Now the consumer drone market is becoming crowded and companies like Yuneec, and DJI, will have to focus on honing drones and software for business users.
Flying a drone is tricky business. The prosumer models are powerful, fast and can get into trouble in a hurry if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s why smart, logical design and intuitive controls are so important in the drone game.
Don’t get me wrong, the $1,299, six-rotor drone is expertly designed. It has a third more rotors than, say, the DJI Phantom 4 and, unlike virtually every other drone I’ve tested, folds up for relatively easy transport: the rotor arms fold down to the body when not in flight.
The Yuneec Typhoon H is also an intelligent drone, more or less matching DJI on autonomous flight control features, including built-in obstacle avoidance and the ability to track objects on its 4K camera.
It is paired, though, with one of the more confusing remote controls, called a ground station, I’ve encountered in some time.
Like the DJI Phantom 4, Yuneec’s Typhoon H arrives in a rather large gray foam box. Lacking a handle, it doesn’t quite qualify as a carrying case (you can buy a drone backpack separately). Inside is the drone, with all its rotors folded down, the sizable remote control (the ST16 Ground Station), a bag of a dozen propellers, a large drone battery, AC/DC charger with cables for both the drone and remote, a sunshade for the remote’s 7-inch screen, a neck strap to hold the remote and a 16GB micro SD card and SD card-sized micro SD card adapter.
Before we get to flying, it’s worth spending some time talking about the remote control. Unlike the DJI Phantom 4, which uses a much smaller and lighter remote that’s paired with your iPad or iPhone running DJI flight software, Yuneec’s Ground station is an all-in-one device. The centerpiece is a 7-inch screen running Yuneec’s Android-based ground control interface, which offers real-time updates on altitude GPS and satellite availability, current position, altitude, speed, distance from pilot and photography presets. It’s also where you access most of the drone’s deeper settings and more powerful modes.
Yet despite my reservations about the Yuneec Typhoon H, especially its bloated Ground System, I still think it’s a really good prosumer drone. Yes, it will take more time to figure out.