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Follow me: Place the drone in front of you and press a button: it follows you. You can film your walk from the sky. Athletes will be disappointed: the drone reacts slowly. If you change direction abruptly, you exit the frame for seven or eight seconds (five seconds for the Xiro, a little faster). This function is available from 3DR, Xiro and DJI.

Pre-programmed course: This is the most useful of the autopilots, and has been around for years. We make a first reconnaissance flight, during which we memorize several waypoints. We return to the starting point, then we click on a button: the flight starts on autopilot.

It is much smoother, as if an expert pilot had taken control. The pictures are more beautiful. Available from DJI, Xiro and Parrot (via a software update at 10 euros). Note, this function works better on the DJI drone.

To avoid accidents, the autopilot should be used with caution on level, open terrain. Drones do not see obstacles (branches or power lines) or height differences (hills or sloping land).Return to the test menuIndoor flightComparison of the indoor flight capabilities of the four drones.Comparison of the indoor flight capabilities of the four drones. LEMONDE.FR

Crucial tip: resist the temptation to fly your drone indoors. In a house, drones do not pick up the GPS. They are unable to hold their position and drift rapidly towards the walls. Only the Parrot is equipped for indoor flight, thanks to a sonar, to maintain its altitude, and a downward-facing camera to take landmarks on the ground. Result: it does not drift, provided the ground is textured.

On a plain carpet, his camera is unable to take any landmarks. We managed to make the Parrot fly in a 15m² room quite easily. Confident, we flew the Xiro and the 3DR. Result: two crashes in less than ten seconds. Only an excellent pilot can master them indoors. Note in passing that DJI offers a variant of the Phantom 3 capable of flying indoors: the Phantom 3 Advanced. It has the same sensors as the Parrot.

At first glance, DJI’s drone seems more complicated than its competitors. But its menus and remote control are well thought out. 3DR and Xiro drones are simpler, thanks in particular to a more stripped-down application.

But paradoxically, their advanced functions are quite difficult to find and sometimes complex to master. In the event of a problem, unlike the DJI, they do not describe the nature of their concerns. All these drones require software updates that are quite complex to operate. As for the Parrot, it is as complicated as the DJI.

Return to the test menuBudgetThe purchase is really just the first expense: you will have to put your hand in your pocket frequently. The propellers get damaged quickly: they must be replaced. Count 12 euros for four, except at 3DR where the price is multiplied by three.

The autonomy of drones is frustrating: one is tempted to buy a spare or two batteries. The batteries of the Xiro and the DJI last about twenty minutes. They cost 125 euros and 150 euros respectively. At 3DR, the battery is even more expensive: 175 euros for an autonomy of only 15 minutes. At Parrot, count 50 euros per unit for a good five minutes of flight.


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