It will never be there be the perfect drone for everyone. There are too many different reasons to own a drone. Some like to race. Some like to record sweeping cinematic masterpieces, and some want to follow fast-paced action. What makes a drone good for one thing often does not make it so good for another. That said, if you’re looking for speed and maneuverability, the Skydio 2+ is almost perfect.
It has some shortcomings that I get into below. But the tracking and collision avoidance software in Skydio 2+ is better than anything else I’ve used in an order of magnitude. Best of all, Skydio packs this sophistication into an incredibly simple, easy-to-use flight control system.
Skydio started with the R1, a drone that was impressive in its feature set – it was fully automatic, no controller needed – but prohibitively expensive and apparently aimed more at the corporate market. The company followed it up with Skydio 2, which brought the price down and added more consumer-friendly features.
Skydio 2 had two pain points: It could only stay in the air for about 20 minutes, and many people had trouble keeping the drone connected to Wi-Fi in the more remote edges of its limited range (3.5 kilometers in the first version) . 2+ hardware update solves these two issues with a larger, more powerful battery and two pop-up antennas, which increase the drone’s range and provide a stronger signal.
The two hardware changes are minor but welcome, and 2+ is all that Skydio is selling now. But if you bought the 2, do not worry. The best of the new in software will still work for you and on this drone the software is really impressive.
That said, I wish Skydio had improved the camera. The 1 / 2.3-inch sensor is capable of 4K shots at 60 frames per second, which is fine for the average user, but flying it next to the higher-resolution camera in the Autel Evo Lite + (7/10, WIRED recommends) really showed how the latest generation of the Skydio camera. If picture quality is your biggest concern, get the DJI Air 2S (9/10, WIRED recommends) or the Evo Lite +. Skydio 2+ produces amazing video results, but considering how far ahead of the competition the rest of this drone is, it’s disappointing that the camera is not ahead in the same way.
I also found the white balance to be less than amazing. You can adjust it in the app, but there is no support for log video, like DJI’s D-log. Logging results in higher dynamic range video that you can color correct later in software (a process that can be streamlined a lot with color LUTs). However, if you do not plan to edit and color classify your video in software, the lack of a log gamma curve will not matter.
The missing log curve will mostly affect professional photographers, which is a shame because Skydio would otherwise be a good option for them. (It still is if you can live without a log.) But Skydio’s automated flight features mean you do not need hours of flight experience to get great photos.
The key to Skydio’s automated flight system lies in its approach to avoiding obstacles. Instead of looking for objects to avoid, the Skydio 2 series uses six built-in navigation cameras to build a real-time 3D map of the surroundings. It then uses this information, along with some AI smarts, to navigate through locations that other drones cannot manage.
I tried as hard as I could to get Skydio 2+ to crash into something while I was following myself through some pretty dense trees, but it would not. It flew on roads that I could not have flown on my own. The collision avoidance system is so good that I had to remind myself of it does not to try some of the things Skydio can do with the other drones I tested. Without a doubt, Skydio’s collision avoidance system is the best I’ve ever used.