Yuneec Breeze

MSRP $499.99

“What the Breeze lacks in pace and vary, it makes up for with a conveyable design, nice autopilot, and a completely affordable worth.”

Execs

  • Compact, moveable design
  • Quite a few autonomous flight modes
  • Surprisingly sturdy
  • First rate 4K digital camera
  • Moderately priced

Cons

  • Mushy, imprecise controls
  • Restricted pace and vary
  • No gimbal

Producers are stuffing drones with all of the bells and whistles we might ever need, which means the race is on to shrink them down and make them extra moveable. Why? Properly, what good is having an autonomous flying digital camera when you can’t take it in all places you go? As drone makers have began to understand how vital portability is, a flood of super-compact unmanned aerial autos is hitting the market.

To dip our toes on this burgeoning class of ultraportable drones, we obtained our palms on Yuneec’s Breeze — a $500 selfie drone that’s been referred to as the final word flying digital camera — to see the way it compares to the remainder of the pack. Will it soar or crash land?

Options & specs

As you may’ve guessed from the identify, the Breeze is the smaller, lighter brother of the extra heavy-duty Hurricane drones, such because the Yuneec Hurricane H and 2015’s Yuneec Hurricane Q500 4K. However don’t let its diminutive stature idiot you — this little drone has so much occurring beneath the hood. Regardless of being a bit much less highly effective, the Breeze has loads of the identical options you’ll discover on it’s larger, costlier brethren.

Arguably an important characteristic is the drone’s digital camera. The Breeze can shoot in 4K at 30 frames per second, take 13 megapixel nonetheless photographs, and even beam reside video again to your smartphone within the course of, permitting you to see what the drone sees in actual time. On high of that, Breeze can be geared up with a good suite of autonomous filming modes, together with Orbit, Observe Me, and Selfie — options that was discovered completely on drones that value $1,000 or extra.

It even has a couple of options that Yuneec’s larger drones lack. Along with a super-portable design, Breeze additionally boasts an indoor positioning system, which helps it fly and preserve stability when flying indoors with restricted GPS connectivity. To high all of it off, Yuneec ships every Breeze drone with a carrying case, a set of prop guards, and two batteries — every of which is able to get you about 11 to 12 minutes of flight time. Not unhealthy for a $500 drone.

Construct high quality & design

Whenever you first pull it out of the field, the Breeze doesn’t really feel significantly sturdy. It’s made virtually fully out of plastic — which most drones are, to be honest — however this plastic admittedly feels a bit brittle, like one laborious smack on the concrete would trigger the hull to fracture.

This little drone has so much occurring beneath the hood.

Due to this, we have been initially a bit skeptical in regards to the Breeze’s sturdiness, however after crashing it a half dozen instances, we have been happy to find that it’s really fairly rattling sturdy. We bashed it (inadvertently) into all method of obstacles — bushes, branches, tree trunks, and even the aspect of a automobile — however in none of these cases did the drone grow to be so broken that it couldn’t begin proper up once more.

So far as we will inform, the important thing to the Breeze’s resilience is its intelligent hinged props. it seems that Yuneec outfitted the drone with this characteristic in order that the props might be folded inward for straightforward transport, however primarily based on our observations, it appears that evidently additionally they assist the drone recuperate from run-ins with tree branches fairly successfully. As an alternative of breaking on contact, they pivot backward ever so barely, which appears to forestall them from snapping.

Now to be honest, we by no means crashed it on concrete and by no means made it plummet greater than 5 or 6 toes out of the sky, so whereas it held up fairly nicely throughout our checks, we nonetheless aren’t positive that it’d survive a tough drop within the parking zone. Fly with care!

Wealthy Shibley/Digital Traits

Wealthy Shibley/Digital Traits

Sturdiness apart, the Breeze scores huge factors within the design division. Yuneec constructed this drone to be extremely moveable, so the props and touchdown gear are designed to fold up and tuck neatly inside a 10-inch by 10-inch by 2.5-inch carrying case. Which may not seem to be a really vital characteristic, however as we found, the portability issue is big. As a result of Breeze matches so simply inside a backpack, we discovered ourselves bringing it alongside on extra outings — which, in flip, meant that we captured extra cool footage. Photographers have an previous adage that goes “one of the best digital camera is the one you have got with you” — and the identical undoubtedly holds true for drones.

Battery life and recharge time

To get a way of how lengthy this little quad can keep aloft, we ran it by means of our regular suite of endurance checks. To begin, we charged up the battery, launched the Breeze about 10 toes up into the air, and simply let it hover in place till the battery ran out and Yuneec’s software program compelled it to land. Underneath the least demanding flight situations doable, the Breeze stayed within the air for precisely 11 minutes and 24 seconds — which is about 36 seconds shy of the flight time listed on the field. In distinction, the drone’s common flight time throughout all our different checks (all of which began with a full battery and ended after we have been compelled to land) was 10 minutes and 40 seconds. So when you fly it a bit more durable, you may anticipate a little bit of a drop in battery longevity — however not a really huge one.

Certain, 10 minutes won’t sound like a very lengthy flight time — and it’s not — however the upside is that Breeze ships with two batteries, so you may get someplace round 21 minutes of flying time when you set out with each of them charged up. That’s greater than sufficient time to snap some selfies throughout your newest hike, seize some aerial footage of your sister’s marriage ceremony, or regardless of the heck you need to do with a flying digital camera. When it’s all mentioned and finished, although, every battery takes about 50 minutes to completely recharge, so be ready to attend round for some time between flights.

Flight Efficiency, autonomy, and vary

In comparison with another drones in the marketplace, Breeze is a bit restricted on the subject of flight efficiency. It has a max horizontal pace of 5 meters per second (roughly 11 miles per hour), can solely ascend at a fee of 1 meter per second (about 2.2 miles per hour), and has a most vary of simply 100 meters (0.06 miles) — however that’s all by design. Yuneec deliberately constructed these limitations into the drone’s software program, presumably to scale back the chance of crashing or dropping your drone when you fly. That’s simply the best way it goes.

The opposite limiting issue is the truth that Breeze doesn’t include a bodily controller. It’s designed for portability, so to maintain it as small and compact as doable, Yuneec determined to skip using a stand-alone controller and as an alternative construct a model new piloting app (Android | iOS) that you could obtain and use together with your smartphone.

It’s a strong app. In actual fact, we expect it’s probably the greatest, most responsive app-based drone controllers we’ve ever used. Besides, the truth that you’re compelled to make use of touchscreen controls makes for a moderately mushy and imprecise piloting expertise. Digital joysticks simply don’t supply the identical stage of precision that bodily ones do, and the Breeze’s app is not any exception.

Even with the software-imposed flight limitations and relatively mushy guide controls, Breeze boasts a fairly first rate flying expertise — particularly while you hand over the controls to Yuneec’s autopilot software program. This hen was designed to be extra of a robotic photographer than a high-performance hobbyist quad, so it’s actually extra centered on auto-fly than guide mode. Breeze’s autonomous flight mode suite isn’t not fairly as full-featured as what you’ll discover in Yuneec’s Hurricane collection, but it surely does include Orbit, Selfie, and Observe Me — that are presumably an important for folk trying to take footage of themselves. These modes all carried out flawlessly in our checks, and whereas the Observe Me mode isn’t fairly as strong as DJI’s energetic object monitoring, it does a wonderful job of following your Bluetooth signature and holding you in body.

Wealthy Shibley/Digital Traits

Wealthy Shibley/Digital Traits

Even with all these autonomous modes, you continue to need to be a bit cautious the place you utilize them — Breeze doesn’t include any form of onboard impediment avoidance, so even while you’re in autonomous mode, you’ll must regulate your environment and look out for any obstacles. Considered one of our run-ins with a tree department was brought on by setting the orbit radius too excessive, which despatched the drone careening right into a tree with none method to cease itself. Observe Me has related issues — when you make the drone comply with you previous any bushes or surprising elevation positive factors. It’s not a deal breaker, but it surely definitely limits what sort of issues you are able to do with it.

Digital camera, equipment, and upgradability

Yuneec touts the Breeze as a “selfie” drone, so it comes as no shock that the corporate geared up the drone with a fairly first rate digital camera. Not solely is drone pictures a factor but it surely’s led to some wonderful aerial artwork. This factor has a max decision of 4K at 30 frames per second, however can even shoot in 1080p at 60FPS or 720p at 120FPS. It additionally shoots 13 megapixel nonetheless photographs, has 117-degree discipline of view, and might swivel up or down on the contact of a button.

For essentially the most half, it’s a fairly strong little digital camera, but it surely does have one clear downside: the truth that it’s not mechanically stabilized. Yuneec didn’t put a gimbal on Breeze’s digital camera, and as an alternative opted for digital stabilization, which helps hold the drone compact. The one downside with this strategy is that you could’t use Breeze’s stabilization options when taking pictures in 4K. The drone’s software-based stabilization solely works while you shoot at a decrease decision, like 1080p or 720p. This leaves you with a tough option to make: Do you shoot high-res however doubtlessly shaky video, or clean however lower-resolution video? That’s a tricky name.

Wealthy Shibley/Digital Traits

Wealthy Shibley/Digital Traits

As for equipment, the Breeze comes with a pair small however vital additions. The primary is a set of prop guards that may simply snap on or off the drone’s hull, and assist shield it from crashes when flying indoors. Second, and arguably extra vital, is the included carrying case. Regardless of its considerably small dimensions, this case can safely maintain the drone, a spare battery, and all 4 of the aforementioned prop guards. This makes it extremely simple to stuff in a backpack or messenger bag.

On the subject of upgrades, it doesn’t seem that the drone is designed for {hardware} upgrades of any kind. Yuneec will in all probability push out firmware updates periodically prefer it does for its different drones, however apart from that, it appears such as you’ll be caught with the identical {hardware} for the foreseeable future.

Our Take

In case you’re in search of a straightforward method to begin taking pictures aerial video, Breeze is a strong entry level. Certain, it doesn’t have the high-performance flight specs you’ll discover in costlier drones, however what it lacks in pace and vary, it makes up for with a conveyable design, easy controls, and a super-reasonable worth.

Are there higher choices accessible?

No, not significantly. Your choices are comparatively slim on this worth vary, and Breeze is among the greatest drones you may get for $500 proper now.

Maybe its closest competitor is the newly launched Hover Digital camera. This drone boasts related specs (4K cam, moveable design, indoor positioning system, and so on.) and is designed primarily for selfies and different primary aerial pictures/videography makes use of. It prices a bit extra ($600), however for that additional dough you’ll get a pair neat options that Breeze doesn’t have, like energetic face-tracking software program and launch from hand talents.

In case you don’t care a lot about portability, one other good choice is DJI’s Phantom 3 Customary ($500). It has higher vary and tighter flight controls than each the Breeze and the Hover Digital camera — however remember the fact that it’s not practically as compact, it might probably’t fly indoors, and it doesn’t have a 4K digital camera.

How lengthy will it final?

Most likely a couple of years, when you deal with it nicely. As we talked about earlier than, Breeze isn’t significantly upgradable by way of {hardware}, however Yuneec has a superb monitor report of holding its merchandise updated with common firmware updates, software program enhancements, and even the occasional accent launch. So long as you don’t have a catastrophic crash, this drone ought to hold flying like a champ for years to return

Must you purchase it?

Sure. Simply ensure that the Breeze’s options and skills are in keeping with your objectives. This drone in all probability isn’t a sensible choice for critical pilots and filmmakers — however when you’re merely in search of a straightforward/inexpensive method to snap aerial images of your self and your adventures, then Breeze is a wonderful selection. We actually loved this drone, and also you in all probability will too.

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