Parrot Mars Mini Drone

Getting to play with new tech toys is probably one of the better perks of my job. Over the years, I’ve gone through countless smartphones and tablets, as well as smart speakers, arcade sticks, dashcams and so on. More recently, I’ve been spending some time testing the new Kindle. Last night, I did something different. I went to the park and flew a drone for the first time.

Well, that’s not completely true. To make sure that everything was working correctly, I decided to fly the Parrot Mars Cargo Minidrone in the middle of my house first. That’s exactly what they tell you not to do, because you’ll probably crash into something and cause irreparable damage. That being said, flying a drone indoors is a lot easier. There’s no wind and, for the most part, no wildlife.

To document this little experiment, I shot a very short video of my drone flying experience. Considering that the Parrot Mars sells for less than $100, it is definitely on the lower end of the pricing scale. You can easily spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on other drones with far fancier features. In this case, I only get a measly 4MB of on-board storage to go along with the VGA camera.

But flying this thing is a hoot.

It connects via Bluetooth to any compatible smartphone and the control comes by way of the mobile app. The virtual twin stick controls on the smartphone actually work remarkably well. The range isn’t the best and battery life could certainly be better; I only got a total flight time of about 15 minutes between the two batteries that I had. And since the Parrot Mars is so lightweight, stability can be a challenge.

Have you flown a drone? Would you spring for a more expensive one?