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3D Robotics Solo

By Mike Senese / May 2, 2016

3D Robotics Solo


The futuristic, black body of the Solo highlights how advanced drones have become — the quadcopter and its controller each house a 1GHz Linux computer to handle its autonomous flying features. The autonomy was easy and intuitive to use; our multi-point cable cam route was accurate and repeatable throughout the testing. Based on the open-source ideals from a key player in the DroneCode Project, much of Solo’s system is available for the user to modify and share, and will be familiar to the original DIY Drone community members.

Flight performance

The Solo is quite zippy; its slowest setting is great for minimizing jerky motion when filming. But at full throttle, the Solo tied the Phantom 4 (in “Sport” mode) for fastest rig in our roundup. Our battery tests gave 14 minutes of flight time, and we were able to get about 2,600 feet away before losing reception.

3DR’s use of a GoPro for the Solo’s camera used to be a positive based on GoPro’s ubiquity and quality. Competing systems, however, have more or less caught up, and some prefer a flat-horizon look to GoPro’s wide-angle lens.

Travel Smart

The Solo’s optional backpack was our favorite drone case of all the units in our review. Comfortable and with ample storage for all accessories, it greatly improves the usual hassle of transporting your system to remote locations.


Solo is a smart system with future expansion options. But it’s not cheap.


Price as Tested:$1,149 with optional gimbal and case (+$499 for GoPro Hero 4 Black)
Includes:Drone, gimbal, transmitter, battery, charger, 2 sets of propellers, travel case
Range:2600 feet
Battery Life:14 minutes
Drone Size:18" diagonal (without propellers)
Controller Type:Hybrid: transmitter connects to smartphone or tablet (not included)
Carrying Case Included:Tested with optional backpack
Camera Type:GoPro cameras (not included)
Camera Resolution:Variable

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Why To Buy

You want a quality, steady aerial platform with a software set that you can hack on. And you have a GoPro camera to put on its gimbal.

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Pro Tips

As always, be sure to update the firmware before heading out to the field; with the Solo, this means getting the GoPro firmware updated as well.


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