The 3DR IRIS+ is all you need to get started shooting photos and video from incredible new perspectives. Powered by 3DR’s world famous autopilot, the IRIS+ is a drone that will automatically fly itself where you tell it to go, while keeping a camera dead steady with two-axis gimbal stabilization. To put it simply, it’s an incredibly intelligent aerial robot. You have the option of flying manually with the controller or using the 3PV Follow Me mode that turns IRIS+ into your own personal no-hands camera crew. The tablet based software developed for the drone makes flight planning amazingly simple. The power system has the ability of sixteen minutes flight time on a full load. 3D Robotics IRIS+ includes the advanced Pixhawk autopilot system, a high-capacity flight battery, battery charger, ground station radio, and remote controller.
What’s In The Box
First looks after unpacking it all is that the 3DR IRIS+ has a very sturdy build, and a professional theme to it. It’s a bit heavier than your average drone, it clocks in around 1.3kg (a touch heavier than the Phantom 2 V+) and there’s plenty space available in the frame for additional modifications. The main controller doesn’t look all that fancy, but it’s compact and solidly made. The software on the 9-channel controller itself is fully open source which allows custom developers to tinker with it, so we could see some cool features in the future as a result of this. One thing to note about the controller is that it doesn’t come with a good neck-strap, and I would recommend buying an additional one to hold the weight so the controller doesn’t fall when you take your hands off it. It comes with a 3-cell Lipo smart battery, and the charger not only charges each cell, but it monitors the voltages in each of them and ensures they are being charged equally.
There are a few available flight modes for the Iris+: Manual, Autonomous, Loiter & Altitude Hold. Manual requires both hands at all times on the sticks, autonomous is a mission course set prior to takeoff, loiter can hold in one spot even if moved physically from the spot (or by natural causes, wind etc.) and altitude hold keeps it at the same altitude and you don’t have to worry about throttle and just have steer. While flying in autonomous mode, you can have full control over the gimbal which allows you to shoot videos perfectly. All you have to do is simply plot the course on your PC or tablet beforehand, by tapping a few waypoints and altitude, using the app and upload it directly.
The Iris+ has good in-built safety features which prevent the drone taking off if there’s problems with the battery. Piloting the 3DR Iris+ has a different feeling compared to, say, flying a DJI Phantom – it feels like a step up in quality, and more suitable for professional photographers. It’s design contains a professional on-board controller, and one of the selling points of this Iris+ is it contains a ‘black box’, similar to what you would find in a commercial airliner. As soon as you are in-flight, it internally starts logging all details and parameters of the flight, so if anything goes wrong you can read the logs, or send them to 3D Robotics, to diagnose the problem.
Key FeaturesOne of the key features of the 3DR Iris+ is that it contains a black box, similar to what’s found on domestic aircraft
One of the key features of the 3DR Iris+ is that it contains a black box, similar to what’s found on domestic aircraft
The Autonomous mode, is ridiculously simple to use combined with the App, and the Follow Me Feature is amazing. You take off in loiter mode, climb to a chosen altitude, select Follow on the DroidPlanner app, and once it’s locked on to the GPS of your device, it’ll activate the Follow me feature. The DroidPlanner 2 app also incorporates a customizable low-battery fail safe mode to ensure that if you’re Iris+ battery is running low, then it activates the features.
Using a GoPro Hero4 with this, one annoyance was that after the flight, to get the data of the SD card, I had to remove the GoPro from the gimbal, as due to the design it obscured the SD card slot. This could be fixed however, by using wireless transfer with the camera, but I feel like a small detail like this shouldn’t be overlooked in the design stages.
3D Robotics customer support sets an example to the rest of the industry
One massive selling point on this products is: it’s by 3D Robotics. Some other manufacturers, we won’t name any names (cough.. DJI) have been known to be… less than helpful… when it comes to delivering customer service in a fast manner. Not so with 3DR. Their customer support is definitely one of the best in the industry. Their response times are lightning fast, and provide extremely helpful responses, not just some template reply email. Any issues that have arisen in the past with their products, they’ve been very pro-active in letting customers know about the problems and providing steps to remedy the situation, or sending out replacements if necessary. A strong consideration over any other manufacturer so bonus points on this alone.
I wasn’t too keen on the factory charger and I think i’ll be using a higher quality one in the future. If you’re planning on getting in to drones as a hobby, I’d recommend investing in a solid charger which will last you a long time, and can charge multiple batteries at once.
Extremely easy to use
Ideal for Professional Photographers
Long Signal Range
Great Smartphone App
Plenty Space for Additional Parts
Very solidly built structure
Exceptional Customer Service
SD Card slot on GoPro obscured by gimbal
Some small issues with gimbal vibration
The Iris+ is a huge improvement over the Iris, with the follow me and auto mission features. The interface is very user friendly and not taxing to use at all considering all the features it contains. I have to say, I feel in love with the DJI Phantom 2 V+ when I reviewed it, and I didn’t expect this surpass the standards I set for that. However after taking this baby for a test drive, I feel it’s set the industry standards a little higher, and almost feel like I’ve gotta go back and knock some points off the DJI review. The small issue with the SD card on the GoPro was quite minor, but overall this was a pleasure to fly. A beginner or intermediate user would use this model and thoroughly enjoy it, but a professional photographer would appreciate the features the Iris+ offers.
I think that the black box is a good idea for troubleshooting. It looks like the remote (controller) is quite easy to use.
Item itself was cute .. But every time I came down to fast I would lose a wing ..:( .. My son and I were always on a hunt.. Unfortunate we had to return the item..
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