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Parrot Bebop 2 vs. DJI Phantom 4

January 31, 2017
Product Comparisons, Shopping
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Drones accompany you on unforgettable adventures and capture priceless memories along the way. Drones themselves, however, are far from priceless.

There is a nearly $650 price difference between the Parrot Bebop 2 and the DJI Phantom 4, the latest drones from the Parrot Bebop and DJI Phantom series. But what else sets them apart? We’re comparing the two to help you decide which model is worth your investment.

The drones: At a glance

 Parrot Bebop 2DJI Phantom 4
Price$549.99$1,199
Battery life25 minutes flying time28 minutes flying time
Signal range0.2 mile3.1 miles
Speed
37 miles per hour44 miles per hour
Camera14 megapixels; 1080p HD video; 180-degree fish eye lens12 megapixels; 4K video; 1080p slow motion
Weight 1.1 pounds3 pounds
Object trackingYes, with in-app purchaseYes, included
Storage8GB internal memoryUp to 64GB with micro SD card
ColorsWhite, redWhite
Buy on Amazon
Buy
Buy

Design

The Parrot Bebop 2 and the DJI Phantom 4 are both camera-equipped quadcopter drones built for indoor and outdoor use.

Each has four arms branching out of the center, with raised propellers attached. However, the Bebop 2 is more streamlined; it has small feet below the propellers and its camera is built into the body. The bulkier Phantom 4’s camera hangs below the drone and is framed by two U-shaped landing gear bars on the sides. The Bebop 2 has an LED light on the back; the Phantom 4 has both front and rear LED lights.

The 1.1-pound Bebop 2 is lighter and more portable than the 3-pound Phantom 4. The Bebop 2 is sold in white and red colors, while the Phantom 4 is available in white.

» MORE: DJI Phantom 3 Drone vs. 3D Robotics Solo Drone

Features

Parrot Bebop 2

The Bebop 2 covers the basic drone necessities. It has a built-in camera with a 180-degree “fish eye” lens that captures 14-megapixel images and 1080p full HD videos from an aerial perspective. A stabilizer steadies the camera while the drone is in flight. The Bebop 2 offers 8GB of internal storage for your pictures and videos.

parrot-bebop-2

Parrot Bebop 2

It flies as fast as 37 miles per hour but can’t travel too far from you; the signal range is less than a quarter mile. The Bebop 2 takes off and lands with the touch of a button and hovers in place when you stop controlling it. The drone flies for up to 25 minutes on a full battery.

Additional features, like “Follow me” GPS and visual tracking for hands-free use, can be purchased through the FreeFlight Pro app. The app is free to download on your phone or tablet from the App Store and Google Play Store.

DJI Phantom 4

The Phantom 4 outperforms the Bebop 2 across the board. It boasts a 12-megapixel camera that records higher-quality 4K videos and 1080p slow-motion footage. The camera is attached to a component called a gimbal, which stabilizes it and keeps your footage from blurring. The Phantom 4 stores up to 64GB of photos and videos with a micro SD card.

dji-phantom-4

DJI Phantom 4

The drone offers up to 28 minutes of flying time on a full charge, a few minutes longer than the Bebop 2. It’s also faster — reaching up to 44 miles per hour — and can travel significantly farther from you, with a signal distance of up to 3.1 miles.

The Phantom 4 comes with a remote control unit, but you can also download the free DJI GO app to control the drone from your phone or tablet. Tap the screen with your finger and the drone will fly in the direction of your choice. Equipped with smart sensors, the Phantom 4 detects and responds to surrounding objects to help it avoid collisions. And unlike the Bebop 2, the Phantom 4 includes visual object tracking — the ability to automatically follow you or another subject — at no extra cost.

The Phantom 4 has automatic takeoff and landing, three flight modes and GPS capabilities. Still not advanced enough for you? DJI also sells the more sophisticated Phantom 4 Pro.

» MORE: Garmin Vivoactive HR vs. Fitbit Surge: Which GPS fitness watch goes the extra mile?

Price

The cost discrepancy between the two drones is noteworthy; The Bebop 2 is listed at $549.99 and the Phantom 4 is more than double that price, at $1,199. However, we’ve seen the drones sell for less on Amazon. At the time of this writing, for example, the Phantom 4 is $997.99 on Amazon.

The verdict

The high-end DJI Phantom 4 costs more than twice as much as the Bebop 2, but the price tag comes with some advantages for hardcore enthusiasts. Its camera, distance, speed, storage, battery life and smart features are all superior.

The Parrot Bebop 2 isn’t as advanced as the Phantom 4, but for $650 less it still offers the key features. It has an impressive camera, speed and battery life, and is simple to control. Plus, it’s lighter and easy to transport, and you can purchase additional features in the app if desired. If you’re not a frequent drone user, it’s probably worth saving money and picking the basic option.

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Lauren Schwahn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: lschwahn@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lauren_schwahn.