Spider and Robin

The first piece of advice I will give anyone looking to getting into drones for the first time. Don’t start with an $1,000 drone you will inevitably crash. Pick up a $30 toy drone and start practicing with that.

I got a chance to try out two toy drones — TDR’s Spider Stunt Quadcopter ($39.99) and TDR’s Robin Pro with built-in LCD ($139.99). Continue reading Toy drones! Drone Girl reviews TDR’s Spider and Robin

DJI Phantom 4 review: a drone light-years in the future

The first drone I ever flew (and crashed about 5 seconds later) was a DJI Flame Wheel. The first drone I ever owned myself was an original DJI Phantom.

So it’s incredibly exciting to be a flying a drone that is so far ahead in its technology that it literally can sense and avoid objects in front of it. What’s even more exciting is those Flame Wheel days were only about three years ago. I would have never guessed a Phantom 4 would exist as it does today even a year ago.

For $1,199, you can get a Phantom 4, launched in March 2016, — and it’s truly an incredible piece of equipment.

dji phantom 4 propellers
The propellers auto-lock as an extra safety feature.

DJI Phantom 4 review:

The Phantom is pretty much ready to fly out of the box. There are auto-locking propellers you’ll have to put on. You also will fly with the RC transmitter, but to get that first person (FPV) view, you’ll need to use a smartphone or tablet to see what the drone’s camera sees. You can do that by connecting it to the DJI Go app.

dji phantom 4 sense and avoid sensor
The camera has eyes! Check out those two sensors on the front.

DJI Phantom 4 review: sense and avoid

The real standout point here is two front obstacle sensors combining with advanced computer vision and processing to give the Phantom its “Obstacle Avoidance” feature. Continue reading DJI Phantom 4 review: a drone light-years in the future

Lowepro QuadGuard Kit review: a case for FPV racing drones

If you fly FPV but don’t have a good way to store all your gear, Lowepro just came up with a solution.

The camera bag maker introduced a QuadGuard Kit, which costs $99.95. It’s a 2-in-1 case intended to hold one FPV 250 class racing drone or quadcopter plus parts and accessories, including a transmitter, spare blades, goggles, batteries, charger, manual, etc.

lowepro quadguard controllerOne side is definitely more suited to holding the controller.

_MG_1864The other side has dividers shaped to hold a drone, while also making room for other components. I could imagine putting FPV goggles in the left side divider of this case. Continue reading Lowepro QuadGuard Kit review: a case for FPV racing drones

Autel X-Star review: the “Phantom lookalike” drone that truly holds its own

The Autel X-Star Premium drone is an easy-to-fly quadcopter, designed for photographers. I’ve been looking forward to getting this drone in the mail! I hadn’t gotten a chance to fly it yet, but I knew it made quite a splash in its debut at CES this year. It looks a lot like a Phantom, so I was curious to see how Autel’s X-Star holds up against the iconic drone.

Apart from charging it up and adding the propellers, this drone is ready to fly out of the box (which I’ll add is a light, portable carrying case), and easy to get up in the air. Check out my video version of the Autel X-Star review here:

Cost:

Camera:

The X-Star Premium is equipped with a 4K Ultra HD camera that has an 108-degree field of view. It takes 4K video and 12 megapixel photos. Footage is shot with an integrated 3-axis gimbal. Continue reading Autel X-Star review: the “Phantom lookalike” drone that truly holds its own

Skycatch Commander review: how to make maps using a DJI Phantom

Want to make aerial maps using your DJI Phantom?

The Skycatch Commander app makes it incredibly easy to generate map using nothing more than your DJI Phantom, your smartphone, Skycatch’s Commander app and about 15 minutes of time (during which you totally can multi-task).

I tried out Skycatch’s app for the first time this weekend, and believe it or not it was my first time EVER flying a FULLY autonomous mission. I’ve utilized the autonomy in drones to return drones to home, to follow me, to orbit an object, etc. but I’ve never simply hit a button and seen a drone take off, fly waypoints, and land, all by itself, until today. It’s awesome!

And the best part is, it collects data that can actually serve a useful purpose.

San Francisco startup Skycatch, which has raised $41.67 million in 6 funding rounds, developed an iOS app called Commander, which can plan, manage and automate flights with DJI drones. Continue reading Skycatch Commander review: how to make maps using a DJI Phantom

DJI Phantom 4 vs. Yuneec Typhoon H: which is better?

It’s time for the DJI Phantom 4 vs. Yuneec Typhoon H showdown.

I had the pleasure of getting to review both of these drones. The truth is, both of these drones are truly incredible when you consider how far the technology has come just in the past couple years.  Both the DJI Phantom 4 and Yuneec Typhoon H have a lot of similarities — similar price tag, both have collision avoidance, similar camera quality.

But there are some minor differences that could make a big impact in your decision on which one to buy.

DJI Phantom 4 vs. Yuneec Typhoon H Cost:

DJI Phantom 4 vs. Yuneec Typhoon H Camera:

Both drones are intended for professional aerial photographers. Both cameras offer 12 megapixel resolution and 4K video resolution. The gimbal on both is incredibly smooth. Both offer a maximum frame rate of 30 frames per second in live view to deliver crisp and clear footage. I shot some footage on the same day at approximately the same time near Drone Girl HQ to show you difference in footage. None of this footage is edited or processed, so you can see exactly how it looks in the camera. (Make sure you watch in HD!)

For me, the video quality is a toss-up. Each photographer may have their own aesthetic preferences, so I’ll let you make that decision for yourself.

Winner: Toss-up

DJI Phantom 4 vs. Yuneec Typhoon H controller
Yuneec’s controller (left) and DJI’s controller (right) plus my iPhone

DJI Phantom 4 vs. Yuneec Typhoon H Controller:

DJI’s is controlled through a smartphone or tablet, which you in turn plug into the Phantom controller via USB. DJI’s app to operate the drones is very good, but I hate having to rely on my iPhone. It seems like one more thing to sync, charge and worry about. I’ve never liked that about DJI’s products. Continue reading DJI Phantom 4 vs. Yuneec Typhoon H: which is better?