(Pocket-lint) – When the Parrot Mambo launched in 2016 it did so as a modular beastie. Adding to the appeal is a new camera module and all bundled up into a new package – the Mambo FPV.
FPV of course means first person view with the addition of a camera meaning that you can view in real time as you fly the drone. That might be racing around your house – it’s safe to be used indoors – or for a little bit of sneaky reconnaissance action, flying up the stairs watching through that camera.
Using a lot of the same technologies as the bigger brother – the Bebop 2 – the Mambo is easy to fly once you get the hang of it and with all the parts being replaceable, it doesn’t matter if you fly it into something. While testing the new Mambo FPV we managed to fly it into a bush and hit a lamp post and in both cases there was no damage to the drone.
The new camera module plugs onto the top of the Mambo and can take a microSD card in the back to record your footage. It’s an HD camera capable of recording 720p footage for a bit of fun filming, but as the name suggests, you can fly this drone in first person view too using the FPV goggles.
You can fly the Mambo using the smartphone app, but it also comes with the Flypad controller. This brings a huge advantage over the app, expanding the range to 100m over the 20m of the smartphone, but also giving precise controls and a great natural feel in the hand. You can then connect your smartphone to the Flypad for that first person view.
That involves using the Cockpitglasses 2 which handily fold up for easy stowage with your smartphone (Android or iOS) in the front like the recent swathe of VR headsets. In this mode, it’s a thrill ride as you’re right in the action as you race the Mambo around. You can see the front prop blades in the image before your eyes, so you get a really good sense of what gaps you’ll be able to fly through and what you won’t.
You can also use the Flypad to instantly switch control modes between normal, drift and sport. Normal mode gives you stabilised flight, where the drone will maintain its hover to give you time to compose and correct yourself. In this mode, flying is easy. For those who want more of a challenge, drift won’t give you the same support, so it will need constant correction and more precise flying. Finally there’s sport, which is there to up the ante and have you racing to perfection.
Minidrones are plenty of fun, sitting on the toy side of drones rather than something you’d use to capture serious video footage. That’s what the Mambo FPV is: it’s fun and with the addition of that camera, there’s a new immersive experience to explore too. The flight time is limited to 10 minutes, however, so this is a bit of a short-lived experience, but you get an extra 2 minutes over the regular Mambo.
The whole package will cost you £159 and it will be available from September. You get the Mambo minidrone, FPV goggles, camera and the Flypad in the box.
Writing by Chris Hall.