Parrot Anafi Review: Hands on with the Base, FPV, Thermal & Work Models

Last updated February 25th, 2020
Parrot Anafi with Controller

Not wanting to lose to the Chinese-dominated drone market, French-born manufacturer Parrot strived to design a mid-range drone that overshoots its bracket in terms of specs and performance.

The Parrot Anafi is the endgame of this design quest; a lightweight contender that offers a lot in terms of functionality and features.

Since its release back in 2018, the Anafi’s reliable design has urged the brand to produce various iterations of the drone to fit specific niches, like enthusiast flying and industrial applications.

Using the same Base model (albeit with some modifications in these newer versions for increased performance), this new breed of UAVs are ready to take to the skies.

We were really interested in getting hands on with all of the Anafi models — the regular Anafi known as the Base, the Anafi FPV, Anafi Thermal, and Anafi Work.

A lot of this desire to review the Anafi came when we noticed the products had quite poor reviews on Amazon — not awful, but particularly low for a drone with these specs. Then, we noticed that a large number of the negative ratings of the product were actually aimed at customer service, rather than the product itself.

So we wanted to know…customer service aside, is the Parrot Anafi actually any good? Find out our thoughts in this detailed and honest review.

Quick Specs

WeightAnafi Base Model, Anafi Work: 320 g
Anafi FPV, Anafi Thermal : 315 g
SizeLength: Base & Work 175 mm
FPV & Thermal 241 mm

Width: Base & Work 240 mm
FPV & Thermal

Height: Base & Work 65 mm
FPV & Thermal 64 mm
SpeedMax: 33 mph
SignalRange: ~4 km
Operating Frequency: 2.4 Ghz, 5.8 GHz
BatteryFlight time: Base & Work ~25 mins
FPV & Thermal ~26 mins

Capacity: 2700 mAh
RecordingCamera: 4K UHD, 21-MP sensor

Parrot Anafi Models

Parrot has offered the Anafi in four kit variants for different niches and use cases. Refer to the table above for their minor differences in weight, flight time and dimensions, while below are the specifics of each model.

Parrot Anafi Base (& Extended)

The Parrot Anafi Base is the standard Anafi model and offers some excellent specs that we discuss throughout this post. As this section exists to identify the differences between the models, we’ll leave it there — other than saying that the Extended version is exactly the same, but includes two extra batteries to triple the battery life.

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Parrot Anafi FPV

The Parrot Anafi FPV kit is the immersion-oriented package of the base drone, with a distinct addition: the immersive Virtual Reality ‘Cockpitglasses’. Blame Parrot for that being one word for some strange reason.

You can outfit your smartphone on the Cockpitglasses to serve as its display, but be warned: this limits your controls to the Skycontroller remote module, forgoing any access to the FreeFlight app. You can still access some features via sprung buttons that open the app’s menu, but this can be a very awkward experience altogether. We advise you to lock in your capture settings before equipping the VR headset for a seamless flight experience.

The FreeFlight app offers Anafi FPV exclusive functions such as the Cinematic and Racing flight presets, with the former giving you the ability to capture butter-smooth footage, while the latter gives you the aggressive performance perfect for races and chases. These modes lock the horizontal axis of the camera to the tilt of the drone to achieve efficiently-framed shots throughout your sessions.

In terms of accessories, it only differs from the base model with the inclusion of the aforementioned Cockpit glasses, and a new carrying backpack, making it easier for trekkers and outdoor enthusiasts to keep the Parrot Anafi in tow for quick deployment.

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Parrot Anafi Thermal

The Parrot Anafi Thermal is dedicated to energy monitoring, rescue service, and industrial applications that demand the need for temperature monitoring features without endangering human lives.

The main difference of this kit is that the Parrot Anafi Thermal’s drone unit is outfitted with two cameras, one for FPV and filming purposes, and the other is a dedicated FLIR LEPTON 3.5 thermal imager. Using an analysis feature application, the drone has three thermal imaging modes.

‘Relative’ mode paints the scene with a gradient color scale that includes the coldest and the hottest temperatures as a benchmark to display the full extent of temperature differences.

‘Absolute’ allows the user to narrow down the temperature scale by selecting the temperature range to be displayed, effectively highlighting intended areas.

‘Spot’ has the ability to instantly detect the minimum and maximum temperature areas, isolating them from the scene, which is important where spotting temperature anomalies quickly is required.

The additional accessories include two more intelligent battery packs and a tablet holder for better display options, as a small smartphone screen can hinder your findings and analysis during thermal operations.

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Parrot Anafi Work

The Anafi Work is targeted towards infrastructure inspection, video production, and intervention monitoring applications, cutting your costs in machinery and logistics by a significant margin, all the while promoting safety due to its remote abilities.

It makes use of the stock 4K camera to survey areas, with the 180° tilt and up to 3X zooming capabilities, making inspections more accurate and reliable.

One of the best selling points of this variant is its ability to map real buildings and convert them into 3D models — with a bundled 1-year subscription to the Pix4Dmodel application.

This version has the beefiest of combined flight times, as the 4 battery bundle allows you to continuously survey your work areas with a generous juice allowance. To further ease the charging process, it comes bundled with a 5-port USB charger to consolidate the replenishment in one simple yet reliable platform.

It also comes in a specialized shoulder bag instead of the casual carrying case for ease of transport and portability.

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Parrot Anafi Features

This stuff is in all of the Anafi models, so we thought we’d round it all into one — for ease, not through our own laziness. We swear.

GPS + GLONASS

The Parrot Anafi has a dual system GNSS implementation, courtesy of the GPS and GNSS modules.

This means that the drone can pinpoint its location accurately on the map of your locality, making use of 24 satellites to accurately triangulate its coordinates, giving you real-time tracking of its position when in flight. This also means that the craft is aware of its location, making hovering or staying on the path during its waypoint mode easy, so you have no problems regarding drifting or accidentally losing it.

Furthermore, the redundant systems act as a backup for each other, giving you a fail-safe option in the event where one of these systems malfunction, securing the Parrot Anafi mid-flight.

Return To Home

Just like any other modern drone, the Parrot Anafi has an intuitive return to home function, which is mainly handy for low battery levels, signal transmission loss, and other unavoidable errors that might render the drone uncontrollable in a middle of a flight. Or, you can manually prompt the drone to return to you for convenience purposes, like when you want to relocate or do an abrupt unit check.

The Parrot Anafi does this by recording its initial take-off point using its GNSS features, which it backtracks when this mode is initiated.

Cameraman

The Parrot Anafi has a handy subject-tracking feature called Cameraman, which allows you to keep a subject consistently in the frame while you’re free to control the drone’s movement wherever you want it to.

You can do this by drawing a rectangle around your desired subject via the smartphone app, letting the Parrot Anafi recognize it and train the camera on it within the bounds of the drawn frame, perfect for panning or moving shots.

Follow Me

The Parrot Anafi doesn’t get left behind in automated tracking features, with its very own Follow Me mode. You can go completely hands-free in this mode, with the drone pointing its camera on you while following your every move at a constant speed and distance. This can be handy during your solo excursions, where a third-person perspective can bring out the scenery better without leaving you out of the shot.

The drone does this with its own tracking technology, unlike some cheaper offerings where the follow me mode relies on the controller’s signal to follow its subject.

Geo-Fencing

The Parrot Anafi has a geofencing function that allows you to draw a virtual border on the smartphone app to restrict the operational flight range of the drone in your preferred area.

It would’ve been nicer if the Parrot Anafi had a real-time GPS-based flight restriction feature, though, especially in regions where UAV flight is heavily monitored. DJI does this natively with their GPS-capable offerings, so we’re waiting for Parrot to step up their flight regulation compliance game.

SmartDronies

SmartDronies is a collection of preset automated filming options for you to create professional-looking shots without manually controlling the Parrot Anafi. It is comprised of the Orbit, Parabola, Boomerang, and Tornado modes, which are varied shot patterns that are based on a circular panning motion.

Even the famed Alfred Hitchcock Dolly Zoom can be performed by the Parrot Anafi, giving you extra filmmaker flair at your very fingertips with the vertigo shot effect.

CineShots

Another collection of the automated shooting features for the Parrot Anafi is the CineShots functionality. This is mainly targeted at wide, open-space cinematic filming purposes, as the Reveal, Epic, and 360° options offer a dramatic unveiling of the scenery, an ascending shot to cover more of the ground while filming, and a simple rotating panoramic shot, respectively.

Slow-Motion

As the name suggests, the Parrot Anafi can capture slow-motion videos like sports footage or wildlife chases automatically. Do note that as you scale up in resolution, your frame rate will be severely limited, e.g. for 1080p videos, the Parrot Anafi can do 60 fps, making the slow-motion footage smoother, than say, a 4K video which is only capable of 30 fps.

Hyperlapse

Hyperlapse gives the Parrot Anafi to the ability to capture time or weather-based activities like fleeting clouds, sunrise, or sunsets, accelerating the video capture for that dramatic montage effect that’s perfect for film intros or music videos.

Battery Life

The 2700 mAh LiPo battery of the Parrot Anafi provides up to 25-26 minutes of flight time, depending on the kit you’re getting. This is pretty incredible, which is about what you’d expect for a drone of this price.

These intelligent batteries fully charge in about 2 hours, give and take. While this is somewhat a long wait, especially when you don’t have spares lying around, it is justified by the beefy flight time. Also, these battery packs are equipped with USB Type C slots for direct charging purposes, meaning you can share your smartphone charger cords with the Parrot Anafi’s batteries.

Camera

One of the best specification allocations of the Parrot Anafi is its camera. It is equipped with a 1/24 inch 21-MP CMOS sensor that can support up to Cinematic 4K Resolution, which has as slightly higher pixel count than that of UHD 4K. This means video capture support of Cinematic 4K capped at 24 fps, UHD 4K at 30 fps, and 1080p at 60 fps. Image capture supports a max resolution of up to 21-MP (5344×4016), making wide shots extremely viable.

The Parrot Anafi’s camera can also be tilted up to 180° vertically, giving you a wide range of motion to change perspectives on the go. Stabilization is taken care of the hybrid 3-axis gimbal, so you can rest easy knowing that your videos will feature none of the motor or wind shudder whatsoever.

The captures look good in brightly-lit conditions but may suffer in low-light settings due to its limited ISO range. In terms of clarity and sharpness, the Parrot Anafi’s camera doesn’t disappoint, but color reproduction is something to be talked about. While RAW files are fine since you are able to do extensive amounts of color correction on them, the JPEG outputs are a bit on the flat side in terms of saturation.

Ease Of Use

The Parrot Anafi’s controller is a bit on the chunky side and carries a bit of heft to it, although this doesn’t cause problems over extended periods of operation. Dubbed the Skycontroller 3, it has a monotone but classy gray colorway for extra flair. It has the standard dual joystick, dual analog trigger, and dedicated function button layout, so you won’t be overwhelmed when piloting the drone.

You can connect your smartphone to the controller via a USB cable and the FreeFlight 6 app, which opens a whole lot of intuitive features for your drone. From smart assistive modes to manual camera setting tweaks, the app improves the user experience with every update. What we don’t like about it, though, is it became a way to monetize some features which require you to purchase them in order to integrate the functions to the Parrot Anafi.

Build and Design Quality

Parrot claims that the Anafi is built from carbon fiber material, though we suspect that this might be limited to the frame or some key parts of the craft. The hull is made out of durable plastic which makes it rugged against crashes, as the drone has a heightened risk of crashes due to the absence of an obstacle detection system.

The foldable quadcopter design borrows from nature with its arthropod-inspired leg implementation. Unlike other folding drones that unfold into a completely symmetrical craft, the Parrot Anafi has a more forward-oriented aerodynamic design. The aesthetics are a bit underwhelming, though, with a plain black colorway that doesn’t hide its plastic construction quite well. Though we doubt you’d use the Parrot Anafi’s looks as a point of interest for your friends, as its performance is where the drone truly shines.

Performance

This lightweight bird pairs almost instantaneously with the controller, making it a hassle-free experience when initializing the craft, seeing as this is a one-time process as well. When it comes to flight performance, the Parrot Anafi performs admirably, boasting excellent responsiveness to your control inputs, which when paired with an absurd 4 km range, makes it ideal for recon or inspection use. A 33 mph top speed is nothing to scoff at, as it achieves it easily due to its feather-like weight, but you need be wary at all times as it is devoid of a crucial safety feature.

The lack of obstacle-detection features is a disappointment though, as most drones at this price bracket feature a basic obstacle detection system, at the very least. The lonesome bottom sensor for landing purposes doesn’t do well in preventing collisions, which are mostly occurring on the front-end of the craft.

Parrot Anafi vs DJI Mavic Air

Parrot AnafiDJI Mavic Air
Weight320g430g
Battery Life25 mins21 mins
Camera4K / 21MP4K / 12MP
Our Rating4.54.7
PriceCheck here Check here

Final Thoughts

The Parrot Anafi comfortably positions itself in the midrange of prices, but packs a lot of enthusiast and industrial features that make it an appealing offer, even at the gradually increasing price-points of the Anafi Thermal, Work, and FPV.

The competitive and capable 4K camera is fully utilized due to the Anafi’s flight efficiency, making it the perfect photography tool, either for content creation or infrastructure evaluations.

Parrot also continues to upgrade and update the firmware component of the Anafi, allowing it to keep up with more modern quadcopters, while fixing bugs and other faulty features users encounter, proving that the company listens to feedback and responds with the appropriate action.

Parrot was not joking when it designed the Anafi, seeing how it made its way into industrial applications without major overhauls involved.

Whether it be filmmakers, engineers, trekkers, or just the average drone enthusiast, there’s a Parrot Anafi drone for you.

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