The smallest quadcopter in our roundup, the original Bebop is compact enough to slip into a normal backpack with the propellers attached, yet not so small that its flight suffers overly. Add the bulky but necessary SkyController with its gargantuan Wi-Fi antenna, however, and the portability advantage drops greatly.
The Wi-Fi control interface is what really hurts this quad. It takes frustratingly long to pair and drops out frequently mid-flight, causing the Bebop to stop and hover until reconnected. Parrot boasts a range of 1.4 miles, but even at top speed, there’s no way to fly that far with the dismal battery life, especially if you want to get it back.
Part of the Bebop’s size advantage comes from tucking a high-resolution camera and ultra-wide angle lens into the body, and using software to crop the view down to 1080p to provide video stabilization. It works surprisingly well, but is tricky to get slow, smooth pans while in flight. We’d like to have an option to output the entire scene at full resolution.
With its size and price, the Bebop is a family friendly quadcopter. The propellers aren’t deadly, and its video output is enjoyable. Too bad about the Wi-Fi woes.