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Parrot Anafi FPV drone pack lets you feel like you're flying for $799

The 4K drone, controller and first-person-view glasses combine to give you a clear view from the sky.

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Parrot's Cockpitglasses bring FPV flying to the Anafi drone.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

It was a while since I last flew the Parrot Anafi before I took one up in the air last week. I'd forgotten just how nimble and fun the tiny folding 4K camera drone is. It goes from off to ready to fly in less than a minute and you can just toss it in the air to take off. It's quiet, quick, nonintrusive and has enough camera controls and automatic modes to keep you happy. And now you can get an better view of what the camera is capturing thanks to Parrot's first-person view Cockpitglasses with the Anafi FPV pack.  

While Parrot has confirmed that it's backing out of the toy drone market, it is fully committed to building out the Anafi as a platform for professionals and consumers. Originally released a little more than a year ago, the Anafi continues to improve with firmware updates that have enabled new features. Parrot even updated it earlier this year with a thermal Flir camera for professional use, aiming to support search-and-rescue work, public works and security. With the Anafi FPV All-in-One pack arriving this month for $799, it brings the drone's focus back to consumers and pros. 

The drone itself remains unchanged from the original and the same goes for its chunky compact controller. As I said up top, it's a good combination of design and features for the money and video quality has improved since its first release. The Anafi FPV pack adds the company's collapsible Cockpitglasses, a VR headset that works with an iPhone or Android phone with up to a 6.5-inch display attached to the controller via USB. A small backpack is included that holds it all. 

In the updated FreeFlight 6.6 app you'll find an option to change to FPV mode. Once you're in it, the display turns into a stereoscopic view and then you just pop your phone in the front of the glasses (it'll fit even with a thin case on your device). A button on top of the headset opens a full menu of camera and drone controls that are easily navigated with the controller's sticks.  

Another button on the bottom of the headset activates the rear camera on your phone, so you can see through the "glasses" without taking them off. This quickly becomes indispensable if you're flying without a spotter, especially because the Anafi doesn't have any sort of obstacle avoidance system. 

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Connect your phone via USB to the controller and then set the app to FPV. 

Joshua Goldman/CNET

The video sent to your phone is 720-pixel resolution, so it will look fairly soft, particularly in comparison to what you're actually recording. But it's certainly good enough to fly and frame your shots by and I didn't experience any dropouts. I didn't come remotely close to reaching the transmission range of 2.4 miles (4 kilometers), however, and my brief testing time was in a secluded area, so your mileage may vary. Overall though, it's a compact, fast and easy way to add FPV to the Anafi for an immersive experience from its camera. 

Camera specs

  • 1/2.4-inch 21-megapixel sensor 
  • f2.4 23mm lens (26mm for video)
  • ISO 100 to 3200
  • 1 to 1/10,000 shutter speed (electronic)
  • 4K Cinema (4,096x2,160) at 24fps; 4K UHD (3,840x2,160) at 24/25/30fps; FHD (1,920x1,080) 24/25/30/48/50/60fps 
  • 100Mbps max bit rate
  • Raw (DNG) and P-Log post-production formats
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Joshua Goldman/CNET

The updated app also adds two new camera presets and a unique way to control the drone. A Cinematic preset locks the camera's horizontal axis to the tilt of the drone, so your video will bank and turn with the drone. A Racing preset locks the horizontal axis in the same way, but increases the drone's speed to give your video a more aggressive look. 

With the Anafi FPV's new Arcade mode, you can pilot the Anafi by pointing the camera in the direction you want to fly. First-time pilots might prefer these controls, but I found myself fighting muscle memory. It's definitely one to test out in a wide open area. Parrot says combining Arcade mode with the Cinematic preset can give you a true bird's-eye-view experience. This can be even more immersive by switching to a minimal interface view using the top button on the Cockpitglasses headset. 

The Parrot Anafi FPV pack might not have the transmission performance or display quality of a standalone headset, but the portability of this solution along with the drone's feature set and photo and video quality add up to a great combination for the money. 

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