Anafi drone: The latest drone from Parrot comes with a smartphone

The recent iteration by Parrot on its Anafi drone flagship is all about immersion. The latest Anafi FPV is being marketed as a package with a headset that puts pilots in the perspective of their drone. But Parrot’s strategy is to have consumers slot a smartphone in, comparable to headsets such as the Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard, rather than a specialized screen inside the goggles.

Features and Pricing

When it goes on sale later this month, the Anafi FPV package will cost $799. The drone, glasses, a controller, extra propellers, a battery, a 16 GB microSD card, and a USB-C cable will be included. The Anafi FPV also comes with a fresh backpack to launch the drone, which Parrot says can “double as a stable platform.”

Right now, FPV drones are experiencing a little boom. Drone racers leverage their competing abilities into side gigs shooting commercials, producing viral videos, and even capturing live footage during sporting activities such as Formula Drift. Recently, DJI published its own couple of FPV goggles and a tiny, high-definition transmitter that can be connected to almost anything in an effort to wade into this fresh market slice.

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Parrot’s Anafi drone was seen as a kind of direct response to DJI’s Mavic Air as it is likewise tiny and can fold up for simple storage. The Anafi does have a distinctive camera that tilts up and down 180 degrees, but when we checked the drone last year, we were eventually disappointed with the image quality coming from the 1/2.4-inch, 21-megapixel sensor.

Pictures

The modular, smartphone-powered strategy of Parrot to FPV headsets is bound to give a less-resolution experience than the purpose-built goggles marketed by businesses such as DJI or Fat Shark. It is compatible with smartphones as large as 6.5 inches, although it tends to be a lousy experience to split a smartphone screen into two eyes. But as with most things Parrot does, the company is likely betting that a slightly lower price tag will be sufficient to sway some customers who can’t afford to shell out $700 or more just for the FPV goggle.

Some of the flight mode and safety characteristics observed in Mavic Air are also missing from the Anafi. But Parrot tries to score even a little by adding a few fresh flight characteristics to the Anafi FPV. There’s a cinematic mode that locks the horizon of the camera to the drone’s horizontal tilt. There is a preset racing that promises more “aggressive”-looking footage.

And the Anafi FPV has an “arcade mode” that matches the flight route of the drone to the direction the camera is pointing. None of these new methods do anything to solve some of the performance deficiencies of the Anafi (as opposed to the Mavic Air), but it’s good to see Parrot keep enhancing its flagship drone — especially as the business is leaving the toy drone industry.