Skydio 2 launched in October 2019. Somebody got it back then. From the start, production couldn’t keep up with demand, making them hard to come by.
But after a coronavirus halted production in California (in Redwood City), output ceased (part of San Mateo County). Skydio returned in June 2020. This year they started small, progressively ramping up to assure safety, wide spacing/distancing and all health and safety standards.
An online store reopening, manufacturing resumption, and a software upgrade were all announced by the end of the month.
Skydio was founded in 2014, and the R1 was released in 2018. (that product is no longer sold by Skydio). The Skydio 2 is an upgrade.
How To Fly A Skydio 2
For most users, the phone will be sufficient (their app is compatible with iOS and Android). Orbit, Dronie, and Cable Cam are all available through the phone app.
The software can also be used to control the drone-like any other controller with sticks. That said, flying manually is a pain (and I don’t suggest it). The controls are slow and unresponsive.
The app should be used to tell the drone to fly itself. Skydio can fly by itself.
A classic controller is available for an additional fee of $179. It’s a Parrot controller with Skydio software. It’s the same controller hardware as the Parrot Anafi drone – and it looks cheap next to Skydio 2.
The first time I flew the Skydio 2, the controller would not connect. Recent DJI drones don’t have connection troubles, which is why DJI may still be the drone king.
But I’m not surprised, as connecting Skydio to Parrot often results in connection troubles. I got the controller to connect after several unplugging and replugging. Once it worked, it was fine.
If you want to fly using the controller, you should forgo the Skydio and go with something like a DJI Mavic.
You Can Add Beacon As Well!
Worth it to add Beacon: The Beacon is a kind of magic wand that levels up your drone. It also costs extra ($179), but it does a lot.
It can increase the drone range by 1.5 kilometers (without the Beacon, the range is a maximum of 3.5 km). It allows you to point the drone in the sky.
The Beacon’s best feature is that it allows the drone to fly in areas where it can’t see you, like a dense forest.
I repeated this shot of me strolling through dense forest. Without the Beacon, the drone always followed me.
A more natural, cinematic shot was possible with the Beacon. Because the Beacon allows GPS tracking, the Skydio 2 can follow you even if it can’t see you.
Even if the camera loses you (because you’re behind trees), the Beacon’s GPS signal allows the drone to find you visually.
Behind a tree, the drone weaves among the branches. The shot seems like it came from a Hollywood film.
The Beacon also unlocks new skills including Dronie, Hover, Angle Track, and more.
I adored Beacon. You may use the Skydio with or without a phone, but you’ll usually want both.
The phone gives you more control over camera settings and displays what the camera sees. The main drawback is holding two objects in your hands, which is awkward. Ensure your attire has pockets.
Skydio claims the Beacon provides “lightweight controllability” because it doesn’t require a phone. While true, using both provides a far better user experience (apart from handling two things).
Skydio is billed as “the flying supercomputer.” Six 200-degree color cameras allow Skydio 2 to observe everything in all directions. The NVIDIA Tegra TX2 features 256 GPU cores capable of 1.3 trillion operations per second.
What Is Its Overview Review?
Photographers who seek a certain shot may find this drone difficult to operate.
That’s so smart it can fly itself, and it does so well. Set it to orbit, and the Skydio flies in a circle, avoiding any obstacles.
But if you want the drone to do something specific, like fly down a path, turn right into a branch arch, and pan out, good luck.
A classic controller might be useful if you wanted to get a certain shot.
Not that you can’t utilise the Skydio 2 to get the images you want, but you’ll need to be very experienced with it and have logged a lot of flight time with it.
That’s both a blessing and a curse. The shot is almost unexpected. Using Angle Track, you may control the drone’s pivot around a tree. Every take ends up being a surprise, which is fun.
The Skydio 2’s IMX577 1/2.3” 12.3MP Sony sensor captures 4K video at 60fps with HDR.
Qualcomm’s RedDragon QCS605 image signal processor.
What About Photography?
Skydio 2 takes 12MP photos. JPEG, DNG (RAW) stills have 13 stops of dynamic range.
Considering how difficult it is to achieve a certain shot, this isn’t my go-to gadget for still photos.
In terms of videography, the Skydio excels in terms of obstacle avoidance and beautiful, cinematic shots.
But the still photography is unremarkable. It exists. For most individuals, I recommend the DJI Mavic Air 2 for still photography.
However, both videos and photos are mixed. I noticed slight distortion in close-up images, giving the lens a fisheye effect. Maybe you like it, but I didn’t.
Skydio collaborated with PolarPro, a leading manufacturer of ND filters, to design a set of filters specifically for the Skydio.
For an extra fee, you can purchase the Cinema Series Glass ND8,16,32 filter set. They’re mounted using the “Strong Magnetic HotSwap System.”
How Does It Compare?
The Skydio 2 software controls the drone and saves video clips to your phone for sharing.
It works fine. It’s not bad. The app does have a cool feature: it records sounds. An audio recorder on the drone camera would be useless, capturing only buzzing sounds.
However, I can envision using the in-app audio to sync your voice or other noises to the drone’s flying in real-time. You could use a separate voice recorder, but this nifty little feature makes it easier.
Skydio 2 lacks the refinement of its closest competition, DJI Fly. DJI Fly’s app is based on years of psychological research. It has placed buttons in intuitive locations.
The DJI Fly app is like having a personal flight instructor with you at all times.
The essentials are clear: takeoff, mode selection, etc. But capabilities like step-by-step connecting the drone, knowing more about the airspace you’re in, etc. aren’t in the Skydio yet.
It also lacks post-flight editing facilities, music sync, and Instagram uploading tools.
Skydio must iterate on its app to match DJI’s standards and provide that same harmonious user experience that DJI has pampered me with.
How Is It So Far?
The Skydio 2 isn’t for those who like to control their drone’s flight path and shots.
The Skydio 2 is a terrific follow-me drone.
It shines in action sports, adventure sports, and other activities that require movement.
Try to get an aerial image of you riding a horse down a trail, biking up a hill, skiing through a forest, or racing dune buggies on the sand.
View Over Its Price?
The Skydio 2 is one of the most remarkable drones I’ve seen, and it’s hard to believe it’s under $1,000.
But, because it’s almost too sophisticated, it lacks a connection to the pilot. The drone takes off and lands on its own.
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