Saturday, 2 September 2017

Parrot Swing Minidrone And Flypad Controller Review For Parrot (age 14+)

This is a review I'm very excited about. I'm actually usually dire at controlling small flying vehicles, but I love having a go. Billed as being incredibly stable and easy to control using a console style Parrot Flypad Controller, that has been my experience, as you'll see from the video further down the post.

Even before you open the box you can tell it's going to be good quality. The design inside backs that up. It's not only gorgeous, but practical and will protect your minidrone when not in use.

Inside the box we have the Swing minidrone itself, USB charging cable, the Parrot Flypad, smartphone mount, 4 spare propellers and the all-important quickstart guide.The minidrone is actually bigger than I expected, with around a 33cm (13") wingspan.

The Parrot Swing is made from Polypropylene with EPO wings, and weighs 368g. The wing tips have a trim to protect them, and despite numerous crashes we are so far complete and intact.

There are replacement blades in the box, we've knocked blades off twice but fortunately been able to find and re-use the originals - which just slot straight back on.

This is a powerful drone. Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, the Bluetooth control system gives you a maximum 60m range with a maximum flying height of 25m (80ft). That's a touch bigger than my lounge.

Power is via the rechargeable 550 mAh LiPo Battery included, which is charged via USB. Charging time is 30 minutes and that'll only give you around 7 minutes play - but if you crash as often as us it's extended somewhat.

Underneath (or at the back) are the sensors for ultrasound and pressure and the 0.3MP camera which helps with stabilisation. The camera has 1GB built-in storage capacity. We are working on taking photos - it's harder than you'd think! One day we hope to actually capture a human waving...

The Parrot Swing can be flown in 2 ways, either as a plane with double wings either side, or as a quad-copter. Changing from one to the other is a simple button click during flight to tilt the quad-copter and speed up. The button can be clicked up to 3 times to boost the speed even more and you've a maximum speed of around 19mph (30 kph), covering 9m in 1 second.

The cleverest function has to be auto-pilot for take off and landing by simply pressing a button. Perfect for less confident or skilled aviators like myself who don't fancy 'Throw It In The Air ' launching, starting off in idle and automatically changing to main power when you launch. This is the only plane with a vertical take off and landing mode, so you can land on the X every time. It's like Thunderbirds for real.

The familiar-looking Flypad Controller is also rechargeable, with a 200 mAh LiPo Battery with a 6 hour battery life and a 2 hour charging time, again via USB. It's a really simple controller to get the hang of and intuitive for any gamer. Shoulder buttons and standard layout, but with an excellent grippy fingertip control double joystick which doesn't feel half as rough on your hand as it looks, but gives really precise control.

As well as the Flypad Controller there is an app which allows you to control the Parrot Swing using a smartphone - which can be seated on the enclosed adjustable smartphone mount. I really like the smartphone controls and prefer that, my partner hates it - although they're virtually the same controls in similar places.

The app. gives added in-flight features such as remaining battery power, flight time and in quad mode it gives you a camera and speed measurement. It doesn't have the same range though, 65 ft / 20 m with your smartphone or 200 ft / 60 m with the Flypad.

When not flying the app. allows you to adapt the controls for both control systems and look up your own flight history stats and set parameters for flights. There is even partial support for basic block programming in Tynker to set up a series of actions and ask your Parrot Swing to recreate them in the air. STEM education at it's finest.

There is loads more I could mention about the amazing collision/crash avoidance and self-righting, re-balancing or the ease of control, but it's much better shown on video, so here's how we got on with the Parrot Swing Minidrome - out-takes at the end...

No prizes for guessing I'm impressed and a huge fan. I've had great fun the past few days and a large part of that is the fact is was so easy to pick the Parrot Swing up and play with it instantly - even as someone who has had no luck with flying vehicles in the past. Perfect for any beginner.

The Parrot Swing Drone & Flypad basic pack costs £119.99. For something of such excellent quality and offering so much to so many age groups, it's a beautiful thing and I doubt anyone would be disappointed with this as their first drone. It still offers plenty for an intermediate flyer and there is plenty of scope for developing your own skills - I've a way to go before I can achieve a barrel roll, but I reckon I'll get there with this.

You can find out more about the Parrot swing and the other minidrones and drones on offer from Parrot by taking a look at the Parrot drones and tech website

Technical stuff:
Recommended age 14+. Only for domestic use. General information: Weight 368g.
Parrot Swing Stabilization sensors : Inertial Measurement Unit to evaluate speed, tilt and obstacle contact (3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope) Vertical stabilization: Ultrasound sensor (measures below 13 ft / 4 m altitude in quad mode) & Pressure sensor Horizontal stabilization: Camera sensor.
Aeronautical design : Stabilization and flight control software Optimized weight/speed ratio
OS compatibility: iOS 7 and up / Android 4.4 and up SDK: OS Linux. SDK available on

We were sent our Parrot Swing Minidrone to review for Parrot.


  1. WOW this looks truly amazing. I have two boys who would love this on their Christmas list. Awesome review and photos x

    1. Thanks Susan! That's really lovely of you to say so :) I tried hahaha
      It really is a gorgeous thing to play with - it's been used no end of times and yet we still haven't broken it!


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