DJI Tello Drone Review – The Smallest DJI Quadcopter Up to Date!

Hi, my name is Andrew from djibestdrones.com and I have not been this excited about a new toy drone in a while – the brand new Tello drone from Ryze is here and we’re gonna check it out today and see how it does.

Model DJI Ryze Tello
Size (L×W×H) (3.8 inches x 3.6 inches x 1.6 inches)
Camera 5 MP, 720p live feed transmission
Hover Time 13 minutes
Range 320 feet
Price $99 (Discount on Amazon.com)

General Info

So if you haven’t heard of the Tello it is a brand new toy drone under $100 and what makes it special is this company Ryze has partnered with DJI and Intel to put some really cool features and electronics in this thing and give you the most bang for your buck for 99 bucks.

So first of all I’m gonna tell you it’s pretty small – if you’ve ever flown a DJI Spark you’ll notice than it is significantly smaller than the Spark.It’s got a 720p camera on the front and it does shoot with image stabilisation but it’s digital stabilization not mechanical so that means it’s probably not going to be as good as having a gimbal but better than having nothing. It has brushed motors so that’s part of how they keep the cost down and it weighs 80 grams (2,82oz) with the battery and the prop guards. So that’s pretty light and that actually is under the requirement for registration in the US by the FAA so you don’t have to register this drone if you want to fly it.

By default it flies over Wi-Fi using your telephone and you can use your phone as a remote control and also as a live view. But by flying over Wi-Fi you’re gonna have a limited range but this isn’t designed to be flown very far away. It does have optical sensors on the bottom for positioning so if you’re flying it indoors or if you’re flying it outdoors not very high it’s going to be able to do a little bit better at holding itself in position using these optical sensors but it does not have GPS (this is something that would hold it really steady and wind and stuff like that). I don’t think this is gonna do very well in wind.

So it’s designed for flying outdoors when there’s no wind or flying indoors. It does come with four spare propellers and use this little propeller tool to hold the propellers in order to take them off and replace them if you need to for any reason. If you keep the prop guards on you really shouldn’t need to and I will say that with this quad – especially if you’re a new flyer and you’re just learning – it’s probably a good idea just to leave the prop guards on it so that you don’t damage anything.

The battery is a little 1s battery that pops into the back. It does have an optional charging station that you can buy – but personally I don’t own that charging station. So what I had to do is just pop the battery in the back and then actually plug the USB cable into the side – there’s a micro USB slot right over here in this side. And if you put the USB cable in there and plug it into your computer or into a USB power charger it will actually charge this thing for you. There’s a little blue light on the front that blinks when it’s charging and then it turns solid blue when it’s done charging.

In order to actually fly it if you don’t have the remote control you need to connect to it via Wi-Fi and the way you do that is next: first of all turn it on – look for Tello on Wi-Fi and when you see it connect to it with your phone and then once you’re connected to it open the Tello app. The Tello app is available for both the App Store for iOS and also Google Play for Android devices. So I’ve downloaded the Tello app I’m gonna go ahead and connect it and try flying it. There is a little power button right here on the side and you just hold that power button down and you should see a light blink on the front and then it comes on and then you go to your Wi-Fi settings find the Tello in the Wi-Fi settings. There’s no password or anything like that required and once you’re connected to it you open up the Tello app which i’ve downloaded from the App Store and there you can see your live view of the Tello.

So I’m gonna go ahead and hit record in the app and I’m going to hit the auto take off button slide to take off. I’m going to guess it’s going to be more stable at low altitudes because of the fact that the the sensors will be able to pick up on the ground a little better but now I’m just going to zoom it around the yard a little bit and see how that does so.

As I said the the image is pretty solid. To be honest, I had pretty low expectations about flying it with the phone but this one’s not bad to fly with the phone and I am kind of excited to try it.

Intelligent Flight Modes

DJI Ryze Tello  drone comes ith a few intelligent flight modes:

Flipping in eight directions. It’s pretty fun way to do the flips just by swiping. I guess you have to give it a half a second right after you’ve done one flip before you do the next one which would make sense, just let it recover a little.

Recording video when spinning. I’m not doing any sort of controls it’s just doing a quick 360 and recording that automatically. It’s doing this on its own pretty amazing without GPS that it can do this I’m getting a little bit of hesitation here and there on the Wi-Fi but not anything bad.

Hand Landing. The drone senses my hands and it’s going up on its own so now I’m going to hit it I’m gonna tell it to land and do hand landing. It says “throw and go”, throw the aircraft and it will take off and hover in place. All right so it says click the icon button then throw the aircraft upward – after the five second countdown the aircraft will automatically hover in place. Only use this feature in an open area and make sure your flight path is clear of people, animals and obstacles. It’s pretty calm today I wouldn’t do this in a strong wind.

I’m pretty impressed so far with these intelligent flight modes with the flight characteristics using the the phone. Can’t wait to get a remote control on it and the way it stays in place using the downward sensors with no GPS is pretty darn cool.

Flying The Drone

I was holding it up in it and when you pick it up and hold it at an angle you get this air code 21 which probably means that it’s not on required level.

We’re gonna try the bounce feature and take it back out out there a little bit and let’s see what this is all about. So bounce well it shouldn’t hit the ground it should just bounce up and down. There it goes so again I’m not doing that it’s just doing that on its own. The winds getting it just a little bit but it’s still staying pretty much in place

Now we’re gonna go ahead and hit the intelligent flight mode and hit up and out start and there it goes. now you wouldn’t want to do that indoors because you’d probably hit a wall to the ceiling and it doesn’t go too far which is nice. There are no sensors on this guy so you can hit things so be careful.

So one important feature that I need to mention is that when you turn it on you need to make sure it’s sitting on a level surface. I was holding it just now and I turned it on and it wouldn’t calibrate because I was moving it, so you really need on a level surface. Now that it’s calibrated I should be able to do the throwing go mode: so I’m gonna pick it up, hit the throw and go button and it’s gonna count down 5, 4, 3. It’s pretty cool.

The other thing it does not have is a microSD card slot so in order to save the photos they actually write to your mobile device and so what you do is you hit the play button on your mobile device and you’ve got photos and video. So I selected video and I’m gonna hit select and then you pick all the ones that you want to save and then you basically just hit the Save button and it’s gonna save them to album.

It’s pretty breezy out here today so I thought I would show you the difference between the low and high flight rates with the Tello. In this breeze I’d say we probably got about twelve to fifteen mile an hour. As gusts coming up maybe not quite fifteen, but right now it’s blowing a bit so let’s see how it does in terms of flying and low rate and then we’ll switch it over to a high rate and I just want you to know how much faster it flies in high rate. So I’m gonna go ahead and record a little bit: hit the auto take off and there it is bring it back over here a little bit and again.

One of the things that blows me away about this is it does not have GPS but it still holds in one position using the vision system on the bottom of it.

Pros And Cons

Pros
  • Cheap compared to other drones with the same features
  • Number of flight modes available
  • Very easy to fly
Cons
  • Camera capabilities ( but as for $100 drone it’s OK)
  • DO NOT FLY IN WINDY CONDITIONS!

Conclusion

The biggest complaint about the Tello drone people are making is the fact that you have to fly it with your phone. Well the good news is there are Bluetooth controls out there that will work with your phone that allow you to connect to your Android or your iOS phone and allow you to fly it with a normal remote control more like the experience you would have flying in the other drone. You’re not gonna get any more range or anything like that with this you’re just gonna get a better and easier flying experience than you have with a touchscreen.

That said I’m excited to put this thing through its paces, try it out for the next couple of weeks and really see how it does in terms of flight time and of course flying it with the remote control. That’s it for now and I hope you enjoyed this DJI Tello drone review!