Best Drones For Sale  2018 Holiday season

If you want a drone, you probably don’t want just any drone. That’s why we’ve broken all of the drones up into three very distinct types. Each model below was picked based on features, quality, ease of use and value.
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Camera Drones
Toy Drones
FPV Drones

Camera Drones

Want to take amazing videos and photos? If so then camera drones are the way to go. They're easy to fly and come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They also have lots of technology that make them Intelligent.

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Racing Drones

Take your drone flying experience to the next level with FPV racing and freestyle drones. Racing drones are extremely fast and fun. You can compete with other racers, or fly solo. Your choice

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Toy Drones

If you've never seen a drone before, or maybe you're buying for someone else and have a tight budget, toy drones are the best place to start. They're cheap, easy to fly and super fun.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Drones

How do drones work?

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (typically configured as quadcopters). To keep drones stable, they have on-board flight controllers capable of measuring movement, and giving feedback to the motor controllers (ESCs). Controlling the speed of each motor is what allows drones to fly in virtually any direction. For example, to move up, all the rotors spin faster creating more lift, but to move right, the left rotors spin faster and the right rotors spin slower causing the drone to tilt to the right. Once the drone is tilted to the right, some of the downward thrust is directed to the left. When a drone is hovering at an angle, it will drift in the direction that tilts in. To rotate a drone, half of the rotors spin faster and the other half spin slower. This only works because half of the rotors are spinning clockwise and the other half are spinning counterclockwise to create a torque force.

What can we do with drones?

Drones have many uses, but most people use them as flying cameras. You can capture amazing videos and photos thanks to the advances in camera quality and the invention of brushless camera gimbals. Drones are also used for many industrial applications such as: search and rescue missions, fire fighting, police operations, wildlife monitoring, crop surveying, crop dusting, structure inspections, 3D map generation, professional video production, controllable lighting, signal repeating, and communication.

Every few weeks someone finds a new use for drones. In the future Amazon and others plan on using drones for delivering small packages. Unfortunately, drone delivery is still many years away, but as the drone industry grows, so will the advancements in drone technology.

How far can you fly a drone?

Every drone has a different control range. Most toy drones can go about 40 feet  to 300 feet. Camera drones are able to reach distances of over 4 miles, and airplane drones can fly even further. The biggest limitation for a drone with a quadcopter like design is battery life. Even with a consumer drone like the Phantom 4, if there’s no interference, you will run out of battery long before the drone loses its connection. We’ve flown Phantom 4 as far as 4 miles away before needing to return home.

How high can drones fly?

Toy drones are limited by radio signal strength and therefore can’t go higher than around 300 feet or less. Camera drones (specifically drones from DJI) are capable of flying up to 1500 feet above the takeoff point, however the legal height limit for drones in the USA is 400 feet. If you are in a county where you can go higher, some drones (mainly drones with wings can reach heights of 10,000 feet and higher.

How much is a drone?

There are many different kinds of drones available today. The typical cost for a toy drone ranges from about $20 to $250. Camera Drones start at around $300 and go up from there. The DJI Mavic Pro (the best drone we’ve tested) retails for just under $1,000. Professional drone users will spend tens of thousands of dollars to get the best image quality and flight time.

What is the cheapest drone?

Right now, you can get a toy drone for less than $15. The cheapest toy drone that we recommend is the EACHINE E010 Mini UFO for $21.99 or less. This is the cheapest drone you can comfortably buy without having too many reliability issues. It also has the best reviews out of all the products in the $20 price range.

What are the best drones for kids?

For kids 8 and under, we recommend the EACHINE E010 Mini. It’s small, the propellers are protected for added safety, and it’s only $21.99 which is almost disposable! For kids over 8 years old, there are many different toy drones to choose from, but we think the Parrot Mambo and Mambo FPV are the best choice, especially for education. With the Mambo, you get a versatile, easy to fly, Lego compatible, wifi controlled drone that you can learn to program on using Parrot’s SDK, Apple’s Swift programming language, or Tynker, a programming environment made for kids.

Why are drones so expensive?

Unfortunately, a good drone is going to cost you good money. Drones with cameras have a lot of expensive technology inside of them which drives the manufacturing cost up. The Phantom 4 Pro is a drone with 7 individual cameras, two IR sensors, two compasses, two gyros, two accelerometers, Barometric Pressure Sensor, GPS/GLONASS receiver, 2.4Ghz and 5.8Ghz two way transceivers. Every component has some kind of computer attached to it. The motor controllers, power distribution board, flight controller, and even the battery have built in micro controllers that run low level tasks, like controlling the speed of a motor, or monitoring battery voltage.

On top of all this, there’s also a quad core 1.5Ghz Cortex A7 processor with 1GB of RAM and an MA2100A Vision Processor for running machine learning algorithms. Usually, you will find more technology packed into the average camera drone than most smartphones.

How does the MFD rating system work?

There are 8 different factors that determine how each drone is rated. We rate each drone based on product quality, camera quality (for the drones with cameras), ease-of-use, flight time, speed, range, flight autonomy, and portability. Once each category is rated, the main number is generated from the average of all the individual categories.

These ratings are not something you should overlook. They are all based on real factors and can be used to help you decide which drone is right for your needs. Just because a drone is high or low on the list, the categories that are most important to you are ultimately what will determine the drone you decide on.

Product quality is how well the product was built. We take into account things like how hard it was to manufacture each drone, how well the software works, and if there are any cheaply made components.

Camera quality is hard to rate, but we think we’ve come up with a good number based on the look of the image each drone is able to produce, the sensor size, the shooting resolutions, and whether or not the drone has additional features like changeable lenses or ND filters. This is a very important rating to look at. With all of the factors we take into consideration in this category, you can be sure that the drone with the best rating will indeed have the best camera onboard.

Ease of use is another complicated thing to rate. Things like software, initial setup, safety features, and how long it takes to get it flying are the main factors we look at here.

Flight time is simply how long the drone can stay in the air compared to the others on the list. These numbers are based on the maximum flight time each drone can achieve.

Speed is how fast each drone can go, but also how agile it is in the air.

Range is how far each drone can go in a low interference environment. We don’t take into account if the battery of each drone is capable of reaching these distances, because that will depend on each individual situation.

Flight Autonomy is more than just obstacle avoidance. We look at the basics first. Things like whether or not the drone has self leveling capabilities, GPS, or return-to-home features are obvious on the camera drones, but for the toy and racing drones, you will see that they get lower ratings for not having these features. We also look at things like obstacle avoidance, visual tracking, sensor redundancy and more.

Portability may not be important to you, or it could be one of the only things you care about, so that’s why we included it. Drones like the Inspire 2 will get a lower overall rating because of how large they are.

CAMERA
DRONES

These are the drones that most people are familiar with. Camera drones are usually ready-to-fly quadcopters that have stabilized cameras for shooting video and stills.

Drones with cameras have a massive amount of uses in different industries, such as video production, search and rescue, agriculture and more. Most people don’t buy camera drones for a one specific reason.

People tend to use their drone for many different reasons. Some of the more popular reasons include exploring the world from new perspectives, experiencing what it’s like to fly, and capturing memories in a completely new way is a perfectly good reason for wanting a camera drone.


Note: NEW FAA REGULATIONS FINALLY ALLOW COMMERCIAL DRONE OPERATIONS! – Read more…

List Of Camera Drones

Below you will find a list of the most popular camera drones for sale right now, with the best drones being at the top. Please note that pricing may change at any time, so click on the price to see current pricing and availability.

DJI

Mavic 2 Pro

  • Flight time
    31
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    2688x1512
  • Video resolution
    3840x2160
  • Control range
    8
    km
  • Gimbal
    3-axis
  • Camera resolution
    5472x3648
9.6
Rating
camera
drone
1
Retail Price
$
1499

This is the drone pros will love.

The Mavic 2 Pro is really a self explanatory drone. It’s the drone for pros who are looking for that next level cinematic image quality. Those who want to travel light but capture in the dark. Those who need to capture more dynamic range in harsh lighting conditions, and at those times when you need colors to look just right.

If you want to know about the mavic 2 in general, read the Mavic 2 Zoom description. The Mavic 2 Pro has all of the same general features of the Mavic 2 Zoom. features like longer flight times, better obstacle avoidance, the LED fill light, Ocusync 2.0 and more are all standard on both Mavic 2 models.

The difference is in the Hasselblad Camera

The thing that makes the Mavic 2 Pro stand out from the Mavic 2 Zoom and all the other drones out there is the Hasselblad camera. If you aren’t familiar with Hasselblad, they’re a camera company that makes the best medium format cameras in the world. Hasselblad was actually bought by DJI a while back and now the two companies have worked together to create the Mavic 2 Pro camera.

This camera has a 1 inch 20 megapixel sensor (four times larger than the sensor on the Mavic 2 Zoom). This gives the Mavic 2 Pro much better low light performance than the Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic Air while capturing higher resolution photos. To complement the larger sensor, the Mavic 2 Pro also has a larger lens with adjustable aperture controls. Changing the aperture also allows you to get shots with the background slightly blurred out. It also helps with controlling the exposure better when you want to have a fixed shutter speed.

Having a larger sensor is nice, but for me, what really sets the Mavic 2 Pro apart from the other drones out there is the Hasselblad color science. Even if you don’t know how to work with colors in your editing software, the colors that come out of this camera are amazing just as they are with no editing.weather you’re taking pictures or video, Hasselblad’s color science is embedded throughout all the shooting modes.

If you want to shoot log footage, this is the drone for you.

If you do like to play with color, there’s a setting for that too. Using Dlog-M (a color profile for video) you can shoot a flatter video to retain more detail in the shadows and highlights. Once you have the footage in your editor, you can then stretch the colors out and make the shot look exactly the way you want with lots of dynamic range and lifelike colors.

The last feature only available on the Mavic 2 Pro is HDR video. Unlike the Parrot Anafi, this HDR shooting mode is for capturing true HDR content and outputting to a HDR enabled TV or monitor. This means you won’t see the HDR effect unless you have an HDR TV that supports HLG color. You do have the right TV for viewing the footage, this is a really cool shooting mode for creating true HDR content.

The only thing that the Mavic 2 Pro lacks is optical zoom. If you really want zoom, you should look at the Mavic 2 Zoom. There’s actually a crop shooting mode for the Mavic 2 Pro that digitally zooms in by 1.4x for getting a more cinematic look, but you can’t zoom in and out while recording like you can on the Mavic 2 Zoom.

Because of the price and the fact that the Mavic 2 Zoom is also a great drone, I can’t say that the Mavic 2 Pro is the best drone out there, but what I can say is that it’s the best drone for me. If you want to capture the best content possible with a foldable drone, this is the drone for you. If you

9.6
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Mavic 2 Pro
Rating
9.0
·
Product quality
8.5
·
Camera Quality
9.0
·
Ease of use
8.0
·
Flight Time
7.0
·
Speed
9.0
·
Range
8.0
·
Flight Autonomy
9.0
·
Portability
Mavic 2 Pro
Video's
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DJI

Mavic 2 Zoom

  • Flight time
    31
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    2688x1512
  • Video resolution
    3840x2160
  • Control range
    8
    km
  • Gimbal
    3-axis
  • Camera resolution
    4000x3000
9.5
Rating
camera
drone
2
Retail Price
$
1249

This is the more affordable Mavic 2.

If you didn’t know, the Mavic is not a specific drone, but a series of drones. There’s the original Mavic Pro, the Mavic Air, and now the two new Mavic 2 models. The drone I’m referring to here is specifically the Mavic 2 Zoom. The Mavic 2 Zoom as a few cool features, but before talking about that, let’s look at the features that both the Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Pro have.

It has lots of cameras for obstacle avoidance.

There are a total of eight obstacle avoidance cameras on the Mavic 2 and one IR sensor on the top for overhead obstacles. That means you’ll have a very hard time crashing this drone! Additionally, you can enable a flight mode called APAS where the mavic will go around obstacles as you fly instead of just stopping. APAS works while going forward and backward.

One really cool feature of the Mavic 2 is the bottom facing LED fill lights. This is something that you have to see in person to truly appreciate. These LED lights are like having a full size room light hanging from the bottom of your drone. These lights help the Mavic see in the dark when landing, but you can also turn them on and off manually from the controller.

The flight time and speed on the Mavic 2 is unmatched by anything but the Phantom 4 Pro. It’s super fast in sport mode, and surprisingly faster than the old Mavic Pro even in the normal flight mode with obstacle avoidance enabled. With all that speed combined with a 30 minute flight time, you can go super far distances without worrying about if you’ll make it back to home base. The video feed is also improved over the old mavic. With Ocusync 2.0 you get a full 1080p video feed with little to no interference even in urban environments.

Both Mavic 2 models also support H.265 video recording, so your videos will have less compression artifacts while taking up the same amount of space on the SD card.

Here’s what makes the Mavic 2 Zoom stand out.

The Mavic 2 Zoom has a few features that make it different from the Mavic 2 Pro. The first difference is the smaller 12 megapixel 1/2.3" CMOS sensor. This sensor is the same size as the Mavic Air, and delivers similar image quality. The most important feature is true optical zoom. With optical zoom there's no loss in image quality because you’re zooming using the optics of the lens instead of pixels on an image sensor. You also get a 2x zoom in 4K instead of 1.4x on the Mavic 2 Pro and Parrot Anafi.

Just like on the Anafi, the Mavic Zoom also has a Dolly Zoom mode. If you aren't familiar with Dolly Zoom, it’s basically a flight mode where the Mavic 2 Zoom flies backward while zooming into a subject to create a perspective shifting effect.

Another feature unique to the Mavic 2 Zoom Super Res. This feature uses the optical zoom lens and the gimbal to take 9 zoomed in photos and then stitches them together to create a super detailed 48 megapixel photo.

There’s a lot to learn about the Mavic 2 Zoom, much more than we could cover in a small amount of text. If you’re interested in how it stacks up against the Mavic 2 Pro, check out our full in-depth comparison where we dig into the details.

If the Mavic 2 Pro didn’t exist, I would say this is obviously the best drone of all time. It’s not as compact as the Mavic Air, but the extra features more than make up for it. It’s a true workhorse, which is probably why DJI created an enterprise drone based on the Mavic 2 Zoom. There’s really nothing I can find to complain about with the Mavic 2 Zoom other than the fact that the Mavic 2 Pro has better video quality. But if that extra bump in quality isn’t worth the extra $250, go with the Mavic 2 Zoom.

9.5
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Mavic 2 Zoom
Rating
9.0
·
Product quality
8
·
Camera Quality
9.0
·
Ease of use
8.0
·
Flight Time
7.0
·
Speed
9.0
·
Range
8.0
·
Flight Autonomy
9.0
·
Portability
Mavic 2 Zoom
Video's
Video Title
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Video Title

DJI

Mavic Air

  • Flight time
    21
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    60FPS 2.7K
  • Video resolution
    3840 x 2160
  • Control range
    4
    km
  • Gimbal
    3 Axis
  • Camera resolution
    4056 x 3040
9
Rating
camera
drone
3
Retail Price
$
799

The Mavic Air is like a Mavic Pro, but cheaper, smaller and smarter.

If you’ve heard of the Mavic Pro, you should already know that this is an amazing little drone. The design is great. The Mavic Air was made to be functional, but also look the part. With lines that resemble a high end sports car, there’s no other drone out there with a design this good, but looks aren’t what make this drone so great. At the end of the day, people want drones that are small, and the Mavic Air is beyond small; it’s tiny. It’s smaller than the Spark. Pictures don’t do justice. Some would even go as far as saying the Mavic Air is pocketable.

People like camera drones that capture great videos, so instead of giving the Mavic Air a watered down Mavic Pro camera, DJI went all out. They gave the Mavic Air 4K video recording with a bit rate of 100mbps. This means your videos will have less compression than they would if you were using the original Mavic Pro. At first glance, you might think that the gimbal came strait from the Spark, but this isn’t the case. It’s an all new design with ND filter support and 3 axis stabilization. All of this boils down to one thing; more cinematic videos!

The Mavic Air is not a foldable Spark. This is a drone with all of the features that make it worthy of the Mavic name. Aside from the main camera, there are two front facing cameras, two rear facing cameras, and two downward facing cameras. All of these cameras are used for obstacle avoidance and advanced vision positioning. Just like the Mavic Pro, you also get dual IMUs, GPS and GLONASS for more accuracy. With all of this data to process, the Mavic Air has many different onboard chips that are designed for specific tasks like video encoding, machine learning, flight control, battery management and more.

They took Gesture Control, fixed it, then made it better.

Thanks to the speed of the processor that handles machine learning, DJI was able to add more smart features to the Mavic Air than any other drone available today. One of these new features is called Smart Capture. It’s like Gesture Control for the DJI Spark, but much better. You can takeoff from the ground using just your palm, use palm control from up to 20 feet away, control distance with two palms, take pictures, videos, group shots and more.

The bottom line is, if you want to buy the smallest and most advanced drone out there, the Mavic Air is the best drone you can get right now.

9
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Mavic Air
Rating
9.0
·
Product quality
8
·
Camera Quality
9.5
·
Ease of use
6.0
·
Flight Time
7.0
·
Speed
8.5
·
Range
8.2
·
Flight Autonomy
9.5
·
Portability
Mavic Air
Video's
Video Title
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DJI

Mavic Pro

  • Flight time
    30
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    96FPS 1080p
  • Video resolution
    4096 x 2160
  • Control range
    7
    km
  • Gimbal
    3-axis
  • Camera resolution
    4000 x 3000
8.7
Rating
camera
drone
4
Retail Price
$
999

The DJI Mavic Pro is like the Swiss Army Knife of drones.

 If you’re familiar with the Phantom 4, you can also think of the Mavic Pro as a Mini Phantom 4. 

The Mavic Pro is a drone made for adventurers and travelers, kids and adults, beginners and Pros, or anyone who wants a small yet extremely capable camera drone. That’s why the Mavic Pro is one of the best drones you can get on this list.

The big selling point of the Mavic Pro is its size. It’s already small, but with its foldable design, there’s no excuse not to have it around when you want to get that fantastic stabilized drone shot. Don’t believe me?

Check out the Mavic Pro article where we show you all of the things we managed to fit the Mavic Pro inside. It’s practically the same size as a large camera lens. Even the controller folds up into a size that’s almost pocketable.

You might think that its small size means it doesn’t have a lot of features, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Mavic Pro shoots 4K video at 30FPS and 12-megapixel photos with DNG support. Now, I’m sure you know specs aren’t everything when it comes to cameras; that’s why we’ve tested the Mavic Pro and compared it to all of the other top camera drones out there.

Active Track and Tap Fly

 DJI gave the Mavic Pro over 4 miles of range and over 21 minutes of flight time

The Mavic Pro’s camera beat out every other drone in its class except the Phantom 4 Pro, which starts at $1,499. With all of the same automated computer-vision shooting modes as the Phantom 4 like Active Track and Tap Fly, the Mavic Pro is perfect for getting the occasional tracking shot, where you become the talent and the camera man.

Forward-facing obstacle-avoidance is enabled in every mode except Sport Mode, so The Mavic Pro will try to keep you safe while you fly, and even while it flies itself.Endurance and performance are things that all drones should have, but most don’t.

This is why DJI gave the Mavic Pro over 4 miles of range and over 21 minutes of flight time (tested by the MyFirstDrone team), and a top speed of 40MPH.

These features are perfect for people who like to push their drones as far as they can. If you do lose signal while flying, don’t worry the Mavic will go into return-to-home mode and avoid obstacles while it comes back to you.

8.7
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Mavic Pro
Rating
9.0
·
Product quality
7.5
·
Camera Quality
9.0
·
Ease of use
8.0
·
Flight Time
7.0
·
Speed
8.5
·
Range
7.5
·
Flight Autonomy
9.5
·
Portability
Mavic Pro
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

DJI

Inspire 2

  • Flight time
    27
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    60FPS 4K
  • Video resolution
    6016 x 3200
  • Control range
    7
    km
  • Gimbal
    3-axis 360°
  • Camera resolution
    6016 x 4008
8.7
Rating
camera
drone
5
Retail Price
$
2999.95

The Inspire 2 will blow your mind.

Let me just start off by saying, if you ever get a chance to see this drone in person, you’re going to want one for yourself. With a design that looks like it came from a sci-fi movie, the Inspire 2 is the smartest, fastest, highest quality, most professional ready-to-fly drone you can buy.

There isn’t much that the Inspire 2 CAN’T do. It comes standard with all of the features of the Phantom 4 Professional, but with a design optimized for performance and industry leading video features. It’s almost twice as big and twice as fast as the Phantom 4 (reaching speeds of almost 60MPH), and with it’s transforming design, the propellers will hardly ever appear in your videos. Additionally, the Inspire 2 comes with a dedicated FPV (first-person-view) camera so you can see where your flying at all times. With all of these features, you no longer have to blindly fly backward or sideways to get the shots you want.

Having the FPV camera makes the Inspire 2 ideal for dual pilot operation. One person can fly using the FPV camera while the other person controls the video camera. Having two operators is great because it splits up the amount of work you have to do, but If you like to fly solo, you can now use the Spotlight Pro feature, which allows you to focus on flying while the Inspire 2 automatically points the camera at a specified.

Video quality on the Inspire 2 is second to none.

There are three camera options. The x4S is the cheapest camera and it’s comparable to the camera on the Phantom 4 Pro. The X4S is one of the best drone cameras out there, but the X5S and X7 are the true mind-blowing cameras that filmmakers will love.

The X5S is a micro 4/3 camera with interchangeable lenses. You have the choice of shooting RAW 4K video at 60FPS, 12-bit RAW 5.2K video at 30FPS, and if you like Apple Prores, there’s even Prores 4444 XQ support. The X7 is DJI’s flagship cinema camera. It shoots 6K video, and no that’s not a typo! It has a bigger super 35 image sensor with 14 stops of dynamic range, more recording formats, and better low light performance. DJI also offers 4 custom f2.8 lenses for the x7 ranging from 16mm to 50mm. If you’re into stills the X7 will even shoot 24MP photos.

I can’t cover everything about the Inspire 2 on this page, but one thing that I need to mention is that this is not something you should buy for your 12-year-old son as a gift. The Inspire 2 costs roughly $6,000 and is intended mainly for people who want the absolute best aerial photography/cinematography tool on the market; however, the Inspire 2 is still one of the easiest drones to fly, so don’t feel intimidated. Whether you have a real use for this drone, or you just want something that will impress all of your friends, the Inspire 2 is definitely a drone worth looking into.

If you like the design of the Inspire 2, but just can’t afford it, you might also consider buying the Inspire 1. It’s obviously nowhere near as good as the Inspire 2 if you compare the features, but the video quality you can get from the older X5 camera is still in a lot of cases better than the Phantom 4 Pro. DJI also makes hi-zoom and thermal imaging cameras that work with the Inspire 1, in case you need something for agriculture or search-and-rescue use.

8.7
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Inspire 2
Rating
10.0
·
Product quality
10
·
Camera Quality
9.0
·
Ease of use
7.0
·
Flight Time
8.0
·
Speed
9.5
·
Range
8.0
·
Flight Autonomy
2.0
·
Portability
Inspire 2
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

Parrot

Anafi

  • Flight time
    25
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    1920x1080
  • Video resolution
    4096x2160
  • Control range
    3.8
    km
  • Gimbal
    2-axis
  • Camera resolution
    5344x4016
8.6
Rating
camera
drone
6
Retail Price
$
549

It’s a great alternative the the DJI Spark.

The Anafi doesn’t shoot super cinematic video, but the quality of the footage is very good for a drone at this price point. It also offers some unique features that we haven’t seen before. Like any good camera drone these days, the Anifi Shoots 4K video at 30FPS.

It has a two notable video features. The first is called HDR. It’s similar to the HDR feature on the Mavic 2 Pro, but instead of shooting in a true HDR format for viewing on HDR TVs, the Anafi shoots in a standard color format that is for viewing on normal displays (not HDR displays). This means you will see more dynamic range in the video, but you won’t see anything special when viewing on an HDR TV like you do on the Mavic 2 Pro.

Cheapest drone with a digital zoom.

The Anafi has one other feature that is similar to the Mavic 2 called lossless digital zoom. This allows you to zoom in while recording video up to 1.4x in 4K and 2.8x in 1080p with very little loss in quality.

Photo quality is another area where the Anafi really shines. The 20 megapixel sensor produces very detailed images and just like when shooting video, you can also shoot HDR photos. It even has a hyperlapse mode which takes a series of photos over a set amount of time and turns them into a fast motion video.

You can look up 90 degrees!

My favorite feature of the Anafi is the 180 degree 2 axis gimbal. Unlike most drone cameras, with this special gimbal, the Anafi can look up to 90 degrees up or down. This means if you’re flying under some trees and you want to take some shots of the leaves and the sky in the background, you can actually do it. There is one downside to the Gimbal on the Anafi though, and it’s a big one. Just like the DJI Spark, it’s only a 2 axis gimbal, meaning that the third axis is still digitally stabilized. For slow shots, you won’t notice this small detail, but if you’re flying in windy conditions or you do a lot of panning shots, you might see some jittery panning motion.

The Anafi is a great drone for the price, but the biggest complaint I have by far is the lack of any sensors for obstacle avoidance. The only obstacle that this drone will stop you from hitting is the ground, that is, as long as you don’t hit a tree first. All of the other drones in this price range have some kind of obstacle avoidance, so why they couldn’t even add some IR sensors is beyond me.

8.6
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Anafi
Rating
7.5
·
Product quality
7
·
Camera Quality
8.0
·
Ease of use
7.0
·
Flight Time
5.0
·
Speed
6.0
·
Range
5.0
·
Flight Autonomy
6.0
·
Portability
Anafi
Video's
Video Title
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Skydio

R1

  • Flight time
    16
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    1920x1080
  • Video resolution
    3840x2160
  • Control range
    0.1
    km
  • Gimbal
    2-axis
  • Camera resolution
    3840x2160
8.5
Rating
camera
drone
7
Retail Price
$
1999

This is the smartest drone money can buy.

The Skydio R1 is an amazing piece of new technology. It’s the first truly autonomous drone that you can buy right now. If you’ve ever flown a drone before, you know that it can be hard to shoot videos of yourself. Even with the obstacle avoidance and follow modes like Active Track on DJI drones, it’s really hard to control the drone and get it into the right mode to follow you. Once the drone is following you, it will usually go a few seconds before coming to an obstacle and failing to follow you.

With the Skydio R1, you turn the drone on, tell it to take off, who to follow and that's about it. The R1 automatically starts following you and as it sees different obstacles in the way, it will come up with a plan to fly around them and continue following you. It’s more like if you had a super human piloting the drone instead of a dumb robot.

This drone has more cameras than a Tesla.

The R1 has 12 cameras that it uses to see in every direction. While flying it builds a map of the world using visual slam algorithms. It also uses deep learning algorithms to track you and path planning to predict where it needs to go. All of this is handled by a 256 core AI computer from NVIDIA cald Jetson.

To launch the drone and set up your shots, you just use your smartphone, or your Apple Watch. There are a few ways that the R1 can follow you. These flight modes are called Cinematic Skills (Follow, Lead, Orbit, Side, Tripod). Using follow will make the R1 follow you from behind. Lead will make the drone predict your direction and stay in front of you. Side stays to the side for panning shots. Tripod keeps the drone in one spot while looking at you like an automated tripod in the sky.

If you need to fly the R1 manually to get traditional drone shots, you can use your smartphone to control it like any other drone, or use one of the predefined shots like dronie, boomerang, cable-cam etc…

This drone Does have a few drawbacks.

There are a few downsides to this drone, the main one being the price. At $1,999 USD, not everyone will be able to afford it. It also uses a 2 axis gimbal, so panning motion is not very smooth. Since it doesn’t have a controller, that also means you can’t fly the drone farther than wifi range will allow. The biggest issue with this drone in my opinion is the size It’s not much larger than the Mavic 2 when unfolded, but that’s the problem, it doesn’t fold up at all. This means if you want to fit it into a camera bag or small backpack, you’re just out of luck.

If you want the coolest drone on the planet right now, or you need a drone that can film you riding your bike down a mountain, or doing parkour in the forest, this is the drone to get. For the rest of us, one of the DJI Mavic models is a much more practical option. I do think that what Skydio is doing is very impressive though. When it comes to autonomous drones, I think Skydio is at least a year or two ahead of DJI.


8.5
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R1
Rating
9.0
·
Product quality
6
·
Camera Quality
9.0
·
Ease of use
5.0
·
Flight Time
6.0
·
Speed
3.0
·
Range
10.0
·
Flight Autonomy
4.0
·
Portability
R1
Video's
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Autel Robotics

EVO

  • Flight time
    30
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    3840x2160
  • Video resolution
    3840x2160
  • Control range
    7
    km
  • Gimbal
    3-axis
  • Camera resolution
    4000x3000
8.2
Rating
camera
drone
8
Retail Price
$
999

Another DJI competitor with a trick up its sleeve.

The EVO from Autel Robotics is clearly copying the DJI Mavic series, but surprisingly this is more than just a subpar clone. Clearly the styling a little different from the Mavic 2 or Mavic Air. Just like the last drone Autel Robotics made (the X-Star Premium) the design of this thing looks very strange in my opinion. It comes in this bright orange color which is great for visibility, but some might argue it looks like a cheesy toy. Other than the color, the general design is pretty good. It folds into a small shape and has a full 3 axis gimbal just like the Mavic.

Not the the best obstacle avoidance but it’s OK.

The EVO has obstacle avoidance sensors on the front and in the back. In the font, you get two obstacle avoidance cameras (same as the Mavic). On the back, you’ll find not cameras, but a IR sensor for obstacle avoidance. IR sensors or good for close obstacle detection, but they don’t work for seeing obstacles that are more complex or far away. The Mavic Air and Mavic 2 use cameras on the rear, so they will naturally do better at avoiding obstacles at higher speeds. In any case, if you need obstacle avoidance on your drone, the EVO has it.

Here's the secret weapon only on EVO.

If you’ve seen the Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Pro, you know they shoot 4K video at 30FPS. The EVO Goes one step further shooting 4K video at 60FPS. This is a great feature if you like capturing sports and action shots and slowing down the action. If it seems strange that a small company could come out with a drone that has a faster camera than DJI, that’s because it is. Personally, I think that DJI limited the framerate on the Mavic 2 so it didn’t fully cannibalize the Phantom 4 Pro, but nobody knows for sure.

Another cool feature of the EVO is the controller. Unlike most drones, the controller for the EVO has a built in OLED screen. That means you can see the live video feed without needing to connect your smartphone.

The EVO is an interesting drone. It doesn’t have all the features that the Mavic 2 and even the Mavic Air have, but the features that it does have are very useful. I think the price is a bit high for something that isn’t name brand, but I’m guessing that controller design is where a lot of the extra cost is going. If you need a drone that can fold up and do 4K 60FPS video, then the EVO might be the only drone for you. If you want to shoot the best looking videos possible and a more capable drone, I would still go with a Mavic 2 Zoom or Mavic 2 Pro.

8.2
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EVO
Rating
7.0
·
Product quality
7
·
Camera Quality
8.0
·
Ease of use
8.0
·
Flight Time
6.0
·
Speed
7.0
·
Range
6.0
·
Flight Autonomy
8.0
·
Portability
EVO
Video's
Video Title
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DJI

Phantom 4 Pro

  • Flight time
    30
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    60FPS 4K
  • Video resolution
    4096 x 2160
  • Control range
    7
    km
  • Gimbal
    3-axis
  • Camera resolution
    5472 x 3648
8.1
Rating
camera
drone
9
Retail Price
$
1499

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is by far the most innovative drone we've seen.

It can fly super fast. It’s very reliable. The HD live video streaming works better than any other drone out there. It’s super easy to set up and use. The list of things that you can do just goes on and on.

The main feature of the Phantom 4 is the added 3D cameras and new computer hardware for mapping out environments in three dimensional space. This is what allows it to avoid obstacles and maneuver around them. However, features like obstacle avoidance aren’t the only thing that puts the Phantom 4 above all the other drones out there.

From a design standpoint, the Phantom 4 is made extremely well. It’s not the kind of drone where it just looks cool. Every part has been designed to be functional, but still elegant.

Recently, DJI has expanded their customer support team and now they even have DJI Care, which is like a damage protection plan for drones. With DJI Care, you can send your Phantom 3, Phantom 4, or even Inspire 2 to DJI and they will fix it for free even if the crash was your fault. If you want to know more about DJI care.

Here are some of the features that make the Phantom 4 so impressive.

4K Video with 20 Megapixel Photos using a 1-inch sensor*

HD Video Streaming to your Mobile Device (over 4 mile range in good conditions)*

Powerful Mobile App (just like the DJI Inspire)*

Longer Battery Life (over 22-30 minutes)*

Advanced 3D Vision Positioning for More Stable Flight*

Front, Side, and Rear Facing Obstacle Avoidance*

Active Visual Subject Tracking Technology*

Quick Release Propellers*

Free In-app Flight Simulator for Learning to Fly*

Right now, the is priced at $1,499 which is pretty amazing considering that you’re getting the most technologically advanced drone on the market.

8.1
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Phantom 4 Pro
Rating
8.5
·
Product quality
8.5
·
Camera Quality
8.0
·
Ease of use
8.0
·
Flight Time
7.5
·
Speed
8.0
·
Range
80.0
·
Flight Autonomy
4.5
·
Portability
Phantom 4 Pro
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

DJI

Spark

  • Flight time
    16
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    30FPS (no slow motion)
  • Video resolution
    1920 x 1080
  • Control range
    2
    km
  • Gimbal
    2-axis
  • Camera resolution
    3968 x 2976
7
Rating
camera
drone
10
Retail Price
$
399

If you thought about having a drone as a kid, you probably imagined something like the DJI Spark.

It’s a micro-sized camera drone, loaded with features and specs that make flying a drone easy and approachable. The Spark is beyond small. It fits in the palm of your hand, and with the new palm-launch feature, you can go from powered-off to flying in less than 30 seconds.

When using the Optional controller, the Spark has a top speed of 31MPH, a range of over 1 mile, and enough flight time to get you there and back (12 to 16 minutes, tested by us). But what if you don’t care about any of that?

What if you just want it to fly a few feet from you and take a photo or two? This is where gesture control comes in. With Gesture control (only available on the DJI Spark), you can launch the drone, fly it around, and take pictures using only hand gestures.

It’s like using the force! The Spark can do all of this because it uses computer vision processors and machine learning algorithms to recognize your face and hands. In other words, it’s the smartest drone you can buy right now.

Pictures are great, but the Spark is more than just s selfie drone.

It shoots 1080p video and stabilizes it using a mechanical gimbal. This makes the Spark much better at shooting video than drones that only rely on digital stabilization. You can get exactly the kind of shot you’re looking for by connecting the Spark to your phone via Wi-Fi and using the virtual joysticks, but there’s an easier way of shooting that can make even a beginner look like a pro.

Quick Shot, DJI’s newest set of smart shooting features are a great way of helping you get cinematic shots without needing hours and hours of practice and patience.

One of my favorite features of the Spark is the new ShallowFocus photo mode. This mode allows you to get those professional DSLR-like shots where the main subject is in focus, and everything else is blurred out. It’s like the portrait feature of the iPhone, but it works on almost every kind of shot (not just faces).

There’s so much stuff packed into this tiny little drone that you could write a book about it. There’s no way to go through all of the features here, but that’s why we’ve created a Spark section, where you can get a better idea of what the Spark is, how it works, and decide if the Spark is right for you.

The DJI Spark made it this high on our list for two reasons. The main reason is… it’s a great little camera drone with enough features and capabilities to keep you learning and growing as a new drone owner. The other reason is the price point. At $499, this is the best drone you can get, in a price range accessible to everyone!

7
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Spark
Rating
9.0
·
Product quality
6.5
·
Camera Quality
9.5
·
Ease of use
6.0
·
Flight Time
6.5
·
Speed
6.5
·
Range
8.0
·
Flight Autonomy
9.0
·
Portability
Spark
Video's
Video Title
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Parrot

Disco FPV Drone

  • Flight time
    45
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    30FPS (no slow motion)
  • Video resolution
    1920 x 1080
  • Control range
    2
    km
  • Gimbal
    simulated gimbal
  • Camera resolution
    4288 x 3216
6.9
Rating
camera
drone
11
Retail Price
$
468

It's a bird... It's a plane... No it's a drone plane!

This is one of the most unique drones I’ve seen in a while. Instead of having a quadcopter design like all the other drones, the Parrot Disco is a flying wing. Unlike other flying wings, the Disco is very easy to fly thanks to Parrots flight controller which uses all of the same sensors found on a typical camera drone. since the Disco is technically a plane, it can’t stop while flying and it can’t take off vertically either. To launch it, you throw it forward and it automatically flies itself until you take over the controls.

Flying the Disco isn’t like flying other RC airplanes. If you want to go up, just push the stick up and it automatically adjusts the motor speed and wing pitch to go up at a steady controllable pace. If you want to go left or right, just push in a direction and it will go there. The Disco won’t flip or roll out of control like a standard plane. Even if you lose signal, the Disco will fly back to you just like a DJI drone would.

It has an integrated 1080p stabilized camera just like the Bebop!

The image sensor itself is actually a higher resolution than 1080, but the high resolution image is cropped in order to stabilize the video. This also allows you to look around as if there was an onboard gimbal! You can even use the Parrot smartphone powered VR goggles for a more immersive experience.

Like most good camera drones, the Disco comes with everything you need to get started, including the Skycontroller. All you will need is a smartphone and a big open space to fly this thing. Speaking of which, did I mention that you’re going to need a lot of open space? This thing goes fast, and even though it is easy to fly, it won’t avoid obstacles. The only thing it will actively avoid is the ground, so you can do as many nose dives as you want without worrying about crashing.

One nice thing about planes is that they don’t use as much power to stay in the air compared to quadcopters. This gives the Disco a very long 45 minutes of flight time. With some battery mods you can go for almost 100 minutes (if you don’t mind sitting around staring at a screen for that long).

The Parrot Disco isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t even for most people, but if you live in a place with lots of open space, or you like to travel to vast open landscapes, this is the perfect drone for long distance exploration!

6.9
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Disco FPV Drone
Rating
7.5
·
Product quality
6
·
Camera Quality
5.0
·
Ease of use
9.5
·
Flight Time
7.5
·
Speed
9.0
·
Range
4.0
·
Flight Autonomy
4.0
·
Portability
Disco FPV Drone
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

Parrot

Bebop 2 Power

  • Flight time
    30
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    30FPS (no slow motion)
  • Video resolution
    1920 x 1080
  • Control range
    2
    km
  • Gimbal
    simulated gimbal
  • Camera resolution
    4000 x 3000
6.8
Rating
camera
drone
12
Retail Price
$
395

What makes the Bebop so Impressive? 30 minutes of flight time in a small cheap package.

The Parrot Bebop 2 Power is one of the more technologically advanced drones for sale right now. It doesn't have a lot of the features that the Spark has (palm control and gesture recognition), but it makes up for that with the extremely long flight time of 30 minutes. This means you can fly farther without worrying about needing to come back in just a few minutes.

Just Parrot's AR Drone, you can control the Bebop 2 with your iPhone or Android device. But with the Bebop 2, there’s an optional SkyController which will allow you to have real joystick controls, extended range, and a few other cool things.

The Bobop has a 14 megapixel camera with a 180 degree field-of-view fisheye lens, but since the camera lens has such a wide field-of-view and a really fast processor, it can take the full 14 megapixel image, fix the image distortion (eliminating the fisheye effect), stabilize the image, then send the live video back to your phone. What all that means is that you’ll be getting a digitally stabilized 720p video feed straight to your phone. At the same time, It also records digitally stabilized 1080p video to the 8GB of onboard memory.

The most interesting feature is the video stabilization.

The video stabilization is not like what you'll find on the Yuneec breeze or the Passport Drone. Although the Bebop doesn't have a gimbal, it does a very good job of simulating one. Using the 180 degree lens and an onboard image processor, it will crop out the full image and record in a 1080p window of the image sensor. By doing this, the video is extremely stable. You can even make the camera look up and down or left and right without moving the drone.

The biggest competitor for the Bebop 2 is the DJI Spark. Although you can’t use hand gestures to control the Bebop 2 and there’s no obstacle avoidance, you do get features like follow me and visual subject tracking. For $599, it also comes with the controller, two batteries, and goggles that work with most smartphones. If you really want to shoot good videos, the Spark might be a better option because of the 2 axis gimbal, but the digital stabilization of the Bebop 2 is almost just as good.

Overall, I think that the Bebop 2 Power will be very popular for the Christmas season, but I can’t see it being used for professional video in the same way that people use DJI’s drones. However, I have seen some pretty nice videos shot with it.

6.8
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Bebop 2 Power
Rating
7.0
·
Product quality
6
·
Camera Quality
8.0
·
Ease of use
8.0
·
Flight Time
5.5
·
Speed
7.0
·
Range
5.0
·
Flight Autonomy
7.0
·
Portability
Bebop 2 Power
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

DJI

Inspire 1 v2.0

  • Flight time
    22
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    60FPS 1080p
  • Video resolution
    4096 x 2160
  • Control range
    5
    km
  • Gimbal
    3-axis 360°
  • Camera resolution
    5280 x 3956
6.4
Rating
camera
drone
13
Retail Price
$
1999

This drone is not for everyone, but those of you who need it will love it.

The Inspire 1 is an old drone. In fact, It’s almost 3 years old now and yet there’s still no other drone that has all of the same functionality in a ready-to-fly package. You could say that the Inspire 2 replaces the Inspire 1, but with a starting price of $3,000 that can easily go up to $10,000 if you want the best camera option, not all film makers can afford it. That’s the main reason why the Inspire 1 is still relevant, but there’s more. The inspire 2 can’t hold the Zenmuse Z30 or the Zenmuse XT cameras for long zoom and thermal imaging.

Although the Inspire 1 is from 2014, it still has a lot of technology that most drones don’t have, like long distance image transmission and the ability to carry professional cameras like the X5R. 

There are some down sides to buying an older drone, and here are some of them.

First of all, there’s no obstacle avoidance like you would see on DJI’s new drones, so if you lose connection with the drone, it won’t intelligently come back while avoiding obstacles. The other big drawback is that it’s a big drone that uses a lot of power, so the flight time is only about 16 minutes, and it goes down even more if you put a heavy camera on in like the X5R.

If you aren’t familiar with the Inspire series, they’re professional drones from DJI that have transforming designs and interchangeable payloads. When you start flying, the arms will raise up to remove the propellers from your shots. This also helps make the Inspire drones more stable and wind resistant.

If you want a drone that can shoot amazing videos for your budget film, I would let its flaws stop me from getting it. With the micro-four-thirds sensor on the X5 camera, some interchangeable lenses, and the transforming design that lifts the propellers out of your shots, the Inspire 1 is able to get footage that would be impossible using a drone like the Phantom 4 Pro.

6.4
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Inspire 1 v2.0
Rating
9.0
·
Product quality
9
·
Camera Quality
8.0
·
Ease of use
6.0
·
Flight Time
7.5
·
Speed
8.0
·
Range
4.0
·
Flight Autonomy
2.0
·
Portability
Inspire 1 v2.0
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

Yuneec

Typhoon H Pro

  • Flight time
    25
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    120FPS 1080p
  • Video resolution
    3840 x 2160
  • Control range
    1.6
    km
  • Gimbal
    3-axis 360°
  • Camera resolution
    4000 x 3000
6
Rating
camera
drone
14
Retail Price
$
784

Compared to DJI, Yuneec is relatively unknown, but that hasn’t stopped them from competing.

 The Typhoon H is the biggest competitor to the Phantom 4 we’ve seen so far. It’s a 6 rotor retractable landing gear beast of a drone, with a 360 degree gimbal (similar to the Inspire 1). What makes it similar to the Phantom 4? Well both drones get over 20 minutes of flight time, have obstacle avoidance, decent video quality and are in the same price range.

This is a drone that has a lot of interesting features and flies extremely well. We had the chance to use it for a few weeks and were genuinely impressed. By having 6 rotors, the Typhoon H flies very smooth, it should stay flying even if one motor fails, and it handles wind like a dream.

It comes with an all-in-one android controller, which means you don’t need a smartphone to use it, but the user interface is nowhere near as simple as the Phantom 4 or any DJI product for that matter. That’s one of the main reasons why we prefer DJI’s drones over what Yuneec offers. Also, you will need to upgrade to the Typhoon H Pro “with Realsense” to get full obstacle avoidance functionality.

Over all, I think this is a good drone to consider if you want a little bit of everything.

 It has some features from the Inspire 1, some features from the Phantom 4 and styling that makes it look a bit more professional than most drones out there “if that’s something you care about”.

For a more detailed explanation of the differences between the Phantom 4 and the Typhoon H, [check out our full article comparing the two.](https://myfirstdrone.com/phantom-4/phantom-4-vs-typhoon-h-which-drone-should-a-filmmaker-buy/) On that page we cover things like control range, video features, flight features, general usability and more.

6
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Typhoon H Pro
Rating
7.5
·
Product quality
7.5
·
Camera Quality
7.0
·
Ease of use
7.0
·
Flight Time
6.5
·
Speed
7.0
·
Range
8.0
·
Flight Autonomy
3.0
·
Portability
Typhoon H Pro
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

Hover Camera

Passport Drone

  • Flight time
    10
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    29.97 (no slow motion)
  • Video resolution
    3840 x 2160
  • Control range
    0.1
    km
  • Gimbal
    digital
  • Camera resolution
    4000 x 3000
5.9
Rating
camera
drone
15
Retail Price
$
247

Out of all the top camera drones, the Passport drone is the strangest we've seen.

It’s a great drone if you want something to take fast selfies on the go. The biggest selling point for the Hover Camera is the compact cage design. All four propellers are fully protected, making it great for indoor flying, where you’ll find lots of obstacles like walls, people, pets, and who knows what else! The cages are a great feature, but what’s equally as nice is the folding design. When you’re done flying, the Hover Camera can fold up into small black rectangle, allowing you to easily fit it in all kinds of bags and cases.

The Passport has a lot of the same features as the DJI Spark. You can turn it on, hold it up and launch it right from your hand. It will automatically recognize your face and start following you without using a controller. You can even make gestures telling it to take pictures. Camera wise, the Passport is technically better than the Spark since it does 4K and has a 13 megapixel camera, but we all know specs aren’t everything.

Now for the cons. 

This is not a very good drone for flying outdoors (in windy conditions). The cage design is great for flying indoors, but when you start flying in wind, this little drone will blow all over the place. There’s also no dedicated controller you can use like the one found on the Spark that allows it to fly at up to 35mph.

There’s one thing that I really don’t like about this drone. The video quality is terrible. It’s not much worse than the Yuneec Breeze 4K, but when you’re paying $499 which is the same price as the Spark, you would expect it to shoot better videos than it does. That being said, the photo quality is not bad at all!

Long story short, the Hover Camera Passport is a great selfie drone.

It will work great for taking pictures and following you around in tight spaces. If you’re trying to capture action sports, forget about it, but as a compact, safe, and convenient selfie drone, the Hover Camera Passport works great. Just don’t buy it for the 4K video.

5.9
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Passport Drone
Rating
7.0
·
Product quality
3
·
Camera Quality
8.0
·
Ease of use
5.0
·
Flight Time
3.0
·
Speed
2.0
·
Range
8.0
·
Flight Autonomy
8.0
·
Portability
Passport Drone
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

Yuneec

Breeze 4K

  • Flight time
    12
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
    60FPS 720p
  • Video resolution
    3840 x 2160
  • Control range
    0.1
    km
  • Gimbal
    digital
  • Camera resolution
    4160 x 3120
5.3
Rating
camera
drone
16
Retail Price
$
199

The Breeze is a lot like the DJI Spark, but $100 cheaper.

It shoots decent videos and pictures, you can control it using your smartphone, and it’s small enough to carry it in most backpacks, bags and purses.

As the name implies, the Breeze shoots 4K video, and honestly it looks really good! The only down side is that there's no gimbal, so you don’t get image stabilization, so everything will be shaky looking unless you use special editing software to stabilize the video. There is a 1080p mode with stabilization, but I found that it doesn’t work all that well. For smooth shots, the DJI Spark wins, but the ability to shoot in 4K does allow the Breeze to get some decent shots if you know how to stabilize them.

Aside from the video features, the Breeze has a lot of the same features that the Spark has. Follow-me, orbit, dronie and all of the other features work ok, but DJI has more flying options while still being easier to use. To be honest, the Breeze flies great. It uses a downward facing camera and IR sensor to keep it from drifting just like the Spark. It’s actually more stable than the GoPro Karma, but that isn’t saying much…

If you have the money, get the DJI Spark. You won’t find a better selfie/camera drone out there. If you can’t get the Spark, but you still want a camera drone, the Breeze 4K might be a good way to go.

5.3
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Breeze 4K
Rating
7.0
·
Product quality
5
·
Camera Quality
7.0
·
Ease of use
5.0
·
Flight Time
4.0
·
Speed
2.0
·
Range
4.0
·
Flight Autonomy
8.0
·
Portability
Breeze 4K
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

FPV & RACING
DRONES

TAKE FLIGH TO THE NEXT LEVEL

If drone racing and freestyle flying sounds like something crazy you would see in a movie, you’re right! If you’re even considering getting into the sport of drone racing, do it! This is the intense, fast paced, super addictive side of drone flying. Racing drones are like race-cars. They will take a lot more research and time than any other type of drone to start out with, but the experience you get when flying is unlike anything else in the world.

Drone Racing is a real sport with real competitions and very real prize money, and it’s starting to take off all over the world. Nobody knows where this sport will end up years down the road, but it’s only getting more intense as technology advances. One day drone racing could become just as popular as any other major sport, so if you want to be the best, you better start now. Click here to learn more about drone racing and where to start.

ImmersionRC

Vortex 180 mini

  • Flight time
    6
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    2
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
6.2
Rating
fpv
drone
1
Retail Price
$
237

Just like all of the drones from ImmersionRC, the Vortex 180 is an extremely well-built ready-to-fly racing drone with all of the features that beginners and pros need. The first thing you’ll notice from the older Vortex quadcopters is the cleaner design. All of the electronics are sandwiched between the carbon fiber on the top and the printed circuit board on the bottom. The only thing that sticks out is the camera which is protected by a hard plastic case.

Almost every piece of electronics has been modified from the Vortex 250 Pro and big improvements have been made—starting with the flight controller. It’s an all new design called Synergy, with duel F3 processors for faster 8KHz update rates. Because of this, it also comes with Bataflight firmware pre installed instead of Cleanflight. If you didn’t understand any of that, just know that this drone will fly super locked-in.

All of this would be useless without good motor speed controllers, but thankfully all four 32-bit ESCs support ONESHOT 42. One great thing about ImmersionRC ESCs is the fact that you never have to worry about soldering the motor wires on backwards thanks to the rotorSENSE feature. With rotorSENSE, if one motor is spinning in the wrong direction, you just spin the motor by hand in the direction you want it to go and the ESC will then spin the motors in that direction.

On-screen-displays have become pretty standard for ready-to-fly racing drones, but this time the OSD and video transmitter has been integrated into the Synergy flight controller to simplify the design and reduce weight. If you know about FPV, having an integrated video TX might scare you. After all, video transmitters do tend to burn out. Thankfully ImmersionRC has a great feature built into the video transmitter that eliminates this issue.

When the Vortex 180 is turned on in the pit area, or on the park bench, the video transmitter power output is reduced to less than 1mW to reduce energy consumption and excess heat. Then when you start flying, the output power automatically increase to its default setting. Additionally, you can set the flying output from 1 to 400mW.

There are actually two relatively new Vortex drones; the Vortex 150 and the even newer Vortex 180. The only difference between the two is the arm length, motor size, and prop size. The Vortex 150 uses custom 1306-3100kV motors and 3 inch propellers. The Vortex 180 uses custom XNova 1407-3500kV motors and 4 inch propellers. If you like smaller quads, the Vortex 150 might interest you, but if you want to race and like having a lot of power then you’ll want to go with the bigger motors and props on the Vortex 180.

In any case, if you’re looking for an almost-ready-to-fly racing drone in 2017, the new Vortex 150 and Vortex 180 are probably the best way to go. The Vortex doesn’t have all of the beginner features, or the amazing HD video transmission system like the Connex Falcore, but it was made to be more of a pro race drone with better flight characteristics and a durable design.

6.2
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Vortex 180 mini
Rating
8.5
·
Product quality
4.5
·
Ease of use
3.0
·
Flight Time
9.0
·
Speed
6.0
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
7.0
·
Portability
Vortex 180 mini
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Connex

Falcore

  • Flight time
    6
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    0.5
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
6.1
Rating
fpv
drone
2
Retail Price
$
549.99

If you’ve ever seen the live video feed on a racing drone, you’ll know that the video quality looks worse than a 20 year old tv broadcast. It’s really sad that professional pilots have to fly using such old technology, however Connex has been working on a solution to this problem for a few years now and the Falcore HD racing drone is the result of all their hard work.

Out of all the ready-to-fly racing drones out there, the Falcore is one of the only sets that comes with almost everything you need to get flying. Connex designed their own drone, battery, and controller from the ground up to give new drone users a streamlined flying experience. The only thing you will need to buy for the Falcore is some good FPV goggles or a monitor that has an HDMI input. You could even use DJI Goggles!

The Falcore streams 720p 60fps video directly to the controller which is already impressive (other racing drones stream analog standard definition video), but what’s more important is the 27mS latency. This is what makes the Connex system different from other digital transmission technologies. On a camera drone like the Phantom 4, the video latency is over 100mS. That’s fine for doing aerial photography, but for drone racing 27mS is the standard and having any more latency than that makes it hard to fly fast.

Yes, the main feature of the Falcore is the video streaming quality, and that alone is a good enough reason to want this drone, but there’s some other features that make it great for beginners as well. The new SHIELD mode is something we’ve never seen in a racing drone before. It’s a flying mode that uses ultrasonic sensors to keep the Falcore at about 3 feet from the ground at all times. It also mixes the roll and yaw controls together, so you can fly with only one control stick ( left/right and forward/backward). This makes flying the Falcore more like driving an RC car!

If you need help landing your drone, there’s also a stop-and-land button that will level the drone in any flight mode and start landing using the barometer and ultrasonic sensor.

The Falcore has a lot of cool technology inside of it, but this drone isn’t heavy on pro racing features. There is an OSD, but you can’t adjust any settings on the flight controller from the OSD like you can on the Vortex 180 and it runs Cleanflight which isn’t as good as Bataflight. Another thing that you might not think about is range. The video transmitter and receiver have a range of 1000 feet to 3000 feet depending on the environment you’re in. Although this is fine for most park flights, there are races that might require a more reliable signal at those farther distances, and with a traditional analog FPV setup it’s easy to get more range with better antennas.

There are a lot of things I haven’t mentioned, like the quick release arms that come off for easy transportation, or the included battery charger, but overall I think the Falcore is a great drone for beginners and it’s amazing that they were able to put such an expensive video transmission system in an affordable ready-to-fly racing drone. With the tilted motor design, I wouldn’t recommend the Falcore for freestyle stunt flying (get a Vortex 180 or build your own drone for freestyle), but as a racing drone for intermediate pilots and especially beginners, this quad is a great option.

6.1
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Falcore
Rating
8.0
·
Product quality
6.5
·
Ease of use
3.0
·
Flight Time
8.0
·
Speed
5.0
·
Range
3.0
·
Flight Autonomy
7.0
·
Portability
Falcore
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ImmersionRC

Vortex 250 Pro

  • Flight time
    6
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    2
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
6.1
Rating
fpv
drone
3
Retail Price
$
299

The Vortex 250 Pro is another great ready-to-fly racing drone and it’s a direct competitor to the TBS Vendetta. It’s about the same size, but a bit heavier and comes with two bladed propellers instead of three like the vendetta. Typically, two bladed props will be slightly more efficient, but three bladed props have more power and a crisper flight characteristic to them. You can change the props on both quadcopters if you want to, but then the flight controller will have to be re-tuned.

The Vortex 250 Pro now has a lot of the same features as the Vortex 180. There’s one F3 flight controller, automatic video transmitter power output, and a standard OSD with flight controller tuning.

The main difference between the Vendetta and the Vortex 250 Pro is that you aren’t getting the removable arms or the modular components. With the Vortex, it’s not going to be as easy to fix and you won’t be able to upgrade it to get more power, but I think it’s still a good alternative to the Vendetta and better than the older Vortex 285.

6.1
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Vortex 250 Pro
Rating
8.0
·
Product quality
4.5
·
Ease of use
3.0
·
Flight Time
9.0
·
Speed
6.0
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
7.0
·
Portability
Vortex 250 Pro
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ImmersionRC

Vortex 285

  • Flight time
    6
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    2
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
5.9
Rating
fpv
drone
4
Retail Price
$
149

The Vortex 285 is another drone from ImmersionRC. It’s actually one of the first ready-to-fly FPV racing drones that came to market back in 2015, but because of the features it has and the price, it’s still very relevant even today. It runs similar firmware to the Vortex 250 Pro, but the hardware is just slightly slower which means that it shouldn’t be as responsive.

The biggest drawback of the Vortex 285 is the frame design. It’s about 35mm larger than the Vortex 250 Pro (which isn’t a problem for traveling thanks to the folding arm design), but the frame has a lot of small plastic pieces holding it together. In other words, the Vortex 250 Pro and Vortex 180 will be a lot stronger than the 285 because they have a stronger and more simple frame design.

So why would you want the Vortex 285? Because the current price is only $199.

5.9
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Vortex 285
Rating
8.0
·
Product quality
4.5
·
Ease of use
3.0
·
Flight Time
8.0
·
Speed
6.0
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
7.0
·
Portability
Vortex 285
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Lumenier

QAV-R

  • Flight time
    6
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    2
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
5.8
Rating
fpv
drone
5
Retail Price
$
499.99

If you haven’t heard of Lumenier, you haven’t been in the racing drone space for long. Lumenier makes some of the best FPV components. Some components are high quality custom branded parts, and others are designed and manufactured from scratch. The QAV-R is one of the best products Lumenier makes. It’s a 5 inch professional grade racing and freestyle drone frame, pared with some of the best electronics you can get on a drone in this category.

For the power system, it has Lumenier RX2206-11 2350Kv motors and Lumenier 30A BLHeli_S ESCs with DSHOT Multishot and all of the other high-speed communication protocols you need. The flight controller is a MPU6000, STM32F405 (what a mouth full!). Basically, it’s a clone of a flight controller called the REVO that originally cost over $100 to make and had a super fast F4 processor. The FPV system is nothing that will blow you away like on the Falcore drone. It’s just your standard 200mW 5.8GHz Raceband TX and 600TVL camera, but it gets the job done for pro pilots, so I guess we can’t complain!

The RTF kit is nice and all of the components are nearly perfect for this frame, but the best part about the QAV-R is the QAV-r frame by itself. In simple words it’s a light weight tank. You can’t break this drone. Technically, I’ve broken this frame, but only after many months of flying and some of the hardest crashes at speeds over 50MPH. And when you do break something, the parts usually don’t cost more than $15 to replace.

Flying with this frame is amazing. It’s super solid which is great for low vibration and better flight characteristics. The design isn’t super fat or long so tuning is easy with the right props. There’s just enough space for any of the GoPro models while keeping the battery balanced. I really can’t find much about this frame to complain about. Are there better frames out there, probably, but this one gets the job done and does it flawlessly, parts are usually in stock, and as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The QAV-R comes in a few different configurations. If you get the RTF kit (which is really a ARF kit since it doesn’t come with everything you need to fly) it will have either a FrSky or DSMX receiver, so all you need to start flying is a controller, batteries, FPV goggles with a video receiver, and a battery charger.

5.8
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QAV-R
Rating
9.0
·
Product quality
2.0
·
Ease of use
3.0
·
Flight Time
9.0
·
Speed
6.0
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
7.0
·
Portability
QAV-R
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TBS

Vendetta II

  • Flight time
    6
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    2
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
5.7
Rating
fpv
drone
6
Retail Price
$
499.95

The TBS Vendetta is a quadcopter designed specifically for FPV (first person view) racing and freestyle flying. Today, you can find quite a few mini FPV racing drones that come ready to fly, but the Vendetta was one of the first racing drones to come out with everything you need to fly. It comes with almost everything you need to start learning to race. The only things that it won’t come with is a controller, battery, charger and FPV video goggles, but in the world of drone racing you’ll usually want to choose that stuff to fit your needs anyway.

Racing drones like the Vendetta are usually much smaller than camera drones like the Phantom 4, but don’t let the small size fool you. The TBS Vendetta will easily reach speeds of 70mph and above when racing on a track, or over 100mph when doing nose dives down the sides of cliff faces.

The Vendetta is a drone that’s going to be hard to break, but if it does, no problem! It’s one of the only drones that doesn’t require a soldering iron when you need to replace components after crashing. This is a big deal for racing drones, because you’re always crashing and repairing parts at racing events, or even just at the park. Because of its modular design, you can also upgrade to bigger motors, add a high-voltage battery, and instantly have a faster machine.

The only down side the the Vendetta is that it isn’t as precise feeling as the newer Vortex drones from ImmersionRC and since the arms are connected in pairs, you can’t replace just one motor and arm at a time.

5.7
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Vendetta II
Rating
7.5
·
Product quality
4.0
·
Ease of use
3.0
·
Flight Time
8.0
·
Speed
6.0
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
7.0
·
Portability
Vendetta II
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Makerfire

Armor 90

  • Flight time
    5
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    1
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
5.5
Rating
fpv
drone
7
Retail Price
$
89.99

At first glance, the Armor 90 might seem like another toy claiming to be an FPV racing drone, but don’t let it’s looks fool you.

This is the real deal! there are a few different versions and colors available. Since this is a true FPV racing drone, it doesn’t come with a controller. This means you can use whatever controller you already have, or pick out what controller is right for you.

The Armor 90 comes in two different models. There’s a DSM receiver version and a version with no receiver, so you can use whatever transmitter and receiver you want. I use the FrSky Taranis, so I would use my own receiver and it would plug right in. Again, since this is a true racer you will need to buy batteries and FPV goggles if you want to do FPV.

This drone has a lot of really cool features. Although it’s only 90 mm in size, it has 7500KV brushless motors capable of running 2S or 3S batteries. That means this thing will fly like a mini bullet! To drive each motor, the Armor 90 has a 4 in 1 ESC capable of handling 10 amps of power per motor. It’s also Oneshot/Dshot300 compatible for super fast motor response times.

For me, the coolest thing about this quadcopter is that it comes ready to race with a F3 flight controller running Bateflight_OMNIBUS firmware. It also has a built in OSD (on-screen-disply) that you can use to change settings in the flight controller without needing a computer!

The FPV camera is nothing special, but it’s nice that it’s included. It’s a 600TVN camera with a 120 degree field-of-view. The video transmitter is 5.8ghz 25mW with 40 channels, so it will work with any FPV goggles or video receiver you have. I would’ve liked to have seen a 150mW video transmitter for better penetration through walls, but the 25mW is still enough to have a lot of fun with.

So… If you or someone you know is into FPV and looking for a tiny worry-free FPV racer/freestyle drone that comes almost ready to fly at an affordable price, the Armor 90 will definitely keep you busy. It’s not a drone you can easily outgrow. I would also recommend it as your first FPV racing drone because it’s super small, super durable, and super fast!

5.5
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Armor 90
Rating
7.0
·
Product quality
4.0
·
Ease of use
3.0
·
Flight Time
7.5
·
Speed
6.0
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
8.0
·
Portability
Armor 90
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Rise

Vusion 250

  • Flight time
    6
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
    1280 x 720
  • Control range
    2
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
    1600x1200
4.9
Rating
fpv
drone
8
Retail Price
$
339.99

If you look at drones like the Falcore from Connex and the Vortex 150 from ImmersionRC, although both can be great beginner drones, they aren’t really in a low enough price range for a lot of people who are just getting started. Yes, you’re getting what you pay for, but sometimes you don’t have that much to spend and you still want something reasonable. That’s where the Vision 250 comes in.

There’s nothing really special about the Vision 250. It’s a standard 3S and 4

S FPV quadcopter with a few nice features here and there, like an onboard DVR recorder and easily removable arms. It doesn’t have an advanced flight controller with two processors, or a digital live feed. You’re getting a very simple FPV drone.

What it does have is everything you need to start flying (seriously). When you buy the Vision 250, there’s nothing else you need to buy. You don’t need to worry about battery chargers, controllers, goggles, receivers or anything at all. It comes with everything you need including FPV goggles and a controller for just $350. That’s less money than a set of pro FPV goggles!

One thing that a lot of new FPV pilots don’t understand, is that ready-to-fly options are never going to be the drone you stay with forever. At some point, you’re going to want a part that will make your quad fly better in some way. You might want something simple like a motor which is fine, but things get complicated if you start trying to replace flight controllers, or get a completely new frame. That’s when it’s time to move to a DIY racing drone.

The nice thing about buying a cheap drone like the Vision 250 is, you can buy it, fly it for a few weeks, fly it for a few months, or until you outgrow it. Then when you’re ready to build your own racing drone, you can use all the money that you didn’t spend before and spend it on things that will last years, like a good versatile controller and some HD goggles.

4.9
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Vusion 250
Rating
6.0
·
Product quality
4.0
·
Ease of use
3.0
·
Flight Time
7.0
·
Speed
5.0
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
7.0
·
Portability
Vusion 250
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Toy DRONES

SIMPLE YET INCREDIBLY FUN

Just like the title implies, all of the drones in the list below are simple and fun toys. They are great as gifts, or even just to keep you busy while you research into getting the drone that you really want.
Some people will recommend buying drones like the ones in the list below to learn with before getting a Phantom 3 or Phantom 4, but in reality that really isn’t necessary. Drones like these are simple, but they are actually much harder to fly because they lack sensors like GPS to keep them in one spot.

DJI

Tello

  • Flight time
    13
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
    1280x720
  • Control range
    0.1
    km
  • Gimbal
    Digital
  • Camera resolution
    2592x1936
5.6
Rating
toy
drone
1
Retail Price
$
99.99

Get this drone for your kids, and maybe yourself too.

If you’re familiar with the Parrot Mambo, the DJI Tello is very similar but even better. It has a slightly longer fight time (13 minutes in ideal conditions), better build quality, and two cameras. Just like the Mambo, the Tello has a camera on the bottom that is used for keeping the drone from drifting. This means you won’t have to fight the drone to get it hovering for the first time. It will simply takeoff and hover effortlessly. Thanks to the intel processor, there is also a second camera that faces forward for FPV flying and streaming live video back to your smartphone.

If you like to tinker, the Tello gives you full control.

If you or your kids want to learn programming for the first time, Tello is great for that too. You can learn to program visually using blocks, or the more traditional way using real languages like Apple’s Swift and Python. This means you can start from ground zero with no experience and learn to code, or utilize the Power of Python and thousands of existing libraries to do almost any task you can think of!

There’s only one thing that the Parrot Mambo has that you won’t find on the Tello. Legos. Although DJI shows Lego blocks in their advertising photos, the Tello is not Lego block compatible like the Mambo is. For adults, this isn’t something you should care about, but if you’re buying the Tello for a kid who likes Lego, you might want to consider the Mambo instead.

Make sure you get the right version.

There are two versions of this drone. Tello is the standard version and Tello EDU is the version with all of the programming features. Tello EDU also has image recognition for identifying the Tello Mission Pads. These special pads allow you to program Tello to do something when it sees each unique pad, or use it as a tracking marker for more precise flying and navigation.

If you have more than one Tello EDU, you can even program them to fly in a swarm and perform synchronized acrobatics all from a single device.

If you want to get into drones or learn programing in a fun and easy way, We think the Tello EDU is the best way to go. It’s easy to use with a familiar DJI interface, it has two cameras, you can program it to do whatever you want, and it’s one of the higher quality toy drones out there. That’s why it’s #1 on our list of toy drones.

5.6
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Tello
Rating
7.0
·
Product quality
9.0
·
Ease of use
4.5
·
Flight Time
3.0
·
Speed
2.0
·
Range
6.0
·
Flight Autonomy
9.0
·
Portability
Tello
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DROCON

Bugs 3

  • Flight time
    18
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    0.5
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
5.6
Rating
toy
drone
2
Retail Price
$
85.99

Spoiler alert! This is my favorite toy drone. 

I’ve seen a lot of toy drones, and I’ve seen a lot of camera drones. The Bugs 3 is somewhere in-between. This drone doesn’t have any gimmicky features like ONE-KEY-RETURN or wifi control using your smartphone. It doesn’t even have headless mode, but what it does have is something much better than all of those things combined.

So what makes the Bugs 3 so special? 

Brushless motors! Now, if you’re completely new to drones, that might not mean anything to you, so let me tell you why brushless is the best thing to ever come to a toy drone. 

With traditional brushed motors (the tiny metal cylinders you find on most toy drones) they will all eventually break due to the brushes in the motors burning out. 

This is why a lot of people will buy a drone or get it as a gift, it flies ok for a few weeks, and then later the motors start to act up and or fail completely.

With brushless motors, they almost never fail because there aren’t any brushes inside to burn out! They are also much more efficient than brushed motors which means more power and more flight time! So what does this mean for the Bugs 3? Well, Unlike all the other toy drones, the bugs 3 gets over 15 minutes of flight time, so you can focus more on flying instead of changing batteries. 

It also can fly at around 30 MPH which is faster than some camera drones, but that’s not all.

Although this isn’t really a camera drone, it comes with an action camera mount, so you can attach your GoPro or Yi cam to get some aerial shots. Honestly, with a little bit of practice, maybe a better camera mount and some good editing software, you could probably produce some amazing shots using something like the Hero 6 with its built in image stabilization.

The only downside to the Bugs 3 is the size. 

With the large propellers, powerful motors, and not many automated features it makes this drone out of reach for younger children. I would recommend the Bugs 3 to anyone over the age of 12. Anyone younger than that may need supervision and guidance.

When I built my first drone (quite a few years ago), it was actually very similar to the Bugs 3 but cost over $300 to build. It was simple, easy enough to fly but challenging. At the same time, I could mount my GoPro Hero 2 to it, and it was way more fun and useful than those toy helicopters people bought at the time. 

Now, it’s simply amazing what you can get for just $129. If you’re looking for a toy drone that will last a long time, hold a GoPro, and fly really fast then you’ve found it.

5.6
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Bugs 3
Rating
6.5
·
Product quality
4.0
·
Ease of use
6.0
·
Flight Time
6.5
·
Speed
5.0
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
5.0
·
Portability
Bugs 3
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Parrot

Mambo

  • Flight time
    8
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    0.1
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
4.6
Rating
toy
drone
3
Retail Price
$
66.26

From a distance, the Mambo might look like any other toy drone, but it’s not!

It might also seem too expensive for a toy drone that doesn’t have a camera, but wait! The Mambo is an extremely cool smartphone controlled drone and you shouldn’t over look it, especially if you’re buying it for someone as a gift. Here’s why I like it.

If you look on the top, you’ll see a few little connectors. These connections allow you to mount either a ball shooter or a little grabbing arm. There’s one other thing you can do with this connector though, and It’s super cool if you’re buying this drone for your kids. It’s a Lego mount! There are a few Lego mounting points on the Mambo, so you can turn it into whatever kind of Lego ship you can think of! The only limitation is how many Legos it can carry.

But that’s not all! You aren’t just paying for an electronic Lego mount. The mambo is much easier to fly than most toy drones. Thanks to the powerful onboard processor, the bottom facing camera and an ultrasonic sensor, it can hover in place and hold its position without needing to make any corrections. Speaking of sensors, although the Mambo doesn’t have a front facing camera, you can still see the video feed from the bottom facing camera on your smartphone.

Did you know the Mambo is a fully programmable drone?

he Mambo is part of Parrot’s SDK so you can even program the Mambo to fly itself! There’s also pre-made learning environments in Apple’s Swift programming language and Tynker so you can teach kids how to program.

With everything you can do with the Mambo (from programming to Lego building) and all of the sensors it has onboard, you really can’t go wrong with this little thing. It’s not a camera drone like the DJI Spark, but as a toy drone, the Mambo is one of the best drones you can buy.

4.6
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Mambo
Rating
6.0
·
Product quality
8.0
·
Ease of use
4.0
·
Flight Time
3.0
·
Speed
2.0
·
Range
4.0
·
Flight Autonomy
9.0
·
Portability
Mambo
Video's
Video Title
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Parrot

Mambo FPV

  • Flight time
    8
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
    1920 x 1080
  • Control range
    0.1
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
    1920 x 1080
4.9
Rating
toy
drone
4
Retail Price
$
129

This is the drone your kids will want for Christmas

If you’ve seen the original Mambo, you already know what a great toy drone this is, but for those of you who haven’t, here’s a refresher. The Mambo is a toy drone by Parrot. There are a lot of great things to say about this drone, but one of the best features it has is the downward facing camera.

You can use the camera to see what’s below you, but more importantly, the Mambo uses it to see the ground and stabilize itself. That means the Mambo will hold its position (indoors and outdoors) just like the more expensive camera drones can. To process the video for stabilization, the Mambo has a powerful on-board processor.

Speaking of processing things, did you know the Mambo is fully programmable? If you or your kids want to learn how to program, the Mambo is fully programmable using Parrot’s SDK, Apple’s Swift programming language, or Tynker. You can make the Mambo do things like takeoff fly in a direction, do a flip, and then land all without you touching the controls!

What is the Mambo FPV? It’s simply a Mambo drone with a first-person-view HD camera.

All Mambos have a special mount on them that you can use to add on additional accessories. The newest accessory is the FPV camera. When combined with the included FPV goggles, the Mambo FPV allows you to fly the drone in a completely new way from other toy drones. You get to see what the drone sees and fly around as if you were inside the cockpit of the drone.

The Mambo FPV is a cool drone. It comes with everything you need (other than a smartphone) to start doing FPV. Although Parrot advertises the Mambo as an FPV racing drone, it’s not a real FPV racing drone like the ones in our FPV Racing section. It’s more of a cool FPV toy made for beginners and kids. In any case, I’m sure it will be a lot of fun around the holidays!

4.9
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Mambo FPV
Rating
6.0
·
Product quality
8.0
·
Ease of use
3.0
·
Flight Time
3.0
·
Speed
2.0
·
Range
4.0
·
Flight Autonomy
8.0
·
Portability
Mambo FPV
Video's
Video Title
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Parrot

AR Drone 2

  • Flight time
    15
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
    1280 x 720
  • Control range
    0.05
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
    1280 x 720
4.6
Rating
toy
drone
5
Retail Price
$
84.99

This "was" one of the coolest drones you could buy.

When the AR Drone 2.0 first came out, it was one of the coolest drones for sale on the market. It has a 1GHz 32 bit processor, 1GB of ram, gyros, accelerometers, magnetometers, a pressure sensor, an ultrasonic sensor, 2 cameras and more. Even though it’s over 2 years old, the AR Drone is still one of the most advanced quadcopters available in its price range which is $299.

The biggest feature of the AR Drone is that it can be controlled from your iPhone. You can also see a live video feed from the phone screen and record video. It’s even running Linux and there’s an AR Drone open API platform, so you can program it to do whatever you want.

Like the other drones on the list, this is “not” a perfect quadcopter. The biggest feature of this drone is actually one of its biggest problems. The AR drone can only be controlled with your phone, meaning that you can’t use a normal RC controller with real control sticks. That also means that there’s no way to fly manually.

If you’re planning on learning how to fly so you can operate a more advanced model in the future, you won’t learn anything with the AR Drone.

The AR Drone 2.0 is expensive and not for everyone.

When the AR Drone fist came out, it packed a lot of features that were never seen before on a drone, but now it's more of a toy compared to all of the camera drones you can find. As a toy drone, it's still impressive, but with a price higher than any other toy drone, it isn't for everyone. If you want a nice toy drone with some cool features and lower price tag, I would look at the Mambo or Mambo FPV.

4.6
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AR Drone 2
Rating
6.0
·
Product quality
6.0
·
Ease of use
5.0
·
Flight Time
3.0
·
Speed
2.0
·
Range
4.0
·
Flight Autonomy
6.0
·
Portability
AR Drone 2
Video's
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Hubsan

X4 (H501S)

  • Flight time
    18
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
    1920 x 1080
  • Control range
    1
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
    2000 x 1500
4.5
Rating
toy
drone
6
Retail Price
$
169

The X4 (H501S) sits somewhere in-between "toy" and "fully featured camera drone".

The Hubsan H501S packs a lot of features into a much smaller frame than other quadcopters with similar features. To start, it has a 6-axis flight control system,built in GPS and altimeter which keeps this unit very stable in flight. This allows it to have features such as follow-me, return-to-home, and hold-position. It also does quite well in windy conditions. It has four brushless motors complete with gold blades. There’s a spare set in the box too. The fixed 1080P HD camera transmits standard 5.8G wireless video from a distance of about 300 meters. There is an SD slot to record video directly under the camera. The lipo battery is large at 7.4V 2700mAh and has a charging time of approximately 150 minutes. You should have a flight time of about 19 minutes.

The transmitter has a 4.3 inch color LCD screen (LCD resolution: 480 x 272). It shows you all the pertinent information such as battery life of the quad and the controller, and your telemetry. All the settings and calibrations are shown on the screen as well. You can fly FPV and it is compatible with Hubsan goggles and also various 3rd party goggles. It does require 8 AA batteries to operate, but it comes with a JST connector built in so it can also use a lipo battery.

It's like a camera drone, but without a good camera.

This is a nice sturdy and attractive quadcopter for the price with a lot of features only found in the more expensive drones. It’s good for beginners and intermediate pilots, but not recommended for those wanting to take professional video and photography. It doesn’t have any of the features that make a good video drone, like stabilized video, low video compression, or just having control over the camera settings.

4.5
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X4 (H501S)
Rating
3.5
·
Product quality
3.0
·
Ease of use
6.0
·
Flight Time
5.0
·
Speed
5.0
·
Range
3.0
·
Flight Autonomy
6.0
·
Portability
X4 (H501S)
Video's
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Holy Stone

F181

  • Flight time
    9
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
    1280 x 720
  • Control range
    0.07
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
    1280 x 720
4.2
Rating
toy
drone
7
Retail Price
$
79.99

This drone good for beginners. It has four different flying modes.

As your skills improve you can set it to the next level. Since the weight of this quad is still under 0.5lb, no FAA registration is required.

It does include a camera, although not the greatest quality but still fun to play around with. This drone, like many others also has a headless feature, but also features an altitude hold function or hover which is something most of the less expensive drones do not have. This is especially useful when trying to learn how to hover. FPV is not possible with the small LCD display on the controller but it does give you some vital information about the drone during flight.

The battery on the F181 will last about 7-9 minutes and takes about 80 minutes to charge. This quad actually comes with an extra battery, but according to the manufacturer, you should wait 10 minutes between flights otherwise the motors and circuit board may overheat. This was reiterated by the reviews we have seen by others who were disappointed that their motors overheated on the first day. Customer service does appear to be excellent in dealing with these types of problems.

The F181 includes 2 batteries, and two charging cables. One of the great things about this drone is that you can charge one of the batteries while still in the drone, and charge the other battery with the other USB charging cable. It also comes with extra blades, landing skids, and the screwdriver for assembling everything. There are other accessories available such as extra motors, batteries, charger, blades and other spare parts.

4.2
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F181
Rating
5.0
·
Product quality
4.0
·
Ease of use
4.0
·
Flight Time
3.0
·
Speed
3.0
·
Range
3.5
·
Flight Autonomy
7.0
·
Portability
F181
Video's
Video Title
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Blade

Nano QX

  • Flight time
    7
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    0.1
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
4.1
Rating
toy
drone
8
Retail Price
$
59.99

This is the smallest drone with a full manual flight mode for advanced flying.

The Nano QX is a lot like the LaTrax Alias but smaller. Because it’s a few inches smaller than the Alias it doesn’t have as much yaw authority, but it’s still a lot better than the tiny Proto X.

It has two flight modes, stability and agility. In agility mode, you have full control over the quadcopter to learn how to fly manually (it will not auto level itself). In stability mode, it will automatically level itself when you let go of the controls.

The Nano doesn’t have the auto flipping functions that the Alias does, but that isn’t a problem since you can do flips manually and it’s more fun. Since the Nano QX is smaller than the Alias, it’s much cheaper. The only annoying thing about having a smaller quadcopter like the Nano QX is that it’s harder to see when flying far away, so it’s easier to lose orientation, but in general, it’s still a good quadcopter to learn with, especially since you can also use it with any DSMX RC transmitter.

4.1
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Nano QX
Rating
6.0
·
Product quality
5.0
·
Ease of use
4.0
·
Flight Time
4.0
·
Speed
1.5
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
8.0
·
Portability
Nano QX
Video's
Video Title
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DBPOWER

MJX X400W

  • Flight time
    8
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
    1280 x 720
  • Control range
    0.1
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
    1280 x 720
4.1
Rating
toy
drone
9
Retail Price
$
59.99

If you don't like the H1 FPV drone (bumblebee), this is another great alternative.

This is a great drone for a beginner at a decent price. It comes with a Wi-Fi camera that is HD 720p and allows you to take photos and videos in real time. It works with both iOS devices and Android. You can download an app and upload photos to your favorite social media sites right away, or use your phone to fly FPV.

There are some important features that make it great for beginners such as headless mode. This allows you to fly left or right by just pushing the controls left or right regardless of which way your drone is facing at the time. It has 2 speed modes in case you’re a beginner and are afraid you’re going to hit a tree. This feature is also useful for indoor flying. It has a bright LED light so you can see it from 100’s of feet away at night. When you first start out, you’re going to crash, so one of the nice things about this drone is that it comes complete with 4 spare blades. On that note, you can buy other parts for it as well such as motors, blades, batteries, protective guard, transmitter, and landing gear.

It comes with one 3.7V 750 mAh Li-po battery. The battery takes about 2 hours to charge, and you get about 8 or 9 minutes of flying time so we recommend buying an extra battery or two so you have a little more flight time each session.

One fun little feature of this drone is it will do 3D flips and rolls 360° in all directions with just a push of the control. No experience necessary! Also it has a pretty good range at about 100 meters or 300 feet. It’s very sturdy too making it pretty forgiving of beginner pilot errors. The instruction manual can be a little hard to follow, and it can be a pain to remove the tiny little screw to replace the battery every 10 minutes, but overall this is a pretty nice drone for the price. It’s a bit more than some drones in it’s class, but well worth it based on their customer service reputation alone.

4.1
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MJX X400W
Rating
5.0
·
Product quality
4.0
·
Ease of use
4.0
·
Flight Time
3.0
·
Speed
3.0
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
7.0
·
Portability
MJX X400W
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

Traxxas

Alias

  • Flight time
    9
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    0.1
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
3.8
Rating
toy
drone
10
Retail Price
$
99.95

There are two big features with the Alias. It has full manual controls and it's almost indestructible!

If you want to learn how to fly a quadcopter manually, the LaTrax Alias is a great way to start. The reason why it’s a good quadcopter to learn with is because it has a full manual flight mode and it’s extremely durable. This means that you can learn how to fly without worrying too much about crashing.

Since it’s about 7 inches wide and has big propellers it also has great yaw authority, so doing bank turns, pirouette maneuvers and more would be no problem. It’s also big enough to carry a small camera like the 808 keychain camera. I’ve even seen people install video transmitters and do FPV.

The only downside about the Alias is the price which is about $100. It might seem a little bit pricey at first, but at the same time it’s built well and even if you do manage to break it, all of the parts are replaceable. This is not the type of quadcopter where you end up throwing it away after a month of use.

3.8
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Alias
Rating
5.5
·
Product quality
4.0
·
Ease of use
4.0
·
Flight Time
4.0
·
Speed
1.5
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
7.0
·
Portability
Alias
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
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Holy Stone

HS170 Predator

  • Flight time
    6
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    0.04
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
3.7
Rating
toy
drone
11
Retail Price
$
39.99

This drone is a good competitor to the Hubsan X4 (H107L).

The HS170 does quite well in windier conditions so it would be good for indoor or outdoor use. It has a range of about 100-165 feet, flying time about 6-8 minutes, and a charging time of about 60-80 minutes. The HS170 is not a camera drone, but it has many other features. You can turn the LED lights off and on from the remote control. It has headless flight system, 3 flight modes for different skill levels, and one button flip and roll controls.

One thing that people overlook when searching for toy drones is the controller. Some come with tiny controllers and others like this one come with a larger controller. You might prefer the smaller controller for convenience, however the larger controller will make the drone easier to control. It will also make transitioning to more expensive drones like the Spark and Mavic Pro seem more familiar.

Like some of the other drones, the HS170 comes with propeller guards and one extra set of blades so you don’t have to worry about crashing. Unlike some of the other drones, each arm has little landing feet that protect the motors from getting damaged in a hard landing. If you do manage to break this drone, there are tons of replacement parts.

3.7
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HS170 Predator
Rating
5.0
·
Product quality
4.0
·
Ease of use
4.0
·
Flight Time
3.0
·
Speed
2.5
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
8.0
·
Portability
HS170 Predator
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

Hubsan

X4 (H107L)

  • Flight time
    6
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    0.04
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
3.7
Rating
toy
drone
12
Retail Price
$
25.99

This drone is cheaper than the Nano QX, but it doesn't have the fast manual flight mode.

There’s a few different versions of the Hubsan X4. The cheapest version doesn’t have an agility mode like the Nano QX so you can’t fly with complete manual control, but it’s pretty fast and maneuverable (even with auto leveling). It also has 6 LED lights which can be turned on and off from the controller. Speaking of controllers, the controller that comes with the 3 cheaper Hubsan models is actually pretty nice. I like it better than what comes with the Nano QX and the Proto x).

The next 2 versions of the Hubsan X4 have cameras. They’re slightly bigger and heavier than the cheaper version of the X4, but the flight time is about the same. The H107C is the version with a standard definition camera and the 61170-02 is the one with a 720p camera. The Hubsan X4 with the standard camera is ok, but the 720p camera takes much better video. The only problem with the HD version is that it’s more expensive and the flight time is slightly less.

The most expensive version of the Hubsan X4 is the H107D. It’s mainly for FPV, which allows you to see everything that the drone can see in real time. The design is slightly different from any of the other models and it has a black antenna on the bottom. Although FPV is really cool, this is probably my least favorite version of the Hubsan X4, mainly because the flight time isn’t as good as the other models and the FPV range is only a couple hundred feet. It’s also about 2 times more expensive than the Hubsan with the HD camera.

3.7
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X4 (H107L)
Rating
5.0
·
Product quality
4.0
·
Ease of use
4.0
·
Flight Time
3.0
·
Speed
2.5
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
8.0
·
Portability
X4 (H107L)
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

Syma

X5C

  • Flight time
    9
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    0.03
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
3.4
Rating
toy
drone
13
Retail Price
$
36.49

This was one of the most popular drones last year.

The X5C is nothing special. It’s a simple quadcopter that almost looks like a DJI Phantom at first glance, but you won’t be taking amazing aerial videos with it, or racing through the forest. It has gyros and accelerometers to keep it stable and an auto flip feature like most drones out there. It also comes with a small camera for recording video with quality similar to a an old webcam.

There’s nothing particularly special about the Syma X5C, but it works and it’s really cheap. It’s a blast to fly if you’ve never flown anything before and it’s cheap enough where you don’t have to feel bad if you lose it on the roof top of your house.  That’s probably why it has over 4,200 reviews on Amazon, which is a number that no other drone has come close to.

3.4
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X5C
Rating
4.0
·
Product quality
4.0
·
Ease of use
4.0
·
Flight Time
3.0
·
Speed
2.0
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
7.0
·
Portability
X5C
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

Estes

Proto X Nano

  • Flight time
    5
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    0.07
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
3.4
Rating
toy
drone
14
Retail Price
$
30

The Proto X is one of the smallest drones for sale on the planet.

 It has 3 gyros, 3 accelerometers, 4 motor speed controllers and a radio receiver all shoved into a tiny PCB board about the size of a quarter.

The price for this little drone is only about $30. It’s one of the cheapest quadcopters you can buy (but cheap isn’t necessarily a good thing). It’s very fast for how small it is, but at the same time since the rotors are so small and close together, people have found that it’s a bit hard to do bank turns with it. Since the Proto X is so cheap, there is a chance that you could buy a defective one, but you can always just send it back.

I can’t really recommend this quadcopter if you’re serious about getting into the hobby, but it’s definitely a good toy if you just want something to bash around the house.

3.4
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Proto X Nano
Rating
4.0
·
Product quality
4.0
·
Ease of use
4.0
·
Flight Time
2.0
·
Speed
3.0
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
10.0
·
Portability
Proto X Nano
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

EACHINE

E010 Mini UFO

  • Flight time
    5
    minutes
  • Slow-mo resolution
  • Video resolution
  • Control range
    0.03
    km
  • Gimbal
  • Camera resolution
2.7
Rating
toy
drone
15
Retail Price
$
22.99

If you're looking for the cheapest drone you can get, this is it.

This is a great little quad at an even greater price. It’s perfect for a child or an ultra-beginner. It’s pretty sturdy given its small size, and super easy to fly right out of the box with an easy to understand manual.

It has a built-in positioning system which allows for ONE-KEY RETURN. If you’re flying outside and happen to loose track of it, just push one button on the remote and it will return to the remote. Well… it will return sometimes. Like all of the other toy drones, ONE-KEY RETURN doesn’t really work that well since there’s no GPS onboard, but it will send the quad back in your general direction which is cool.

Pairing the remote with the drone is quite simple and works well. Like many other toy drones it has a 360° ROLL-OVER feature so even if you’re not a stunt flyer, your friends will think you are. It has two bright LED lights, one red and one blue which makes seeing it at night much easier. This quad comes with a spare set of blades which makes it great for giving as a gift to a small child who has never flown one before.

The flight time is pretty short at about 5 minutes although some have reported getting as much as 10 minutes. Once your drone battery dies, it has an audible low battery indicator that will let you know before it drops out of the sky. Like all toy drones, you should purchase an optional pack of batteries so you can enjoy longer flying sessions. The batteries take about 30 minutes each to charge up.

This drone is small and cute but pretty durable and very safe for young kids. It’s more suited for indoor use because wind can be a problem due to its small size and the ducted fan design. Some complain that it doesn’t have a hover feature, but neither do other drones in it’s price point. For the price, its a great choice if you want to have some fun with a drone that’s not going to break the bank.

2.7
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E010 Mini UFO
Rating
3.5
·
Product quality
4.0
·
Ease of use
3.0
·
Flight Time
1.0
·
Speed
2.0
·
Range
2.5
·
Flight Autonomy
10.0
·
Portability
E010 Mini UFO
Video's
Video Title
Video Title
Video Title

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