CES18 had some great innovative technology unveiled, one of which was the announcement from DJI regarding their new drone: The DJI Tello. The Tello is designed for children or beginners interested in drones. The overall cost is $99 out of the box and it comes packed with features. DJI has taken a big step at simplifying and automating as much of the drone experience as they can while still providing great performance.
Pros: Aerial stunts, FPV capabilities, 720HD camera, Inexpensive, Custom Coded flight paths, durable, multiple fun colors.
Cons: Almost exclusively in-door flying.
The DJI Tello fits in the palm of your hand and weighs in at only 80 grams, which is super impressive with the amount of features and the battery life packed in to this little guy. The size of the drone is a double edged sword, because of it’s lightweight and small size, it should be flown almost exclusively indoors.
Just like the bigger models from DJI, the Tello some impressive features.
- Automatic Take-off & Landing from the palm of your hand (toss it in the air!)
- Aerial stunts, spins, & flips
- 720HD live streaming and recording
- VR and First Person Point of View Headset capabilities
- Failsafe landing (if you lose connection)
- Low Battery warnings
- Visual Positioning System to hold it’s position
- Custom Coding with Scratch
One fun addition to this family of features is the aerial stunts. The Tello is capable of flipping or spinning in any direction, simply by swiping or pressing a button on the screen. Seeing the Tello flip looks like a lot of fun and definitely a big plus for kids (and adults who refuse to grow up!). The live streaming capabilities are fun for all ages as well, giving the pilot a live stream of what the drone sees. One change up to this FPV (first person point of view) feature with the Tello, is the headset or VR headset does not need to be a DJI product. The Tello can stream the video with other headsets, making a unique flying experience. Unlike most drones in this price range, the VPS (Visual Positioning System) will keep the drone stable even when no user input is being given. VPS is a crucial feature for in-door flying and beginner pilots.
A brand new feature for DJI Drones is the ability to custom code flight paths, build accessories and more with “Scratch”. Scratch is an MIT-developed visual programming language that allows the pilots to learn the drone from the inside out, all while still playing with it. Scratch is apparently very simple to learn and will even allow users to build custom accessories for their Tello. Adding coding capabilities and the custom accessories is an awesome addition to the already feature packed drone. Maybe it’s because I am a web developer by trade, but I am overly excited to get my hands on the Tello and dive into the coding capabilities of Scratch.
The Tello seems like a bold way for DJI to come out and say they aren’t just about making top-notch, expensive drones. The Tello is clearly designed for a younger crowd, but still comes equipped with the features we’ve all come to expect from DJI. It’s truly an impressive drone, especially given that it fits in the palm of your hand. The wide range of features, mixed with the inexpensive cost make this drone a great purchase. The custom coding abilities with Scratch opens up a whole new world with DJI drones, and I hope to see this implemented into the Mavic, Phantom and Spark series. I am excited to see the Tello join with impressive line-up from DJI.