Drones have come a long way in the past few years, but now that manufacturers have managed to stuff them with all the gadgets we could possibly want, the race is on to downsize them and make them more portable. Why? Well, what’s the point of having a flying camera if you can’t easily carry it everywhere you go? As drone makers have started to realize how important portability is, there is now a plethora of lightweight compact drones flooding the market. So, to dive into this burgeoning ultraportable drone category, we got our hands on Yuneec’s Breeze drone to see how it performs against its competition.
Characteristics of a Drone
As you might have guessed, the Breeze is the smaller, more compact and lighter sibling of Yuneec’s toughest Typhoon series drones. But don’t let its small size fool you, this little drone has a lot of good things under the hood. Despite being a little less powerful, the Breeze recovers many of the same features you’ll find on its bigger, more expensive brethren.
Arguably the most important feature is the drone camera. Breeze can shoot 4K at 30 frames per second, take 13-megapixel stills, and even send live video to your smartphone, letting you see what the drone is seeing in real-time.
On top of that, the Breeze also comes equipped with an honest suite of standalone filming modes, including Orbit, Follow Me, and Selfie, modes that were previously found exclusively on Yuneec drones that cost $ 1,000 or more.
The Breeze drone even has a few features that Yuneec’s larger drones don’t. In addition to a super portable design, Breeze also has an internal positioning system, which helps it fly and maintain stability when flying indoors with limited GPS connectivity.
To top it off, Yuneec ships each Breeze drone with a carrying case, set of protections, and two batteries, each of which saves you around 11-12 minutes of flight time. Not bad for a drone under 300 euros.
A Sober and Compact Desing
When you first take it out of the box, the Breeze doesn’t feel like a very sturdy drone, there are even concerns that you might be dealing with a toy drone. It is in fact almost entirely made of plastic.
Because of that, we were a little skeptical at first about the strength of the Breeze, but after crashing it down half a dozen times, we were delighted to find that it’s actually a pretty damn tough drone. We hit it (inadvertently) in all kinds of obstacles, bushes, branches, tree trunks, and even a car door, but in none of these cases was the drone especially damaged and it could not fly again safely.
One of the strong points of the Yuneec Breeze is its clever articulated accessories. It seems that Yuneec has equipped the drone with this feature so that the accessories can be folded inwards for easier transport, but from our observations, it seems that they also help the drone to recover from contact with tree branches. Instead of breaking on contact, they rotate slightly backwards, which seems to prevent them from breaking.
Now, to be honest, we didn’t have fun smashing it on concrete, and still wouldn’t recommend giving it a try. Fly with caution!
Robustness aside, the Breeze scores big in terms of its design. Yuneec built this drone to be very portable, so the accessories and the landing gear are designed to fold up and slip neatly into a small carrying case.
This may not seem like a very important feature, but as we said, the portability factor is important for many drones. Photographers have an old adage that “the best camera is the one you have with you” and the same goes for drones.
Battery Life and Recharge Time
To get an idea of how long this little quadcopter can stay in the air, we tested it through our normal series of endurance tests.
To get started, we charged the battery, positioned the Breeze about 10 feet in the air, and just let it hover until the battery ran out and Yuneec’s software forced it to land. Under the least demanding flight conditions possible, the Breeze stayed in the air for exactly 11 minutes and 24 seconds, which is about 36 seconds longer than the flight time stated on the box.
In contrast, the drone’s average flight time during all of our other tests (which all started with a full battery and ended when we were forced to land) was 10 minutes and 40 seconds. So if you ride a bit more nervously, you can expect a slight dip in battery life, but nothing too bad.
Of course, 10 minutes might not seem like a particularly long flight time but the upside is that the Breeze comes with two batteries so you get around 21 minutes of flight time.
That’s more than enough time to snap a few selfies on your last hike, take some aerial footage of your sister’s wedding, or whatever else you want to do with a flying camera.
In contrast, each battery takes around 50 minutes to fully charge, so be prepared to wait for a while between flights.
Flight Performance Of Drone
Compared to other drones on the market, Breeze is a bit limited in terms of flight performance. It has a maximum horizontal speed of 5 meters per second, can only climb vertically at a speed of one meter per second, and has a maximum range of only 100 meters.
Yuneec has intentionally incorporated these limitations into the drone software, presumably to reduce the risk of your drone crashing or losing during your flight.
The other limiting factor is the fact that the Breeze does not come with a physical controller. It is designed for portability, so to keep it as small and compact as possible, Yuneec has decided to skip the use of a standalone controller and create a new piloting app (Android | iOS) that you can download and use with your smartphone.
It’s a solid application. In fact, we think it’s one of the best smartphone-based drone controllers we’ve ever used.
However, the touchscreen controls make the riding experience rather imprecise. Virtual joysticks don’t offer the same level of precision as physical joysticks, and the Breeze app is no exception.
It’s also a question of experience, some pilots achieve feats from their smartphones but this is not yet the case.
Even with the software-imposed flight limitations and relatively muscular manual controls, Breeze enjoys a fairly pleasant flying experience, especially when you turn the controls over to Yuneec’s autopilot software.
This drone was designed to be more of a robotic photographer than a high-performance hobbyist drone, so it’s really more focused on an autonomous flight or assisted flight than the manual mode.
Breeze’s range of autonomous flight modes isn’t as comprehensive as what you’ll find in Yuneec’s Typhoon series, but it still comes with Orbit, Selfie, and Follow Me modes, which are arguably the most important. for people who want to take footage themselves.
These modes all worked perfectly in our tests, and while Follow Me mode isn’t as robust as DJI’s active object tracking, it does a great job of tracking your Bluetooth signature and keeping you in the frame.
With all of these standalone modes, you should always be careful when using them. Breeze does not offer obstacle avoidance on board.
So even in stand-alone mode, you need to keep an eye on the action and observe your surroundings in order to anticipate obstacles. One of our snags with a tree branch was caused by placing the orbit radius too high, which sent the drone up a tree with no way to stop.
Follow me presents similar problems if you order the drone to follow you over hostile terrain dense with trees for example. So you have to be careful and not start the autonomous flight modes in a stupid way if the environment is dangerous.
Camera and Accessories
Yuneec presents the Breeze as a “selfie” drone, so it’s no surprise that the brand has equipped the drone with a fairly powerful camera.
The Breeze offers a maximum resolution of 4K at 30 frames per second, but can also shoot 1080p at 60FPS or 720p at 120FPS. It also takes 13-megapixel stills, has a 117-degree field of view, and can swivel up or down at the touch of a button.
Overall, it’s a pretty solid little device, but it does have one obvious downside: the fact that it’s not mechanically stabilized. Yuneec didn’t put a gimbal on Breeze’s camera and instead opted for digital stabilization, which helps keep the drone compact.
The only problem with this approach is that you can’t use Breeze’s stabilization features when shooting in 4K. The drone’s software-based stabilization only works when you take a lower resolution, like 1080p or 720p.
This leaves you with a difficult choice to make: shoot high-resolution but potentially choppy videos or smooth, low-resolution videos? It is a difficult dilemma.
As for the accessories, the Breeze comes with a few small but important parts.
The former is a set of guards that can easily snap into or off the drone’s shell, and help protect it from accidents in flight.
Second, and arguably more important, is the included carrying case. Despite its somewhat small dimensions, this case can hold the drone, a spare battery and the four propeller guards mentioned above.
This makes it incredibly easy to slip into a backpack or satchel.
When it comes to upgrades, Yuneec releases firmware updates periodically as it does for its other drones.
If you’re looking for an easy way to start shooting aerial video, the Breeze is a good entry point. Of course, it doesn’t have the high-performance flight specs you’ll find in more expensive drones, but what it lacks in speed and range it makes up for with a compact design, simple controls, and a super reasonable price. You can order it online.
Are there better alternatives?
No, not particularly. Your options are relatively slim in this price range, and the Yuneec Breeze is one of the best drones you can get for under $ 300 right now.
If you don’t care that much about portability, another good option is DJI’s Phantom 3 which is cheaper since the Phantom 4 was released. It has better range and more agile flight controls than the Breeze but keep in mind that it is not as compact, cannot fly indoors, and does not have 4K photo camera.
What is the lifespan of the Yuneec Breeze?
Probably a few years, if you treat it right.
Yuneec has a good track record of updating its products with regular firmware updates, software enhancements, and even the occasional accessory.
As long as you don’t have a catastrophic crash, this drone should continue to fly like a champ for years to come.
Should you buy it?
Yes. Just make sure that Breeze’s features and capabilities are in line with your goals.
This drone is probably not a good choice for serious pilots and filmmakers. On the other hand, if you are just looking for an easy and affordable way to take aerial photos of you and your adventures, then the Breeze is a great choice.
We really enjoyed this drone, and you’ll probably like it too.
- Rugged backpack designed to protect your drone and its accessories.
- The main compartment includes additional padding and a mesh cover to keep your drone in place.
- Padded shoulder straps and metal carrying handle.
- Impact-resistant, waterproof exterior.
- 12-month warranty.
Controller and FPV headset for the Yuneec Breeze 4K
- FPV controller and headset for the Breeze 4K
- Choose between FPV and Normal Mode
- 1 Smartphone holder included
- Compatible with the Breeze Cam app
Battery for drone Yuneec Breeze
- LiPo battery
- Capacity: 1150 mAh
- For Yuneec Breeze drone
Yuneec Breeze Parts Images