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Parrot's foldable Anafi drone is out to take on DJI's dominance

With a powerful camera and compact but capable body, Parrot's Anafi drone is an impressive addition to the drone market

After two years without releasing a new drone, Parrot has revealed the Anafi, a foldable model designed to both fill a specific niche and cover a wide swathe of the amateur drone market.

The carbon fibre/glass microbead-constructed drone is foldable to a compact size for transport and its operating size and weight is still smaller than Parrot’s Bebop 2. Despite this, it comes with a lot more interesting kit than its older sibling, while only costing slightly more than the top-tier Bebop.

The Parrot Anafi will be released on July 1 and cost £629.99. It has a 4K HDR and 21MP camera, and has up to 2.8X lossless digital zoom. The camera is attached to a two-axis gimbal (which has 180 ° vertical motion), but it retains three-axis image stabilisation software, forming a hybrid system. You can store your images and videos on the bundled 16GB microSD card. This is a first for Parrot, as its previous drones used internal flash memory instead. It is chargeable via USB-C and one charge gives about 25 minutes of flying time. Its top speed, when put in 'sport mode' is 55km/h (34mph) and it has a 50km/h wind resistance and 4km range.

The drone is flown using Parrot’s updated FreeFlight 6 piloting app and inserted into the new Skycontroller 3, which resembles a games console pad rather than a remote. The app gives pre-programmed options to take ‘dronies’ (self-portraits from the drone), slow-motion, timelapse, and landscape shots. It also includes the optional FollowMe function, which uses artificial intelligence to track and follow a person or vehicle in motion (although this costs extra) and FlightPlan, a method of programming a flight using GPS co-ordinates or points of interest in the local environment.

Obstacle avoidance tech, however, is still missing. When asked about this, Parrot said it was concerned about safe flying, and that “to ensure that all our users, beginners and experienced, have an optimal experience, we accompany them with guides and tutorials available from the FreeFlight 6 app”.

Up against DJI, the Anafi fits between the Spark and Mavic Air models, both foldable drones, but quite different in terms of price and specs. The Anafi's closer in size to the Mavic (but still quite a bit larger), and the basics are similar too, but it doesn't share some of the DJI’s more advanced features. The Spark is also USB-C charged and is as bare bones as DJI's drones can go, but it can't match the Parrot drone's performance, due to the difference in size and power.

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