• Derek

Tello Drone- My Review

This is my first (and potentially last) experience with the world of drone photography, and I thought I'd write a little about it. I've only used the drone a few times- and here's the reason why. In the city, at least, they're not very practical. Especially if you're following the rules as set out by CASA. There are so many rules about where you're not allowed to fly that it's basically hopeless, so I know for a fact that a lot of people don't fly by the rules.

There are some very basic rules where it's essential to comply in respect to safety. Not flying over or near airports / helipads is obvious, as is over populated areas and roadways. Think what happens if you were to lose control of your drone over a motorway for example, and it crashes....

Other rules about not flying over other people, such as parks, beaches, etc, or within 30 metres of another person not controlling your drone, makes it virtually impossible to use. And there are all these implications regarding privacy if you're flying over residential areas.

So where does that leave your drone? Pretty much in the bag. Even national parks are no-fly zones. And this is for hobbyists- imagine what rules there are if you were using drones for your business (like weddings).

So after all that, let's go to the Tello. I bought it on special for $128. It comes with the drone, the battery, a couple of replacement blades, and that's it. you control the drone with an app on your device, and you can fly for approximately 12-15 minutes before having to charge. That's shorter than most of the "real" drones, but it is a decent amount of time considering how you could use the Tello.

The Tello weighs in at less than 100g, so it's really light. Some of the CASA rules don't apply (which is good), but it's virtually hopeless if it's windy (which is not so good). It's easy to control (although I lost it over the neighbour's fence on my first try- without reading any instructions). Bear in mind that this budget drone has no GPS, no collision avoidance, and doesn't know how to come back. I always have this vision of just spending thousands on a drone, and then losing it...

What about the camera? Well, it can record in 1080P, but the video is not very good. The stills, at 5MP are actually good and quite usable. There is no image stabilisation via gimbal, and the camera doesn't tilt (this is really bad, because you'll come across something really cool, and have no way to compose the image or video). Obviously, there is also no optical zoom.

So, in my opinion, this Tello is fun, but I don't think that I'd want to spend more on a cooler-looking DJI Mavic (note that the Tello is also powered by DJI). I just don't know that I'd be able to use it much. But it's cool if you can.

BTW, here's a link to the CASA drone laws.


And here is a video of my review:


Until next time,

D