Meet The DJI Tello Drone
RC Hobby Review likes to keep up with all the latest news and DJI has recently announced their latest and more affordable model quadcopter in their line of drones, the DJI Tello. It won't be readily available on the market until around March 2018, but this tiny little quadcopter seems like it would be an ideal drone for anyone that's new to operating drones or experienced enthusiasts looking for something new to try.
It's mainly designed for younger users and is equipped with a camera with 360-degree video capability and a live footage streaming option to a tablet or VR headset. While it's not the most advanced drone you'll come across, it definitely has quite a few interesting features that can make using the DJI Tello drone worthwhile.
Last update on 2019-03-03 at 10:38 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
DJI Tello Drone Review Video
Who is This Product For?
Because the DJI Tello is actually a rather small and lightweight drone, it's highly ideal for new drone users, if you're on a tight budget, and young pilots. Many are already considering it to be a "toy" drone due to how affordable the price tag is, although this may be undermining what the Tello can actually do.
The small drone itself measures out to 98 x 92.5 x 41mm, making it even smaller than the DJI Spark when sat right next to each other. It can fit easily in the palm of your hand and it weighs around 80 grams which is significantly lighter than the average regular-sized drone.
Although experienced drone users can get a little kick out of this tiny drone, it won't outperform more advanced (and often more expensive) drones that have a lot more useful features. This means if you're looking for the best-quality cinematic footage and image stills, you may want to consider investing a lot more in models such as the DJI Phantom or other similar drones.
Along with the DJI Tello quadcopter itself comes:
- 4-count pair of propellers
- 2 pairs of propeller guards
- One removable 1100 mAh battery
There are many other accessories that you can buy and use with the DJI Tello. Keep in mind that the drone doesn't come with any kind of remote controller but it is compatible with the Gamesir remote controller or Apple MFi-certified Bluetooth controllers. You can also control the drone directly using the Tello app if you don't wish to purchase a separate controller.
Apparently, you don't need an SD card or microSD card to store your photos and videos in since the Tello will save these to your smartphone. You can export these files from your smartphone whenever you want for fast sharing to social media platforms which is an especially handy feature for younger users and their blogs.
If you like to have POV experiences through the drone's camera but don't want to break the bank on DJI Goggles, the DJI Tello will work with any standard and affordable VR smartphone headset.
DJI Tello Features
Starting out with the DJI Tello's flight time, it has an impressive 13 minutes of flight on a fully charged battery. It uses two antennas so that you can get optimum signal strength for a range of up to 100 meters while controlling it with either the smartphone Tello app or a compatible Bluetooth controller. It also has a top speed of 8m/s which doesn't make too much of an impression, so it's best not to fly the drone in windy conditions.
With the automatic takeoff feature, you can control the drone's launch directly via the Tello app. The Throw and Go option lets you toss the quadcopter into the air and it will take off from there as well. Bounce mode is where the drone will take off and come back to easily land in the palm of your hand because of its small size. For extra effects and fun, the Tello drone has eight preprogrammed flip maneuvers that you can control with a simple press of a button.
The batteries on the drone are removable (although a bit too easy to remove) and can be charged by using the micro USB port on the Tello itself or you can charge three batteries at the same time using the battery charging hub. The batteries have an 1100 mAh capacity and weigh only 26 grams so that your drone isn't weighed down, which can affect its overall performance. Unfortunately, you can't hot-swap batteries with this drone since you may lose whatever photos or videos you took from your last flight.
The DJI Tello's camera and high-quality image processor is built-in with the drone's design and lets you take both photos and video footage. Its "EZ Shots" functions let you experiment and use stunning visual sequences at the push of a button. These sequences include Circle, 360, and Up and Away, and with the Tello's 14 core Intel processor ( the Movidius Myriad 2 VPU), you can record HD 720p videos and capture 5MP photos with the drone's electronic image stabilization.
As you fly the drone, it has a vision positioning system that prevents it from getting into collision accidents. This makes it easier to fly the drone indoors or outdoors (when it's not windy) and the collision detecting propeller protectors keep the blades from breaking. The Failsafe protection feature ensures that you drone lands safely in the event of losing connection and the low battery protection alerts you when your battery is dangerously low.
While you can control the drone using your smartphone or a compatible Bluetooth controller, you can also program the drone's movements using Scratch. Scratch is a coding tool that allows you to set up all the characteristics you'd like for your planned route which prompts the drone to fly on its own without any help. You can additionally develop your own custom software applications for the Tello using Tello SDK.
If you wish to fly in FPV, you can use any VR goggles such as the Google VR cardboard to experience what your drone sees in first-person. This is a big bonus for those that don't have a huge budget since previous DJI drone models used proprietary VR goggles. We're guessing you can also use DJI Goggles if you already own a pair.
How to Get the Most Out of the DJI Tello Drone
Setup is very straightforward and easy as you take the DJI Tello drone out of its box. The propeller blades don't come already attached to the Tello, but you can just manually attach them with your hands instead of a special tool that some drones come with. After the propellers, you can then attach the blade protectors, and although they're optional, it's best to have them on to protect your propellers from breaking and put the drone's collision prevention feature to good use.
Next is the battery which needs to be inserted into the drone. Make sure that the battery is fully charged before you start using the Tello for maximum flight time and performance. Because the drone is so small and lightweight, it's not going to fly very well in windy conditions. With this, it's best to fly the Tello indoors, but if you wish to fly it outside, be wary that even light winds can sweep away the Tello rather easily.
The batteries for the Tello give the drone a good 13 minutes of flight time, but if you're traveling or are planning to use the drone multiple times throughout the day, it's best to have extra batteries on hand. Be sure that you're completely done with recording and taking photos before you switch out batteries since the Tello doesn't support hot-swapping.
Before flying the drone, make sure that you're in an open space whether it's in your living room or outside in a wide grassy area away from other people. Try not to fly the drone near objects or people that can potentially obstruct the drone's flight path. When the battery is low and the Tello alerts you via the Tello app, bring the drone back for landing immediately to prevent it from shutting off and dropping to the ground, especially if you're flying it at a significant height.
Whether you're a teen or adult who's a novice or avid coder and want to test your skills with the Tello, you can do so by using Scratch. Scratch is more of a simple and block-based visual programming software, but if you want to unlock even more possibilities, you can also develop your own software through the Tello's SDK program.
If you're planning to use FPV goggles for the Tello, it's recommended that you don't use goggles if you're sensitive to fast motion or spins. The Tello is very light and is able to do quick 360 spins and eight kinds of flip maneuvers, which may make FPV viewers nauseous when the goggles are used for long periods of time.
The DJI Spark is similar to the DJI Tello when it comes to price range, but some of its functions are slightly better than the DJI Tello if you're looking for a drone that does a little more.
The Spark's flight time is about three minutes longer at 16 minutes of flight time on a full battery. While the Tello's flight speed is relatively slow at 8m/s, the Spark can fly up to 50km/h which is great for panning shots overhead. Its camera is set on a 2-axis gimbal for stability and the drone's transmission distance reaches up to 1.2 miles (or two kilometers). The Spark's video positioning system works up to 30 meters and its camera has a photo quality of 12MP and video resolution of HD 1080p.
There are many features that the Spark includes that makes taking photos and videos easy and enjoyable. Quick Launch uses the FaceAware function to allow the drone to take off from your hand seconds after it recognizes you. An innovative control system lets you take amazing aerial photos by using hand gestures without a remote controller or smartphone.
Within the DJI GO app are many intelligent flight modes and controls that help you to create cinematic and sweeping videos with just a few taps. The QuickShots feature has many options to compose your videos with. Rocket mode is where the drone lifts off with the camera pointing down at the ground while Dronie mode makes the Tello fly backward and upward with the camera locked onto a specific object.
The Circle mode makes the drone circle around your target and the Helix mode makes the drone fly upward while spiraling around your target. When you're in TapFly mode, this feature helps you set up your shot while the Spark captures your composition. All it takes is a simple tap on your smartphone screen which prompts the Spark to fly towards the direction of your tap (taking care not to bump into anything) and capture each shot.
The ActiveTrack function automatically recognizes objects of different sizes and shapes and tracks them depending on what they are (such as a person) and how fast they are moving. Tracking is a lot more reliable this way and can be ideal for biking, running, or even skateboarding videos.
The app also has automatic editing templates and filters so that you can edit on the go and share them directly to all of your social media platforms. To keep your photos and videos shake-free, the Spark's mechanical gimbal stabilization dramatically reduces vibrations and annoying rolling shutter effects.
The powerful lens on the camera makes all the Spark's images colorful and sharp with little to no distortion. It has an f/2.6 wide-angle lens with a 25mm focal length so that you can capture your surroundings or even yourself with attention to color.
The DJI Tello drone is a pretty nifty device that's most suitable for newbies and teens. It's small and compact enough for you to take it anywhere and has a few features equipped for HD 720p videos and 5MP stills. You can fly it for up to 100m and plan its flight path with the Scratch software if you're a fan of coding.
While the Tello isn't the most advanced drone of its kind and is weak in windy conditions, it can still serve many functions. Whether it comes to either taking selfies, taking short aerial videos, or capturing photogenic landscapes, the DJI Tello drone is both affordable and easy to use for novices and experts alike.