Seems like every YouTuber inserts gratuitous drone footage into their video blogs and I’m about to hop on that trend.
I got a drone for my birthday several years ago. It was the UDI U818A HD+. The UDI drone is still a quality starter drone with an acceptable 720p camera that performs very steady considering it had no image stabilization built into the camera. Did a vlog featuring footage from the UDI U818A HD+ a couple of years ago. You can view footage from that drone by clicking here.
I recently picked up a Yuneec Breeze 4K. I am really enjoying playing around with this thing. The Yuneec Breeze 4K was introduced to the market in 2016 with an enticing set of features. The lightweight design and compact build was never seen on a drone at this price point… until DJI introduced the DJI Spark in May of 2017.
The real deal on this drone is its 2018 price, though. You can buy this drone off the shelf in brick and mortar stores like Best Buy and Walmart. Each store offers the drone in different combinations. Best Buy sells the Yuneec Breeze 4K in the original offering of the drone which came packaged with 2 batteries. Walmart sells the Breeze with one battery, but includes a bluetooth controller. Current pricing as of this writing has the Breeze at Walmart for $150 and at Best Buy for $180. This is a huge drop from its initial $500 price tag.
As of this writing, Amazon has the Yuneec Breeze for $180, but you can purchase the drone used directly from Amazon for $157. Be sure to check Amazon’s website for latest pricing.
What’s in the box?
Both combinations come with a really solid carrying case. The case is hard plastic with molds that fit the drone and a battery. If you purchase the combination from Best Buy that comes with 2 batteries, you receive a foam separator so you can store the battery in the drone, but keep it from making contact. This lessens the risk of the drone mistakenly powering on while being stored or in transit. I wish there were 2 battery molds built into the box. Doesn’t make sense for there not to be. The case makes it really easy to toss the Breeze into your backpack as you head out for a hike or a photowalk.
As stated earlier, depending on the retailer purchased from and the combination purchased, the package will contain one or two 1,150 mAh batteries. These batteries allow for a real world flight time of about 12-15 minutes, which is more than enough to get some decent footage. I chose to get the 2-battery combination, because I didn’t know if I wanted to use the controller (you’ll want the controller). However, I knew that I would eventually want more batteries in order to make the most out of my time out.
Aside from the drone itself, the package includes a set of replacement propellers, a charger for the batteries and a USB cable for data transfer. Sadly, that USB cable cannot be used to charge the battery while the connected to the drone and a power source.
Build Quality and Features
The Breeze is lightweight, plasticky and glossy as all hell. The Breeze is only available in white. In a world where I can appreciate all things matte, the glossiness is irritating as heck to me. Also, while I understand that white was all the rage back in 2016 when Yuneec initially released the Breeze 4K, it always was a terrible choice of color because it makes it extremely difficult to visually locate the drone in the sky. The Breeze won’t win any beauty pageants with its design.
The Breeze can be operated via the mobile application available for both Android and iOS. You can also operate the Breeze via bluetooth controller. The controller operates in conjunction with your phone. I prefer the physical controls over operating the drone via the app. Both iOS and Android operate similarly, but I find Android aggressive with it’s WiFi. So, if you’re close to a structure, you might experience some interruptions with your WiFi signal.
Also, keep in mind, because this drone operates via WiFi signal, the range is quite limited. The Breeze has a maximum height of 80 meters (262.5 feet) and a maximum distance of 100 meters (328.1 feet). Unlike its peers, pairing the Breeze to a controller will not extend the range available. The Parrot Bebop 1, 2 and 2 Power and DJI’s Spark and Mavic lines both have controllers that will help you extend your range. The Yuneec Breeze 4K… nope.
There are five options to choose from within the app: Pilot, Selfie, Orbit, Journey and Follow Me modes. Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to test any of the automated flight modes. I have used the pilot mode and the drone flew like a dream.
The Yuneec Breeze 4K comes with just that… a 4K capable camera. That said, you’re not going to want to use the camera in the 4K setting. The Yuneec Breeze offers digital image stabilization, but only at 1080p or 720p. The software takes the 4K footage and crops the image in order to digitally stabilize the footage.
The Breeze offers 3 video options: UHD (4K) 2160p @ 30 fps, Full HD – 1080p @ 30 fps and HD – 720p @ 60 fps. So, if you’re looking for any hope of a slow motion video, it’s going to have to be at 720p. Not a deal breaker for your hobbyist posting videos to YouTube, but for those looking to match anything the Mavic line has to offer, well, this is the best you’re going to get with the Breeze.
The quality of the video itself is totally passable for web sharing. You can get some great shots depending on the weather and the time of day, but this seems to be the case with all camera drones. I got really good footage with the Parrot Bebop first generation before I lost it in a river. That said, the quality of the video is much sharper (still soft, but sharper) than that of the Bebop.
Given its recent price cut and everything the Yuneec Breeze 4K has to offer, I have no problem saying the Breeze is the best drone you can buy for under $200. The Breeze offers really solid video with advanced automated options that can only be found on more expensive drones. Its limited range may be a turn off for some, but keep in mind U.S. law requires your drone be within your line of sight at all times.
The Breeze is affordable and portable. If you are looking at getting into drones, give the Yuneec Breeze 4K a shot. You won’t regret it.
Yuneec Breeze 4K
The Yuneec Breeze 4K lacks a lot of the features found in modern day compact drones, but comes in at a fraction of the price. There are compromises to be made, but, for your average user just wanting to give drones a try, this just might be the best place to start.