Parrot, well known for their in car hands free kits and headphones, have expanded into the drone market and now have several on offer to the consumer. They sent over one of their first person view drones, the Mambo, which is marketed as a racing drone. It’s a growing market, with more races & competitions popping up across the world. I haven’t used a FPV drone before, so I’m excited to see what it’s like!
Inside the box you get the drone itself, the FPV camera, the cock pit glasses, one controller, one battery, a USB cable and a user guide. The Mambo is very compact, it sits nicely in the palm of your hand and as expected, is incredibly light, even with the camera attached. It’s constructed from plastic, with plastic blades and is finished in a white & black colour scheme. There is a micro USB port on the body, for charging the battery, a single on/off button to activate the drone and also a micro SD card slot for storing data.
The drone comes pre built, with blade protectors already installed, you just need to insert the battery & attach the camera to the top of the drone. I highly recommend you leave the blade protectors on, at least for your first few flights. Battery life is around 10 minutes, charging time less than an hour, camera quality is 720p @ 30FPS, you can stream & record content, but you require a smart phone to use the camera feature. The drone has a range of 100m and although it can be used outside, it is recommended to be used inside.
You can use the drone by itself and without the glasses, just simply turn both the controller & drone on and pair them. You will be able to fly the drone but not gain access to the camera and FPV features. To gain these features, you need to install the free app on your smartphone, available on iOS & Android. There is an option to create an account with Parrot, but it’s not necessary. You need to sync your phone & the drone together, which is done via WiFi, so when the drone is on, go to the WiFi settings on your phone and the drone should appear. Connect to the drone and then within the app, you can start the live camera feed. There is then an option to activate the FPV view, which when active, splits your phone into two screens, which looks very odd but once attached to the glasses, it merges into one. The phone attaches to the glasses and held in place by a foam padded clip and you will need to move the phone slightly to make sure you get it into the right position. There are also two adjustment sliders, to help merge the two images into one. The glasses are universal, so they will work with most regular sized smart phones (iPhone 7, Samsung S8 etc) and there is a button on them, which will turn off the FPV & activate your smart phone camera, so you can see in front of you once again.
There are 3 flying modes available with the Mambo, easy mode, which keeps your drone in the air even if you let go of the controls. Drift mode, which turns the horizontal stabilization off and allows you to make tight turns and racing mode, to have complete control of the drone without any stabilization assistance. I’ve flown drones before and I have a basic understanding the the controls and how to fly one but I left it in easy mode, mainly so it would stay in the air while I fiddled with the glasses and controls. Oh, there is also a training mode, within the app, which helps you get the basics nailed.
The Mambo flies really well, it’s nippy & responsive and in easy mode, every easy to control. The controller fits nicely in my hands and the buttons are tactile, so you know when you’ve pressed them. The drone is fairly robust, so when you do crash, which I’m sure you will, it will be more of a case of fixing the blade protectors back on, rather than it being non flyable. If for whatever reason something does break, such as a blade, spare parts are readily available online via Parrot and are very affordable. Flying via the FPV function takes a little to get used to but once you do, it really is great fun!
Overall, a great little drone, and because of the FPV feature, much more fun than just flying your standard drone in the park. The Mambo currently retails for £159.99, but we’ve seen it for alot less online, so shop around. For more info, visit the official Parrot website.
Want to take your racing to the next level? Join the Mambo Racing Club, to meet up & organise local racing events.