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Drove Review: Orion PP

Drove Review: Orion PP

Drone Review

Orion Pix Drone

If you're looking for an inexpensive, fun hobby drone to fly, the Orion PP may well be your best option. For its low price tag, this drone has surprisingly lots to offer, and surpasses other drones in the same price range on many different levels. In this blog post, we offer a glimpse of what it is exactly that this drone has to offer drone hobbyists.

User-Friendliness

Skynex Score: 5 / 5

This drone is as user-friendly as they get. Unlike its FPV racing peers, this drone comes ready-to-fly out of the box ("RTF"). No missing parts (like receiver-transmitter), components (like battery) or accessories (like remote controller). In addition to being packaged with everything you need to fly it out of the box, the features offered by this drone are not sufficiently complex such that time must be spent reading an instruction manual (also included) or watching YouTube videos to learn how to fly it. Flying this drone is as intuitive as driving an RC car on the ground. 

Perhaps the only effort required from the user is to find and download the correct App that goes with this drone. However, even this is not a necessary step to enjoy flying your drone right out of the box as it comes packaged with a remote controller custom designed for the Orion PP. 

Aerial Content Quality 

Skynex Score: 2 / 5

Don't get fooled by its drone camera. Though this drone comes with a 4K drone camera, this drone should not be chosen for its aerial photography or videography features, not even for beginners. At best, the camera on the Orion PP could be described as being of a decorative nature. The main reason behind this assertion being that the camera is not mounted on a gimbal. Instead, it is a fixed camera built directly into the nose of the drone. Therefore, the angle of view cannot be controlled remotely. (For those looking specifically to get into aerial drone photography, important features to look for in a drone, aside from image quality, is a 3-axis stabilizer that can be controlled remotely.)

On the upside, most (not to say all) other drones in the same price range as the Orion PP that advertise their drones as being 4K drones would offer a drone camera of comparable quality as the Orion PP. For instance, while some drones might be advertised as having a 4K camera on gimbal, chances are the gimbal is a 2-axis camera gimbal that can only be manually adjusted. Others will advertise 4K (or 1080P) drone cameras with the actual quality of the image falling far from anything resembling 4K or 1080P image quality. 

In short, while the Orion PP integrates a camera in its design, this drone should not be chosen for its aerial photography/videography features. The camera is of mere decorative nature, and may perhaps be suitable for younger beginners that would find enjoyment in taking fixed aerial images of less than desirable quality. Anyone looking for a quality drone for aerial photography and videography would need to turn to a much higher price range to obtain satisfaction. Despite all of the above, a drone camera is always a welcome plus. 

For the Joy of Flying

Skynex Score: 4 / 5

The reason we love this particular drone is for its flight. For a drone in this price range, the flight quality can easily be described as being exceptionally good. When it comes to flight performance, drones in a similar price range can present a myriad of difficulties. For instance, some will come with flight performance "trimmers" on the remote controller. These trimmers must then be employed to rectify directional flight biases (when the drone's flight trajectory drifts in one direction absent any command from its pilot). Worst yet, some drones in this price range will have directional flight bias and no trimmers to correct directional flight bias. In that sense, in contrast to drones in the same price range, the Orion PP performs exceptionally well when it comes to flying. Since flying is the only fun feature about this drone (as discussed above, this drone should not be chosen for its drone camera), its a great choice for anyone simply looking to enjoy flying a drone. 

Perhaps the only disappointment in this department is, as with most drones in this price range, that the joy of flying this drone is limited to 7 - 10 minutes (depending on various conditions, the most important of which are wind and flight speed). Also, while relatively limited, the 100 meters of flight control range is sufficient for the type of leisure flying this drone was made for. For the novice drone pilot, it also serves as a valuable safety feature in that the limited control range ensures the drone does not venture beyond the pilot's visual line of sight. 

Innovation

Skynex Score: 3.5 / 5

Perhaps one reason this drone performs so well in the air is the drone flight technology it adopts. Since they first hit consumer markets around the world, hobby drones have come a long way. As with any technology, the benefit of time is seen in a trend that makes technologies more accessible, smaller or more compact, more affordable, and less prone to defects or malfunctions. With particular respect to the Orion PP, this trend is embodied in its flight systems. It integrates:

  • A 6-axis gyroscope
  • An altimeter
  • Optical flow
  • Barometric pressure technology
  • A magnetometer
  • An accelerometer

Owing to these drone technologies, the Orion PP performs exceptionally well when it comes to flight. In fact, one might compare its flight smoothness, responsiveness, and stability to drones in higher price ranges.

Manoeuvrability 

Skynex Score: 4 / 5

One-key Flight Commands

The adoption of relatively novel drone flight technologies by the Orion PP also has the benefit of offering its pilot improved control over the operation of the drone. Aside from joystick responsiveness, this drone also features a number of "one-key" flight manoeuvres, which include: 

  • Auto-land and takeoff
  • Aerial acrobatic drone flips and rolls
  • Headless mode. 

As far as drone flight manoeuvres goes, it doesn't get much fancier than this, regardless of price range.

Autonomous Flight Modes

In addition to these single-key flight manoeuvres, the Orion PP also offers a number of standard autonomous flight modes, which include: 

  • Altitude hold
  • Orbit (or circle around) mode
  • Follow-me/subject tracking 
  • Point-of-interest mode. 

Some of these flight features (specifically, orbit and follow-me modes) tend to be more useful for drone pilots wanting to focus their attention on aerial photography and videography rather than piloting the drone. Others (altitude hold and point-of-interest) are a welcome addition in terms of flight variability. 

Cross-Device Compatibility

In addition to the above one-flight commands and autonomous flight modes, this drone can be controlled via remote controller (included with the drone) and/or smartphone (iOS/Android). It also features smartphone motion control, a rather fun and uncommon feature for drones in this price range. 

Final Thoughts: Fun to Fly

For many, drones have become a hobby you can enjoy at home in the backyard or at the summer cottage. For those looking to experience the sheer joy of flying a drone, the Orion PP brings nothing short of satisfaction. For its price range, this drone scores very well on our books. Anyone looking for an experience above and beyond the joy of flying will need to loosen up their budget expectations to access the types of drone camera technologies that enable quality aerial photography and videography. 

2021 Aug 3rd Skynex Tech®

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