October 3, 2022
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA
Tech

Skydio 2+ Drone Review: Pro Flyer

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Never Be the perfect drone for everyone. There are many different reasons to own a drone. Some people like to race. Some like to shoot sweeping cinematic masterpieces, and some like to follow fast-paced action. What makes one drone so good at one thing is that it often doesn’t make it so great for another. That said, Skydio 2+ is the perfect fit if you’re after speed and movement.

It has some bugs, which I will report below. But the tracking and collision-avoidance software on Skydio 2+ is anything I’ve used, in chronological order. After all, SkyDio covers this sophistication in an incredibly simple, easy-to-use flight control system.

New version

Skydio started with the R1, a drone that was impressive in its feature set — it was fully automated, no regulator needed — but prohibitively expensive and ostensibly targeted the enterprise market. The company has followed suit with Skydio 2, which has reduced prices and added more consumer-friendly features.

The Skydio 2 had two pain points: it could stay high for about 20 minutes, and many people had trouble keeping the drone connected to Wi-Fi on the far end of its limited range (3.5 km in the first version). The 2+ hardware update solves these two problems with a larger, more powerful battery and two pop-up antennas, which increase the drone’s range and provide a stronger signal.

Two hardware changes are small but welcome, and 2+ Hall Skydio is selling now. However, if you have bought 2, don’t worry. The best of what’s new in the software will still work for you, and what’s really impressive about this drone is the software.

Photo: Skydio

That said, I wish Skydio could improve the camera. The 1 / 2.3-inch sensor is capable of delivering 4K footage at 60 frames per second, which is fine for the average user, but flying it next to a higher resolution camera on the Autel Evo Lite + (7/10, WIRED Recommends) really showed how the last generation Skydio camera. If image quality is your main concern, get DJI Air 2S (9/10, wired recommendation) or Evo Lite +. The Skydio 2+ produces great video results, but given how far the rest of this drone is ahead of the competition, it’s disappointing that the camera isn’t even ahead.

I also found the white balance less than the star. You can adjust this in the app, but there is no support for log videos, such as DJI’s D-log. Shooting login results in high-dynamic-range video, which you can later color-correct in software (a process that can be massively streamlined with color LUTs). But if you don’t plan on editing and color-grading your videos in software, the lack of log gamma curves doesn’t matter.

Missing log curves will mostly impress pro photographers, which is a shame, as Skydio would be a great option for them. (This is still possible if you live without logs.) But Skydio’s automatic flight features mean you don’t need hours of flight experience to get great shots.

Map Key

Photo: Skydio

The key to Skydio’s automated flight system is its ability to avoid obstacles. Instead of looking for objects to avoid, the Skydio 2 series uses six onboard navigation cameras to create a real-time 3D map of its surroundings. It then uses this information, including some AI smarts, to navigate through places that other drones cannot handle.

I tried as hard as I could to destroy Skydio 2+ by following me through some pretty dense trees, but it didn’t work out. There was no way I could fly on my own that way. The collision-avoidance system was so good that I had to remind myself No. I was testing with other drones to try out what Skydio could do. Undoubtedly, Skydio’s collision-avoidance system is the best I can use.

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