With much hype and anticipation of the release of the new 3DR Robtics Solo we decided that TechJet Air Systems would place an order for the new drone. We were encouraged by a drone that promised to revolutionize the industry with new features and redundancy. We were just hopeful that the customer service would be better than some of the companies that we had dealt with.
So how did it work out? Where do we start?
We place the order with DSLR Pro's in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida one of the two distributors 3DR was selling through. Then we waited and waited and waited and then after several delays we were informed the Solo was being shipped to us but without the gimbal. Anyone that has flown a multi rotor without a gimbal knows that the footage is useless. We did finally receive the Solo, spare battery and backpack.
As we worked through the set up we were never able to to fully download and pair the I phone to the Solo. We made a call to customer service and it was several days before someone from 3DR got back with us. The new drone just sat in the box unable to get airborne which added to the frustration. When we finally received a call back from 3DR support the tech had us disassemble the top plate of the drone and check to see if the GPS antenna was connected. We were told they had several Solo's that the antenna was not connected or became disconnected some how. Ours was connected. We then downloaded the software again and were able to get a successful download the second time. We were finally able to get the solo into the air.
First impressions were mixed. The first thing we noticed it took an extremely long time to get a GPS signal. Since it took so long to get in touch with a 3DR Tech we kept him online while we launched the Solo for the first time. He had us power down the Solo several times before we finally got a signal. Once the signal was acquired we were able to get it into the air. The first flight went well with no problems and things were looking up. We worked through several of the functions and were starting to like what the solo had to offer. We viewed the footage and our concerns about the stabilization were quickly realized. The footage was so unstable it was not usable. At this point we were basically just practicing flying around. This unit is useless without the gimbal. I spoke with DSLR Pro's and they agreed with us and informed us that many of their customers had already returned the Solo for a refund.
We were a little more persistent. We took the Solo and headed to the highest point in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sandia Peak for some high altitude testing. We got some great shots of the Solo but were in desperate need of the gimbal. So finally at Interdrone we heard the Gimbals had shipped and were on their way from China in the belly of a ship soon to be hanging from our Solo!