Following on from a very lips-zipped pre-launch week, French manufacturer Parrot has finally unveiled their new consumer drone.
It’s been two years since the Bebop 2 was released and there was much speculation that the new release would be an upgrade on the Bebop.
What the French have brought to consumers instead is an entirely new drone – and one that clearly has its sights set on DJI’s Mavic Air audience.
The lightweight, portable and foldable Anafi is a big step up from the Bebop 2, weighing in at only 320 grams compared to the Bebop’s 500 grams.
It’s the result of two year’s worth of development, said the company, who went into “start-up mode” to create their new-generation drone.
After a few years of disappointing financials and a turn towards the commercial drone market with their “Drone Business Solutions” stable of agricultural and thermal mapping drones, the release of this new drone marks Parrot’s re-entry into the consumer market.
Parrot says that Anafi’s design is a response to meet user feedback with four key features of image quality, flight performance, foldability and ease of use of the software and the piloting.
Indeed, it has all the hallmarks one would expect in a drone of this size and price range: 4K HDR camera, 21MP sensor, a flight time of 25 minutes and of course auto-follow for the selfie crowd.
What makes it stand out from the crowd though are 2.8x lossless zoom, a 3-axis gimbal with 180 degree of tilt for the camera, which can shoot high dynamic range video.
What this adds up to is a clever drone that promises to deliver high quality images and videos in a range of light conditions and from almost any angle the drone happens to be flying at in any given moment – including what is above it.
This, along with a 25 minute flight time achieved a “bio-inspired” design and a smart lithium polymer battery and a lightweight body that brings it under the Mavic Air’s weight by a full 110 grams, makes it a tantalising addition to its class.
There are also lots of handy additional features that all in all make the Anafi hard to beat when you consider it’s price badge of US $699.
Storing images and videos on the bundled 16GB microSD card (Parrot’s previous drones only came with an internal flash memory), 5 ‘SmartDronies’ selfie modes, 4 cinematic modes, an updated the new intuitive piloting app FreeFlight 6, geofencing, ‘Find My Drone’, USB-C charging – the list goes on.
The full list of features of the “bio-inspired” Anafi design can be seen in full on the Parrot website, and are explained in detail in the company’s press release:
ANAFI is a flying camera that embeds the best software and hardware solutions of the moment. The optics specially developed for ANAFI withstand temperatures from 14°F to 104°F. ANAFI uses a latest-generation Sony IMX230 sensor and an Ambarella video processor to produce spectacular 4K HDR (30fps) and 21MP photos.
ANAFI’s camera is mounted on a “gimbal,” stabilized on 3 axes, that combines the best mechanical and digital stabilizations. Lightweight and hyper-powerful, the stabilized gimbal on 2 axes makes it possible to take photos and videos hitherto impossible to achieve with a drone of this category thanks to a vertical tilt of -90° to + 90°.
ANAFI is equipped with a lossless zoom of 1.4x in 4K and 2.8x in full HD (1080p). It is also possible to zoom 3x in digital zoom. Photo and video experts and professionals can access and modify settings to adjust resolution, photo format, shutter speed, white balance, exposure value and rendering.
The FreeFlight 6 application offers two manual control modes: Film and Sport. In Sport mode, ANAFI achieves speed peaks at 33 mph and withstands winds of 31 mph. Users can customize settings such as the incline of the drone, its rotation speed, the speed of the camera tilt, etc.
The ANAFI battery is a smart polymer lithium battery optimized to obtain the best power density in a small volume and a high rate of discharge, which allows ANAFI to achieve a 25-minute flight time, exceptional for a drone of its size. The ANAFI battery continuously monitors its charge level (regardless of the temperature and aging of the cell). During a flight, ANAFI evaluates the load level and returns to its take-off position.
The ANAFI battery has an integrated charger, compatible with the latest USB standard (USB-C) and can thus be charged via a phone charger, powerbank or laptop. It adapts to the power source, and the charge is faster when it is attached to a powerful charger. The ANAFI battery has a hibernation mode to protect its internal chemistry.
In addition, each foot of ANAFI is equipped with a dual-band antenna (2.4GHz & 5GHz) to ensure an optimal connection with the remote-control Parrot Skycontroller 3, regardless of the orientation of the drone. This omnidirectional transmission system uses Wi-Fi compliant protocols developed by Parrot.
ANAFI constantly monitors its Wi-Fi environment in order to switch to another channel when the one it uses is too crowded. This guarantees optimal spectrum utilization performance and allows ANAFI to fly up to 2.48 miles.
ANAFI is an 11.2 ounce ultra-compact, robust and foldable drone. Its four arms fold and unfold in less than three seconds. In addition, the remote control is extremely portable as the Parrot Skycontroller 3 unfolds in 1 second and automatically connects to ANAFI. Thanks to a unique assembly of carbon fiber filled with hollow glass microbeads, ANAFI is the lightest drone in its class at only 11.2 ounces, all without compromising its robustness and performance.
Easy to Use
The FreeFlight 6 application has been developed for ANAFI and offers a modern and intuitive interface. The main features are accessible directly from the home page.
The flight interface adapts to all users. Beginners have access to automatic control modes, such as SmartDronies or CineShots; professional photographers can select or customize camera settings. ANAFI offers automatic control modes: Smart Dronies, Cameraman mode and Follow Me, which use a neural network to reevaluate the target track for each image, with a focus on the shape recognition tracking system.
The FreeFlight 6 application and the Skycontroller3 long-range remote control have been jointly developed. The interaction between the two allows users to control the movement of the gimbal and the zoom with two dedicated keys very convenient. And change the settings directly on the smartphone screen.
ANAFI can be pre-ordered today and will be in store beginning July 1, 2018 at a price of $699.