The official specifications are somewhat of a trivial matter. You see, brands aren’t lying when they say, f.e., their model has up to 30 minutes of flight time, but in reality, that flight time is actually 25 minutes. There’s a lot of variables that affect the airtime of a drone, and they all need to be taken into consideration when presenting us with a number. Unfortunately (for the customers course), brands usually measure official specifications in optimal environments to create a better picture of their product. In other words, they don’t necessarily lie to us, they just skew the truth slightly in their favor. And everyone does it. I’m not name-calling here for that simple reason – everyone does it… and it seems as though we, as customers, already came to terms with that since we are merely silently protesting on various RC forums instead of doing something about it.
The DJI Mavic Pro, Mavic Air, and Spark are three drones that sport all the features listed above. The all have mechanical gimbals, gesture recognition, mobile device controls, vision positioning systems, and decent cameras. Plus, they’re portable and easy to use.
Alltogether the Altaier Aerial AA108 is the best affordable drone you can buy at this price point. It checks all the boxes as far as tech specs and flight time goes, and with an added bonus of having an American based headquarters and customer service.
AT&T said last week this marked the first time an LTE cell site on a drone had been successfully deployed for connecting residents after a disaster. After we published this story initially, AT&T said it had taken the drone out of service in Puerto Rico and has no specific plan to start using it there again.
In this mode, you switch to WiFi mode and connect your smartphone or tablet to the Mavic. This will of course take away some of the fine grained control that you get with the controller but makes things easier to manager by new pilots.
Even though DJI Mavic Pro has superior numbers as far as the specifications are concerned, GoPro Karma doesn’t fail to deliver either. With approximately 20 minutes of flight time and cca 2 kilometers of operating range, Karma stands tall and looks to be set on making a proper name for itself. Smart flight features are here as well, supported by GPS – they’re bound to make your aerial recording tasks a lot easier.
Got it stuck at the top of my neighbors tree on the second day after I got it. It was up there almost another two weeks thru rain storms etc. Finally the wind knocked it off the branch and to a lower position that I could reach with a pole and pull it out. Put a battery in it and it flew perfect. Was taking some video the other day at about 70-80 feet. Wind started to take it and I could not bring it down before I lost control. Flew to the next street over and crashed on the front lawn of a house. Not a mark on it. Still works great. Very very durable quad.
Not all transmitters are the same. As a matter of fact, each and every one of them is different in their own right. They might seem similar but their switches and buttons do completely different things. That’s why it’s a good idea to learn the basic buttons such as return to home, headless mode, rate switch and so on. WIthout that knowledge, you will have a bad time flying your drone for the first time.
A bonus of the Hubsan X4 is its Advanced Flying Mode. Still, you won’t have to worry about advanced flying in those early days. But it’s useful to have once you’ve perfected your flying skills in Basic Mode.
Instead of investing in a $3k drone, PhoneDrone Ethos came up with a cool way to turn your smartphone into a drone, using the phone as the “brains.” It’s a less expensive solution because it basically uses all of the components you already have built into your smartphone, plus most drones use your smartphone as the remote control anyway. An accompanying app allows you to actually set the flight pattern for the drone as its own separate “mission.” Here’s the catch though—your phone can’t be in two places at once, acting as the drone and acting as the remote control to the drone. So this will work if you have another smartphone or tablet, but not so much if you don’t.
You might ask yourself – but why should I buy an $800 drone as my first one? Well, despite its awfully high price, you will get a top-quality tech gadget that is actually ridiculously easy to control. Why is that so? Well, when compared to some of the cheaper drones (some of which have been actually featured in this list), the Q500 showed off incredible responsiveness and superior flying assistance, making it by far the most beginner-friendly drone on the market.
If your drone has GPS, chances are high it will also have some (if not all) of the following features: waypoints, follow me, altitude hold, orbit, cable cam etc. These supporting features are sometimes referred to as GPS features since they all require the GPS model in order to work as planned.
One complaint is the low battery life, so make sure you order a spare. By the way, you’ll get a little extra flight time without the camera attached. It’s something to think about when you’re not shooting.
When it comes to selfie drones, I’m sure you will agree with me when I say that the operating range isn’t of utmost importance. After all, most of the time you will be just trying to get the perfect angle with the drone being just a couple of meters away from you. That’s basically how aerial selfies are taken. So, if you are buying a drone strictly for the purpose of taking selfies, you should not be considered with the operating range.
Some portals such as Tmart.com will allow you to return products for up to 180 days: what the manufacturer is going to check for most commonly is if the damage was caused in any way by the user. Generally speaking, if you order a product from Amazon.com, they will take returns within 30 days, and will ship a replacement item if you receive one that is damaged or defective. Sometimes it’s just the transmitter or batteries, and sometimes it may be the drone itself.
Once again, this technology, makes it very simple to keep the drone in place while it takes a still image. The more expensive drones will even cater for changes in the wind and still maintain altitude as necessary, thanks to a variety of built-in sensors.
Imagine you and a group of friends are at the peak of a mountain after a long hike. It’s sunset and the sky is alight; you want to take a photo. You pull out your smartphone, but instead of flipping it around to take a long-armed selfie, you unclip a tiny drone from the back of your phone, make it hover at the perfect height and snap a series of photos, no extendo-arms required.
This is probably the first thing you need to find out before your flights, if you are flying outdoors. I personally would not fly if the wind is stronger than 15mph. It’s flyable, but the the quad will be a bit wobbly and the video footage will be a bit shaky.
Nixie, which you can wear on your wrist until you want to fling it off for a photo or video, has a “boomerang mode” that allows it to fly back to you as if it were a trained raptor. A promotional video for Lily shows a man with a backpack lobbing the drone like a stone over a bridge and casually walking away, only to have the thing float up and follow him. Think you can outmaneuver the contraption in white-water rapids? Lily is waterproof. I watched with awe a video of Lily being dumped into a river beside a woman in a kayak (where one assumes Lily will perish), yet within seconds emerging and rising, like Glenn Close from the bathtub in “Fatal Attraction.”
Next up, basic safety and flight procedures. We preach time and again flying safely and legally in your area. Safety is easy with a few smart decisions. From there, ensuring your drone comes back in one piece is another topic. We have decent first flight procedures and a things not to do in the following links:
Quadcopters typically have an X or H square frame and are known for their stability and reliability. The four propellers on most quadcopters can generate enough lift to carry 1-2 pounds and can maneuver quite fluidly, even at wind speeds of 10-15 mph.
At $779.99 and with so many features, the X-Star Premium is a bit closer to an intermediate-level drone. The larger format lets your drone handle winds better, but larger drones are typically harder to control for beginners. It’s also more expensive than the other drones we’ve featured here, but the the smoother video (thanks to the gimbal), the 4K camera, as well as the long range and battery life make it worth it.
It does say High def.. and for the pixels its not too bad.. its just not clear enough to really want to sport them as your profile pics or something like that.. Now if you want to give it as a cool wifi camera that would be OK.. I would give it another star but I was on vacation and couldnt get it up! No I mean it wouldnt get higher than 5 feet? even at full throttle? So for what its supposed to be 2 stars, but for a toy camera I will add another one.. to make a total of 3…
Don’t be one of those manly men who just throw away the instructions. That’s a bad habit, I tell you! Without the instructions, you won’t know what exactly is your drone capable of. Plus, if you buy an RTF model the instructions will give you a schematics of the transmitter which is of crucial importance for beginners. That leads us to the next tip…
This drone is sold a numer of different names. In essence, the manfacturer produces this same drone for a number of different companies, with one of tem being JJR/C, the other being licensed as the Selfie Drone 7s. You can even see that the apps are actually identical.
If you desire to start your piloting career indoors, or just want to test the waters with as small of a drone as possible, the Hubsan X4 H111 is a solid offering. There are quite a few nano drones on the market, most all offering up a similar experience, this Hubsan unit is the one on my desk.
Make sure you always have a spare battery with you. It’s the only way to prolong the fun. Make a note of the recharging times too. Some batteries charge in 45 minutes. Others can take a couple of hours.
As far as the performance of this beast drone is concerned, I’d say it fairs quite well with competitors such as DJI Mavic Pro. Starting off with the flight duration, you will be positively surprised by what this 6700mAh battery is capable of doing. Believe it or not, it can achieve close to half an hour of constant flying. Plus, the operating range is no slack either – you will be getting somewhere around 1 kilometer. While this is no match to DJI’s OcuSync, it still comes as a good number matching other competitors.
It’s a great little drone to practice your flying skills indoors and out, but take heed! It sounds like a large swarm of feisty bees. You may want to make sure you’re home alone for indoor practice 😉
Get comfortable with the idea of drones. No, not those ones. The gadgets formerly known as RC helicopters have undergone a massive renaissance in recent years, and now major company after major company has plans to implant them further into your everyday life.
Thanks Oscar. this has really helped me get to grips with the different concepts around flying a quadcopter which I have found to be quite unintuitive (I think due to a lot of time playing computer games which work quite differently)
Moreover, Mavic Pro represents the breakthrough when it comes to flight duration. While all of its miniature competitors offer up to 15 minutes of airtime, DJI took it one step further and doubled it to almost half an hour. If we are to be more precise with our numbers here, the exact measure goes somewhere around the 27-minute mark. That and amazing 7 kilometers of flight range are the true selling points of this little fella who is, at least in my honest opinion, the best all-around drone with video camera for shooting breathtaking scenes.
is the upgraded version of the famous Hubsan product the X4 H107C. Packed with a built-in wide angle 2MP camera (720p resolution), H107C+ is one of the most sought mini quadcopters in the market. Ideal for both indoor and outdoor flight. Includes such features as Altitude Holder (drone locks in a set height allowing pilot to focus on photography and videography) and Headless Mode (easier orientation despite where drone front is pointing at). Powered by a 3.7V 520mAh Li-Po battery it has a flight time of 7 minutes and it only takes around 30 minutes to charge. Control distance ranges between 100 to 150 meters, which is relatively good for this small drone with camera.