Since I now have both, a Parrot bebop 2 and a DJI Phantom 3(advanced) i thought it might interest some to read a quick comparison of my experience with both.
In fairness, I think both are impressive. The Phantom 3 is heavier, has more inertia and you feel that, but on the other hand, its more stable too. It can descend much faster and without wobbling, the GPS position and altitude hold also seems to work even more accurately. Parrot bebop 2 is good enough here for me. Maybe when doing time lapses it matters, otherwise, not so much. The bebop is a more nimble, and because its so light and small, its more fun to toss around without worrying too much.
It won’t surprise anyone the Phantom 3 wins this handily. The camera, particularly of the advanced version I have, is WAY better. Even when shooting in the same resolution and frame rate as the Parrot Bebop, its so much sharper and with more detail. Its like comparing a gopro hero black with a 720p keychain cam. No more blurry trees or grass, everything is razor sharp and shooting in 60FPS makes it oh so much more smooth. The gimbal also just works a lot better than the electronic stabilization, particularly when tilting/panning. On my first landing, I managed to tip the phantom over. On the video, you cant even see that anything happened. If the video of the phantom is clearly superior, still images are in a different league all together. Yeah, same megapixels, everything else is beyond comparison. But you probably already knew that. One major disadvantage of the Phantom 3 for me is the minimal interval time of 5 seconds. When doing mapping, 5 seconds is too long and I end up waiting or slowing down a lot for the camera.
Range and endurance
I haven’t fully range tested the Phantom 3 yet. But I’ve gone out about 1km with no impact on reception at all, video remained completely smooth and free of artifacts. That’s despite missing one antenna. The resolution with lightbridge may also be better, but I’m using a 5″ phone right now, so I would lie if I said I noticed. I do notice the reduced lag. Light bridge really works pretty well, I have to admit. Using the skycontroller, I generally found the range of the Parrot Bebop to be more than adequate. It does suffer a lot more from freezes/artifacts at > 3-500m, but Id still call it good enough. The latency is more annoying in my opinions, lightbridge is much closer to an analog FPV experience. Closer than I would have thought.
As for endurance, the surprise winner there is actually the Parrot Bebop. It comes much closer to its advertised flight times than my Phantom, which only lasts 18 minutes in my tests. In fairness, that was in windy conditions, and I have a crashed one with one motor that’s turning a bit rough and that will be replaced. Maybe a new motor will increase flight times.
In general, the Phantom 3 is a much more complicated platform with a ton of features that you may or may not find useful. A few things that stand out for me because I missed them on the Parrot Bebop: POI circling mode. This truly helps making cinematic shots. And is very useful for my photogrammetry experiments. I’m also delighted to discover the Phantom 3 has a FPV mode for the gimbal, that makes it roll in turns, which can make dynamic flight shots all the more, well, dynamic RTH, flight mode and navigation features are a lot further developed, to the point where I actually had to read the manual to figure it out.
Neither platform is a real winner in this regard, they both are fragile. My Parrot Bebop wouldn’t take a 3 meter drop on grass without the cross frame breaking, the Phantom 3 I bought had suffered a slightly more serious crash, but the damage was also a lot more substantial. Particularly the camera gimbal is unbelievably fragile. On mine, one of the alu gimbal arms was bent by nearly 45 degree. I couldn’t imagine what crash it would take to do that, since its normally protected by the landing gear, until I tried straightening it. The aluminium bends almost as easily as rubber. Except that it breaks, where rubber doesn’t. I’ll still grant the Parrot Bebop this category if for no other reason than that repairs are a lot cheaper. Most of parrots spare parts are actually reasonably priced.
What you see is what you get in this regard. When paired with the skycontroller, the Parrot Bebop requires about as much space as the Phantom + controller. Of course the drone itself is in a league of its own for compactness, so if you don’t use a SC, easy win for the Bebop. Fun fact: the Phantom controller is almost as small as the Bebop, and the skycontroller comparably large as the Phantom 3.
So which one should you buy?