The Parrot AR.Drone 2 is a consumer priced drone which comes optionally with a HD (720p) videocamera with a 92° angle of view. It is controlled by a smart phone or other W-LAN enabled device compatible with standards b, g or n. At its price of about 300€ it is a unique device allowing for easy to take aerial photos and videos. I haven’t got one yet, but judging from the videos and photos on the website, photo quality is nothing particular exciting, while video seems to be pretty good. Of course, if you wanted something in 1080p in DSLR quality, you had to go for something else, but at 300€ you get pretty usable quality at least at daytime (when you see where your drone is flying).
Being controlled by W-LAN obviously has its limitations, depending both on the AR.Drone 2 and the device you use to control it, e.g. Android phones, etc. That said, do not expect it to serve for starting it from your balcony, leaning back on your sofa and flying the thing around town watching a live-stream on your mobile phone. It will definitely not be good for that. However, there is a wide range of applications you may like it for. (1) Architecture: Ever wanted to take a look around over the roofs of the buildings in the neighbourhood of where you might want to acquire a flat or house? You could get a quick idea, whether the roof is in good condition, you could see what the neighbourhood’s gardens are like, etc. (2) Family-video: Ever wanted to freshen up those boring family videos without any plot we tend to take? Footage shot with this drone will surely keep your family and friends watching without getting bored. (3) Inaccessible places: Say you went on a hiking tour and there are obstacles to your view due to vegetation? Well, just lift up the drone and you easily spot what’s around and you can even find back to your path if you got lost. (4) Action filming: How do you shoot your kids or someone in motion without very expensive gear? Well, with the drone you can do that pretty easily. (5) Animals: Ever saw breeding birds on a tree high up asking yourself what’s inside the nest. With this drone you can peek inside but use it with responsibility, because some birds do not come back to their offsprings if they feel scared by something like this drone. (6) Professional purposes: Got a wind generator in your garden? Solar panels on the roof? Sometimes it may be tricky to climb all the way up to inspect them. With the drone this is an easy task. (7) Filming yourself: I am not sure whether it is possible, but I assume that you can have the drone go up to some 6 metres maintaining its position without the need to do anything with your smart phone. You could film yourself entering a building or a you could film yourself on a cruise ship from off the ship.
There are surely many more applications, and at some 300€ this drone is pretty affordable. You will have to find out for yourself whether it is worth it for you, but for the time-being, while it is not yet a mass-market product, it is a cool product. Last but not least, the operating time for the drone is only some 12 minutes. Then you have to recharge for about an hour and a half. So be sure what you want to shoot before you lift off.