Yuneec Breeze Review – 4K UHD Video recording Drone
Yuneec is known for the high quality of its drones and the company’s roster of 4K-capable UAVs contains some excellent models like the Monstrous hexacopter Typhoon H and
the classic Typhoon Q500+ which we had the pleasure of reviewing a while ago
. Given all these products, the company itself is definitely no stranger to delivering some high quality consumer drone quality at reasonable prices, even if its UAV’s aren’t quite as widely recommended as those of DJI.
Now, for 2016, Yuneec decided to follow the same general trend towards compactness taken by an assortment of other drone-making brands and release its own smaller but still powerful UAV with
4K video recording
in the form of the Yuneec Breeze. The resulting UAV has shown itself to be delightful for the most part. It’s not only highly affordable by the standards of 4K-capable drones, it also can be easily transported, is extremely easy to fly and comes with a fairly decent package of flight and photo/video options.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t a few flaws in the breeze but for the price it’s selling at, this little UAV delivers some decent value. Let’s take a closer look at all its characteristics and decide who it might most interest.
Starting things off are the numerous decent features of the Breeze. Yuneec is no stranger to effective drone design and after a few years in the business, they’ve honed their craft down enough to know what the best combination of specs and features would be in a budget 4K drone of this kind.
Most obviously, we have the excellent price of the Yuneec Breeze. At less than $350 dollars, this little drone is one of the most affordable 4K UHD flyers we’ve yet seen on sale from a major brand. This low price does not however mean a drone that comes with mostly second and third rate characteristics and specs. Instead, Yuneec has delivered a UAV that’s cheap without being cheaply made even though it does lack some of
the refinements of its pricier compact cousins like the DJI Mavic Pro
or the GoPro Karma to a lesser extent.
Speaking of the additional features of the Breeze, we come down to the inclusion of multiple autonomous flight options which come included in this UAV. These consist of a Selfie mode, Orbit, Journey and Follow Me modes. They’re all there and all of them can be activated in-app on the smartphone application that this UAV has available for it from Yuneec. The manufacturer has also include an app-based step-by step instruction system for flying the Breeze in any of its autonomous modes as well as for handling other controls and of course, flying the UAV manually in its Pilot mode. There are also plenty of adjustments that can be made to the assorted flight modes of the Breeze, allowing for a mostly smooth, customizable and highly flexible in-flight experience that reminds one of more expensive and professional drones of the same size or larger.
Another cool benefit of the Breeze is the way in which its built-in camera can be controlled separately from the drone’s flight to a limited degree. Other drone’s we’ve seen offer a more flexible version of this option but the Breeze does manage to come with separate up and down remote controls for the in-flight 4K camera and this is a useful little feature for when you’re conducting a sort of aerial survey or trying to zoom in on details of the landscape below as the drone passes directly over them.
Speaking of the Breeze’s camera, it’s absolutely one of its better aspects. The live stream it delivers to your phone screen through the Yuneec app’s live flight feed is capable of only 720p resolution but the camera itself does indeed shoot 4K UHD video at a decent and industry-standard 30 frames per second. Flight stabilization is only available at 1080p resolution but if you can keep the drone stable in certain specific flight sequences, some excellent and very sharp 4K video can be created for later conversion to photographic still shots. In addition to this, the Breeze camera can grab 12 megapixel still photos while on the move. Their color and dynamic range aren’t the best we’ve seen but they’re more than good enough for most survey uses and certainly worth their quality for the price this little drone sells for. Furthermore, the Breeze is an excellent UAV for aerial selfie videos and photos. So if you want to show off to your friends about how you’re exploring some cool outdoor adventure idea or just want to show off a particular piece of land for whatever reason, the Breeze offers a low-cost and highly compact option for doing this effectively.
We also love the easy to learn and diverse control options for the Yuneece Breeze. This is definitely a drone for users who want an air-borne means of grabbing decent to high quality photo and video sequences without having to go through the process of learning to fly their drone like a pro. Using the Yuneec flight app for the Breeze lets you put the drone in the air or have it perform a number of automated video/photo maneuvers with just a few very easy to learn taps of your phone’s screen. And if you want something a bit more robust but still easy to handle by almost any standard, the Breeze control app lets you fly the little drone in no time under the much more flexible Pilot mode. This manual flight mode can also be handled from the Yuneec flight app with some limitations on distance and height which we’ll get to shortly.
Finally, we come down to the overall design of the Yuneec Breeze. It’s not quite the prettiest or most stylish looking of the compact 4K drones we’ve recently reviewed (the honor for this goes to DJI’s Mavic drone and GoPro’s Karma to a slightly lesser degree but the Breeze does deliver on having a tough, smooth-flying design which is easy to pack away, unpack and transport for those situations in which you want to take the drone with you into some remote place to which you’ll have to spend a few hours walking.
Unlike many 4K UHD-capable drones
, the Breeze can be easily packed into a backpack and doesn’t require its own separate external case. Did we also mention that the Breeze is very light? Well it is, weighing in at a mere 13.4 ounces, even with its battery installed.
3.0 - 104 Reviews
As we said above, the Breeze is not without its share of flaws and they’re numerous enough to prevent us from giving this little drone a higher rating. We can understand that Yuneec designed this UAV as a budget option and thus didn’t invest in some of the premium features you might find in other drones but a couple of things could have been handled better even by the standards of a budget 4K drone.
First of all, the Breeze comes with no gimbal for its built-in camera. Instead, the recording apparatus maintains image stability for video and photos through an EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) system and to make things a bit clumsier here, even this subpar EIS system doesn’t work when the camera is turned to 4K ultra HD recording. This is a major defect of the Breeze and for some users, it could be a complete deal breaker, especially for potential buyers who are looking for robust stable recording chops for their professional aerial video/photo projects. Then again, Yuneec doesn’t promote the Breeze as a Pro user’s camera anyhow.
Moving along, the second major defect of the Breeze is its unfortunately short battery life. This drone can only manage 12 minutes aloft on its extremely light weight battery. This makes it almost useless for long range flight or major high altitude aerial shots even if you’ve got two batteries charged and ready to use. In any case, the 12 minute flight time is further worsened by an extremely limited flight range of no more than 260 feet vertically and about 330 feet in terms of horizontal distance. It should also be noted that even these limited flight distances are the ones you get if you manually extend the drone’s range. Out of the box, the Breeze comes with default settings that limit it to a range of no more than 300 feet and a height of only 30 measly feet, which is good for little more than basic user following and selfie shots.
While the controls of the Breeze are nicely responsive and the little flier quite maneuverable, the Breeze can fly at no more than slightly over 10 miles per hour, which is also rather pathetic in our view. We’d much rather have something decent that goes about at least 30mph and this little UAV is left completely in the dust by equally sized but much more serious drones like
the DJI Phantom 4, which can hit 40mph or faster and stay in the air for more than 20 minutes
Finally, while the Breeze possibly doesn’t deserve this complaint since it’s not priced to be a premium drone, the range of autonomous flight options in the Breeze is pretty limited. Selfie, Orbit, Follow Me and Journey are the very basics of autonomous consumer UAV flight and certainly not impressive in any consumer drone. We should also note here that the Breeze doesn’t come with a slot for SD storage of video or pictures. Instead, all recordings of any kind are stored in an integrated 14GB storage memory that’s built into the drone. This amounts to about 40 minutes of 4K video and a fairly decent amount of photo recording or HD recording but it’s still a clumsy sort of process by which the drone itself has to be connected to a USB cable for photo and video download.
Overall, if you want an extremely affordable, compact UAV drone with native 4K recording and some decent basic flight options for playing around in the field, the Breeze is a great starter option at a decent price. It’s also wonderfully easy to fly. However if you’re looking for something for more serious or even professional aerial recording in a compact form factor, forget this drone and go for a model like the DJI Mavic Pro. GoPro’s Karma is also a decent option due to its superior 4K video recording chops and greater range.
3.0 - 104 Reviews
• Brand: Yuneec
• Included components: aircraft, battery, charger, charging cord, 2 set propellers, USB cable, product guide, travel case
• Compatibility: Android phone, iPad, iPhone, iPod
• Max Speed: 16.4 feet per second (just over 10mph)
• Max Operating Distance 262 ft
• Interface: Wi-Fi
• Flight Control: Via Yuneec flight app for smartphone and tablet
• Camera Sensor Resolution: 13 MP
• Max Video Recorder Resolution: 3840 x 2160
• Battery 1150 mAh
• Run Time (Up To) 12 min
• Recharge Time 30 min
• DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
Width 7.7 in
Depth 7.7 in
Height 2.6 in
Weight 13.58 oz
The Yuneec Breeze is a compact, quadracopter UAV with a four rotor design and a body which is almost entirely white. If anything, we’d say it bears a closer resemblance to something that DJI would make (with its penchant for white-bodied drones) than to a typically dark-toned Yuneec drone. We call the Breeze a compact drone because its overall weight and size are indeed quite small but it is worth mentioning here that the four extended rotor arms are rigidly fixed into position, giving the whole UAV more bulk than it could have had if even the propeller arms were retractable. Despite this, the Breeze is still exceptionally portable, as we’ll cover below.
Moving along, this drone’s white plastic body and extremely light 13 ounce weight do give a strong impression of flimsiness or a feeling that the drone is more of a fragile, easily breakable children’s toy than a solid piece of UAV equipment. These first impressions are something that quickly gets dispelled however as soon as you start playing around with the Breeze in the sky. The drone is remarkably resistant to impact from crashes and a few rough landings coupled with at least one smack into a tree left the whole thing completely intact with nothing more than tiny scratches to show for its misadventures. In basic terms, while it feels weak, the Breeze is bloody durable as far as we’re concerned, despite its almost entirely plastic body construction.
Aside from its durability, the Breeze is a very decent drone for overall portability in its design. First there is the drone’s ridiculously low weight and then we have the fact that the little UAV’s propellers and landing gear can easily be folded right up and tucked away for putting the drone into its carrying case, which measures 10 inches by 10 inches by 2.5 inches. Inside the carrying case, the Breeze can easily be tucked into even a small backpack and taken along for just about any sort of outdoor or indoor flying adventure you’d like to experiment with. This same compactness also makes the Breeze particularly great as an easy to carry selfie flyer for family or group outing photos that you’d like to take from the air.
Setting up the Yuneec Breeze is pretty much as simple and straightforward a process as can be for a consumer drone. There’s essentially no assembly required and aside from the issue of charging both controller and drone batteries, you’re good to go out of the box. The Breeze even comes with its rotors attached right out of the box, or at least it did so in the test unit we were sent and does so in other consumer models we’ve seen. Users who want to control the Breeze from their smartphone need to download the Yuneec Breeze Cam app to their Android or iOS device and simply connect the drone to the app by entering the phone’s WiFi controls to find the Breeze connection name.
What’s also great about the Breeze package sold by Yuneec is that it comes with two batteries included along with the carrying case and prop guards, allowing you to pull two back-to-back 12 minute flights of 12 minutes each if you’ve charged both (which takes about 12 minutes to do).
The camera that comes with the Breeze is a built-in unit which unfortunately doesn’t offer gimbal-mounted image stabilization. Instead, It steadies video and photo shooting through an electronic image stabilization system which works decently enough for 1080p video and lower resolutions but which shuts off for 4K video, thus ruining some of the main appeal you’d think this drone has. This being the ability to record smooth ultra HD footage in the sky.
Beyond this major mechanical omission from Yuneec, the Breeze offers what we’d call fairly standard camera specs for a mid-range consumer 4K drone. It can grab ultra HD footage at 30 frames per second and handle 1080p video at 60fps while also offering 720p recording at a respectable 120fps. Then of course there is the camera’s 13 megapixel still photo shooting capacity with a 117 degree field of view and its up and down swiveling capacity which can be used at the touch of a button on the controller or Yuneec camera app.
Overall, we’d call the camera on the Breeze a pretty decent little performer for most amateur users. If you want pro UHD video shooting for aerial survey or videography work, forget about the Breeze and go for something more serious and price like the Yuneec Typhoon H or DJI’s Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro drones, but if you just want to have a bit of exploratory fun, the Breeze delivers the goods well enough. Video and photo colors are good without being great and the 1080p or lower EIS functionality is quite good. On the other hand, the internal drone memory of 14GB is your only storage option for all recorded video and photos, so keep your USB cable handy for frequently removing images and 4K or HD video from the drone if you’re doing lots of aerial shooting.
The bottom line for the Breeze is that it flies well enough for light hobby and aerial photo use while being badly limited for any sort of serious airborne shooting of a professional sort. Its maximum flight speed of just over 10mph and maximum vertical ascent speed of a measly 2mph are both very slow but this itself doesn’t matter all that much since the Breeze can’t exceed a range of a little over 300 feet horizontally or vertically.
On the other hand, the manual flight controls that Yuneec gave the breeze through the control app are remarkably flexible and user-friendly by the standards of a smartphone-operated drone. Furthermore, while the UAV’s selection of autonomous flight options is pretty basic, it’s more than enough for a drone that has to stay within 330 feet of its operator at all times. We should mention here that Yuneec has not include or even built a manual controller device for the Breeze. Since the focus here is on portability and compactness, this little drone can only be flown via smartphone/tablet app. Quite frankly, the app is good at what it delivers, so for the price the Breeze is selling at, our complaints are small on this front.
Moving on, the overall flight experience of using the Breeze is quite good in our view. Despite the range limitations imposed upon this little drone, it deliver some great highly localized aerial shooting and flight control experience. Furthermore, if you simply activate its automated Follow-Me, Orbit or Selfie options, the UAV will doe a great job as an airborne photographer even if it’s not particularly useful as a manually flown exploration and aerial video survey drone.
In terms of drone security we also love how well the Breeze manages to keep itself safe during unforeseen losses of flight control. Thus, if the signal between drone and smartphone is lost, the Breeze will simply hover in place for about a minute before returning to the place it took off from and landing by itself. The hover and land mechanism also kicks in if your phone dies suddenly or if you happen to get a call whole you’re busy using the Breeze.
On the other hand, onboard obstacle avoidance is outside the price range of the Breeze, so if you’re flying the little UAV, make sure to keep an eye on where it goes and more importantly, setting it to performs automated functions in a crowded bit of sky can easily cause the drone to hit something while it obeys its instructions. The absence of this last feature is a definite limitation if you’re thinking of having this little drone zip along behind you while you move through forested areas or urban environments with lots of vertical obstacles. In any case, thanks to the above-mentioned speed limitations of the Breeze, you’re definitely not going to use it to follow you as you move along quickly on a bike, skis or a snowboard.
As we said, the Yuneec Breeze is saved to a great extent by its wonderfully affordable price. This little drone sells for no more than $390 with two batteries, a carry case and a couple of rotor guards included.
3.0 - 104 Reviews
• Very affordable price
• 4K video recording
• Good video and photo quality
• Decent autonomous flight options
• One tough, compact little drone
• Extremely limited height and distance range
• No gimbal for video stabilization
• Electronic stabilization only works to 1080p resolution