There are many cheap drones on the market, making it difficult to choose a decent one. My previous drone was an unbranded model which I purchased for under £50 ($61.39). The drone was ok but it was difficult to fly and the picture quality wasn’t great. So this summer, I decided to increase my budget to £100 ($122.78). There were many cool drones on the market, I actually had my eyes set on the Parrot Mambo Mission Drone but I was looking for reasonable photo quality and forums seem to suggest that the Tello was a better option.
The DJI Ryze Tello is a small quadcopter drone that you fly using WiFi with your smartphone. The manufacturer states that it can fly for up to 13 minutes but during my tests, it was more like 10 minutes, which isn’t that far off and come to think of it, I was testing it on a windy day.
Following the instruction guide on setting the drone up for the first time, I found that scanning the QR code to download the app didn’t take me to the Google Play Store, instead, it downloaded it as an APK since I use Android. However, the app is available on the Google Play Store.
The app is very well laid out and easy to use, especially compared to my old unbranded drone. The auto take-off feature is a nice addition to get you flying quicker. The app is packed full of features and a useful guide. The drone is easy to control and it just works, I haven’t experienced any glitches as of yet.
The Tello is a small, lightweight drone with most of the weight coming from the battery. It’s the perfect size to take with you on your travels. The blades are protected by prop guards although they don’t completely cover the blades. Overall the design of the drone is descent and it feels good quality which is important.
From my experience, the battery life is rather short but that’s to be expected and actually, it takes 40 minutes to charge via Micro USB. I recommend purchasing a second or even a third battery and investing in a good power bank!
Controlling the drone
As I mentioned above, the drone is controlled by the Trello App which is well made, however, you can buy a controller. I don’t think there is a need for that because the App is well made, but if your smartphone is difficult to see on a sunny day, I would recommend one! The Tello can also be controlled using the Scratch programming interface.
I found the drone to be extremely easy to control and I haven’t lost control even once, which I extremely good compared to other drones I flew some of which are more expensive so good job! The app allows you to auto-land the drone either on the ground or even in your hand! I haven’t had a chance to do any flips as of yet but that’s because the current weather here in the UK is not ideal and it’s actually been very windy over the last couple of days. However, the drone copes very well in windy conditions.
Flying the drone
The drone is easy to fly and very manoeuvrable. With two speed settings of slow and fast, the slow setting is ideal for getting used to the drone and how to control it. I haven’t had a chance to try the fast setting yet since I’m a beginner.
To take off you select the take-off button and slide the slider and the drone will automatically take off for you. I found this feature to be amazing! It was difficult to take off with my previous drone as it didn’t have a stabilizer and it would be blown from side to side. Once the drone departs, it will hover at about 5 feet from this point on you can do what you like! The drone also has many other flight modes which I have yet to try! When the weather improves I will give these a go, so don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel! Once I have more videos, I will be creating a playlist specifically related to drones and there’s more coming up!
The drone seems to have a factory default hight setting of 10 meters but this can easily be changed using the TALS (TelloAltLimitSetter) app which is available on the Google Play Store. It’s not recommended that you fly above 20 meters. The video below shows me going up to 15 meters on a windy day…
Unboxing and short test
- Decent build quality
- Reasonable video and photo quality – perfect for social media
- Easy to control and Fly, Perfect for beginners
- Default height of 10 meters
- Doesn’t come with a remote
I must admit, I like the drone and I would definitely recommend it to someone looking to get into flying drones. It’s easy to fly and control and there doesn’t seem to be much to go wrong. I won’t state the price as prices do change however Price Spy is a good place to start.