Jumping Sumo Drone Testing
As we said earlier in the review, the Jumping Sumo by Parrot Drones is completely controlled via their special App available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices. So I went on my iPhone and to the App Store to search for the FreeFlight application used to control this drone and also other Parrot drones that they have.
The Jumping Sumo creates a WiFi hotspot which is then used to connect your phone to the rover. To do this, you need to head over to your WiFi settings on your phone and find the JumpingSumo hotspot and connect to it. There isn’t any password, so no need to worry about that.
Once connected to the JumpingSumo, head over to the FreeFlight app that you previous had downloaded and it should automatically connect and sync up with your Jumping Sumo. This is the dashboard or main screen where you can see the FPV (first person video) live on the screen, able to go into your gallery to view video or photos that you have taken and also review the Drone Academy, which is a cloud based place for you to share and show others your videos or photos along with other aspects for your drone. There is also a Road Plan at the bottom that allows you to setup pre-configured functions and routes for your drone to perform.
With any new hardware product I always check for software and firmware updates to ensure that I have the latest versions installed. A lot of firmware updates and software updates will fix bugs and issues as time goes on and you want to make sure you are at the latest versions. I navigated to the Menu at the top and clicked on updates and found that a new firmware update version 1.99.0 had been released for the Jumping Sumo and it automatically began downloading and installing it which only took about 60 seconds in all.
Once the install completed, it now shows that no update is needed.
My next plan was to jump straight into the Free Mode which gives you control of the drone. So what does all of this on the screen mean? Well, its your virtual command center and how you will control the drone, view its camera, take pictures, take video, make it jump and a whole lot more! On the left side you’ll see a throttle adjustment, this controls the forward and back motion of the drone along with the speed. Obviously, all the way up would make the Jumping Sumo go forward as fast as possible and all the way down would make it go backwards as fast as possible.By holding down the left control you can also tilt the mobile phone or tablet and the Jumping Sumo will turn effortlessly for you. On the right side you’ll see 180 and 90 degree controls which allows you to spin the Jumping Sumo in that direction in a split second. I would actually prefer the ability to have the maneuverability that’s associated with the left side of the screen on the right side of the screen but that’s a personal preference.
On the far right side of the screen you’ll find the record and camera buttons to take video or pictures which are then stored on the Jumping Sumo and then can be later transferred to your phone or tablet. You’ll also see the jumping button which will jump up and forward slightly, the jump forward button and osculate button to change the direction of the Jumping Sumo.
At the top you can go back to the main menu, go into the settings and there is also an Animations drop-down which we’ll talk and see more about later on. Finally at the bottom of the screen you have the WiFi strength indicator and the battery life left on your Jumping Sumo in the far right corner.
When the battery begins getting low, you will no longer be able to perform jumping actions and a red bar will appear across the screen informing you of the low battery.
The virtual controls for the Jumping Sumo took a few battery charges to get used to but I felt comfortable shortly after a few trial runs. It might be a little difficult for folks switching from physical controls to the virtual phone based controls but you should pick it up fairly well and kids will probably pick it up immediately. I did enjoy all of the benefits of a smartphone controller, not only do we get FPV (first person video) but we also get all of these other controls and “new updates” for the app as time goes on. If you have a physical remote controller, it’s difficult to release updates for them as time goes on. Sure you might receive firmware updates for bugs but definitely no new features like how Parrot can do with the application for your phone.
There really isn’t any better way for me to show you what this Jumping Sumo can do without a video. Take a look at the short video demonstration that we did on the Jumping Sumo above. We felt the drone did a very good job with its responsiveness, agility, and overall speed. The throttle control felt very good and it was easy to slow the Sumo to an inching crawl, speed it up to wide open or to find a suitable speed in-between.
The sounds effects were pretty cool that the kids will love and its nice to have the ability to switch to three different ones, Insect, Sci-fi, and Monster. If you prefer not to have sound effects and would rather sneak around without any effects, you can do that too.
As for the pictures and video quality of the Jumping Sumo, they were not bad. The pictures were decent and the video was a bit better but there is only so much you can record at only inches off of the ground. It would be nice if you could either maneuver the camera around a bit or have the ability to place the Jumping Sumo into “stationary mode” which would not allow you to drive it but rather have free reign over the motion of it to point the camera where you desire, even if its up towards the ceiling.
Another downside to the video mode is that you must utilize a mini USB drive, there is no SD card slot! Big bummer here. Also, unlike some of the other Parrot drone products, you can’t stream live video to your phone and have the video stored on your phone, bypassing the need for a USB drive.
On the other hand, photos can be taken and then transferred to your phones photo area for sharing or exporting.
Finally, I’ll show you some of the settings that can be configured on your App for the Jumping Sumo.
The piloting settings allows you to modify the maximum rotation speed of the Parrot Jumping Sumo. If this value is low, the smartphone will need to be tilted significantly in order to turn the Parrot Jumping Sumo. If this value is high, a slight tilt is all that’s needed to begin the turning motion. You can also adjust the neutral zone which defines the minimum tilt angle before the rotation begins. It’s best to keep these settings on the mid to lower end until you get comfortable with the controls and then you can adjust upwards to give yourself quicker response times and movements.
The speed settings are similar; The Max speed option allows you to limit the maximum speed of the rover which might be really good for smaller children while they use it indoors. Speed neutral zone can be used to define the joystick definition. If this value is low, moving your finger slightly on the left-hand joystick will be sufficient in order to maneuver the Parrot Jumping Sumo forwards or backwards. If this value is high, a more pronounced movement of your finger will be necessary.
The Media Settings are used to change the volume of the sound effects from 100% to 0% (being off). You can also change the effect types here.
The Network Settings shows the WiFi network name and allows you to change the WiFi Channel manually or on auto along with the Band.
Finally, there is an information screen which shows your app version, software version of the Jumping Sumo and the Firmware version (hardware). There is no GPS in this rover so there is no version information for GPS.