Drones, like most gadgets, improve as technology advances and competition increases.
For example, the Parrot Bebop 2 more than doubles the battery life of its predecessor, but it comes at a higher cost. Does the new model eclipse the old one enough to justify the hiked-up price?
We compare the first-generation Parrot Bebop drone with the Parrot Bebop 2 to help you decide.
The drones: At a glance
|Parrot Bebop||Parrot Bebop 2|
|Colors||Yellow, red, blue||Red, white|
|Battery life||11 minutes||25 minutes|
|Camera||14 megapixels; 1080p HD video; 180-degree fisheye lens||14 megapixels; 1080p HD video; 180-degree fisheye lens|
|Weight||0.9 pound||1.1 pounds|
|Signal range||Up to 820 feet||Up to 984 feet|
|Buy on Amazon|
The Parrot Bebop and Bebop 2 are streamlined quadcopter drones. They have four short arms, each with a propeller, and a built-in camera in the center of the body that captures a bird’s eye view of your adventures. The Bebop 2’s camera is set at a slightly more downward-facing angle, to optimize your aerial footage.
The newer drone comes with other design changes, such as larger propellers, more powerful motors and the addition of an LED taillight. Each lightweight drone weighs roughly a pound, although the Bebop 2 is a touch heavier. These versatile machines are designed to fly indoors and outdoors, so you can use them to capture just about any activity.
The Bebop comes in three playful colors — yellow, red and blue — and the Bebop 2 comes in white or red.
The Bebop 2 is an upgraded version of the original Bebop, not a complete revamp, which means the drones have several features in common. Here’s what both models offer:
- Wi-Fi connection: Your tablet or smartphone connects to either drone to make piloting simple.
- App: Download the FreeFlight Pro app on your smartphone or tablet to control the drone and its camera angle. Enthusiasts can make in-app purchases to unlock additional flight features.
- Camera: Both drones have a built-in 14-megapixel camera with a wide-angle, 180-degree fisheye lens that takes pictures and records 1080p HD videos. The cameras are resistant to dust and splashes.
- Image stabilization: The cameras remains steady as the drones move, to prevent your footage from blurring.
- Internal storage: Both drones feature 8 gigabytes of internal memory for pictures and videos.
- One-touch takeoff and landing: Press a button in the app to make the drone automatically take off or land.
- Auto-hover: Each drone will remain in place if you stop directing it midflight.
- GPS: The drones are equipped with GPS to help them operate semi-autonomously.
However, the Bebop 2 boasts some impressive advantages. Here’s how the two drones differ:
- Flying time: The Bebop 2 lasts about 25 minutes on a full charge, compared with 11 minutes for the Bebop.
- Speed: The Bebop 2 gives potential drone racers an edge: It reaches 37.28 mph at top speed, while the Bebop reaches about 29 mph.
- Signal range: You can control the Bebop 2 from up to 984 feet away from your mobile device, compared with 820 for the Bebop.
- Wind resistance: The second-generation drone can fly in wind speeds of up 37 mph, while the earlier model can withstand maximum winds of 24 mph.
» MORE: The best Bluetooth speakers
Both drones cost less than many other full-sized drones on the market, some of which run near $1,000. However, the first-generation Bebop has the lower price tag. It retails for $399.99 and the Bebop 2 for $549.99. Both models are often sold at a discount on Amazon.
The Parrot Bebop and Bebop 2 are both accessible, easily transportable personal-use drones. So one which makes more sense for you?
The Bebop is a solid entry-level drone for casual and infrequent users. It costs $150 less than the Bebop 2, yet it operates just as easily and has an identical camera. But its short battery life can’t keep up with lengthy activities, making this drone more of a fun toy than a practical gadget.
Avid adventurers and hobbyists should consider shelling out the extra money for the Bebop 2 for a longer battery life and better overall performance.
More from NerdWallet