I have toyed around with several drones at this point. Almost all of them, I would consider “toy” class drones.
If you have ever purchased a drone that is less than $200, then you know what I am talking about – they’re largely made of Styrofoam and hard to pilot without immediately crashing. Needless to say, I have not had much luck with the majority of drones that I have piloted. So, I was skeptical when I received the Polaroid PL3000 Camera Drone to test out. The price point on the PL3000 puts it in the lower end category of non-toy class drones, so I figured it would perform the same.
What’s In The Box
Opening the box, the PL3000 feels pretty sturdy – all aluminum and plastic construction. The only assembly required is opening up the battery compartment, which requires a screwdriver and screwing in the landing legs. It is just a couple of screws, so no big deal and you have to get the battery out to charge anyhow. It contains everything you need to fly, extra propellers and a remote control. The only extra item needed is batteries for the remote.
The remote also includes an optional bracket that you can attach to hold your mobile device on the remote. That way, if you would like to pair your Wi-Fi enabled mobile device to the drone, the camera will be viewable. Notice I stated Wi-Fi – most device pair via Bluetooth, but this drone emits a Wi-Fi signal that connects to most smartphones. This gives the signal much less lag and better HD reception in my opinion.
As far as specs go, the PL3000’s total flight distance is stated as up to 1000 feet, with a total flight time up to 10 minutes on a full charge. It can reach speeds up to 16 mph and has a 6-axis gyroscope flight stabilization system.
If you want to just fly and not record video it has a headless mode so pilots need not worry about orientation while in flight. In “normal mode” the camera is considered the “head” and you would want to keep that out in front for recording. To make things even easier, it has an auto-return in headless mode, one-key landing, and will automatically land itself immediately if the battery gets dangerously low or if it flies out of range. Of course, you are probably thinking, ‘wouldn’t they all land (crash) if the battery runs out or the remote is too far to control’ – but this actually slowly lands the drone to prevent damage.
I may be biased in writing this review because I got my drone right before Hurricane Harvey hit my area of Texas, so it was a huge help right after the storm. We used ours to check roofs and look at high water levels in our neighborhood. It was a huge benefit in just having an eye in the sky to look around. On our roof alone, we flew seven or eight “missions” of about 5 minutes each checking out the shingles and chimney on a two-story home. We also did the same for our neighbors.
The Bottom Line
If you would like to get into a drone that can shoot video and take pictures without making the investment in one of the big dollar rigs, I would definitely recommend the Polaroid PL3000. It does almost everything one of the expensive systems can do at a budget-friendly price and it is just a lot of fun to fly if nothing else.
If you want to get yours now or find out more about the PL3000, click here to fly over to Amazon!