One of the biggest complaints that I have heard about the DJI Phantom series of quadcopters has been random flyaways that some users experienced. I have covered these issues ad-nauseam here on Photography Bay and there is a nightmarish forum thread here with dozens of first-hand reports. It is a real problem and something that can quite simply kill a passion of flying drones for many users after they helplessly watch a $1,000+ kit flyaway.
With Colin Guinn and several other key employees coming from DJI to 3D Robotics, the company was well-aware of the flyaway concerns of many quadcopter pilots. Of course, 3D Robotics knows that flyaways can and still will happen but has a plan to deliver on customer support in a way that DJI so often falls short.
The 3DR Solo was designed to constantly communicate flight data to the remote transmitter in the pilot’s hands, whereas the DJI Phantom stores flight log data on-board the quadcopter. Accordingly, when DJI asks for the flight log data to process warranty requests from customers who experienced flyaways, there is no way for the customer to deliver the flight data . . . because it literally flew away.
In the event that a 3DR Solo owner encounters a flyaway under normal and proper operation circumstances (i.e., you followed the directions), the flight data can be transmitted through the 3DR app immediate to 3DR for warranty support. If the flight data backs up the user’s claim and the user encountered a flyaway through no fault of their own, 3DR will replace the Solo free of charge.
Not only will 3DR replace the Solo quadcopter but it will also replace the camera gimbal and a GoPro camera, if attached. The flight data will actually include the GoPro camera information if you had one connected to the Solo. There is no need to otherwise prove that the camera was attached since it is already built into the flight log data.
On top of what I’m calling the flyaway guarantee, 3DR also offers a 30-day satisfaction money-back guarantee for new Solo purchasers.
Here’s how 3DR officially phrases the customer support guarantee:
With a newly expanded support team of over 60 in-house technicians and a powerful new tech support solution built right into the app, 3DR is redefining what it means to offer world-class customer support. Solo keeps its own flight journal, continually logging information along over 500 parameters as it flies. You can analyze these files on your own, or instantly share them with our support team to aid in troubleshooting. Since Solo is continuously monitoring flight parameters in real time, if it suspects there’s been a problem, the mobile app will automatically offer the option of immediately submitting a service ticket via your mobile device. If the flight logs show Solo was lost or damaged due to a system error, 3DR will immediately repair or replace not only the drone, but the gimbal and the GoPro as well. In fact, we are so confident in the user experience that Solo offers, there’s even a limited 30-day satisfaction money-back guarantee. (emphasis added)
Building on the experience that several 3DR employees bring from their time at DJI, the company clearly recognizes a major pain point of consumers and is hoping to turn some of those disgruntled DJI customers into Solo pilots with a peace of mind that no other drone manufacture has had the cojones to offer to date.
The 3DR Solo retails for $999.95 for the quadcopter alone. You can also purchase the Solo with a GoPro camera gimbal for $1399.95. The 3DR Solo is available for pre-order with expected May 2015 availability here at B&H Photo.