The demand for aerial photography has increased significantly in recent years. At the same time, the price range is vast, and thus the features of the copters are also very diverse. Yuneec is one of the leading providers for drones and offers an entry-level model for the ambitious enthusiast pilot with the Yuneec Breeze. But the question arises for whom this model is suitable and who should look for alternatives. This article provides answers to these questions.
The Yuneec Breeze comes in a small white box and includes the following accessories in addition to the actual quadrocopter: two LiPo batteries, a charging station, a data cable (micro-USB), and four propeller guards.
A remarkable feature is the hard case, which holds the copter, including the battery, the set of 4 propeller guards, and an extra battery. Yuneec has really put some thought into this and provided a nice transport case. This allows the Breeze to be transported to the launch point undamaged and fits in any medium backpack. The drone’s total weight, including the battery, is 385 grams, so the drone will not be too heavy even on a more extended trip.
First Look at Yuneec Breeze
The copter gives a very high-quality impression. The manufacturing of its various components appears to be of high quality, as no parts stick out or break off easily. Thus, the aircraft is compactly assembled. The propellers are firmly mounted on the drone and can be folded up after the flight. This has the advantage for you that you can quickly take off with your new drone.
The included propeller guard is optional and is attached to the quadcopter with a simple click mechanism. Furthermore, the feet can be folded for transport, which clearly reduces the drone’s volume and lowers it to the fitting size. Unfolding the propellers is not necessary for the ascent, as they align themselves automatically with the rotation.
Preparations before the first flight with the Yuneec Breeze
The batteries must be charged before launch. The capacity of the single 3S battery is 1,150 mAh. A Breeze battery is fully charged after about one hour. The charging station indicates the charging status with different colored LEDs. A color scale with the corresponding explanations is located on the bottom of the charger.
For take-off, a level surface with a radius of at least 4 meters is necessary to allow a safe landing during the return-to-home function. There must be no interferences (e.g., grass, stones, etc.) in the ascent area during take-off and landing that can influence the propellers’ operation. Should a landing in the grass become necessary, you will be prompted with a malfunction message. This message can usually be dismissed by turning the Yuneec Breeze off and then on again. Landing is also done on a flat surface, preferably the launch position. Unfortunately, the drone cannot be launched or landed in the air or from the hands.
Compass calibration is necessary after switching on the Yuneec Breeze. To do this, the drone must be rotated around its own axis several times. The app will guide you through the individual steps. However, make sure that you do not perform the compass calibration near metallic surfaces or electrical devices, as this will affect the compass. If the compass is calibrated incorrectly, this can lead to problems during the drone flight.
Connecting The Yuneec Breeze to Your Smartphone
Before you start the first flight tests with the Breeze, you can make various settings to control the flight characteristics. To do this, you first need to download the appropriate app for Android or iOS from the dedicated store. There is currently no Windows app available. The app is free of charge and allows you to control the drone and upgrade the copter firmware.
The app’s interface is intuitive, but connecting to the drone via Wi-Fi is a bit complex. You need to follow the sequence below to establish a working connection.
First, press the power button on the Yuneec Breeze until you hear an ascending beep and the button flashes blue rapidly. Now the wireless network of Breeze will be connected. This takes some time and can sometimes take 2 to 3 minutes before being recognized by the smartphone or tablet.
The connection is established via the smartphone settings by entering the password (1234567890). Both Android and iOS users must reset (ignore or forget) the WLAN network after each flight to connect to the copter when the password is entered again. You will hear a beep after the connection has been successfully established.
For Android, you now need to confirm that you want to connect to the network even though there is no internet connection. If you do not confirm this, the app will not be able to communicate to Breeze.
The Breeze’s flight characteristics and controls
Yuneec Breeze is a selfie drone with a GPS function. The camera is oriented backward, which is rather untypical for multi-copters. If you already have experience with flying drones, you will have to adjust your thinking when it comes to the controls, where the front is, and where the back is.
The drone is equipped with an indoor positioning system (IPS). This is an infrared sensor that scans the ground and ensures that the Breeze always stays in the same place. The on-board computer immediately counteracts any drifting of the Yuneec Breeze. This also enables flights indoors, where usually no GPS signal can be received.
Both GPS & infrared sensors ensure a smooth flight. Regardless of the small size, small gusts of wind cannot affect the copter’s flight position. Even beginners will experience a quick sense of success when flying. Like nearly all copters in this price segment, it is not meant to be used in stronger gusts of wind.
The control can be done by smartphone, tablet, or FPV controller. The app’s operation is simple and briefly explained before the flight’s start (can be switched off). A big disadvantage of controlling with the smartphone is the lack of feedback from the switch. Thus, minor turns or deviations from the desired flight path can occur if you do not hit the button correctly or slightly warped without noticing it. These disadvantages are diminished over time with some flight experience and smooth finger movements.
The WLAN connection of the Yuneec Breeze is solid in open terrain up to a flight distance of about 50-60 meters and shows a slightly faltering live transmission. The signal strength drops drastically in densely built-up areas or a dense Wi-Fi network. The signal will be interrupted during the flight and has to be re-established again. Suppose a connection is not re-established after a few minutes. In that case, the Breeze climbs to the preset flight altitude and flies back to the starting point, and lands there (return-to-home function). To generalize, in areas where flying is restricted, the drone’s control is also restricted. But in an open field, the connection is constant and stable.
When the battery level reaches approx. 15%, the drone gives a warning that the battery is empty and must be landed. At 5%, the drone lands exactly where it is and no longer flies back to the starting point. While the Breeze only has a sensor pointing to the ground, allowing it to determine a more accurate flight position, it has no collision sensors.
The actual flight time depends on wind conditions, temperature, and the video recording. An approximate flight time of up to 18 minutes was possible during testing. This is sufficient time for various camera movements.
Flying is simplified by various intelligent modes.
The Yuneec Breeze offers different flight modes when it comes to flying, especially to live up to a selfie drone’s name. The pilot mode is for completely manual control and is recommended for experienced pilots when flying. However, there are also some smart flight modes that you can use first:
- Selfie Mode: in This mode, the Yuneec Breeze will take pictures of you.
- Orbit Mode: With Orbit, the drone circles you or another subject
- Journey Mode: Breeze flies away from you and comes back
- Follow Me Mode: Breeze follows and films you thanks to GPS
For your first flight attempt, we would recommend the Selfie Mode or Orbit Mode so that you can familiarize yourself with Breeze’s flight characteristics.
Once you are confident with these modes, you can select the manual flight mode (Pilot). The intelligent flight modes, such as Follow Me, are still useful for filmmakers. They allow a smooth tracking shot of all typical flight maneuvers. Controlling is also child’s play, and activating video recording allows the entire flight to be recorded. Too bad that the Breeze has to take off first before you can start recording.
Breeze’s image & video quality
The Breeze’s picture mode is very limited and reminiscent of a cell phone camera from 2008. Advanced photographers will need the sun to shine very brightly for them to be worth taking a picture. The Breeze is a selfie drone aimed at home users, so if you’re looking for family memories, it’s a good choice. Therefore, if you mainly want to capture unforgettable family memories, the pictures will be quite satisfactory for you.
Compared to the image mode, the video mode is surprisingly good. Though it does not offer high-end material with a LOG profile, the image is sufficiently sharp and also sufficiently low-noise for the sensor size. The Breeze cannot master demanding light situations with a high dynamic range, but the daytime shots are quite presentable.
While the camera’s 4K mode is only relevant as a selling point, the Breeze does not have mechanical image stabilization, so smooth camera movement is impossible. The image is digitally stabilized up to 1080p. If an experienced pilot also flies a steady route, cinematic shots can be created in the right light. Using a subsequent ColorGrading and some digital image stabilization in post-processing, the effect can be enhanced. The shot can be significantly upgraded.
Price & Conclusion
In general, the Yuneec Breeze offers a good price-performance ratio with a purchase price of about $199.99. Yuneec advertises with the slogan “Easy. Safe. Social.” for the Breeze drone. And that is exactly what should strike a nerve. You can take selfies and movies for private use without much prior knowledge. If you don’t want to worry much about technical details, then the Yuneec Breeze is just the thing for you! The selfie drone offers the perfect entry into the world of aerial photography, as it is equipped with essential features like GPS and a camera. Controlling the copter with a smartphone is also easy to learn and allows you to quickly achieve success in flying.
The Yuneec Breeze is perfect for a beginner or amateur pilot to learn the controls and camera operation. While it is not a serious alternative to a high-quality aerial camera like the DJI Mavic Pro, it can provide a new perspective on the next family trip or hike. The batteries included provide enough excitement for two flights. Still, those who want to film a bit more should buy an additional third battery. When it comes to outdoor flights, the GPS signal is used to keep track of your position. An integrated compass also helps with this feature.