X marks the spot for the Parrot Swing drone (hands-on)

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The Swing is able to hover like a quadcoter, or switch to plane mode where it flies horizontally.

Aloysius Low/CNET

If piloting a quad-copter drone isn't your cup of tea, why not try one that flies more like a plane instead? That's the idea behind Parrot's Swing minidrone, which features a unique X-shaped design that feels like something from Star Wars.

Lacking the sleek fuselage of an X-Wing fighter, the Swing is all about the wings. There's not much to look at, to be honest, but there's more than meets the eye when the Swing takes to the air. It costs $140, which converts to around £110 or AU$185.

The Parrot Flypad controller lets you use the controller to switch between quad-copter and plane modes, and you can choose between three different speeds. I was easily able to get the Swing to take off and weave around for a good 8 minutes or so, but I felt I hadn't really learnt how to control it in the short time I spent with the Swing.

Plane mode is a lot trickier to learn, given that the drone will constantly be moving. And be warned: Making a mistake will send it crashing into something. But if you're worried about crashing, you can quickly hit the stop key. That switches the drone back into hover-quadcopter mode.

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The Flypad controller allows you to control the Swing at a distance of up to 60m.

Aloysius Low/CNET

If you're wondering whether you should get one, consider this: The Swing isn't the easiest drone to learn but it offers plenty of fun, especially when you're zooming around in plane mode. Unfortunately, that's all you'll be doing. The drone doesn't offer a camera for video recording or any other features. It also uses Bluetooth, which means range is limited to around 20m, but you can increase this to 60m using the Flypad controller. Battery life, as mentioned, isn't very good either, but you can swap in a fresh new battery as needed.

Key specs:

  • Can switch between quadcopter or plane mode
  • Can go up to 30 kph, or around 18.6 mph
  • Compatible with iOS 7 or Android 4.4
  • Up to 8.5 minutes of flight time
 

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Product Line Parrot
  • Model Swing
  • Manufacturer's Product Type Minidrone