Skydio 2 unboxing: the $999 starter kit
Skydio 2 went back on sale on Thursday after a hiatus — primarily due to coronavirus — forced the California-based drone maker to put a pause on manufacturing.
But Skydio is back and taking orders on its Skydio 2 drone, which is largely considered the only “truly autonomous” drone, as six, 200-degree color cameras allow Skydio 2 to see everything in every direction so it theoretically never crashes.
The drone is incredible — especially for people in action sports who want aerial tracking videos of themselves (ie. riding horses through a forest, snowshoeing in the woods or biking).
Watch my Skydio 2 unboxing video as you see what’s inside the base kit, plus a couple of my favorite accessories — the Beacon and the Controller — here:
The base kit costs $999, though there are some items you can buy a la carte, like spare batteries and a controller. If you want anything more than the bare bones, expect to end up spending $1,500 to upgrade to the Pro Kit (in fact, it easily pays for itself with just a couple a la carte add-ons that I consider essentials).
Here’s what you get in the Base Kit ($999):
- One battery
- Two additional propellers (one of each type beyond the four required to fly)
- One USB (type C) cable for charging and data transfer
- One USB (type C) wall adapter for charging.
- A custom-fit, durable hardshell carrying case
One neat note about the case (and why you shouldn’t switch to a 3rd-party case): Skydio 2 can actually autonomously land on it just by recognizing the logo. Just pilot the drone over the case, and allow the camera to pan down and see the logo. From there, tap on the phone screen that the drone sees the case, and it’ll land there.
Extra add-on items with Skydio 2
In this unboxing video, I also show you the Beacon and the Controller. These separate, add-on items cost $179 each.
The Skydio Beacon:
The Beacon is basically a drone magic wand that extends the communication range up to 1.5 km (without the Beacon, the range is a maximum of 3.5 km), and provides more accurate user positioning. In a nutshell, it levels up your drone.
You can watch me using the Beacon in my full drone review (text and video!) here.
The beacon comes with five available AI skills, including Motion Track, Fixed Track, Orbit, Hover, and Steering.
The Skydio Controller:
The Skydio Controller is the same exact controller hardware you get with the Parrot Anafi drone (yes, it’s manufactured by Parrot), but loaded with Skydio software. It basically gives you more control over where the drone flies (makes it go up and down, side to side, etc.).
If you’re trying to get a specific shot, it’s better to fly with the controller rather than rely on one of the drone’s AI modes.
The Skydio Pro Kit
Not pictured in this video, but worth knowing about: you can purchase a pro kit for $1,500. Here’s what comes with the Pro Kit (note: the drone is NOT included with this kit, so you’re paying $2,500 to have all these extras — and actually fly with them):
- 1 Rugged Case
- 1 Controller
- 1 Beacon
- 1 Skydio-branded tablet mount for Controller
- 3 Extra Batteries
- 1 Pair of Extra Propellers
- 1 Dual Battery Charger
- 1 128GB SanDisk Extreme microSD Card
- 1 SD Card Laptop Adapter
- 1 Microfiber Lens Cloth
- Skydio Premier Support
Some of these extras are more imperative. For example, you’ll need the lens cloth, as you want to keep your lenses clean to allow the drone to actually fly autonomously. And you might need that microSD card — even if you already have a million at home. That’s because the Skydio 2 specifically requires a UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) or faster microSD card to record 4k video.
Skydio Premier Support is essentially an extended warranty program. With Skydio Premier support, your one-year warranty becomes two, plus you’ll gett what they claim is their “priority tier of customer service.” They’ll also replace your drone if something goes wrong — sending you a new one before they even get the old one back so you don’t have to go drone-less for too long.
You can read my full Skydio 2 review here, which includes video from the first flight I took after this Skydio 2 unboxing was complete.
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