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Parrot obviously does NOT want to get peoples business...

Brian Fist

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Lets first start off by saying I am not new to drones, piloting, or dealing with companies. I understand policies, why they have them, and what customer service is about (ie, what a reasonable customer situation is, when a customer takes advantage, and when a customer is unreasonable).

For me, I own 7 DJI drones. No issues. I have been piloting for years. I know all about technical issues. I know about pilot error issues.

I end up getting a Parrot Anafi Extended from my in-laws as a Christmas present. It is my first non-DJI "professional" drone I have owned.

Now, being a present, I did not get a receipt with it. My in-laws are quite conservative, and asking them for a receipt is basically the same as asking to see their latest mammogram or last years taxes.

Having received a DJI drone as a present before, I know there is usually an activation or registration process involved that is required before flying the drone to make sure you are covered under warranty.

I also have done enough research to know that "out of the box" issues have been well-documented with the Anafi, so it was a concern before I even opened the box.

So, I contacted Parrot support after scouring their website (which is totally devoid of any sort of "registration" or "activation" language) and sent them a support email asking about my situation.

The response was that you *NEED* a receipt for any sort of warranty support. (note, in the past I contacted DJI and once I activated their drone online I was covered by their warranty and no receipt was needed for a situation of a "gift", so I know it is not a industry standard "requirement")

So, I then proceed to call their support line. In attempting to talk to the support lady, it was obvious she could not understand the English spoken language, as she isn't listening very well and making comments where she is trying to ascertain where in her "script" she needs to start, she then starts making excuses of not being able to hear me when I was obviously asking questions that were "off-script" for her to answer and that she was obviously in no position to answer. We got disconnected and for the next 15 minutes I tried calling back. I got them to answer 3 times, where I KNEW they answered, but held their hand over the phone and made it sound like they couldn't hear me. One of those calls was from a land-line, so a totally different type of connection and still the same thing (it sounded like they kept putting their hand over the mouthpiece with a somewhat prominent swooshing sound which muted them greatly but could still be barely heard and they acted like they couldn't hear me). I then tried calling back an additional 2 times and they would not answer (which means to me they were screening the calls). End result is that I have ZERO faith in Parrot as a company on the support side of things, from either email or phone.

Basically, I was at a crossroads, take a leap of faith that I received a perfectly operational drone without issues, or that I was rolling the dice and if it freaks out and is dysfunctional I am screwed.

I manned up, charged up the battery in the drone, charged up the controller, installed the app on my Galaxy S9+ and setup an account. To my surprise they did require an internet connection to "activate" the drone, which I did upon startup. It installed the latest firmwares (controller, AC and battery), and I proceeded to launch in in my front room. I can report that it went vertical to about 4ft and hovered there, rock-solid. I moved it forward, back, left, right and then rotated it left and right (man is that set to a very slow rotate rate to begin with) and it went up and down just fine as well, all without moving an inch in any other direction than I wanted it to. I landed it and then made sure the camera moved up and down properly (again, super-slow rate to begin with) as well as good video and a fairly level horizon.

I shut it off and proceeded to do a few more launches and landings. I did do a test I saw in a video review where you put your hand underneath it and it ended up taking off in a weird direction horizontally. I grabbed it out of the air and proceeded to shut it down (strong little beast I will say), so no crash or anything. I have to determine if that was the proper action for it to take with an obstacle from below or if it was just poor lighting in the house at night that caused it to do that. I also have no idea if range is proper as I will need to fly it outside to determine that.

I then charged up the two remaining batteries, updated them in the drone before putting everything away for the evening. I also noticed that both in-app purchases for features were only $0.99 each so I bought both of them to unlock all options for the app. In reading reviews it looks like those options were $18-19 or some such prior, so does that mean this was a "holiday sale" or that they are going to be dropping support for the Anafi in the near future???

So, hopefully I have a solid drone with no issues that require warranty service, since it is HIGHLY questionable if I will get any coverage at all. It is just sad that a company as large as Parrot is so hap-hazard with their customers. Especially for a product such as the Anafi, requiring a receipt for something that is so clearly in the "giftable" category is just crazy. I could see if you could only purchase through specific specialty retailers, but they sell them through both Amazon and Best Buy. You can't get more "big box" than those two. I also highly doubt there is a large volume of these in the "grey-market" where they need to know where it came from. I mean isn't that what a serial number and an online activation is for, to verify ownership???

I can only imagine they have a completely different support team for their commercial products that are built on the Anafi framework. For the prices they charge for those I cannot see them expecting their customers to go through the stupidity I did.
 

Brian Fist

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Follow-up on the initial flights.

I got a chance to g outside and fly it for about 20 minutes. Everything seems to work as it should.

One thing I noticed is the "precision home" is kinda strange. On the first time I used it, it came within 3ft of the spot and landed just fine. On the second attempt it came down about 12ft away and started coming down. I stopped it around 5ft and manually landed it from there. Not very "precision" in that regard.

Besides that I started to get a feel for the various "modes" of flight in regards to film/sport/racing/etc... This drone seems to be MUCH more able to be tossed around... Almost "toy-like" in it's demeanor at times compared to all the rest of my DJI stuff. Nothing that I would say is a deal-killer, or even "bad" per say, just that you need to keep things in mind when flying it much more than the DJI drones. In racing mode it sure does act almost "insect-like" in it's maneuvering. The shape of the drone is very fitting to the way it acts in that regard.

Footage was excellent, if not a little on the dark side, but again, I did not mess with settings beyond the geofencing and RTH stuff.
 
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Rodrigo del Pedregal

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Parrot support services is the most disgusting issue in the company. I have had terrible experience with them absolute non professional, they just abandon their customer
I have no idea how do they keep up the company with such bad service
Hope that DJI care about their customer
About "precision home" it doesn't appears every time for me when take off and don't think or at least is any way to setup that feature
 
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Brian Fist

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So I checked out some of the flight logs, very interesting stuff..
One thing, it is showing -78db for wifi signal when the bird was literally 392ft up vertically.

Isn't that quite low???

What is the range of these drones??? If at only 392ft it is -78db, how can they say even 1 mile range, let alone advertise 2.5 miles???

Or, are there different modes of communication it changes to dynamically once you get further away... I am just inquiring if I can trust this bird to fly a ways away, or are there connection issues with the Anafi???

Lastly, if that is NOT normal, do I have a problem with my controller or the aircraft itself???
 

Brian Fist

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I will add, I have never had range issues with the DJI drones. I am not the type to fly without VLOS, but I have no doubt that most of my DJI drones will fly at least 2 miles away (I used a spotter in a car to test range once or twice with various models, all done out in the middle of nowhere over empty farm fields). Only one of my DJI drones is a WiFi model (Mavic Air 1), and that has a 4Hawks SR range extender on it and it had no problem with the same test I put the rest of the drones through for distance.
 

Agustine

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Your comparing apples and oranges. DJI has ocusync. This is a much different system. The Anafi uses Wi-Fi and is subject to interference. Will it get 2 miles? Yes many have but it has to be in ideal conditions. I don't suggest trying it as it pushes the battery to its limits and you might just end up losing your drone. That would be pilot error and not the Anafis fault. Having spotters driving in cars is not legal. You should look it up. You might be surprised.
Your weak signal might be caused by your vertical flight. If you do not point the RC straight up to the craft you will not have direct contact with it. Many UAV's suffer from the same effect.
 
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Brian Fist

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Your comparing apples and oranges. DJI has ocusync. This is a much different system. The Anafi uses Wi-Fi and is subject to interference. Will it get 2 miles? Yes many have but it has to be in ideal conditions. I don't suggest trying it as it pushes the battery to its limits and you might just end up losing your drone. That would be pilot error and not the Anafis fault. Having spotters driving in cars is not legal. You should look it up. You might be surprised.
Your weak signal might be caused by your vertical flight. If you do not point the RC straight up to the craft you will not have direct contact with it. Many UAV's suffer from the same effect.

I know all about legality issue, and as I stated, it was a test, nothing more... Not something done even once a year. I already stated I never fly without VLOS. Again I know all about the regulations and do not actively disobey them. So, no, there is no surprises.

My concern was about distance for the Anafi, since with a -78db signal strength at only 400ft that pretty much would preclude even being able to fly beyond VLOS so I guess it is a non-issue with the Anafi.

Good to know on the pointing of the antennas towards the aircraft. I will do that again and see what it registers.

I would hope the Return To Home is setup in a way that if the battery gets low and it is too far out that it would actively tell you to RTH. If not hat is just a bad design (or did DJI patent that feature???).

Again, my Mavic Air 1 is a WiFi system as well.
 
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jaja6009

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The directly overhead low signal is normal on both of my Anafis. When it is out more horizontal, it has a much better signal back to the controller.

Take very good care of your batteries, read up as much as you can here and enjoy your new drone. I too have some DJI drones, but the Anafi has many situations where I prefer to use it over them.
 
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Deleted member 3201

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if you already destroyed 7 DJI drones I mean, and that it with obstacle avoidance and everything
 
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Deleted member 3201

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anyway the anafi destroys both your Mavic air 1 as well as your phantom 4
 
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Deleted member 3201

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If you owned 7 dji drones between only 2 models that means you crashes around 5 times. Probably much more, but 5 complete losses that is
 

Agustine

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If you owned 7 dji drones between only 2 models that means you crashes around 5 times. Probably much more, but 5 complete losses that is
LOL
Your replying to someone who just join the forum to cause trouble and insult the staff. He was shown the door this morning and will not be returning. You can continue posting but I really do not think he will return any of your comments. ;)
 
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Deleted member 3201

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LOL
Your replying to someone who just join the forum to cause trouble and insult the staff. He was shown the door this morning and will not be returning. You can continue posting but I really do not think he will return any of your comments. ;)

lol I knew something was up with that guy!
Didn’t know he insulted the staf though

and no offense to people who crash their drones. We all have to learn
 

pfarrjam

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FYI - in regards to antenna patterns. If you are not aware, pointing your controller antenna directly at the drone will often give a weak signal. Did you test with the antenna pointed 20 to 30 degrees away from the drone? You may find better reception, although I do not know what type of antenna (dipole, monopole, loop, planar, etc) is used in the controller.
 

Jlinsobe

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I think the confussion started with DJI vs Parrot registration.
DJI requires a S/N to activate.
Care Refresh requires it within the first 48 hours. Later it is possible but more cumbersome.

I always give my presents and a corresponding receipt.
I had a horrible experience in 2005 or so.
I gave my niece a Toys R Us card so she could choose what she *really* wanted. She went there, to pick up the doll she wanted, and you guess that right,
The darn card hadn't been Activated by the cashier.
Good thing That I kept my receipt.

By the way, I gave my niece the cash amount + $50 extra.
Now, about The dissapointment , what dissapointment? She says that was the best surprise after all.
 
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AliasFlyer

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The directly overhead low signal is normal on both of my Anafis. When it is out more horizontal, it has a much better signal back to the controller.

Take very good care of your batteries, read up as much as you can here and enjoy your new drone. I too have some DJI drones, but the Anafi has many situations where I prefer to use it over them.
Can you expand more on your experiences with preference of Anafi in many situations. I'm currently trying to decide between Anafi and a DJI mini 2. They both have attractive features and both have things that concern me.
 

jaja6009

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Can you expand more on your experiences with preference of Anafi in many situations. I'm currently trying to decide between Anafi and a DJI mini 2. They both have attractive features and both have things that concern me.

Many situations for me is:

When I need a small aircraft - I have a Mavic 2 Enterprise and Phantom 4 Pro
When I need a quiet aircraft
When I need an aircraft that can look up (zenith)
When I need an aircraft that can do Dolly Zoom (Mavic 2 Zoom can, Mavic 2 Enterprise cannot)
When mapping large areas ( I have 7 batteries for my Anafi, I only have 4 and 3 for my other birds)
When I want to use a Flight Planner (I like its Flight Planner, its more like I know it better)



You have a tough choice there, I like both drones. If winds are a factor, even with the improvements to the Mini 2, I still don't think it can come close to the Anafi in flying into the wind. I once mapped in 20+ mph winds that would of definitely blown away the original Mavic Mini.
Anafi has a follow me and a ton of other flight modes.
For mapping Anafi is made by Parrot which is an owner or at least partner with Pix4D, so it integrates into Pix4D rather well.
For range, it will not even be a comparison as the Anafi's range is terrible, but it works fine when you fly US legal VLOS.

Unfortunately for me there is no clear cut winner, but think about your use cases and choose which fits your use cases the best.
 
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