The DJI Tello Mini Drone, a $99 kid-friendly drone that combines DJI flight technology and an Intel processor to create a budget camera drone that also can be used to teach newbies the basics of programming.
It’s a great little drone for people looking for a low-cost introduction to stunt flying and shooting videos, as well as people looking to learn how to use drones how to code. Appearance wise they are very similar with Tello measuring 98 x 92.5 x 41 mm and weighs only 80 grams vs 143 x 143 x 55 mm and 300 grams on the Spark.
The Tello drone, which weighs just 80 grams, can fly for 13 minutes and shoot 5 megapixel photos. For context, DJI’s next-smallest drone, the DJI Spark, weighs 300 grams, can fly for 16 minutes and shoots 12 megapixel photos. The drone doesn’t come with an RC transmitter, but can be controlled via a mobile app (or an external one can be purchased separately).
We have come to expect a flight time of 5 to 7 minutes on entry-level drones. Fortunately, with the Tello drone, you can get a lot more out of it and you will enjoy a flight time of around 13 minutes. That compares well with drones like the Spark that cost significantly more.
The camera is also remarkably good for a drone in this price range. The Tello features a 5MP camera with an 82.6-degree field of view and shoots 720p video at 30 frames per second. The Tello also has electronic image stabilization (EIS) for less blur and improved footage on the move. The advanced 14-core Intel processor ensures excellent footage.
Something often lacking in the less expensive drones is altitude hold. Fortunately, the Tello has this handy feature. Whether you are simply flying or shooting footage, altitude hold frees you up to focus on other aspects without having to think about controlling the altitude. This is useful for all pilots but of particular value to beginners as it is one less thing to think about when operating the drone.
Small drones are known for their agility but you rarely see one as nimble as the Tello. With a simple swipe on the controller, you can flip the drone in any one of 8 directions with the greatest of ease and safety. The Tello drone is controlled from a tablet or smartphone but plans are underway to create a dedicated controller as well.
I do not believe you can call the DJI Tello a toy drone as it is so much more than that. It is simply a very well built, extremely well priced done that will provide excellent entertainment and fun.