In many ways, Parrot is to drones what Nintendo is to video games. Despite having played a pioneering role in bringing drones to consumers, Parrot has always leaned a little more on the playful side of the spectrum, often eclipsed by competitors in terms of performance and practicality. While DJI and Yuneec were busy making drones with 4K cameras and environmental sensing capabilities, Parrot produced drones that could do backflips, shoot foam balls, and throw themselves like Frisbees. The latest drone from Parrot is a big step in a different direction. Anafi is not only a departure from the company’s dance-themed naming convention (which brought us the Bebop, Swing, Mambo and Disco drones) but also a triumphant start in the UAV market. This drone was built from the ground up for aerial photography and videography, and after putting it to the test in recent weeks, we are convinced that it deserves a big place at the hobby drone table.
Features and Specifications
It’s a drone built to travel. Like DJI’s popular Mavic range, Parrot’s Anafi is equipped with articulated arms that fold inward, allowing it to slip into a pill-shaped carrying case that is no larger than a bottle of water. It still does not fit in your pocket but fits easily in a small backpack or handbag.
The rest of the drone’s high-flying features are less obvious to the naked eye, but no less important. The most notable finish is the camera assembly. Tucked inside a vibration-damped three-axis gimbal, you’ll find a 4K camera capable of shooting HDR video, a feature that allows the drone to handle high-contrast scenes more effectively. This camera is also equipped with lossless digital zoom capabilities and 180 degrees of tilt freedom. Those three features (HDR, zoom, and 180-degree tilt) are all you can’t find on other drones in this price range (at least for now).
Anafi is also equipped with a range of intelligent imaging and flight modes. Many of these are fairly standard for today’s drones, such as auto-tracking, orbit, and waypoint flight. Others, like Dolly Zoom, Hyperlapse, and Slow Motion, are quite unique. Parrot also includes a handful of thoughtful little design elements that complete the set: a hand-launch function, 3D mapping software, a USB-C battery that can also be used as a smartphone charger, and the ability to fly the drone without a controller. The Anafi doesn’t bring one game-changing must-have to the table, but it does bring many smaller and very fresh ones. The Anafi is rather one of a kind.
Building a drone is a delicate operation: manufacturers must give the drone strength and sturdiness without making it too heavy, which is easier said than done. Find the wrong balance, and you end up with a lightweight drone that is too fragile or a rugged drone that is too heavy. The key is to find the right balance.
Historically, Parrot’s drones have leaned more towards the fragile drone side of the market. The Anafi is no different. It’s very well built, but certainly not as strong as DJI’s Mavic drones. The arms are more flexible and thinner in comparison, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Based on our experience with previous Parrot drones, this flexible design often makes drones very tough and able to bounce back in crashes.
Battery Life and Recharge time
Parrot equipped the Anafi with a 7.6-volt, 2,700 mAh lithium-polymer battery, which provides 25 minutes of flight time on paper on a full charge. This is what is printed on the box, but as usual, this specification is based on ideal flight conditions and does not necessarily reflect actual flight performance, so we put it to the test.
In a stationary endurance test (in which we send the drone with a full battery and let it hover until it crashes for an automated emergency landing), Anafi managed to stay aloft for 23 minutes, which is very good for a drone of this size.
Of course, flying nervously and making full use of the drone’s motors and processors pumps up the battery a bit faster. However, during our more rigorous flight tests, Anafi managed to stay on the runway for an average of 21 minutes. Compared to other portable drones, it’s pretty awesome. The Yuneec Breeze can only handle about 12 minutes with a single battery for example. Even Anafi’s most formidable competitor, the DJI Mavic Air, can only stay aloft for 18 minutes.
When it comes time to recharge, you can expect an hour and a half to two hours of recharging to go from 0 to 100%. It should be noted, however, that the charging time depends a lot on your charging configuration.
Anafi charges through a USB-C charging port, which means you can charge your battery virtually anywhere, but keep in mind that not all USB chargers are created equal. The cheap charger that you plug into your car’s cigarette lighter sends less juice than the one that came with your iPad, and charging times vary accordingly.
Flight Experience And Control
Using the Anafi is a breeze on just about every level, and we’re not just talking about flying. The first thing that struck us was the simplicity of the pairing process.
With most drones, you have to wait a few minutes for your phone to connect to the drone and then wait for the drone to connect to all the satellites it uses for positioning.
In a way, this process is almost instantaneous with Anafi. As soon as you turn on the controller and plug it into your smartphone, you can start flying.
In-flight controls are nice and responsive, but not as crisp and athletic as DJI’s drones. There is a slight time lag between when you place a command and when the drone performs your command.
For example, when you release the throttles, there is a brief but noticeable lag between when you let go of control and when the drone comes to a stop. We adapt quickly but that diminishes your confidence as a pilot. We certainly flew more carefully with this drone as a result.
In terms of autonomous flight, Anafi performs admirably well in most areas. Its automated flight modes all work exactly as advertised, while the automated filming modes produce consistent and reliable results.
That said, it should be noted that Parrot’s auto-tracking technology is not as robust as that of a DJI drone .
One thing sorely lacking on this drone is obstacle detection, which is now standard on many drones in this price range.
When it comes to environmental sensing, the Anafi is only equipped with a mass sensor, which means it cannot detect and avoid small obstacles like tree branches or power lines. Again, this isn’t necessarily a big deal, but it does force you to fly a bit more carefully.
Camera and Accessories
The Parrot Anafi’s camera performance is the star of the show. Pretty much all of the other drone’s features are features you can get elsewhere, but Anafi’s camera is where Parrot clearly stands out from the competition.
In terms of raw specs, Anafi has a 1 / 2.4 inch CMOS sensor from Sony, as well as an f / 2.4 ASPH wide-angle lens. In addition to 21-megapixel stills, it can record 1080p FHD video at up to 60 frames per second, 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) at up to 30 frames per second, or Cinematic 4K (4096 x 2160) at 24 frames per second.
It’s also equipped with an HDR mode, which basically boosts the contrast of the camera and lets you capture well-crafted footage even if the scene you’re shooting contains both bright and dark areas.
Parrot has relied heavily on this feature in its promotional efforts, but in our opinion, HDR is not the most important feature of the drone.
What really won us over with this drone was the camera’s movement capabilities. In addition to the lossless zoom, the Anafi’s camera also has 180 degrees of tilt freedom, which means it can look straight down or straight ahead, making it really fun and flexible for filming.
Having the ability to look, descend, and zoom while flying ultimately gives you a greater degree of creative freedom, and allows you to capture photos that you just can’t get with other drones.
It is hands down the best drone Parrot has ever made but there are a few things that penalize it. In particular, the somewhat sluggish flight control and lack of obstacle avoidance detract from the flying experience and ends up forcing you to fly more carefully.
However, Anafi fills its control gaps with its camera performance which provides a fun, dynamic and creative movie experience.
The drone’s zoom and tilt capabilities, along with its unique filming modes, make the Anafi a star in the recreational portable drone category. You can order it online.
Is there a better alternative?
If you value the performance and reliability of flight rather than taking pretty pictures, then it would be wise to check out DJI’s Mavic drones. They are more responsive and come equipped with a powerful obstacle avoidance system that lets you fly with confidence. So, if you are not the most experienced drone pilot on earth, we suggest you go for a DJI drone.
If you’re more interested in picture quality and flexible filming options, the Anafi is hard to beat, at least among mid-range compact drones. The Mavic Air or the Yuneec Breeze are serious contenders when it comes to portability, but they rank a little behind the Parrot Anafi in the camera radius.
In the end, we think the DJI Mavic Air is a better drone overall than Anafi, but not by a huge margin. It has better flight controls, a sturdy camera, and is extremely compact, but it also costs a bit more.
Does Parrot publish updates?
Yes for years. Parrot released the Bebop 2 drone almost three years ago, and it’s still releasing firmware fixes and app updates, so there’s no reason to believe it won’t do the same with the Anafi. As long as you can avoid catastrophic accidents, this drone should continue to buzz for years to come in your hands.
Should you buy it?
Yes. Despite some minor flaws, the Anafi is a great drone with which we still have a good time. You will not regret this purchase.
PARROT ANAFI ACCESSORIES AND SPARE PARTS
LIPO Intelligent Battery for Parrot ANAFI
A spare battery for Parrot ANAFI drone
25 mins of autonomy
Compatible with Parrot Anafi only
Rechargeable in USB-C (USB-A to USB-C cable) – cable not included.
Intelligent Battery: Check your battery charge level with just one touch.
25 min of additional flight time.
Backpack for Parrot Anafi
Backpack for Parrot Anafi / MC-CASES transport backpack
With room for 4 batteries and accessories
The Parrot Anafi Transport Backpack from MC-CASES is the ideal travel companion and perfect storage space for the drone, including all Parrot Anafi accessories
The interior is made of special high quality moulded foam which is sturdy and durable; ideal for sensitive and delicate elements as well as for electrical components.
The following accessories are stored in the box: 1x Parrot Anafi Drone with inserted battery and mounted propellers (ready to fly), 1x remote control (ready to fly), 5 other batteries, cable compartments, USB cable, mains cable, mains cable, spare propeller set, 3 x SD card slots in the Parrot plastic case and 2 other SD card slots, several compartments for USB charger and other accessories
Parrot Anafi transport case
- Parrot Anafi case / MC-CASES transport case
- Made in Germany – 5-year warranty
- The new Parrot Anafi transport case from MC-CASES is the ideal travel companion and the perfect storage for the drone, including all Parrot Anafi accessories Despite the compact dimensions (336 x 300 x 148 mm), all the parts are perfectly storable.
- Completely waterproof in 1m deep water for at least 30 minutes.
Propellers for Parrot Anafi
- The kit of 8 spare propeller blades for Parrot ANAFI Drone
- Compatible with Parrot Anafi only.
- Ultralight propellers for quiet flight.
- Foldable inflexible material.