Editor’s Note: Hot off the heels of our Nintendo Switch review by Verge transportation editor Tamara Warren’s son, readers have been asking for more perspectives of different gadgets seen by a demographic completely unrepresented by the current Verge masthead. So we gave Benicio a toy specifically targeted at his age group and asked him to tell us his thoughts. Below is his honest feedback on the Parrot Mambo and Tynker, which together lets anyone learn to program a miniature drone. —Natt Garun
Before I got the Parrot drone, I was a little bit nervous. I heard that drones could cut off your fingers. To get ready, I watched a bunch of video of drones and was convinced they were cool. So when the Parrot drone and information about the Tynker app came in the mail, I was very excited. Tynker is an app that helps you code something robotic, which is how I learned to fly drones.
The next day I looked the directions over. The Parrot Mambo has four blades and bumpers. The bumpers can be taken off, but they should be left on to protect the blades. At first, the steps on how to use Tynker were confusing. The directions provided were complicated, so I called one of the people that worked at Tynker so I would be able to write this review. He really explained the app step-by-step to me, starting with how to download the Tynker app until I was flying.
Once he got me up and running, I played with the drone for a couple hours in my living room. I recommend this drone app because it only does what you want it to do after you code it. When you get onto the Tynker app, it will show you a picture of the drone. Push the red play button at the bottom-right corner to start; push it again and it will shut off. There’s a button that looks like this “<>.” That is where you get to the coding screen. You will see lots of code blocks on the left. Drag them over to a square screen on the right. You will connect the different code blocks together. Then push the play button on the bottom of the screen and push the picture of the drone. Then the real thing will start flying by your code!
I really loved coding because you can add moves in wherever you want them.
The flips gave me some trouble. I entered what I thought was the right the code, but it wasn’t working and I started to get a little bit upset. So I took a deep breath and calmed myself down and tried it again. The flips have multiple steps: take off; then you can make a decision about if you want to flip forward, backward, left, or right; then land.
Once I learned how to do it, my favorite thing about coding was making the drone do tricks. It’s hard to stop because you always want it to keep flipping.
The app itself looks like a “T” made out of square cubes. There are many codes to choose from. When you want to take a picture, it has to go up high in the air. You should do that outside, so you don’t crash into your ceiling. Then one of those blades would bounce off and hit you in the head. Boom! That would not be nice. Even though you could fly inside, it is more fun outside.
It was the first drone I have ever flown. I really enjoy this drone and I hope you do, too, and I now think drones are really cool. Next time, I will fly the drone in the park by my house. They remind me of helicopters, because they go straight up in the sky and fly down. It was really fun watching it fly. Have fun!
Photography by Tamara Warren / The Verge