People who buy drones use them for practice, leisure, content creation, or industrial purposes. The majority of them, at least. But are these pilots brave enough to fly their birds over water? Water sports enthusiasts, boaters, and fishermen have been utilizing drone technology for some time now, serving their purposes well enough.
But this is a high-stakes gamble with the drone’s safety — especially when flying over water — as it’s not exactly rocket science to state that electronics and water don’t go together. That is, until waterproofing techniques came along.
In this modern-day and age, consumer electronics have benefited much from innovations in other fields, waterproofing being one of them.
Not a lot of drones have full waterproofing, though. Water-resistance, yes, but that’s a huge difference. The SwellPRO Splash Drone 3+ is touted as one of the rare birds that can go into the deep blue without drowning.
But before you tunnel vision upon hearing what this hybrid drone packs, check out our thorough SwellPRO Splash Drone 3+ review to learn more.
|Weight||Unloaded: 2 kg|
|Size||Length: 9.3 in|
Width: 7.9 in
Height: 3.9 in
|Speed||Max: 72 kph|
|Signal||Range: ~1.6 km|
Operational Frequency: 2.4 GHz
|Battery||Flight time: ~23 mins|
Capacity: 5200 mAh
|Recording||Camera: 4K HD|
SwellPRO Splash Drone 3+ Features
S3 Flight Controller
The Flight Controller takes care of flight performance automation with its intuitive processing core. Coupled with modern sensors and an equally-competent propulsion system, it automatically detects flight conditions and adjusts the drone’s performance accordingly.
The S3 Flight Controller module also integrates the dual GPS+GLONASS GNSS that lets the drone connect to up to 24 satellites for real-time location and positioning accuracy. Furthermore, this smart controller module frequently checks for errors while supplying redundancy simultaneously, ensuring that the drone is in flying condition at all times.
You can enter Cruise Mode to get better video captures with the Splash Drone 3+. Essentially, what this does is integrate the yaw motion of the craft and camera yaw with a single joystick, making shot pans easier and smoother.
Another flight mode available is the Smooth Mode. Here, the drone let’s go of the joystick controls and instead transfers motion control to the fine-tuned dials on the lower portion of the drone’s RC. This allows you to command the drone with the precision and accuracy that would otherwise be impossible to execute on normal stick controls.
Do this at your own risk, though, as this completely alien way of piloting the craft might be too awkward to operate at first, relying on rotational knob motion rather than the lever mechanism we’re all too familiar with.
Like any other Follow Me mode, this quadcopter is capable of tailing you automatically to capture epic third-person shots on your solo excursions. The drone maintains a safe and viable shooting distance at a constant speed, which maxes out at 20 kph.
Is Tom Cruise secretly a part of the SwellPRO Splash Drone 3+ experience? Nope, unfortunately not. Mission Planning is just the drone’s waypoint feature, allowing you to pick locations on the map via the smartphone app, and plot them to let the drone fly along your desired path.
Circling Flight is an ‘orbit’ function of the craft. It allows you to pick out a subject that the drone will fly around in a full 360° coverage to get you a smooth and consistent cinematic shot.
Does ‘Circling Flight’ sound as cool as ‘Orbit’? No. But it does the same thing.
Return To Home
For a drone this expensive, it’d be a shame losing it to the vast expanse of open ocean water, right? Return To Home keeps it safe in case the battery levels run low or with the transmission signal frequently cutting off.
You can also manually prompt this feature for a hassle-free return voyage, with the SwellPRO Splash Drone 3+ returning to its original take-off point seamlessly. You lazy bum.
Low Battery Auto Landing
If the Return To Home function doesn’t kick in when the battery goes dangerously low, it will execute the Low Battery Auto Landing maneuver to secure the drone by landing on the spot immediately.
As the drone is designed to take on tasks that involve water, what better way to maximize its waterproof capabilities with a Payload Release option?
There are multiple payload variants (payload being whatever is attached to its belly), but the Fisherman version of the craft is where things get interesting.
The payload mechanism’s ability to be controlled remotely makes it optimal for use with inaccessible areas, or just another option for your activity’s convenience.
The mechanism can take up to a kilogram of weight for the payload, making it perfect for rescue missions that need a remote way to drop a lifejacket or give anglers a creative way to fish by dropping bait and line via the craft. Nifty!
The SwellPRO Splash Drone 3+ has a whopping 5200 mAh Li-VH battery to power it up, supplying it with up to 23 minutes of flight time, though this may vary. While you might think the battery capacity and flight time values don’t match, take into consideration that the drone weighs in at about 2 kilograms. That’s already a win for us, given the weight it has to carry.
The battery charges back to full at about an hour and thirty, so you aren’t left waiting forever to top it up. Still, it doesn’t hurt (okay, maybe your pockets will feel the pain) to secure extra batteries if you really need the juice. Implementation of the modular design is a letdown, though, as the battery fits quite tightly against the port.
The SwellPRO Splash Drone 3+ has a 4K camera with a 1/2.3 CMOS sensor that gives you an exceptional level of detail with photo and video captures. One pet peeve we have about the camera is that you can’t adjust camera capture settings once the drone is mid-air, which can be frustrating when you want to adjust exposure and dynamic range to improve color accuracy.
You’d have to manually land the drone, enable the WiFi module on the camera with a built-in button, and connect to the app. You also need to turn it back off when you take to the skies, as it might interfere with the RC signal.
Stability is secured by the three-axis gimbal, an upgrade from the previous model’s primitive gimbal. This ensures videos are super smooth even at moderate to high operational speeds.
The camera is given an IP67 rating though, giving it the ability to fly under rainy conditions or take an occasional dip, albeit being limited to 30 minutes at a time. This makes the SwellPRO Splash Drone 3+ perfect for search and rescue operations during natural disasters. We also rate it as one of the best drones for fishing.
Ease Of Use
This quadcopter comes with a sizeable, orange controller that is populated with the usual dual flight joysticks, some dedicated function buttons, toggle switches for modes, and control dials for the Smooth flight mode.
What sets it apart from other controllers is the built-in LCD screen that gives you flight telemetry stats such as battery level, speed, and distance, and access to the live FPV feed of the drone’s camera, forgoing the need of a smartphone for such purposes.
Speaking of smartphones, you can use the FLY APP to access the flight modes and presets of the drone, as well as tweak camera settings. The controller doesn’t come with a phone mount, but this is entirely up to convenience and preference of the user, as things might get bulkier if SwellPRO forced a phone mount on the design.
Design and Build Quality
The SwellPRO Splash Drone 3+ is robustly built, taking from its ABS plastic construction, with a sturdy framework supporting all the weight it carries. Even the propellers are crafted from premium carbon fiber, withstanding crashes fairly well. The drone weighs at about 2 kgs, making it a cumbersome bird to lug around.
As the SwellPRO Splash Drone 3+ is specifically designed to withstand some form of moisture exposure, flying above bodies of water will be a regular experience for this drone. So beyond its IP67 waterproofing rating, the craft offers some buoyancy as well, allowing it to float when it lands on open water. Beats swimming underwater just to retrieve it.
Now onto aesthetics, with the SwellPRO Splash Drone 3+’s bright orange traffic cone looks making it a make or break affair for potential buyers. Maybe the company was too invested in painting it as a rescue drone with its in-your-face visibility, but who are we to judge?
Performance is the least of your worries with the SwellPRO Splash Drone 3+, as it flies admirably, and competitively, if you take into account its lightning-fast 72 kph speed, pretty incredible for a craft that’s had one too many donuts. It’s this heft, along with its powerful brushless motors, that allows the craft to soldier on even with a direct 27 kph wind hitting it mercilessly.
1.6 kilometers on the range limit isn’t all too bad as well, considering the risk of being lost in open water (we ain’t taking chances even with its flotation abilities) making retrieval extra challenging.
As for the Payload Release module, the response level is what you’d expect from a drone this price: seamlessly impressive. Seeing that it’s another premium on top of the bill, it should be. We’re pitching it to rescue and retrieval teams as a viable way to drop lightweight supplies to victims. Who knows, this promising functionality might spawn newer iterations with greater carrying capacities and better control features.
The SwellPRO Splash Drone 3+ has everything you need in a high-end drone, and puts a cherry on top with its waterproof qualities, opening a brand new field of purpose for drones to dominate.
Sporting a highly-capable 4K camera, assistive and intuitive flight features, decent flight performance and time, and a user-friendly piloting experience, this is no slouch when put side by side with the top drones of its price range.
The payload release functionality is one of the drone’s biggest unique selling points, making it highly useful for fishing trips and other random recreational pastimes.
If you need a capable waterproof drone that has most of what you’ll ever need, turn to the SwellPRO Splash Drone 3+ and what it brings to the table. But for other applications that don’t require the ability to defend itself against the tides, you’re probably better off looking at something like the Mavic 2 in a similar price range.
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