Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo review: Grab photos, video at ground level with spinning, rolling Jumping Sumo

Down the right side are buttons for vertical and horizontal jumps and flipping the Sumo upside down to perform kicks. You can come to full stop before you jump, but you can also compress the springs while you're still rolling so you can jump forward without delay or upward with less delay.

In the middle at the top of the controls is an Animation button. Tap it and you'll get a list of preprogrammed moves such as different spins, an S-curve, and tapping its back leg on the ground.

Not all of this is explained in the quick-start guide that comes with the Sumo, but there is a full manual in the app, or you can download it from Parrot's support page. There's a whole playlist of tutorials on YouTube as well.

Snapping photos and video

Sarah Tew/CNET

At the top right are buttons for snapping 640x480-pixel photos and recording video at the same resolution. Parrot says hundreds of photos can be stored to the Sumo's internal memory. Video, on the other hand, requires a thumb drive with a Micro-USB adapter or a one that has a female Micro-USB connector built in. I tested with an 8GB Silicon Power Mobile X10, but whatever you choose, the width has to be less than 1.5cm and the height less than 2.5cm.

Once inserted, you can start recording video. As you might expect, video quality isn't anything special, but it is fun to watch regardless. And as shown in the clips below, I had a bit of fun chasing my kids around and driving it around the office. (You can also see how the Sumo rights itself when it takes a tumble.) The more light you have, the less artifacts you'll see, so if you record outside in daylight, the quality is better than what you see here.

Through the app you can transfer photos and videos to your phone or tablet while you're wirelessly connected to the Sumo. Though pictures transferred quickly, videos longer than a few seconds took awhile, so you're better off taking the drive out and transferring to a computer or mobile device (if supported). Also, the Silicon Power drive has a metal enclosure and got very hot while recording and transferring, something to keep in mind when selecting a drive.

The Micro-USB port is also used for charging the Sumo's little battery pack. It's the same one used for Parrot's Rolling Spider and takes about 90 minutes to charge.

If all you're doing is driving around and doing the occasional jump the battery will last up to 20 minutes. Recording video, doing a lot jumps, or basically doing anything more demanding than driving will cut into that time. Just one battery is included, too, and an additional one will run you $20 (AU$22, £14).


Like Parrot's other MiniDrone, the Rolling Spider , the Jumping Sumo is a lot of fun for killing some time with your smartphone or tablet. It might actually be more fun than the Spider for some, since you don't have to worry nearly as much about crashing the Sumo and its battery life is longer even if it isn't necessarily long. The only thing that's kind of a deterrent is its price. It's not necessarily expensive, but its price is probably just above impulse-purchase territory.

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