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Long gone are the days when drones were reserved only for (semi)professional pilots and filmmakers, and with the DJI Mavic Mini, there is now an impressively powerful drone available in the lower price segment. However, we would like to dedicate this article to the Skydio 2, which is the first completely autonomously flying consumer drone and at the same time also convincing in terms of price.
Price – Impressive machine for decent money
The Skydio 2 is available in the USA for as little as 999 US dollars, which is a good deal less expensive than the two versions of the Mavic 2 that the drone is in direct competition with. And all this despite its ability to fly autonomously – a declaration of war to DJI! The Skydio 2 price is quite impressive.
Skydio 2 camera: on par with DJI?
To keep up with the competition, the Skydio 2 has a sensor that records in 4K with up to 60 frames per second and also records the videos with HDR. The bit rate is 100 Mb/s – the same as DJI’s Mavic Air, Mavic 2 or even a GoPro Hero 8. Of course, the Skydio 2 also takes photos. These have a resolution of 12 megapixels and can be shot in both Jpeg and Raw format, giving you plenty of post-processing options.
Speed, size and flight time
With a top speed of around 58 kilometers per hour, the Skydio 2 doesn’t quite reach the top mark of some DJI drones and also the stated battery life of 23 minutes is relatively short.
However, one has to keep in mind that the focus is clearly on the autonomous flight modes of the drone and bear in mind that the 360° obstacle detection naturally also results in increased power consumption. As usual, the camera is stabilized by a 3-axis gimbal, which should prevent any kind of camera shake.
In contrast to many competing models, the Skydio 2 can’t be folded, but with its 223 x 273 x 74 millimeters including battery, it is still quite portable and above all quite flat.
The accompanying case holds the drone itself, spare propeller, charging cable and two batteries or one battery and a power supply unit.
With 775 grams, the Skydio 2 weighs about as much as the first Mavic Pro and thus won’t be too heavy on the road. In addition to the drone itself, the package includes a battery, a case, spare propellers, as well as a USB-C charging cable and a power supply unit.
Three control options – suitable for every situation
There are a total of three options for controlling the drone. It can be connected directly to the smartphone, where it is controlled via the corresponding app.
This way, the flight can be started quickly, the smartphone lands back in your pocket and the drone films in autonomous mode, for example while mountain biking or skiing.
The second option is the “Skydio Beacon”, a remote control that allows the drone to be operated with one hand. It can be used to directly control the position of the drone via drag and drop, and other basic functions such as tracking settings or changing the flight altitude are also possible. You can also start intelligent recording modes.
The Beacon increases the drone’s range to up to 1.5 kilometres. In addition, the remote control has GPS built into it, so that the Skydio 2 can continue to follow the user even if direct visual contact is lost.
The last possibility to control the drone is a conventional controller. This is completely identical in construction to the controller of the Parrot Anafi, where the mobile phone is clamped over the actual remote control. However, the software is adapted to the Skydio 2, so that you cannot fly Anafi with this controller anymore.
It goes without saying that all functions are available when using the controller and the drone can also be controlled completely manually as usual. The range in this case is up to 3.5 kilometres, which should be absolutely sufficient for normal use, which in most cases requires use within the range of vision anyway.
The Skydio Beacon as well as the normal controller is in most cases the preferred navigation method, but the two devices are not included in the drone’s standard equipment and have to be purchased for 149 US dollars per part. An additional battery costs 99 US dollars.
Autonomous flying – a novelty in the drone world
But now to the actual key feature of the drone: the ability to fly autonomously. This is made possible by a total of six 4K cameras, which are mounted at various points on the housing of the Skydio 2 and each have a viewing angle of 200 degrees.
This provides a total of 45 megapixels to help detect obstacles and enable safe autonomous flight. The NVIDIA Tegra TX2 is a very fast and energy-efficient processor that turns the Skydio 2 into a flying supercomputer.
So as an athlete, you naturally have much more leeway compared to other drones. The completely autonomous flying drone allows you to concentrate fully on the actual task at hand, while the flying machine does the rest and creates breathtaking videos on its own – gone are the days when you had to look back anxiously, whether you were still being followed by the drone or it was already stuck in the tree.
In conclusion – Mavic Air to be dethroned?
Even though Skydio 2 is an impressive machine, it still falls short to Mavic 2 Pro and if you read our Skydio 2 vs Mavic 2 Pro comparison guide, you will see why.
Nonetheless, it is more than a decent competitor to the bellwether brand in drones industry.
The manufacturer is also particularly proud of the fact that the drone is manufactured directly in America. Even customer service operates from America and shares a building with the engineers who designed the drone. This ensures (at least for Americans) that customers can contact the manufacturer directly without major hurdles. In addition, the manufacturer is so convinced of its product that it offers free repair or replacement if the drone crashes while adhering to the guidelines for safe flight.
In the following we have included the impressive promotional video of the Skydio 2. For more information about the drone, please visit the Skydio 2 manufacturer’s website, where you will also find various videos that explain the individual functions in more detail, as well as a comparison video with the Mavic 2 Pro. In addition, there are already numerous Skydio 2 test videos on Youtube, which show how well or badly the high promises of the manufacturer are kept in practice.