3DR SOLO Review - Specs and Everything you Need to Know

3DR SOLO Review - Specs and Everything you Need to Know

 The 3DR (Robotics) Solo is extremely functional, yet easy to use. It has many features similar to the Phantom 3 but instead of using a built-in camera, it uses the GoPro Hero 4. This means that you have the ability to take the camera off and use it for whatever you want. The biggest difference between the 3DR Solo and almost any other ready-to-fly camera drone is that it’s modular/upgradable but still easy to use.

3DR SOLO - Design

 Compared to some quadcopters, the Solo has a more purposeful - almost military - look about it. It's roughly the same size as a DJI Phantom 3 and also has self-tightening props which are quick to unscrew for easier transport.
 And like the Dji Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional, the Solo comes with a smart controller that will accept an iPad mini, giving you a large display for composing shots.
 The controller takes certain cues from gamepads and has large, easy to use buttons including an obvious 'FLY' button which launches the bird into the air when held down and a 'return to home' button that brings the Solo back to you - handy if you lose sight of it.
3DR Solo

3DR SOLO Battery Life and Charge Time

 As for the battery, 3DR equipped this badboy with a rechargeable 5,200 mAh 14.8Vdc lithium ion battery, which allegedly gives it 25 minutes of flight time without the camera, and about 20 minutes with it. In our tests, we found that this 20-minute estimate is actually a bit modest if you don’t fly the drone very hard.

3DR SOLO battery

 We managed to keep our fully-loaded Solo in the air for nearly 22 minutes while keeping it at just a plain ‘ol hover, but when you fly with a bit more gusto, you can expect to get anywhere from 15 to 18 minutes of flight time.

"Related: Dji Mavic Pro Camera Review - The best Camera Drone"

 After that, it takes roughly 1 hour and 35 minutes to recharge each battery — so we highly recommend buying a few of them if you plan to use Solo for any kind of serious videography.

3DR Solo Photos & Video

3DR solo Go pro
 The Solo cannot take photos and video without an added device. Instead, it works with a GoPro camera, which connects to a control cable and an HDMI cable that feeds the video back to the drone and the controlling app.
 This allows the Solo to control the GoPro 4 and change settings. The older GoPro Hero 3 doesn't get the same level of control, but the drone can still stop and start video recording on the camera.
 The resolution and frame rate of these videos depends on the type of GoPro you use, but with a GoPro 4 Hero Black, I could shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second. GoPro 4 users also can control the resolution and frame rate of the video from the app.
NB:The new Sony UMC-R10C camera is supported by a custom-made gimbal that orients the camera in any direction and stabilizes it during flight. "Source: 3DR Solo official"
3DR solo sony

 The gimbal holds the camera steadily in place, and allows the camera to move independently, pointing left or right and up and down. The video we shot was superior to what we got with the DJI Phantom 3, as the Solo-shot footage showed none of the occasional glitches and vibrations that we saw from DJI’s drone.

 Solo is also equipped with an open accessory bay, which allows users to attach aftermarket hardware onto the drone as well. To be fair, there aren’t really any software or hardware upgrades available right now (unless you build one yourself), but even so, the Solo scores high marks for upgradability.

 This is arguably one of the most “future proof” drones on the market right now, which gives it a huge leg up on the competition.

Flying the 3DR Solo

"Advanced Flight Modes"

 Solo includes five advanced flight modes: FLY:Manual, Stabilize, Acro, Sport, and Drift. Enable these advanced flight modes only if you are an extremely experienced operator comfortable flying drones without autopilot assistance. Without the proper skill, using advanced flight modes inevitably leads to crashes.


Fly:Manual mode is a version of standard flight without GPS lock. In Fly:Manual, the throttle stick controls altitude the same way as standard flight (Fly mode). However, Fly:Manual includes no GPS positioning so that, when you release the right stick, Solo will not hold its position; it will drift according to wind conditions and existing momentum. When flying in Fly:Manual, make constant adjustment to the right stick to control Solo’s position and use the left stick to maintain Solo’s orientation.
Stabilize mode provides full manual control without autopilot assistance. In stabilize, the roll and pitch angles are monitored and regulated so that Solo returns to level when you release the right stick. The throttle stick controls power and acceleration directly; it does not correspond to altitude. Stabilize requires fine-tuned control of both the left and right sticks to fly Solo. Stabilize does not require GPS lock.
Drift mode requires GPS lock and provides a plane-like flying experience. Drift is ideal for navigating Solo using the video feed. This is known as first-person view (FPV) and provides an immersive flying experience. In Drift, Solo combines roll, pitch, and yaw onto the controller’s right stick. To navigate Solo in Drift, move the right stick to initiate a coordinated turn in that direction. Releasing the right stick causes Solo to drift to a stop over a two-second period. Solo does not automatically control altitude in Drift, and requires constant adjustments to the throttle stick when flying in Drift.


Acro is the most advanced of Solo’s flight modes. It provides unrestricted control over Solo’s roll and pitch angles. Acro is intended for performing aerial acrobatics, flips, and maneuvers requiring extreme angles. No altitude or position assistance is available in Acro, so be prepared to make constant adjustment to both sticks. Acro is a copter-frame oriented mode, meaning that, in Acro, Solo always responds to controls relative to its own orientation. Acro does not require GPS lock.
 Sport mode in a modified version of Acro that includes altitude assistance and earth-frame orientation. With altitude assistance, the throttle stick behaves the same in Sport as it does in standard flight (Fly mode). Earth-frame orientation differs from copter-frame orientation in that the direction of yaw rotation is in relation to the earth instead of in relation to the copter itself. For example, if Solo is pitched forward in Sport mode and left yaw is applied, Solo maintains the same pitch angle and rotate around the vertical axis. This differs from Acro’s copter-frame orientation, in which, in the same situation, Solo performs a cartwheel. Sport does not require GPS lock.
3DR SOLO  Price
 For a limited time, Amazon has the 3DR Solo drone for $259.99 shipped (plus tax), a price that includes not only a 3-axis gimbal, but also a spare battery and two extra sets of propellers.
 Let me put this in some perspective. The Solo originally sold for $1,399(!) without the gimbal, though it now runs $700. Spare batteries still list for $150, though you can find them around $100 if you look hard. So it would still be pretty incredible if this was just the Solo for $259.99, but the gimbal and extra battery are worth about $350 all by themselves.

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