A pretty extraordinary quadcopter is the 3DR Solo Drone. It is designed to carry a GoPro camera and has many different features to take spectacular pictures. We took a closer look at the model and will show you in this review whether buying a 3DR Solo quadcopter might be worth it for you or not.
✔️Technical data of the 3DR Solo Drone
Many drone pilots are excited about the simple, intuitive controls and autonomous flight modes.
We actually find really cool about the drone is the top speed and the fact that you can use GoPro cameras. This makes it one of the drones for GoPro cameras.
The max speed is almost 90 kilometers per hour, which is really intense for this price! It also flies extremely stable and incredibly reliable.
Complaints are that the charging times are quite long, and a mobile device (for example, smartphone or tablet) is needed to fly at all. Furthermore, you can buy multiple batteries to extend your flight time with a short stopover. Since most of you surely have a smartphone, this should not be a problem.
✔️Design, material processing, safety, size & weight
The size is manageable and quite good for this price segment. We are talking about a width and length of 37 cm and a height of about 18 cm. The weight is a bit heavier at 1.5 kg, but the power units are very powerful, and the drone does not look cumbersome at all. To us, the design looks somewhat similar to a DJI drone.
Perhaps comparable to the DJI Phantom 4. If it were white, you could easily confuse it. 2 Big differences between the Phantom 4 and the 3DR Solo drone are the camera and the propulsion system. The 3DR Solo drone manages almost 15 kilometers per hour more max speed. Anyone who remembers how enormously powerful the Phantom 4 was knows what to expect here.
Everything seems very sturdy. The materials don’t seem to have been cobbled together cheaply. Still, care has been taken to ensure that all elements are very robust. The 3DR Solo drone usually doesn’t have any problems with crashes. What might get damaged sometimes are the propellers. You also don’t need to worry about your GoPro camera.
Because in case it breaks in a crash, the manufacturer promises to replace the GoPro, provided it is a fault of the 3DR Solo drone and not a pilot error. For this, the 3DR has a flight recorder, virtually an onboard black box. This records malfunctions of the entire quadcopter. Errors are therefore automatically stored here for evidence.
✔️Battery, power & flight time
The drone has a decent battery pack with a charge capacity of 5,200 mAh at a voltage of 14.8 volts for your benefit. This is a lithium-ion flight battery.
Without a camera installed, you’ll get up to 25 minutes of flight time. If you use a camera, which adds extra weight, the drone only manages a maximum of 20 minutes of flight time.
But it depends on your flying style. If you fly quietly and modestly, the copter will still manage over 20 minutes of flight time, even with a built-in cam. On the other hand, it is also clear that if the 3DR Solo is constantly accelerated to max speed, the flight time is significantly lower.
Unfortunately, the battery takes a little over 90 minutes to charge. Compared to other models, that’s okay, but it’s annoying when the flight battery runs out of power after 20 minutes, and you have to charge it for 1.5 hours. We, therefore, recommend that you buy several batteries.
The drone has to convert enormous electrical energy into mechanical work. For this purpose, 4 powerful 880 KV motors are installed. These are equipped with self-locking, fiberglass-reinforced nylon props. They work very safely, and the probability that the 3DR crashes because the motors fail is very low.
✔️Gimbal system and sensors
Unfortunately, the basic 3DR Solo, which you can buy on Amazon, does not include a gimbal system. You have to buy this separately. If you buy it, you can use the GoPro camera there. Thanks to the sophisticated GPS system, the drone keeps its location without any problems. Overall, the sensor system works very reliably.
✔️Remote control, range, app & FPV
As mentioned before, you need an app to fly with this drone. The system is paired with the smartphone, and now video data and the FPV image can be transmitted live to the device.
In this case, many users notice that the operation of the app is very stable and reliable. Even with Android 8.0 and most end devices, the application does not crash, freeze briefly or have other issues. A significant plus point.
The app displays many current data, such as the current speed, live image view, and GPS view in miniature.
What we find extremely cool is the possibility to transfer the live image data of the GoPro directly to the device. A GoPro frame mount is included with the separately available gimbal system for this purpose.
Depending on the weather conditions, the remote control included in the set has a signal range of about 800 meters. However, you should respect the laws in that country and only fly the quadcopter within the visual range. You also need a drone license plate for this model.
The remote control is the Pixhawk 2 controller. It has a special mount for smartphones and iPads. This can be easily adjusted.
It also has its own color screen and extra buttons for takeoff, landing, automatic return to home, pause, and a button for turning the drone on and off.
There are 2 programmable A/B buttons and, of course, the 2 joysticks to be able to control the 3DR Solo. The operation is actually very simple.
Also, the remote control can be easily recharged, but it lasts for several charging cycles of the flight battery.
We also find cool is the HDMI output. Here you can transfer the live FPV image to a larger display or TV.
The inner workings also offer a lot of power. There are 2 computers onboard used in the remote control. One of these onboard computers is responsible for the autopilot. The other takes over the functions of the control and other features of the controller.
✔️Flight modes and other functions
A typical flight mode for drones in this price range is the “Follow Me Mode.” Whether you’re biking, hiking, or hoverboarding, once the quadcopter has you in view and you’ve set the Follow Me mode, the 3DR Solo will follow you wherever you go.
The drone will keep the camera focused on you at all times while automatically following you.
You can take self-centered shots with the “Orbit Mode.” This allows you to position the drone with the GoPro on an object that you want the 3DR Solo to orbit.
In the app, you then have to enter the drone’s radius around the object. You can also set the altitude and the flight speed.
Similar functions are also available on many DJI models. Still, we haven’t encountered very many drones with an orbit mode otherwise. This feature can be used very versatile, and the recordings give a very professional impression.
In the cable-cam mode, a virtual cable, or you could also say rope, is stretched. You can easily set the direction of this cable in the app.
The drone then flies along this virtual cable, and you can swing the camera up or down or angle it. The 3DR Solo’s autopilot takes over entirely, and you don’t have to worry about anything, as it flies the defined route completely independently.
A similar function is also available on other models, such as the DJI Mavic Pro. In this case, this mode is called “WayPoint.”
Actually, you do not necessarily need this mode, but it is efficient. You can set the quadcopter to move away from you, take a picture of you, and then return.
✔️Is the 3DR Solo drone suitable for beginners?
Overall, we think the 3DR Solo drone is very suitable for beginners. Thanks to the advanced remote control, it is intuitive, convenient, and easy to control.
It also features GPS for a more stable flight and is built very sturdily. The drone can usually withstand a crash, but if it does happen and it was due to a system error, the manufacturer will replace your GoPro camera. A flight recorder collects important flight data and errors.
It’s especially great for beginners because it quickly gets the pilot to master many modes like follow me, orbit cable cam, and selfie. Along the way, it also manages very high speeds of up to 90 kilometers per hour. This means that the 3DR Solo is also equipped to withstand strong gusts of wind.
Overall, the 3DR Solo drone is a really hot item, even though there are some drawbacks. It is very well suited for beginners and advanced users. Professionals will probably criticize some things, but that’s complaining on a high level.
The manufacturer has definitely done a great job here, especially because this is a drone that transmits a live HD GoPro stream to a device (tablet or Android). We were also impressed by the drone’s high performance and speed. Unfortunately, it is noisy; the rotor blades are designed for maximum performance, but they probably forgot to pay attention to the noise level during development.