The DJI Tello Drone from the manufacturer Ryze Technology is the most fun drone of the year 2018. It comes equipped with a hover sensor system, app control, various flight functions, and a 5-megapixel camera; the Tello drone has excellent features for young people and adults. And with a price of only $109, the DJI Tello Drone from Ryze Robotics is quite affordable.
In this review, we will take a closer look at the Ryze Tello’s advantages and the proximity to DJI camera drones. We will conclude what this mini quadcopter is capable of.
Ryze Technology Tello: Ready-to-Fly drone
The Ryze Tello drone makes a great first impression even at first sight. The fact that the Tello from Ryze Technology is not a DJI product is already evident from the packaging. The packaging is neither in white color design nor too high of a quality. Only a small DJI logo and a small Intel logo on the packaging make it clear that two of the largest technology giants have worked on the Tello quadrocopter.
On the other hand, one cannot claim that the packaging of the DJI Tello drone looks cheap. Instead of white cardboard, the Tello comes in transparent visible plastic packaging with black and orange colors. This is typical and, therefore, also suitable for mini drones in this price range. Even before opening the package, you can already look at the mini drone in its packed form.
The visual similarities with the DJI Spark are already apparent at first glance. Also, the Ryze Tech Tello is completely pre-assembled – propeller guards are already attached, thus underlines the character of a typical Ready-to-Fly drone. Complicated assembly steps are not necessary.
The lower part of the packaging contains the Tello drone’s supplied accessories. These include a battery, spare propeller, charger, and other accessories or supplies for the Ryze Tello. The propellers of the Ryze Tello can be changed by simply pulling and pushing them onto the rotors. However, these are not self-locking propellers or even Quick Release propellers. Also, the 3044P propellers must be fitted to the correct rotors.
High quality and typical DJI design
Visually, the DJI genes at Ryze Tech Tello are unmistakably evident. The white cover on the drone’s body and the grey arms, propellers, or prop guards make the Ryze Tech Tello look very similar to the DJI Spark. Only the DJI logo on the Tello drone is missing.
Instead, the quadrocopter is decorated with a Tello lettering. However, this should not detract from high-quality haptics and material processing. Every component on the Tello drone from Ryze Technology gives a high-quality impression and not only looks good, but it is a durable and, above all, robust drone.
This also applies to the rectangular and very flat battery, inserted very conveniently into the existing battery compartment. Connect the battery by cable? Not a chance. An audible click is enough until the 1,100 mAh battery is connected to the quadrocopter, and you can start flying.
With dimensions of 98 x 92.5 x 41 millimeters, a weight of only 80 grams, and 3-inch propellers, the Ryze Tech Tello is a miniature among DJI products, so to speak, even though the quadrocopter is not actually manufactured and developed by DJI.
Technical specifications of the DJI Tello Drone
Ryze Tech Tello (TLW004)
Weight: 87 grams (no drone badge necessary!)
maximum speed: 28.8 kilometers per hour
maximum flight time: about 13 minutes
Transmission distance: max. 100 meters (WiFi)
max. flight altitude: 10 meters
Operating temperature: 0°C to 40°C
Image size: 2592 x 2936 pixels
Video resolution: 1280 x 720 (HD resolution at 30p)
Battery: 1,100 mAh, 3.8V, LiPo, 4.18 Wh
Sure, with a price of $109, the Ryze Tech Tello is not necessarily the cheapest toy drone. The market prices of a Parrot Mambo Drone or other drones in mini format are significantly lower, making such drones even more suitable for beginners and novices. So there must be all sorts of reasons to prefer the Ryze Tech Tello – regardless of its DJI DNA.
These certainly include the Vision Positioning System, the onboard camera with a resolution of five megapixels, or the rather long flight time that is around about 13 minutes. Other mini-drones of this size achieve a flight time of between five and seven minutes, so the Ryze Tech Tello can beat that giving its flight time is almost double.
The camera of the Ryze Tech Tello
Let’s take a look at its camera: Ryze Tech Tello uses a 5-megapixel camera with an HD video resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 frames per second. The maximum image size is 2,592 x 2,936 pixels. The camera module enables the Ryze Tech Tello to capture great aerial images and aerial videos.
However, the DJI Tello drone’s camera does not possess a mechanical gimbal, which can cause quite blurred images depending on flight skills. Not even a 2-axis gimbal – comparable to the DJI Spark – is on board the Ryze Tello. However, the Ryze Tech Tello takes photos quite satisfactorily. You shouldn’t expect too much, but despite a 5-megapixel camera, the Ryze Tello produces quite good results.
Extremely stable flight conditions thanks to VPS
The Vision Positioning System of the Ryze Tech Tello is also an advantage. This ensures – comparable to other DJI camera drones – extremely precise flight conditions with the help of infrared and an additional camera. Thus, the Ryze Tech Tello can be maneuvered very precisely despite the lack of GPS. Here the mini drone has an advantage over other drones without GPS.
Above all, beginners and novices can quickly get to grips with the Ryze Tech Tello and enjoy stable hovering without manual control. A barometer is, of course, also integrated and also ensures fairly accurate positioning. The pure flight characteristics are at a maximum speed of a whopping 8 meters per second or around 28.8 kilometers per hour and a top-flight altitude of ten meters.
At this distance, the Ryze Tech Tello can fly distances of up to 100 meters. Because the Ryze Tech Tello weight is less than 250 grams, no drone registration plate is required. This makes the toy drone suitable for children and teenagers who want to enjoy flying a drone. But also as a nice advertising gimmick, as a gift or purely for fun and recreation, the mini drone offers enormous potential thanks to its sensor technology and simple operation. The flight performance of the small camera drone is quite impressive.
Fast maneuvers in terms of acceleration or direction changes are no problem even for inexperienced pilots and provide great flying fun in no time. Several Ryze Tello drones can compete against each other. If you wish, you can even set up a small obstacle course and let the Tello quadcopter scurry across the finish line as if it were a remote-controlled RC vehicle.
Control with smartphone or gamepad
By default, the Ryze Tech Tello does not have a physical remote control – i.e., a flight controller or remote control. Instead, it is controlled by the smartphone with its associated application.
Virtual joysticks are then available to move the drone in a three-dimensional space. Alternatively, the Tello drone can also be connected to a compatible remote control and maneuvered. So far, Tello is compatible with a Gamevice controller.
This is a relatively typical gamepad with A, B, X, and Y buttons, L1 and R2 shoulder buttons, L2 and R2 trigger buttons, D-pad, and joysticks. The controller is connected via the Lightning interface (on iOS devices) and allows you to control the Tello with physical feedback. Also, the battery integrated into the controller charges the iPhone or iPad during operation.
Charging the battery of the Ryze Tello is done directly on the aircraft using a micro-USB cable. A standard micro-USB charging cable is plugged into the plane and charged either via the USB power plug or via the USB port on the PC or Mac.
Of course, the Ryze Tello can also be recharged using a power bank. The charging time for the battery is approximately one hour and 30 minutes. The connection between the mobile device and the aircraft is established via a WiFi network. To do this, you have to select the WiFi called TELLO-XXXXXX in your smartphone’s WLAN settings. If the smartphone app displays the live image of the camera drone, the connection is successfully established.
The app displays not only the FPV image of the drone camera but also various flight parameters (e.g., speed, altitude, or remaining battery capacity with percentage). Different photo and video functions – for example, a trigger – are available in the screen’s upper right-hand corner.
In the upper left corner of the screen, settings can be changed or flight modes selected. Auto take-off and auto-landing are also possible with the Ryze Tech Tello.
Different Flight Modes (Slow and Fast)
If the Ryze Tello is to be piloted manually, you can choose two different flight modes. By default, the “Slow” mode is activated. Here, the maximum angle of flight attitude is 9°, and the maximum airspeed is limited to 14.4 km/h.
If the “Fast” mode is selected, the maximum angle of attack is 25°, and the maximum airspeed is 28.8 km/h. Therefore, the user can choose whether the Tello drone should be slower and more leisurely or faster and more agile. If the Tello is maneuvered manually, the Vision Positioning System is always responsible for a stable flight attitude based on an infrared module.
If the VPS conditions are not sufficient (e.g., too high altitudes or speeds, reflective and low-contrast surfaces, or moving surfaces), Tello automatically switches to attitude mode. The VPS of the Ryze Tech Tello is only active when the aircraft is at altitudes between 0.3 and 10 meters.
In this case, the Ryze Tello will not position itself automatically. Environmental influences such as wind or bad weather may cause the camera drone to drift. If the warning light on the Ryze Tello slowly turns yellow, this means that the aircraft is in attitude mode. Flying skill is necessary to maintain this position.
The status LED provides a lot of information for this drone, such as information about the battery’s status. What the individual warning signals mean can be read in the operating instructions.
By the way, if you switch between the flight modes “Slow” and “Fast,” a warning signal must be accepted. Furthermore, the flight modes are hidden in the settings. To activate the maximum airspeed, you must explicitly look into the settings and switch on the flight mode.
Bounce Mode, 8D-Flips, Throw & Go, EZ Shots, Circle, Up & Away.
The Ryze Tech Tello is standard equipped not only with the two speed-dependent flight modes but also with all kinds of intelligent flight modes. These flight modes are mainly tricks that amaze spectators, making this maneuver of the quadrocopter a lot of fun. The Tello drone will support the Intelligent Flight Modes called Bounce Mode, 8D-Flips, Throw & Go, EZ Shots, Circle, and Up & Away from the market launch.
The Tello flies up and down between 0.5 and 1.2 meters above a flat surface in Bounce Mode. Suppose the Tello detects an obstacle (e.g., a hand) with ultrasound and the ground-directed camera. In that case, the flight altitude is automatically increased, and the Tello continues to fly up and down.
Like the other flight modes, the bounce mode is activated and deactivated in the corresponding overview on the smartphone app screen.
With 8D Flips, the Ryze Tello turns sideways in any given direction – the drone makes a sideways somersault. It should be performed to the right or left, determined by a wiping gesture in the respective direction. Spectacular and extremely fascinating is Throw & Go. Here, the Ryze Tello is simply thrown gently into the air. The quadcopter stabilizes itself completely independently as if by magic.
With EZ Shots, the Tello is even able to rotate on its own axis. While the Ryze Tello rotates 360 degrees on its own, video recording is activated simultaneously. This allows the toy quadrocopter to record 360-degree videos without manual intervention.
With the Circle mode, the Ryze Tello flies in a circle and records short videos. Finally, the Up & Away flight mode is worth mentioning, where the Ryze Tello records a short video as it moves backward and flies upwards.
- The result:
Impressive flight maneuvers and the possibility to record creative aerial shots with the integrated 5-megapixel camera in a short time. In practice, individual flight modes generally work well. The single important thing is that the drone’s surface is correspondingly high in contrast and does not reflect. It is also essential to make sure that there is no dirt or streaks on the ground-oriented camera.
Conclusion and evaluation
The Ryze Tello carries the specific genes of a DJI product – even though the Tello drone is not manufactured and developed by the market leader. But the intelligent sensor technology and the sophisticated flight control system of the Chinese market leader DJI make the Tello the perfect mini drone – visually, haptically, and technically.
The DJI Tello drone has a high-quality finish, takes excellent pictures for in-between, and lies like a board in the air thanks to the Vision Positioning System. The intelligent flight modes are excellent and provide a lot of fun in practice. If you are looking for a cheap mini-drone with a good camera, the DJI Tello drone is a perfect choice.