GHOSTDRONE gives a not-so-kind experience through piloting completely on your phone.
Drones are cool. I’ve had my fair share of experiences with drones over the past year and I can say one thing for certain – they are cool. It’s fascinating to get such a different perspective from an aerial craft, which before drones became popular, was unheard of unless you rented a helicopter for thousands of dollars an hour. Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to test out the Phantom 4 drone from DJI and was amazed at the difference between their semi-professional grade drone and the basic consumer grade drones I had tested out before. Now, I’ve had the opportunity to test out the GHOSTDRONE 2.0 VR, which is 100% controlled by your mobile phone, I can add that to my list of flying experiences.
GHOSTDRONE 2.0 VR is unique in the world of drones. It uses your mobile phone as it’s controller. There are some – like the Phantom 4 – that will integrate a mobile device into the viewing experience, but GHOSTDRONE takes it a step further. You connect your phone to the drone’s internal computer and fly it based off of the phone’s movements. The sensors within the phone direct the drone while it’s in the air. GHOSTDRONE 2.0 VR has a maximum speed of 25 mph (when in GPS mode) and 43 mph (when not in GPS mode). It can hover for up to 25 minutes on a full battery charge, which takes 60-70 minutes. GHOSTDRONE ships with a 16GB Micro SD card, but will accept up to 64GB. The camera itself is a 12MP camera and will save videos and still pictures in MOV or JPG formats. The compressed format for its saved videos is H.264 and it will record up to 4K video resolution.
The GhostDrone 2.0 VR is very different than the average drone. I’ve flown some of the best on the market so when setting the Ghost Drone up I did not expect to have many issues. I even though having the screen attached to my head via the VR glasses would make flying much easier since I would not have to fight the sun glaring off my iPhone screen. For the most part, this would have been right but the VR glasses did not fit my head just right. I found them to be more of a distraction than an advantage. As you can see in the video due to the glasses and the iOS app crashing on me the drone decided to take its own life when it piloted itself into two trees before slamming down very hard to the ground. Here is the video showing the crash.
That was very disappointing and from that point forward I chose to fly it without the VR glasses covering my eyes. Just because you might choose not to use the VR option of the glasses you still need them to be on your body. The glasses have the two antennas the 2.4 and 5ghz that connect to the Ghost Drone so you can control the drone from a distance. I think once you get over the VR glasses and find a way to strap them around your head correctly then flying a good distance would be pretty much cake. But in my case, the glasses limited me to only flying the drone in eyesight range. The video the drone recorded to it’s SD card looked wonderful but without a great way to control the camera I wasn’t able to do much with it. As for as the auto land, pause/hover, and return home features they worked wonderfully when the iOS app didn’t crash.
After my problems with the VR glasses, I thought Jon might have better luck with the Ghost Drone 2.0 because he had children who might be able to fit in the goggles better than me. During my massive tree crash due to the iOS app crashing and taking control away from me the Drone was still flyable but you could see the camera’s gimbal was slightly bent. Jon took the Ghost Drone 2.0 home and attempted to fly it but once connected to the iOS app it would not fly until he updated the firmware. The next problem occurred here, because of the crash and the slightly bent gimbal the drone refused to complete the firmware update.
This should not have been that big of a deal thanks to the extremely kind warranty they talk about on the box. Unfortunately, when Jon reached out to the support department he was met with a phone number that could not receive any messages and no reply to his email. Jon reached back out to me to explain he wasn’t going to be able to complete the review due to not being able to fly the drone and the lack of any sort of response from the company. Here are his comments on the experience.
I opened the package and was excited to try the drone. I reviewed the included materials and put both the headset and the drone battery on charge as per recommendations. Once I installed the battery and opened up the application, it asked me to download the latest drone firmware. This downloaded over my phone LTE data connection without issue. It then tried to update the gimbal firmware. This is where the problems began.
Over about a 5-minute time period, the drone was on and vibrated making a weird buzzing noise. The camera shook and did not move/reposition. The gimbal update failed. I tried this a total of 5 times, failing each time. I turned to the internet, to the Ehang Website, downloaded the toolkit, tried a manual upload as some of the web instructions suggested and this did not work. I called the number on the included card and the voice mailbox was full. I called the number listed on the website and left a message. I checked the contact us button on their website and emailed them. It has been a month and I have heard nothing back.
In total, I spent about 4-6 hours trying to get this drone to work and trying to contact customer service to only have a nonfunctional drone with a warranty that I cannot use.
At this point, I thought I would be able to reach out to the PR firm who contacted us to review the drone in the first place but to no avail, I was met with the same no response. This was very disappointing. I, however, did not want to give up and just bash the drone because I did see others who had decent luck with their devices but from our testing, I can’t recommend anyone that anyone drops money on this device at this time.
I received the Ghost Drone back in November and the review should have gone up a long time ago but due to the lack of any response from the company, I thought I would wait until after CES to see if I could get any help from the company in the months following receiving it. In my opinion, I would rate this 1 star. Jon gives it a rating of -1 due to the lack of customer service. Maybe we received a defective unit but even with it being defective there is no excuse for the lack of customer service support for this device. Due to our experience, we can’t recommend the Ghost Drone 2.0 to anyone. If you want a drone that flys and flys well DJI is the way to go.
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