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AgSnap

Technology in Agriculture, Simplified

Which Tablet to Run my New Drone?

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After you’ve figured out which new first drone is right for your farm, you’ll need to consider what kind of device will best display the live video feed and change settings. Both the DJI Phantom 3 models (Inspire/M100 too) and the 3DR Solo have Android and iOS apps. While smartphones will work, their displays often aren’t large enough compared to seven to ten inch tablet screens.

The Drone Deploy app on a  Nexus 7 2013 LTE Android tablet

The Drone Deploy app on a Nexus 7 2013 LTE Android tablet

The most popular device to run either DJI or 3DR drones right now seems to be the iPad Mini 2/3. I’m a huge proponent of Android devices, but the latest iPad minis and the iPad Air/Air 2 smoke everything else on performance right now. I can’t speak directly for the Android based NVIDIA Shield Tablet, but it seems to get good reviews for drone app performance as well.

Almost all Android devices have GPS, but only the cellular data capable Apple iPad mini’s and Air’s have GPS capability. GPS location isn’t always necessary, but it is nice to have. Cellular data connectivity isn’t exactly required either, but I do recommend at least having the capability. The main usage of cellular data in the field with a tablet right now is loading the Google earth background map. Keep in mind, just because you have a tablet capable of cellular data doesn’t mean you are required to purchase a data plan.

I’ve used both my Galaxy S5 smartphone and Nexus 7 2013 tablet, and they work just okay. The real issue with many Android devices seems to be the device gets hot. Since smartphones and almost every tablet utilize passive cooling (no fans), the internal processors slow themselves down until temperatures reach acceptable levels. I think part of the issue is software, since the app actually used to work better before the last couple of updates, so this issue may get a partial fix with future updates.

 

DJI Phantom 3 / Inspire / M100 Appshttp://www.dji.com/product/phantom-3/download
(these three models share the same app)

3DR Solo Apps: http://3drobotics.com/app/

 

Another thought: if you want to use the Drone Deploy automated flight and orthomosaic stitching service you must have an Android device, as they do not have an iOS app yet.

Looking for a late model piece of equipment? Be sure to let Aaron know using this form: