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Circuit Breaker

Parrot's new Minidrones look like they can fly the Death Star trench run

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Today, Parrot announced its new Parrot Swing and Parrot Mambo Minidrones. The Minidrone line serves as a good entry point for people looking to get into the hobby, with their smaller, cheaper, and more toy-like designs versus larger and more expensive models like Parrot's full-size Bebop 2 and Disco aircraft.

The Parrot Swing is definitely the more unique of the two, with an almost X-wing-like design that looks like it flew straight out of a Star Wars movie. The Swing is actually a hybrid quadcopter / plane drone, capable of vertical takeoff and landing. Once it's in the air, though, it can shift from quadcopter flight to a faster, more maneuverable horizontal flight mode more similar to a remote-control plane, at speeds that Parrot claims can reach up to 18 mph.

it’s easy to imagine that Parrot might have more modular pieces on its way for the Mambo in the future

The Parrot Mambo, on the other hand, looks at first glance like a more traditional quadcopter. But the Mambo stands out with its modular attachment system, which allows for various controllable hardware attachments to be mounted on the drone. The Mambo ships with the Cannon and Grabber modules, which allow you to annoy friends, family members, and / or pets by pelting them with small plastic balls and pick up and carry small objects, respectively, while a third Illuminator attachment with LED spotlights will be sold separately at launch for $15. It’s easy to imagine that Parrot might have more modular pieces on its way for the Mambo in the future.

Both drones can be controlled by a connected smartphone using Parrot’s FreeFlight Mini app, or with the optional $39.99 Parrot Flypad controller, which offers physical control sticks and an increased range. One of the downsides of the smaller drones is the limited flight time, with Parrot claiming that both Minidrones get around eight minutes in the air off a 30-minute charge.

Price-wise, the Parrot Swing will cost $139.99 in a bundle that includes the Flypad controller, while the Mambo will run for $119.99 with the Cannon and Grabber attachments. They'll both be available in September.