After three extremely short flights, these are my notes about the Parrot Anafi drone.
We’re experimenting with different UAV’s as part of the Iceland terrestrial surveying program (we’re being optimistic about travel in 2021…). These are some notes with my initial observations.
This is based on the base case: taking the craft out, taking off, flying for at most a few minutes, and touching back down. As such, don’t take a single word of this as gospel – it’s just preliminary opinions for the historical record. 🙂
Short version of the review: holy portability! One thing I don’t like about the DJI Phantoms is that they are so heavy (both the craft and the RC-tablet unit). If it’s a pain here on-campus, where trips are short, I imagine it’s a pain in the field. The Anafi is ludicrously lightweight and doesn’t feel like a chore to carry around.
Video quality on the built-in camera is fantastic (4K etc.).
It’s not a perfectly seamless integration with our existing workflows. Within our group, for example, we usually use tablets, which are handy for their big screens. The Anafi seems built around the assumption of a phone. That’s true all the way down to the RC unit being designed to accommodate a phone but not a tablet. That’s different, but if we can only get this app for phones I am not necessarily sad about it.
There are many X factors I haven’t yet been thorough enough to review. For example: battery life, stability in breezes (heavy winds make most UAV’s hard to use), and the software/developer ecosystem.
These have been my extremely preliminary notes about the Parrot Anafi. It’s not even close to a comprehensive evaluation of everything we care about. Still, those usability factors are important if this is going to scale and be useful for others. So for now, I’m impressed.