DJI Tello Snap Verdict
The DJI Tello is a small advanced drone that packs in features that will appeal to pilots of all levels.
Although it’s primarily aimed at kids, the advanced features make it an ideal choice for anyone new to drones.
It has a considerable educational benefit for children and adults alike, as it features the ability to program using the software development kit (SDK). The kit enables you to program the Tello through Scratch, a popular coding application used when teaching STEM.
Tthe flight characteristics are almost identical to the larger DJI drones, which is really not a surprise as the Tello utilises DJI flight technology.
The Tello requires a smartphone for control. For a small additional cost you can buy the Bluetooth PlayStation-style control pad, which connects to your mobile and enables a more traditional form of control.
Feature-wise there’s plenty to keep everyone happy, with good flight time, built-in camera, a range of up to 100m and compatibility with smartphone VR headsets.
The Tello isn’t strictly an imaging drone, but its feature set will help any wannabe drone pilot learn the essentials. If you’re looking for an excuse to buy one then consider the educational angle for the kids, which makes the Tello an educational aid rather than a toy.
- Compact Size
- Scratch compatibility
- Compatible controller
- Control pad costs extra
- No object avoidance
- So good you’ll need to buy one
When the DJI Tello arrived, I mistakenly thought it was just a toy that I could fly around when I needed a distraction from work.
How wrong I was. The Tello hasn’t just distracted me; it’s diverted everyone else who’s seen and used it. This is one of those gadgets that, once you’ve used it, you’ll find an excuse to buy.
The Tello is available through the DJI store, although it isn’t technically a DJI product. It’s made by Ryze Tech, a company I haven’t come across before, but it’s easy to see why DJI has partnered with Ryze.
The Tello looks very much like a DJI product. It’s beautifully designed, and packs in many of the features we see on the company’s own drones.
Although it’s primarily aimed at kids, this £99 drone does far more than its price tag suggests.
I’ve flown a good few toy drones, and some are quite good, like the Husban X4, while others are just impossible. But none get anywhere close to the Tello when it comes to control and features.
It handles just like one of the larger DJI drones such as the Spark, Mavic or P4, but it can be flown indoors.
Features such as instant cutout, battery warning and positioning make it easy and safe to fly for anyone.
As well as selling the drone through its website, DJI also provides the flight tech, which is why the characteristics of the drone are so familiar.
The Tello is far more advanced than other drones of its size and price, and as you use it you’ll appreciate what a fantastic training device it is.
The Intel chipset means the Tello is fully programmable, so you can use Scratch (A block-based visual programing language) to develop applications and take control over the drone.
The Tello is, in essence, a purpose-made STEM project, and ideal for teaching programming in schools and colleges.
You won’t be stuck for reason to buy the Tello: it’ll teach you how to fly, the VR headset compatibility is great fun, and it’s an educational tool as well.
Usually, when we look at camera-equipped drones – or for that matter any imaging device – it comes down to the quality of the image capture and optics.
With the Tello that’s a secondary consideration. It does have a camera, but this is used purely to give you the experience of how they work on larger drones.
It records 720p HD video footage at 30fps in MP4 format, and captures 5-megapixel stills with a field of view of 82.6º.
When it comes to camera specs that’s nothing to write home about, but then this drone only has a flight distance of 100m, a max flying height of 10m and a top speed of 8m/s.
Flight time is good at 13 minutes, and at the time of writing this review, June 2018, DJI is throwing in an additional battery with every purchase.
The Tello measures 98×92.5x41mm and weighs 80g, making it very compact.
Its built-in functions include a rangefinder, barometer, led, vision system, 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi.
There’s also the app, which gives you a full live view of what’s going on, and enables you to switch between modes and settings.
The app also acts as the controller for the drone, and gives you direct access to all the different flight modes, including Throw and Go, 8D Flips and Bounce Mode.
For a small additional cost you can buy the PlayStation-style controller, which features a built-in clamp for your phone.
We received this with our review sample, and it’s a worthwhile additional purchase.
Other features to note are the VR headset compatibility which, via the app, enables POV style flight, and the DJI Flight Tech, which makes the Tello easy to control.
There’s also the learn and create aspect with Scratch compatibility, and it looks like other coding languages will follow. A full SDK and the ability to create your own accessories add to the overall package.