Hands-On with the Ryze Tello
Heliguy have just received our first shipment of the new Tello drone from Ryze Robotics. This smart and fun little toy drone has a wealth of features and includes some impressive hardware from DJI and Intel. Considering the Tello’s low price point, it’s likely to be a popular little quadcopter for both adults and children.
We got our hands on one of the available units to test out its features and see how it compares to the DJI drones we’re used to flying
Keep reading for more information on the Ryze Tello and to see how to use its impressive features.
Let’s start by taking a look at some of the key specifications of the Tello:
|Approximately 80 g (Propellers and Battery Included)|
|98 x 92.5 x 41 mm|
|Range Finder, Barometer, LED, Vision System, 2.4 GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi, 720p Live View|
|Micro USB Charging Port|
Max Flight Distance
Max Flight Time
Max Flight Height
|1.1Ah / 3.8V|
|5 MP (2592 x 1936)|
What’s in the Box?
Next up, check out what is included in the package:
There’s currently only the above package available for the Tello. The inclusion of additional propellers if great, especially for flying indoors as damage may occur if you’re not careful.
Please keep in mind, the Tello doesn’t include a cable to charge the battery. A standard micro USB cable is required for use with the Tello.
About the Tello
The Tello is packed full of features to make it the standout drone from the toy drone class. Check out some of the key features below:
DJI Flight Technology Included – One of the key elements setting the Tello apart from the rest of the toy drone category is the inclusion of DJI technology. The DJI tech included in the Tello is responsible for its stability in flight. The vision positioning system is a great feature that accurately holds the Tello’s position during flight to a level that’s unlike any other drone of this kind.
Intel Processor – Another great part of the Tello is the inclusion of a 14-core Intel processor. This enhances the image quality on the Tello, resulting in higher quality images and video.
13-Minute Flight Time – The Tello has an advertised flight time of 13 minutes, with our real-world testing being over 11 minutes. Compared to the Spark’s 16-minute time, the Tello’s battery is impressive considering it only weighs 26 grams.
Safety Mechanisms – The Tello features auto-landing when the battery is low or if your signal is lost in order to protect the drone. Warnings are also given in the event of a low battery, signal loss, etc.
Brushed motors – Unlike the majority of DJI drones, the Tello features brushed motors, keeping the price low. The motors are highly functional, especially considering the Tello’s ability to perform tight and accurate flips.
Auto Takeoff and Landing – The Tello also has auto takeoff and landing functionality with a tap of a button. This includes palm takeoff and landing to launch the Tello for any location.
Where to Fly
Before we delve into the Tello any deeper, we wanted to let you know the best conditions for you to fly in. The Tello is best suited to indoor flight in a wide-open space. We would recommend only flying outdoors when there’s no wind or a most, a light breeze. Keep in mind, the Tello only weighs around 80 grams with the battery and propellers attached. This is less than a third of the DJI Spark’s weight, which is around 300 grams.
If you are planning on flying outdoors, monitor the weather and fly in a closed environment such as a fenced garden to avoid an incident.
If flying indoors, it’s recommended you use propeller guards for increased safety.
For more tips on flying indoors, head to our previous blog post here.
The Tello comes with its propellers and propeller guards attached. Download the Tello app from the App Store or Google Play Store then remove the packaging from the Tello. Once you’ve unboxed your new Ryze Tello, make sure the battery is fully charged, then switch it on.
Next, connect your smartphone to the Tello by entering the Wi-Fi on your device and select the Tello as seen below:
The Tello isn’t sent with a Wi-Fi password like the majority of the DJI range, however, one can be added at a later date. Once connected to the Wi-Fi, open the Tello app.
It’s worth completing a firmware update before your first flight. We will cover this in the ‘Controlling the Tello’ under the ‘Settings’.
Keep reading for more on controlling the Tello and the Tello app.
Controlling the Tello
To control the Tello, you can use your smartphone and the Tello app, or a Bluetooth remote controller from GameSir or Gamevice along with the Tello app.
Below, we will be going over the settings in the app and the different control methods.
The Tello app has an intuitive and simple design that makes controlling the Tello extremely easy.
The app features virtual joysticks, allowing you to control the Tello using the same standard controls from the DJI series. The controls work in the same way as the Spark, Mavic Air and Mavic Pro, when using a smartphone for control.
To take off and land the Tello, use the button at the top left of the screen. On takeoff, you will be given a slide bar to confirm the process, like with the auto-takeoff on the Spark etc. Please see the example below:
You can also use the CSC command to start the motors.
Once you get your Tello in the air, use the joysticks to control its movements and the button in the top left to auto-land.
We will discuss the various flight modes in detail in a section below.
The Tello’s settings can be viewed by selecting the gear symbol in the top bar. You will then be presented with the following page:
You can control the following settings on the menu:
Flight Speed – This allows you to control the flight speed with options available for slow or fast. Slow has a maximum speed of 6.7 mph and fast is increased to 17.8 mph. The slow mode is the default setting on the Tello.
Bluetooth Controller Settings – This section allows you to view the game controller settings and connect to a game controller to the Tello.
Wi-Fi – You can check the Wi-Fi connection to the Tello and set up a password for your Tello.
Select more to go to the next area of settings.
Beginner Guide – A brief guide will be given for using the Tello.
Measurement System – Select your desired units of measurement. Metric is the default.
Photo Quality – Select the desired quality of your photos. It’s recommended you choose high to achieve the advertised 5MP.
Low Battery Warning – Like DJI products, you can choose your preferred low battery warning. Options are available between 10% to 50%.
Stick Mode – Choose your desired stick mode. Mode 2 is the default.
EV – EV allows you to control the exposure value on the Tello. Choose between -3 and +3 to suit the available light.
Bit Rate – Choose your desired bit rate for video transfer. The higher the bit rate, the better your video quality. Please note, we experienced some video lag when using the highest rate. Auto is recommended as it is best suited to your smartphone.
IMU Staus – Calibrate the IMU to in order to maintain accurate control and positioning with the Tello.
Centre of Gravity Calibration – Calibrate the centre of gravity for improved flight accuracy.
Firmware Version – This will give you information on your firmware version and advise if an update is required.
Loader Firmware – This is the original firmware the Tello was loaded with.
App Version – This will give you your app version and advise if an update is required.
Ryze Tech Support – On selecting this option, you will be taken to the Ryze website for an option to live chat with Ryze.
Please note, every time the Tello is turned off, all of the settings will return to the default. If you have edited any settings, these will need to be changed on starting the drone.
The Tello is compatible with a Gamesir T1D controller. Although the functionality is the same as when using a phone, the controller can help you use the Tello’s features such as flipping.
Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get our hands on a controller as the UK availability is limited.
A great feature on the Tello is its compatibility with a VR headset. These are used with your smartphone device in the holder and a game controller. A VR headset can be used in order to view the live stream from the Tello or to view the images and videos you’ve previously capture on the Tello.
The Tello’s camera is capable of 5MP images and 720p videos. It may not initially sound impressive, however, when you consider its low price and toy drone category, these features are more than adequate and can still give you some great results.
The Tello features electronic stabilisation to compensate for its lack of a gimbal.
Check of our example video compared to the Spark below:
As you can see, the video does have some vibration, however, this is significantly reduced when moving. You can see this in our EZ Shots examples below.
We also compared the image quality of the Tello and Spark:
All shots are saved directly to your mobile device as there’s no option for an SD card in the Tello.
Flight Modes are available in the in the Tello in the form of EZ Shots to capture short video clips and Intelligent Flight Modes, to perform stunts and manoeuvres with the Tello.
These modes are all available in the Tello app in the highlighted section on the first image. You will then presented the menu in the second image:
All the EZ Shots and Intelligent Flight Modes should only be used in an area where there’s sufficient room to do so, clear of obstacles. Ensure there’s enough light available for the vision positioning system to work as this is a requirement for all modes. To exit any of the modes select the ‘X’ icon at any time.
Check out each of the modes below.
Following in the footsteps of their partners DJI, Ryze have added some useful intelligent modes to the Tello. These come in the form of EZ Shots which allow users with little drone experience to capture short video clips at the touch of a button.
Unfortunately, the Tello app doesn’t allow you to share and edit directly with it like the DJI GO 4 app. This isn’t a huge issue as images are save to your smartphone and can be shared or edited if available on your phone. Having this functionality incorporated would be a useful addition to the app in the future.
In the 360 mode, the Tello will hover in place and automatically rotate 360° whilst recording. Once a full rotation has taken place, the Tello will stop recording and hover in place.
Check out the example of 360 in action:
Similar to circle mode on the Spark and Mavic Air, the Tello will circle a point whilst recording a short video clip. The circle is around two meters from the target. Once a full circle has been completed, the Tello will automatically stop recording and hover in place.
Check out the example of the circle mode below:
Up & Away
Like the Dronie on the Spark and Mavic Air, the Tello will fly upwards and backwards away from your subject while recording a short video. Leave at least six meters behind and above the drone and check the area for any obstacles. Once the mode is complete, the Tello will hover in place and await a further command.
See the below example of the Tello in action in up and away mode:
Intelligent Flight Modes
Again, following DJI’s ideology but tailored to the toy drone market, several intelligent flight modes are available. These modes are less about functionality compared to DJI’s drones and more about the fun of flying your drone.
A great mode for having fun while flying, 8D Flip lets you flip the Tello in one of eight directions. Once the mode is selected, a box will appear on the screen that you simply swipe in a direction for the Tello to flip.
The Tello will perform flips when hovering in place of moving.
Check out the GIF below:
Please be aware, this mode is not available if the battery level on the Tello is below 50%.
Throw & Go
Throw & Go is a great mode for getting straight into your flight. Simply select the mode, start the propellers and gently throw the Tello into the air for a stylish looking takeoff from any location.
This mode succeeds where other drones have struggled in the past, with a simple and safe throw to launch mode.
In Bounce Mode, the Tello will fly up and down in a fixed position to mimic bouncing. Activate the mode and the Tello will fly between 0.5 and 1.2 meters. If the Tello detects an object, it will increase its height appropriately.
This mode seems to be aimed at younger Tello pilots and reminds you the drone is still a toy drone at heart.
In addition to the above intelligent modes, the Tello also features coding functionality. Tello utilises Scratch, an MIT-developed coding system, designed for children and teenagers learn the basics of coding. The coding is used to create a choreographed flight for the Tello with set movements, tricks and more.
We’ll be testing out these features to create a comprehensive guide in the near future so keep an eye out for these.
Check out the Heliguy video on the Tello below:
Overall, we’ve been really impressed with the Tello following our thorough testing. It’s a robust little quadcopter that is leagues above any drones from the toy drone category. The tech that’s been contributed by DJI allows the Tello to hold its position in the air with a great deal of accuracy.
The Tello is easy to control with its dedicated app. The interface is simple and great for beginners who’re looking to get used to the mechanics of flight.
It’s worth noting, although better than any toy drones, the results of the camera are limited to being used for social media at best. This being said, it’s a really entertaining drone to fly and a great way to remind you how fun flying a drone can be.
As a first from Ryze, the Tello is a fantastic drone.
Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog for more announcements, insights into drones and, of course, the latest news from the drone industry.
David is Heliguy’s Blogger and Head of Digital Content Production. David keeps our readers up to date with drone news within the ever-changing industry.