Free Flight 3
Okay, so you need to do more than simply download this app to get the most out of it. Free Flight 3 is Parrot's app for controlling one of their fantastic drones (Quad-copters with cameras for those not familiar with a Drone).
I've had previous experience with Parrot drones, going all the way back to the original AR Drone. Back then they didn't have built-in HD cameras, if you wanted to record HD video while flying you would need to 3D print a camera bracket and attach a Go-Pro to it and hope it didn't fall off mid-flight!
These days all good drones come with built-in HD cameras capable, not just taking of taking detailed pictures but also to record video.
The Drone I purchased Free Flight 3 with was the versatile Bebop Drone (with SkyController) for £699. It's smaller than the AR Drone's I've flown in the past but just as easy to get to grips with.
We'll get one thing out of the way straight away and thats the battery life of the Bebop. The standard battery gives you about 10 minutes of flying time, which is just too short to get anything meaningful done with it. Luckily there are 3rd party batteries with larger capacities available online. I purchased 3 batteries offering upto 18 minutes of flying time which is far better than the standard battery.
Flying a drone with the touchscreen controls in the app is perfectly usable and an affordable way to get into flying your first drone. Tapping a single button tells the drone to take off and hover on the spot. When hovering you can move the drone with the 2 virtual control pads on the screen.
For the professionals however you will want to invest in a Sky Controller, despite it being a bit on the large side (and expensive £300+) it gives you maximum control of the drone and the large antenna will boost the range from a few hundred metres to over a mile claims Parrot.
The Sky Controller is big! But, thankfully, it comes with a strap so you can rest it round your kneck without worrying about dropping it. A tablet of your choice can be attached to the Sky Controller to give you streaming video from the drones main camera. You can fly it without a tablet, but its a lot more fun being able to "see" what the drone can see.
As well as streaming the video back it records the video in HD straight from the camera to built-in memory on the drone. You can then download the video from the drone to your tablet or PC when back on the ground.
The video quality despite being advertised as 1080p HD isn't quite as detailed as one would expect and the still pictures it takes are certainly not 14 megapixel as advertised.
But having said that its still a great value drone and well worth investing if you fancy taking to the skies to do some arial photography!