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Drones

Parrot's Mambo drone packs a tiny peashooter (hands-on)

This palm-sized drone brings the joy of flight for would-be pilots on a budget.

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The Parrot Mambo is a tiny drone that fits in the palm of your hand.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Parrot's minidrones aren't really designed for shooting awesome aerial videos. Smaller drones like the palm-sized Mambo are there to let you experience the joy of piloting a drone without forking out too much cash.

Retailing for $120 (which converts to about £95 or AU$160), the Mambo costs a lot less than the higher-end Bebop 2 ($549). It's quite a fun toy to play with, but it does have its limitations. For one thing, you only get 8 minutes of flight time, which passes quicker than you think.

I found the drone pretty easy to control once I got the hang of it. It took me about one minute to figure it out, despite having never flown a drone before. You can fly it either with your phone or the Parrot Flypad controller. If you've flown other Parrot drones, you'll recognize the control scheme as well and won't need to learn how to fly all over again.

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The Mambo has a flight time of 8 minutes if loaded with accessories such as the cannon accessory, and 9 minutes without.

Aloysius Low/CNET

You can outfit your Mambo with a peashooter cannon or a grabber that can lift up to 4g (0.14 oz). Getting hit by the peashooter won't hurt, but it's hard to find the tiny pellets after you've fired them. The grabber doesn't lift much, but Parrot has a video showing the Mambo lifting a sugar cube to drop into tea, so if you practice hard enough, you might impress a visitor from the UK when they drop by your place.

The Parrot Mambo makes for a fun introduction to drone flying, but don't expect to do much more with this. The short battery life also means you may want to invest in a spare battery to swap in when the Mambo's juice runs out.

Key specs:

  • Quadcopter-style drone
  • 550mAh battery for around 8 minutes of flight
  • Comes with a peashooter cannon and a grabber accessory
  • Uses Bluetooth to stay connected with your phone
  • Requires iOS 7 or Android 4.3 an above

Where to Buy

Parrot Mambo MiniDrone

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