The Bugs 3 drone is a classic entry-level drone. Easy to control, rather average (but replaceable) camera and a reasonably low price.
✔️Package, setup, and shipping of the Bugs 3 Drone
The packaging box and the Bugs 3 Drone arrived intact. There are the usual pictures and a few technical details on the outside, on top of a carrying handle. Inside, everything is packed in polystyrene. Nothing too exciting, so off we went to unpack it.
After opening the box, we first find the extensive accessories. There are eight propellers (four as spares), four feet with 10 screws (two of which are spares). It also has a USB charging cable and charger, the camera including cable and mount, and the battery. A screwdriver and a special tool are included for attaching the feet and props. There is also a smartphone mount for the remote control.
Step one: assemble the essential parts. The feet are attached with two screws each, which is done in a few minutes. However, this is a bit impractical for transport since the drone no longer fits into the box. And to remove the supports, you always need the right screwdriver on the one hand, and on the other hand, you want to carefully stow the small screws, so you don’t lose them.
Why do we even bring this up as a “point of criticism”? It makes it a bit more impractical to “just take the drone with you” when you’re not traveling the entire distance by car. For this, you can use a larger drone backpack.
The propellers are screwed on and can be removed just as easily for transport. You can easily attach the rotors to the A and B markings and the left-hand and right-hand threads. The enclosed tool is actually unnecessary. The motors can also be held with the fingers.
The remote control of the Bugs 3 Drone is quite large but pleasantly round-shaped and fits well in hand. Flight information (GPS, battery) is displayed on a narrow display at the bottom. The included smartphone holder can be attached at the top.
In contrast to many other inexpensive remote controls, all buttons are labeled or at least have symbols to immediately clear their function even without a manual. But, some switches are simply placeholders without any function. The wheel at the top right, which can otherwise be used to tilt the camera, is fixed and has no function.
The first time you turn on the drone, you have to connect it to the remote control, which is done with two buttons. You also have to calibrate the drone’s compass before the first launch by rotating the Bugs 3 around its own axis a few times.
✔️App “Bugs Go“
The app of the Bugs 3 Drone is standard in almost every way. Scan the QR code in the instructions, download Bugs Go for Android or iOS, turn on the drone and connect your smartphone to the Wi-Fi of the Bugs 3 Pro. The first thing you can do is select the right model, the Bugs 3 Pro, and change the language to English using the icon at the top right.
The interface itself comes with a standard display. Flight information such as altitude, distance, and battery status is displayed at the top. RTH, Point-of-Interest, and Follow-Me can be selected on the left, and the camera is operated on the right. The settings can be accessed via the gear icon in the upper center.
The Bugs 3 Drone camera comes with several versions of the drone: With 720p camera, 1080p camera, or no camera at all. The 1080p version of the Bugs 3 Drone is more expensive, while there is hardly any difference between 720p and “no camera”. This already indicates that you should not expect much from the camera. At least there is the option to use a similar-sized action camera in the mount. A gimbal for stabilization is not available.
The mount is precisely matched to the included camera and is 6.1 cm wide and 4 cm high. Larger cameras cannot be used, even the action cams of the Yi 4K series are too wide at 6.5 cm. The camera is also powered by the drone and sends out the WLAN signal, so you can also use the app only with the included camera.
This camera was included with our model, so we will primarily refer to it. The camera looks like an action cam on the outside, but it is much lighter and simply a plastic housing for the image sensor. The camera is connected to the drone via a cable (micro-USB to micro-USB). In addition to the USB port, we also find an SD card slot. Alternatively, the pictures can be stored directly on the phone without an SD card.
As expected, however, the quality of the camera is not good. The pictures are muddy and blurry; the resolution of 720p, which is actually at least acceptable, does not come into its own. The lack of a gimbal is also noticeable, as the camera tilts accordingly when accelerating and decelerating. Furthermore, the motors’ vibrations are clearly visible as wavelike horizontal stripes in the video, which makes the quality of the images even worse.
There is a full range of GPS-based features here. For example, the Bugs 3 Drone uses GPS to maintain its position and fly over waypoints. When the battery level drops (or at the push of a button), the drone returns to the starting point. The point-of-interest function, where the drone circles around a point, is also made possible this way. Thus, you should not expect the precision of a DJI Mavic 2 here, but rather a halfway controlled drone “flying in circles”.
In “Follow Me” mode, the Bugs 3 Drone aligns itself with the smartphone’s position. This is much slower than optical detection but works sufficiently well overall. It even has the advantage that the drone continues to follow you even when you move out of the camera’s field of view. The distance remains the same, but the height can be adjusted.
Functions such as headless mode or 360° flips are not really suitable for video recordings. If you want to use them, you can actually omit the camera altogether and theoretically fly without the props. The flight characteristics are alright overall, but ideally you should fly in calm or light winds at most. The self-return works slowly, but reliably. Measured against the price, we also find the implementation of the automatic flight modes okay.
The rather large 2800 mAh battery, which is supposed to provide flight times of up to 22 minutes, is interesting. Of course, this is not quite reached in reality, but it is close to 20 minutes. The only annoying thing here is that the remote control emits a warning tone early on when the battery gets weaker. The last few minutes are always accompanied by a somewhat annoying beep.
The Bugs 3 drone has been available since the fall of 2018 and is definitely aimed at beginners. There is no way to record really stable videos without a gimbal. The image stabilization of a good action cam can only compensate for that to some extent. The included 720p camera is only below average, the 1080p version should be a bit better. This can be sufficient for private use and first experiences with video recordings with drones. A good flight time of around 20 minutes suits beginners here. If you opt for a version with three batteries, you even have a good hour to fly.