[Drone]DJI Tello

– DJI Tello – A Budget Drone aimed at beginners & semi-professionals.

After so long, and a few years, I finally have a drone to own. Obtained on the 12th of January, 2021 needing awhile to blog about this. After much researching I stumbled across the ‘DJI Tello’ thanks to me Youtubing video quality and such. I purchased the DJI Tello because of my budget, my current issues, and for the picture quality. I couldn’t go for anything in the $500 Canadian range, and I was even somewhat scolded for going for the $150 drone because I’m supposed to be budgeting thanks to how rough 2020 was for me (as noted in previous blog postings). 2020 was a bad year causing me to lose a home which also influenced me to obtain this neat drone because of how I had to budget.

Ever since I’ve noticed drones being introduced and advertised for the average consumer (years back) I always was curious to try it out. Even before the whole VR side of things. I find them highly appealing, quite fun, and for the photography/video side of things, thus why I obtained the DJI Tello. I always wanted to use them for video recording, they however were fairly limited with poor quality, and etc every time I lightly researched Walmart stocked drones. One Walmart variant however caught my attention, never did go through with the purchase those years back. Probably around the 2015-2016 mark. I always wanted one, though wasn’t sure what or which to obtain. Everything takes time until you finally find the correct answer to your question. The more you desire something the more likely you’ll obtain it. 

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(Note: I purchased mine off of Amazon)

DJI Tello:
DJI Tello is noted to be a highly affordable drone for both beginners and professionals alike. Its aimed to be a fairly high quality drone for a very low price, though tends to cost a bit extra because of US-Canadian currency differences. It costs almost twice as much with shipping, unless you get Amazon Prime.

The drone lasts for 13 min, unless you get the travel bundle from either their main site, or Amazon. Would come with three extra batteries allowing you to fly for a good 30 minutes. The battery duration obviously also gets cut in half during winter period from the cold so its wise to keep it as warm as you can. Aim for a ‘goldilocks’ zone for your DJI Tello.

This drone is indeed a few years old. It isn’t fairly new, though it is still relevant and quite handy for its needs. Its why its still most likely circulating in their stores, as with Amazon, their main store, and elsewhere. You genuinely get what you pay for and its still worthwhile in the 2021+ era.

– DJI Tello unpacked. Comes with a short USB charger, battery, Tello,
– ‘Feel the fun!’

How to Use the ‘DJI Tello’:
You will need to scan the QR code from the back of the box to then download an application to use. If you can’t, go [here] to download it on your phone. If you have an iphone then simply go to your Iphone side to acquire it there. I’m mainly android focused here.

If you EVER have any troubles with the DJI Tello app then there is a backup third party application for you to use. It’ll allow you to do much more, though you’ll have to pay for it for its full features. There is a demo if you ever feel stingy. You can find the ‘Tello FPV’ by clicking here.

(Note: Make sure to run the Tello as soon as possible or else it’ll tantrum about overheating, and every other issue. Charge it the ‘right’ way. Its very picky and sensitive.)

– Sensors allowing it to stay where it needs to in the air. The vents you see is the only cooling it needs. Make sure it can stay cool on the day you decide to use it.
– If you don’t, you’ll get the overheating problem. It has no cooling system, only the vents. Flying it during a hot day, or a very cold day, and even at night is highly not recommended. I wasn’t fast enough to bring it outside on my second run.
– Tello’s Main app – Was having issues connecting to the Tello on my second run. You can see the take-off button, drone options in flight (image below), Settings, playback, video or picture mode, and record on either image or video. Bottom is your joysticks.
– Your various flight mods. You can throw your drone into the air, do various flips, make it fly away, or even a 360, among a few others. Even bounce your drone up and down in a gimmick manner.
– Front camera. Can’t adjust it, though I fear its easy to break.
– Charge it with a USB cord. [adaptor of 5V1A-5V2A or Micro USB wire.]

Tello Images:

Below are images of the Tello’s own pictures and videos taken. Not the best because of how gloomy Canadian winter weather is, though great when you get vast contrast in your scenery. It works best during warm periods when colours are vibrant. You can still technically fly your drone on cold days, just don’t expect much as it isn’t designed for Canadian winters. The batteries get cut in half (5 minutes), and the Tello is at risk of being blown in any strong gusts.

– Default image to show you the standard quality and conditions. This was 2 days after the weekend snowstorm.

Not really familiar with the area I was testing in, assuming it was going to be “wild” and untouched. I would have to fight to a good clearing in the snow, or something. Found it fairly populated allowing for a decent area to launch the drone from.

– Second ‘default’ shot. Not yet launched, simply held in my hand making sure drone is behaving. Was forced to use secondary app because I was in an overly chilly environment. I needed reliability.
– And off it goes! Its flying! Its flying! Weee!~

Even before setting it off I tried to gauge how windy it was. It wasn’t the best conditions, though better than the alternative of snow, 20km winds, and etc the following days. My hands were freezing, I was lightly panicking trying to get things done hastily (haste makes waste). I constantly hesitated to get the drone higher in the air because of the wind, the dream, and how tiny it is. 

I’ll briefly note as of January 18th, 2021, I had a dream in the theme of ‘Exploring with Josh’ on Youtube. He does great Urbex exploring where him and I had a merged personality of setting the drone off to fly. Immediately it got caught in the wind forcing me to panic in my dream to get it back. It kept wobbling in an Google Earth type European map with names popping up. I eventually got it back to where it would circle around this old house with black trim, and such. Had to land it so I tried landing it to land it in grass. It was a big “oops!” moment because I ripped it out of the grass damaging the blades, or so. Thankfully, its just a dream.

– Bobbing the drone up and down in altitude in constant fear and hesitation. The wind, power lines, and such. If I get the drone in the power lines I’m f***ed.
– Pointing the drone the other way, though now you can tell where the wind was coming from. It was leaning into the wind (West).
– I view this as one of my “money” shots. I love the POV in this image becoming ‘braver’ with the drone. The trails, the shrubs, and etc.
– All those trails, paths, and etc. I love the detailing in this image. The higher I can get my drone the better it’ll be, though have to watch out for the wind.

I had to do about 2-3 ‘sessions’ of this to finally get what I desired out of the Tello, all thanks to the Canadian winter hampering the fun. Third time is a charm allowing me to finally obtain those panorama, the videos to stitch into one video, and to actually share the amusement. 

Below images are shots for a panorama, though interesting in their own manner, thus why I’m sharing them. Keep in mind that you have to use the ‘Tello FPV’ app to take panorama shots. To stitch them you either do it manually, or have another third party app to do it for you.

– Pano 1 – Overcast day
– Pano 3 – Skipping a few panos for only the more “interesting” ones.
– Pano 4 – All those trails in the snow, thus why I’m sharing.
– Pano 7 – All those trails in the snow. The shrubs.
– Pano 9 – Overcast, light flurries, shrubby, and just ‘moody’. Interesting vibe on its own.

Its honestly amazing how much I had to wait for something so ‘simple’. I was being overly cautious because my Tello is still brand new, why I avoided any precipitation. DJI Tello strongly and firmly recommend not to bring out the DJI Tello, thus why I haven’t. Granted, there have been people who have taken their Tello out in snowy weather with no problems. I wanted to be on the safe side. 

– DJI Tello – Tello FPV App – Panorama 1 – The ‘Money Shot’.

I honestly can’t wait to start taking proper panorama. I most likely have to wait around the spring, or even summer in general, for opportunities for better panorama opportunities. 

Tello FPV App:
As noted, if the main application fails to do anything properly you can always rely on the ‘Tello FPV’ app to cover your back. Its far more detailed needing to re-learn the controls on how to use it. 

– Tello FPV App – Experimenting after main app failed while starring at a dishwasher.
– 2nd flight outdoors (with images in this blog posting) showing how windy January 18 was. Wasn’t bad, though shows in the graph how the Tello constantly corrected itself in the wind with those spikes in the lines. It has no GPS, only VPS (Visual Positioning System).
– 3rd Flight for January 19 with calmer winds, though colder. The long line you see is me getting video from my starting point. As you can see, no spikes. Barely any wind.

I’m gradually discovering more and more about the ‘Tello FPV’ app so I can feedback as I progress further with it. Spring and summer shall see it being used far more often with more nitty-gritty opinions being noted about it.

DJI Tello – Video:

Video mode on the DJI Tello is not its strong point, though its there if you ever want to take videos of things you otherwise wouldn’t see. Record them for others to see. Do note the range is limited, tends to crackle when a fair distance away, and even struggles in very windy conditions. This drone has to be in ‘near perfect’ conditions, more so for video mode. Pictures are easier than videos. You also gain no audio for your videos.

Not the best video quality, though it does allow you to share your moments. You get what you pay for. 

Final Thoughts:

As noted, I’m on a budget and this drone does things nicely. If 2020 hadn’t put me in such a dire situation I would have probably obtained a DJI Mavic if I researched heavily enough, though am quite content with the DJI Ryze Tello. Every other drone I noted nearly compared to what the DJI Tello advertises, though not to how awesome the DJI Tello is. This drone is aimed at beginners and those in the professional line; Right in the middle of the spectrum. Its an overly affordable drone, though is quite a touchy drone requiring specific treatment to behave properly. 

Picture mode is its best part. It has no landscape mode (from what I’m aware) simply taking standard cellphone type images at 5 megapixels. The camera is decent allowing you to see things in fairly good detail. The drone’s picture quality is its strong point allowing you to even take panorama mode pictures, ONLY if you have the ‘Tello FPV’ app installed. Its quite baffling because the main ‘Tello’ app allows for a 360 video mode, just no panorama picture mode. 

Video quality is ‘decent’. Its a step lower than the picture mode, though does what it needs to do, in situations. Its there. I’ve had issues with my video quality because of the wi-fi interference, the wind, and being a beginner. Its however very easy to learn. 

The DJI Tello is an interesting drone because its both ‘strong’, yet ‘fragile’ at the same time. Its well built, does what it needs to do for the range it was built for. It does what it needs to do, though suffers the most in windy and cold conditions. It can get easily blown away, and the batteries get halved in cooler conditions. Its easy to use, easy to fly, though tricky to land at times in cold conditions. When I held my hand under the drone to catch it the drone panicked. It revved up until I tilted it to disable it because I did not want it to land on snow. Trees, fine. Snow? Not so much. 

The thing about the Tello is how formidable it is, though can be equally as fragile. People have shown videos on Youtube of having flown their Tello in snowy conditions. Another person has noted how they had their Tello stuck in a tree for 2 months in rain, snow, and windy conditions to work upon retrieval. DJI themselves however note not to bring the drone in wet conditions. Its strongly noted to keep the Tello in fairly ‘normal’ and ‘dry’ situations. In these cases its up to the user to try to make the most out of a situation. 

The batteries are also something to note because it’s what makes the drone ‘fragile’. As noted, their life span in cold conditions is halved. They generally last 13 minutes, yet need roughly 1 hour to charge. DJI’s solution to this is to simply offer a combo, more batteries, and etc. Another thing to note is to not charge it immediately after flying, something I found after the fact on a Tello forum. Another thing to consider is how the chip inside overheats fairly easily because the Tello was built around the ‘quick’ concept. Start it up quickly and let it it fly allowing the rotator wash to cool the chip within. There is no interior cooling fan.

The drone’s height is defaulted to 10m (especially using the main app), though can be pushed even higher to 30m. I pushed mine up to 16m which appears to be the best height for a drone. Its highly satisfying when. Be cautious of wi-fi interference and etc. Follow your local drone rules and regulations. 

(If you also don’t like my review then you can check out RCgeek’s review, or even ‘Captain Drone’s’ Youtube on the DJI Tello.)

For my first impression this drone gets a solid 8.5/10. Minus points for video quality and for its fragility in wet conditions. The main application is handy, though tends to be fairly clunky when it refuses to work requiring you to use the ‘Tello FPV’ app to do what the other app refused to do. Everything else is fairly solid on the drone. Flies well, takes good pictures, handles well, and etc. When handled well its a beast. Its a very smart drone, especially the vPS it has. Visual Position System.

I’ll be happy flying this drone on a warm day taking tons of panorama shots when able. Keep an eye out on the DJI tag 🙂