Parrot MiniDrones on Sale in August, We Go Hands-On

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Parrot’s MiniDrones: Rolling Spider and Jumping Sumo


Looking for a cool high-tech toy this summer? French drone-making company Parrot is preparing to release two new MiniDrones in August. The Parrot Jumping Sumo is a $159 remote-controlled drone that drives around on the floor and uses a spring to jump two and a half feet into the air, and the Parrot Rolling Spider is a $99 drone which, despite its name, flies up to 10 meters into the air.


We last saw these devices at CES in January, when the Rolling Spider was called the MiniDrone. Now both the Rolling Spider and Jumping Sumo are categorized as MiniDrones, and we got to check out their final versions at a special event in New York City. Both the Jumping Sumo and the Rolling Spider go on sale this August.


The Parrot Jumping Sumo uses oversized wheels to zip around on the ground. Users control it via the Android or iOS app, which connects to the Sumo over Wi-Fi. A Windows Phone app is coming in the fall.


From the app you can steer the Sumo forward or backward, or make it do quick 90 degree or 180-degree turns. The app also has a list of other actions that users can select, such as a quick spin or a tapping motion, where the Sumo will tap its spring launcher onto the ground.


You can also map out a course for the Sumo to take, and when you hit “Go” the Sumo will perform the actions you designed.


The Sumo has 20 minutes of battery life on a full charge, and has an onboard camera that can stream to the app, so you can see what your Sumo sees. However, to store any of that video you’ll need to clip a memory storage device onto the Sumo via its micro-USB port.


Then there’s the Rolling Spider. This light-bodied drone has two detachable plastic wheels extending from its sides, which can be used to either roll the Spider around on the ground or act as collision guards when flying in the air. The Spider also has four small propellors that let it hover, rotate, and fly horizontally and vertically.


Like the Sumo, the Spider is controlled via an iOS or Android app (with a Windows Phone app coming in the fall), but it connects to the phone over Bluetooth. The Spider can go up to 10 meters into the air, and has a maximum battery life of 8 minutes flying or 20 minutes rolling. A camera on the bottom of the Spider also takes photos of the ground below.


We hope to review both of Parrot’s new MiniDrones when they become available, so stay tuned for more info.


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