ToysBulletin.com reviews the third of four drones from Swift Stream.
This is drone week at Toys Bulletin, and so far we have reviewed a couple of lower priced models from Swift Stream, including the Z-4 ($30) and the Z-6 ($40). What we have found is that you can get an impressive drone experience for a rather low price, something that was unheard of just a few years ago.
Today, we are going to move up to the Swift Stream Z-9. This model is approximately twice as large as the Z-6 coming in around 12.4” x 12.4” and the price jumps up to $80. But the Z-9 takes us into a whole new class of drone, and like the other products we have reviewed so far, the functionality, features, construction and controllability are all top notch, especially when you consider that we are still under $100.
The Z-9 uses a large remote that adds a small screen at the bottom that provides key information on your current settings, along with battery life which is a feature you instantly appreciate. With the Z-4 and Z-6, reviewed previously, you had to wait for the drone lights to start blinking to indicate that your battery was running low. Now you know exactly where you stand.
The lights on the Z-9 are brighter and easier to see than the previously reviewed entry level models. That is nice when you are trying to gauge the direction the drone is pointing when at a distance. The overall size of the Z-9 is perfect. It is substantial enough to be stable to control, yet light enough that it moves quickly and does not crash too hard on the ground. In fact, we had several rather severe crashes that were entirely due to operator error, but the drone held together through it all.
As our skill level improved, we began taking this drone higher and further than we did the others. The range was impressive, allowing you to go at least 100 or so feet in the air and maybe the length of a city block. We began to lose control at about the point where it became hard to see, so we thought that made sense, and we were more than satisfied.
The Z-9 does flips too but the big new feature you get with this model is the built in wi-fi video camera for taking video or stills. We had the system up and running in a matter of minutes. You simply download the Swift Stream app from your app store. Then connect to the drone via wi-fi (it shows up in your settings like any other Internet connection), open the app, and you will begin seeing whatever the camera on the drone is seeing. There are navigation buttons at the top that allow you to control the recording, and the media you create is saved right to the media library on your phone. It is amazing.
Now, the quality is good, and at this price point nothing you can complain about, but it would be worth another $20-$30 if there was an option to get a slighter higher res camera. But again, we are talking $80 for a camera drone capable of shooting video 100 feet in the air while streaming it back to your smartphone.
The Z-9 is super impressive, as we spent two full days running this drone and shooting video. It is truly addictive and lots of fun. For more information about the Z-9 go to the Swift Stream website, or for an on-line purchase go to Amazon.com.
— Andrew Cullen, Editor