When the original AR.Drone came out I have to admit that I immediately dismissed it as a “toy” and I had very little interest in it. Sure, like any toy it would be fun to play with for a while. However, like many other toys you could quickly lose interest. Therefore I never bought one. Not even for the “cool (aka geek) factor”. Then the AR Drone 2.0 came along and it added something that I thought would be useful. The AR Drone 2.0 adds a better camera that does video at 720p HD. Yes, this raised an eyebrow and I decided to take a look. I did a pre-order and my AR.Drone showed up a couple of days ago. I figured I might have a use for this on set, especially on location shoots to do fly arounds of the set and the area that I’m photographing.
The great thing about this little drone is that it’s light weight and very easy to fly. It doesn’t come with a remote control! You actually fly it from your mobile device (iOS or Android). I downloaded the App on my iPad and iPhone. The AR Drone 2.0 has it’s own built-in WiFi network. Once you charge the battery and pop it in, it powers up and starts broadcasting a network. You connect to this adhoc network from your device and then launch the AR Drone App (a free download). You see what the AR Drone sees right on your device. Using the accelerometers in your iPad, iPhone, etc. you tilt the device to control direction. There’s an on screen joystick to turn the drone. If you suddenly lose control, just take your fingers off the screen and the Drone will hover in place.
Since the built-in camera is always running you can tap the record button within the App and start recording/streaming video from the AR Drone right to your mobile device. Very Cool! The App even allows sharing directly to YouTube.
Here’s a sample video I did flying around my photography studio while a friend also video’d the AR.Drone 2.0 itself using my iPhone 4s:
What’s not so great…
Battery life is still relatively SHORT! You get one rechargeable battery and charger and the battery last for about 10 minutes of flying. Then you’ll need about 90 minutes to charge it back up. Unless you plan to do really short flights/videos, you’ll definitely want to have a couple of charged batteries on hand (about $35 each). It’s light weight and while that’s a good thing for travel, it means that a strong wind will take it away. Since it works via WiFi you’ll also have limited range. Like most small cheap HD cameras, this one doesn’t do well in low light. With a small lens/sensor comes lower quality video in low light. However, with enough light the video is more than acceptable for my needs.
The Bottom Line
The AR.Drone 2.0 is an improvement over the original! Adding 720p Video Recording makes it useful as a tool. On a calm day I can really see some great outdoor uses for it.
It was widely reported that Apple's App Store downloads jumped over 1,000 percent on Christmas Day and that for the first time, iPod touch app downloads outpaced iPhone App downloads. While this is all certainly good news for Apple, App Developers and the platform as a whole, it's a telling sign that companies like Sony and Nintendo should be very afraid.
The Handheld Gaming Pricing Model has changed!
The reason that these two gaming giants should be afraid is that they have built their handheld gaming businesses on a model that includes selling a moderately priced device and charging a significant price on games.
A quick look at bestbuy.com reveals that the lowest priced game for the Nintendo DS is $9.99.
However, their best selling games are starting at $19.99. Now you could look at this and say that people will spend more for a game that they really like and there's probably some truth to that. However, the games for the iPod touch range anywhere from FREE to $1.99 on average with $9.99 being considered to be an "expensive game."
I don't review a lot of games here because I'm not much of a gamer. So when I do it's usually something that's pretty fun. This is one of those times. My family was really interested in the Just Dance game for the Nintendo Wii so I ordered it.
What's the Object of the Game?
Like the title says: Just Dance. While the game does offer some competitive features so that you challenge your friends, you don't have to go that route. You can just queue a good tune (nice 80's songs built-in) and Just Dance. Although I didn't actually play this, I was rolling on the floor laughing at family members who did. Not that they couldn't dance mind you, it was just fun watching some of the more old school dances on screen and watching people trying to mimic the moves. You can have up to four dancers going at once (1 controller per dancer required.) There 35 different dance songs to choose from and each song has its own animated avatar on screen to show you the moves. By holding a Wiimote in your hand it can determine if you're doing the moves correctly.
If you do decide to have your own dance off, Just Dance will award the most points to the person who does the dance more accurately than the others. If you're using this as a workout I strongly suggest using the built-in warmup routine.
It's a lot of fun and of course anything that gets you up off that couch every now and then is a good thing.
If you have a Wii and want to have a lot of laughs, I highly recommend this game. It should also be a ball at parties. I can only imagine how much fun this gets after people have had a drink or two. 🙂
You can get Just Dance for the Wii here ON SALE. Also if you need a Nintendo Wii Game Console, you can get one here.
The Wii fit board is NOT required. It simply uses the standard game controllers to tell if you're doing the moves correctly.