DJI Tello Drone Review 2019 – is the DJI Tello quadcopter worth the money? Review of features, pricing, flight duration, battery, camera and more.
- Little drone for kids and adults that's a blast to fly and helps users learn about drones with...
- VR headset compatibility,fly with a breathtaking first-person view.
- Tello has two antennas that make video transmission extra stable and a high-capacity battery that...
- Start flying by simply tossing Tello into the air.Slide on screen to perform 8D flips cool aerial...
- Equipped with a high-quality image processor, Tello shoots incredible photos and videos. Even if you...
The DJI Tello drone Tello is a tiny and lightweight quadcopter created Ryze Robotics in collaboration with DJI and Intel Corporation. More specifically, Ryze engineered the drone while DJI and Intel Corporation provided the flight control system and the processor, respectively. Despite its relatively lower price tag ($99), this quadcopter comes with some great features and electronics, including, among others, a 720p camera a vision system, barometer and range finder. What’s more, it’s programmable with the Scratch programming language and you can also create software applications for the drone using the Tello SDK. The drone comes with several accessories including a Quick Start Guide, four extra propellers, a propeller remover tool, and the battery, which is a 3.8V, two-cell battery, running at 1100mAh. Below is a detailed review of the DJI Tello Drone.
DJI Tello Drone – Design
Measuring 3.8 inches by 3.2 inches by 1.6 inches, the Tello is significantly smaller than the DJI Spark. Because the Tello is a budget drone, it uses brushed motors, which are less efficient and less durable than brushless motors, and its body is made of plastic. Still, the brushed motors generate enough power to propel the Tello to a top speed of 30 km/hr. Moreover, the propellers are designed for thrust and low noise. The drone’s compact and sturdy plastic body can withstand several low-impact crashes.
The power button (on/off) is located on one side of the drone’s fuselage and a USB jack on the other side. In the front, you’ll find a status LED to monitor battery charging. To ease rougher landings, each of its four landing gears has rubber feet. On the bottom of the fuselage, you’ll find the ventilation openings and optical/ground sensors, which allow the quadcopter to hover precisely without GPS. With the battery inserted, it weighs just 80 grams, meaning you do not need to register it with the FAA in order to fly it. Because of its lightweight design, it is not idea for outdoor flying, especially on windy days. On the other hand, it is an awesome indoor drone.
The DJI Tello drone comes with one 3.8V, two-cell battery, running at 1100mAH that offers a flight time of about 12 minutes. It takes about one-and-a-half to charge the battery fully using the USB port located on one side of the drone’s main body, meaning the drone has to be on the ground to charge the battery. To solve this problem, you can purchase an optional charging station along with an extra battery. When the battery is charging, the little battery status LED light located next to the camera blinks and when the battery is fully charged, the light turns solid blue.
Flying the DJI Tello Drone
The Tello operates on the 2.4GHz frequency and you can fly the Tello with your smartphone, tablet or a Bluetooth-enabled game controller. Additionally, you can use your smartphone/tablet as a live view and as a remote control. Without any interference, the drone has an operating range of 100 meters horizontally. However, due to interference, especially in urban areas, the typical operating range is about 60 to 80 meters. Vertically, its altitude is capped at 10 meters above its takeoff position. It is important to note that the Tello will not turn to its original takeoff position if something goes wrong during its flight. Instead, it will just auto land. To offer the best connection possible, the Tello uses two antennas. Because the Tello has no GPS, it uses optical sensors located at the bottom of its fuselage for positioning and hovering. Additionally, the Tello uses the same processor found on some of DJI’s high-end drones including the DJI Spark and Mavic Air. Because of this, the Tello can respond to hand gestures.
To improve its flight capabilities and make it fun to fly, the Tello comes with some amazing in-built flight modes including:
• Auto Takeoff & Landing — This mode allows you to take off or land your drone simply by hitting a button. What’s more, this drone comes with two separate landing modes called PalmLand and Tap to Land. The Tap to Land mode allows the drone to land automatically, whereas the PalmLand mode, as the name suggests, allow the drone to land in your hand and shut off its motors.
• Throw & Go — This is a fun and easy way to take off by simply throwing your drone gently in the air. Note that if you fail to throw your drone in the air within 5 seconds from the time its propellers start spinning, the propellers will stop spinning, meaning you will be unable to take off.
• 8D Flips — This is a fun flying mode that automatically flips your quadcopter in one of eight preset directions.
• Bounce Mode — When you activate this mode, your drone will fly automatically up and down above a flat surface at a preset distance of between 1.6 and 3.9 feet. However, if its ground sensors detect an object below, it will increase its altitude accordingly.
• Attitude Mode — When the DJI Tello drone cannot use its Vision Positioning System for one reason or another, it automatically switches to Attitude or ATTI mode, allowing it to land in a safe place as quickly as possible to avoid potential hazards. For instance, when flying in tight spaces outdoors, wind gusts may cause your drone to hit an object and crash.
• Vision Positioning System — Consisting of a 3D infrared module and a camera mounted on the underside on the drone’s fuselage, the Vision Positioning System (VPS) enables the drone to hover in place more precisely. When you turn on your drone, it automatically activates the VPS system. The Vision Positioning Systems has a lower a lower limit of 1 foot and an upper limit of 32.8 feet, but it works best between 1 foot and 19.7 feet. When flying beyond these altitude limits, the system is typically ineffective.
Before you activate any of the aforementioned in-built flight modes, ensure your drone’s battery is charged to at least 50%.
DJI Tello Drone – Camera
The Tello comes with a 5-megapixel camera that shoots 720p videos at 30 fps. To enhance the quality of footage further and eliminate blur, the drone uses its powerful 14-core Intel processor along with electronic image stabilization (EIS). Additionally, the drone has a feature called EZ Shots that makes shooting fun and easy with various modes including 360, Circle and Up & Away, Circle. On the storage front, the Tello does not come with a micro SD or internal memory. Instead, it streams videos and photos to your phone or tablet, or VR headset. While this enhances the FPV experience, it means you cannot share photos and videos directly from the drone to your social media platforms. It is worth noting that you can set the quality of photos through the Tello app. However, the app does not save your settings for both photos and video, meaning it will reset to its default settings every time you connect to it.
Similar to the Parrot Mambo or Parrot AR, you can program the Tello to perform fly automatically. You can do this using the Tello SDK or a programming language called Scratch, a programming language developed by MIT that allows children to learn basic programming while having fun. Using the Tello Edu app, you can command your drone to perform corresponding movements by dragging coding blocks on your smartphone or tablet. This app also allows you to learn basic programming by playing games and completing levels. The Tello Edu app is essentially a mobile application that supports the Scratch programming language.
• Programmable with Scratch programming language
• You can fly it with a smartphone, tablet and Wi-Fi enabled controller
• Relatively inexpensive
• Automated flight modes
• Does not support some smartphones and tablets
• No internal storage
• Inability to share photos and videos on social network
• No micro SD slot
• No USB cable
• Battery charging system in-built into the drone’s body
Despite is tiny size, the DJI Tello drone is an awesome drone for flying in windless condition, meaning it is essentially an indoor drone. It packs several features that make it fun and exciting to fly. These features include a decent 5-megapixel camera that shoots 720p at 30fp and Vision Positioning System. You can use a smartphone, tablet or Wi-Fi enabled controller to fly the Tello. Additionally, Tello is programmable with an MIT-developed programming language called Scratch. The drone comes with various automatic flight modes including 8D Flips, Throw & Go and Auto Takeoff & Landing. However, it does not come with a micro SD slot or internal storage. The Tello has a flight time of about 13 minutes and an operating range of about 100 meters in an area with clear Wi-Fi signal. Its altitude is limited to 10 meters. If an emergency occurs during flight, the Tello will land in a safe place as fast as possible instead of returning to its original take off position. You can purchase the Tello on the DJI website or on Amazon for $99.