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After the Ryze Tello drone arrived, I had enough time and good weather to test the machine. Especially the flight stabilization that DJI offers is of great interest to me, as it is unique for drones in this price range of under $100.
In the Ryze Tello review I will show you how well you can fly the drone with your smartphone, how long the flight time actually is, how the app works and of course how good the photographs and videos of the Ryze Tello drone are.
Ryze/DJI Tello Specs
- Type: Mini drone
- Suitable for: children, beginners, hobby
- Size: small
- Manufacturer: DJI, Ryze
- Weight: 80 grams
- sticker required: no
- Camera: 5 MP
- Price range: up to 100 USD
Contents: This is included in the package of the Ryze/DJI Tello
- tello drone
- 4 spare propellers
- Protection frame
App and controller in test
Let’s start this DJI Tello review with a look at Tello’s app.
I like the app actually. It doesn’t take up much memory, starts and reacts quickly. Whether it is also suitable for controlling the drone will be shown when it goes out into the fresh air for testing. First, however, you have to link Tello drone and smartphone via app.
By linking, the copter knows, quite simply speaking, that it belongs to the transmitter unit (smartphone) and should execute commands from it. In the case of the Ryze/DJI Tello, the connection is made via a separate WLAN network, which is connected to the smartphone. This has the advantage that live images can be transmitted to the mobile phone at the same time, but also has disadvantages as will be shown later.
You can start by switching on the Tello drone and connecting via WLAN and app. The first live picture is ready and looks quite nice!
The Ryze Tello drone has an automatic take-off and landing system, so you don’t have to worry about how much thrust you need. Just select the symbol in the interface and let the Tello Drone take off with a swipe. During testing this worked extremely well, both take-off and landing are smooth and safe.
As mentioned above, the small quadcopter is controlled via smartphone. For this purpose, the display shows circles of action with symbols where you move your thumbs according to your preferences and plans. The configuration is the same as in mode 2 of most remote control systems for drones, i.e. thrust and yaw on the left, roll and pitch on the right. In test flight this works very well, a little too damped during takeoff but you can remedy that. The control of the Tello drone is however very convenient and pleasant for beginners and novices!
Ryze Tello Review: How good is the drone
There are a lot of Tello reviews on the internet and they are all overwhelmingly positive.
During the first meters I had to get used to the steering. Especially the first moment of steering often seems to disappear in a maybe too strong damping, but when the copter is in motion, all flight maneuvers can be performed nicely. Yawing, rolling, nodding work just as smoothly as adding and removing thrust.
- Range: 30 meters
- Flight duration: 10-13 minutes
- Autonomous flight modes: Yes
- FPV: Yes
- Video: 1280p x 720p (HD) at 30 fps
- Photos: 5 Megapixel
Compared to other low-cost mini-drones, the Ryze Tello Copter can clearly demonstrate its VPS (Visual Positioning System) advantage and convinces with its stable height and positional stability. This allows the user to position the drone for photos and videos and press the release button on the display. I was also able to test the Ryze Tello in windy conditions and was quite surprised how relentlessly it held its position. The copter went into a clear slanting position (see test pictures below) especially in cross wind and still remained stable. Of course such a cheap drone is not suitable for all weather conditions, but I have not seen a better performance for this price.
Flight time in the test: Is the 13 minutes of flight time correct?
The Tello drone stated a generous maximum flight time of 13 minutes and I was very curious to see to what extent this corresponds to reality. Sometimes drones are exaggerated a bit… Not so in this case: In 3 test flights I was able to fly 11 to 13 minutes in one go. The emphasis should be on active flying (not hovering), in a windless room there would certainly be more.
Batteries can be changed very easily. Great workmanship!
What drains the battery the most?
The fastest way to lose flight time is to fight against wind or to use automatic flight modes. With relatively unpleasant wind, Test Flight #4 only took 9 minutes before the battery bar became too red and I preferred to land the Tello drone safely.
Ryze Tello Test: Maximum range is…
… definitely not 100 meters! To be honest, I don’t know how they came up with that number. Maybe a WLAN-Repeater was installed halfway but in the standard connection between Smartphone (Samsung S8) and Tello Drone I got a maximum of 30-40 meters before a warning message was shown on the display. It said that the connection was too bad. Bad is also the right word, because the commands are only executed moderately cleanly and also otherwise it feels increasingly unsafe. So it’s better to stay at a distance of 20-30 meters.
Does this mean that the machine is junk?
No absolutely not! WIFI connections have always been very limited in space and quality, so I’m not a fan of them. Especially with FPV drones, which are too cheap, i.e. drones with live image (including the Ryze Tello), unfortunately all too often not only the video data transfer but also the command transmission is realized via WIFI. So there is no need to worry, anyone who wants to buy a drone for less than 100 USD has to accept a limited range.
Ryze Tello Test: Photos and videos are that good
I made the following pictures under wind (see if necessary inclined position). They should sufficiently show the quality.
Flaw: The Tello-Cam obviously adds a few pounds 😉
Are the Selfie modes any good?
This mini drone comes with much better flight modes than similar copters. While other drones under 100 USD only have suicidal flips up their sleeves, the Ryze Tello seems to outclass the competition in this respect: Bounce, 8Flip, Throw & Go, Circle and Up & Away are the autonomously executed manoeuvres. I’m therefore curious to see how these will prove themselves in the test, what you have to do as a pilot yourself – and whether I still have a drone after the first or second one (or if I have one hanging in the bushes…).
After the take-off and landing with a touch command worked out really well, I dare to go to the Up & Away first. This one should fly away from me backwards at an angle of about 30°. That works out great in the test – just select the mode via smartphone, touch the display button and off you go! The Ryze Tello moves slowly away from me and gains height. The copter lies calmly in the air, the camera remains pointed at me.
I am quite impressed and thrilled! At the end of the trip the obligatory warning regarding the range unfortunately appears, but I get the drone home without any problems.
At this point I would like to thank the developers: Whenever you perform such a flight mode with the Ryze Tello drone, a video is automatically produced. And why wouldn’t it? Well, ask the developers of DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Air… I’ve missed out on many cool shots because I forgot to press the record button.
But back to the Ryze Tello test and the question: Is the video quality good?
I watch the video on the computer and have to admit that it is quite pixilated, but overall quite good for such a cheap drone.
The other flight modes are similar, I especially like the Circle. I don’t like the Bounce Mode so much, where the Ryze Tello just rises and falls about 30 centimeters for 10 seconds.
Conclusion of the Ryze Tello review 2021
To conclude this Tello drone review, I can safely claim that it is a major success, like most of the models released by DJI in the last decade. If I leave out the small problems with the range I actually really liked the Ryze Tello during the test. The drone is agile and stable at the same time, making it ideal for beginners, novices and young pilots (children). I also like the flight modes, even though they don’t come close to the quality and functionality of high end camera drones. The same applies to the camera itself – but who would expect that for a price of not even 100 Dollars?
Final evaluation of the Ryze Tello Test: If you are looking for a really cheap FPV drone for less than 100 USD, you definitely have to go for this one!
Btw. there is one special edition of this drone, called Ryze Tello Ironman – check its review here.