Parrot Minidrone

At £90, this sturdy minidrone will whet the appetite of intrepid drone pilots despite its short battery life.

The newest smartphone-controlled drone from French Bluetooth experts Parrot, the Minidrone Rolling Spider, is possibly the most entertaining £90 indoor flying toy available.

The Rolling Spider, a tiny 55g quadrocopter that can perform barrel rolls and backflips while flying, connects to an iPhone or Android (Windows Phone to follow in October).

Review of the Parrot Minidrones Rolling Spider
The drone’s two angry-appearing LED eyes show if it is ready to take off, while sensors on its belly keep it aloft.

The little drone is a scaled-down version of Parrot’s considerably bigger (and weightier) AR Drone, which, in 2010 and costing around £300, was one of the first toy drones to be sold in stores. The Spider is still costly for a toy at £90 or less, but it’s extremely affordable for a drone.

With the push of a button, it will lift off and hover right there, keeping its height and equilibrium even when pushed. It can roll along the floor or ceiling and won’t harm whatever it collides with thanks to its sizable, flexible wheels.

The small drone is sized to fly through the inside hallways of even the smallest apartment. It buzzes around like a big bug and is sensitive to wind gusts, making it exclusively an indoor or fair weather toy.

The drone can be easily controlled from up to 20 metres away using a smartphone and three different control schemes. The joystick is undoubtedly the simplest control, however tilt controls are also included. To start a barrel roll or backflip in mid-air, double tap the virtual pad.

When the drone collides with something, the rotors immediately shut off, causing the drone to fall from the sky like a dead bird. Fortunately, it is incredibly durable, and the big, flexible wheels are excellent at absorbing fairly significant hits.

Although an extra battery can be purchased, a single 90-minute battery charge only lasts for eight minutes.

Review of the Parrot Minidrones Rolling Spider
The smartphone control software provides three distinct control schemes, including tilt and joystick options, but with only eight minutes of flying time, you’ll notice the low battery indicator fairly frequently.

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