Rolling Spider Mini drone review: conduct surveillance on your cat with this indoor drone

At £90 it's a pricey toy, but for budding drone pilots of the future the feeling of flying is still exciting (even if it only lasts for six minutes at a time)

Watching the Rolling Spider take to the air for the first time is hypnotic. After tapping a button on a connected smartphone the mini drone’s four tiny propellers whir into life and the toy is lifted into the air. Then it simply hangs there, glaring at you malevolently with a pair of LED ‘eyes’.

As toys go this is a pretty good trick, but the Rolling Spider from wireless specialist Parrot (before they started making consumer drones they were best known for hands-free systems in cars) is one of a new generation of flying toys that are slicker than any radio controlled model airplane.

The Rolling Spider works via low power Bluetooth, connecting to Parrot’s FreeFlight app (available for Android and iOS with Windows Phone arriving in October) to turn your smartphone into a controller. There's three different modes to choose from and while the Spider isn’t easy to control it’s at least easy not to crash and offers some built in tricks (backflips and barrel rolls) that make you feel more expert than you really are.

The Rolling Spider can be controlled by smartphones or tablets

This is most definitely an indoor drone mind, and although it has a range of around 160 feet, its miniscule size and weight (just 55g) makes it extremely susceptible to gusts of wind. To keep it safe indoors, Parrot supply a pair of detachable plastic wheels that let it ‘roll’ up walls and keep it from bumping into things with its propellers.

All this means that the Rolling Spider is at the bottom end of the drone market, which goes up through more sophisticated models like Parrot’s own A.R. Drone 2.0 and the DJI Phantom to the larger, custom rigs that are used for professional surveying. (To be clear here: apart from the smaller models used for surveillance, military drones aren’t anything to do with this type of machine – they share a name, nothing else.)

With that in mind, the £90 price for the Rolling Spider is perhaps a little high (especially considering that you only get around six minutes of flight time before you have to recharge the battery for an hour and a half) but the feeling of watching the thing buzz steadily around your living room is pretty unique.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Support / IT Sales / Graduate Sales / Trainee

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has now arisen for a Sale...

    Recruitment Genius: Administration Manager

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued growth an exce...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Help Desk Support

    £14500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An IT Help Desk Support individ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Administrator - East Riding of Yorkshire

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Administrator - East Ridi...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable