Staaker Drone ReviewThe 'Staaker' drone, utilising imagery

When Staaker was first announced back in August 2016, it appeared to be a clone of the partially-successful AirDog, but taking its extortionate price too a whole new level with an RRP of $1,795. Its price has now just dropped to a slightly more realistic $999 but does this drone represent value for money?

Staaker drone, now reduced to $999 but does it still represent good value?
Staaker drone, now reduced to $999 but does it still represent good value?

Staaker claims to be the most successful drone for tracking action sports but this claim was made in 2016 when only the DJI Phantom 4 was available, comparisons with newer drones have not yet been formally marketed by Staaker.

In addition the article and testing was conducted by Wired, a tech-blog notorious in the industry for suggesting that the GoPro Karma was better than the DJI Mavic, subsequently retracting their conclusion after our article was published highlighting their numerous editorial/technical errors.

Now retailing at $999, this drone continued to be overpriced as it still does not ship with a GoPro camera (required to shoot photos/video), plus in order for Staaker to reduce the RRP they have made some changes to the consumer package:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”We’ve removed a few elements that very few customers needed, but which contributed to the cost of the unit. These include GoPro protection casing for Hero 4, spare propellers, and a few other bits and bobs.”, Quoted from a Staaker email[/perfectpullquote]

Based in the wealthy country of Norway, it is unlikely that Staaker are struggling financially as their support from local-country customers appears to be strong, however their impact on the global drone-market has been minimal.

The Staaker assembly line, showing one of the drones being constructed.
The Staaker assembly line, showing one of the drones being constructed.

Staaker as a current product fails to incorporate many of the standard features expected on a modern premium drone, such as obstacle avoidance, intelligent return-to-home (taking into account flight path, geography shape and obstacles), sensor redundancy, downward optical flow, or a mature app with a variety of autonomous flight styles.

When being filmed during action sports, consumers do not wish to be concerned by their drone hitting a tree that it cannot see whilst tracking, this drone leaves consumers with a lot to be desired.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Now, thanks to a new optimized assembly resulting in a much faster assembly time and scaled up purchasing resulting in lower component costs, we’ve succeeded at our goal — and the new versions of the drone will go for only $999.[/perfectpullquote]

And that brings us to the key issue, despite two years of development, Staaker does not appear to be any better at smooth tracking of subjects, nor keeping subjects center of frame than any other current market drone.

As demonstrated by this clip from a customer, the lack of downward obstacle avoidance can result in the drone almost hitting the ground, the tracking movements are also erratic and jerky.

The next clip captured via the market-leading DJI Mavic Pro, at $300 less than the $999 RRP of Staaker, is even more capable of tracking smoothly and with full true sensor-driven autonomy.

The latest release of the Mavic Air introduces even greater Active Track support with the capability to even track up to 12 objects simultaneously.

Staaker remains a non-viable investment as a drone platform, and worryingly the email distributed to mailing list subscribers suggests that some are still waiting for their pre-order to even arrive.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Of course, everyone who’s ordered, but hasn’t received their Staaker unit yet is eligible for a partial refund.[/perfectpullquote]

If you are still waiting, we would suggest that you grab a refund whilst you can and consider even looking at the latest AirDog as their development continues, as does their drone model evolution.

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