The Best Drones on the Market Today:
Drones are not just for film crews and paparazzi no more, but for beginners as well, with some models just costing less than USD100 and those with cameras starting at a few hundred dollars. For more advanced drones, they start at less than USD1,000, with programmable and customizable features that transform them into truly autonomous devices that can make their own decisions. Here are the best drones on the market today:
Best Drone for Professionals – 3D Robotics Iris+:
This is your best bet if you are always trying to reduce the weight of your drone to make it fly for a longer period of time or to reprogram it to automatically track your dog on a walk. It is easy to assemble and fly, but it can also be reconfigured to do anything you want. The Iris+ kit comes with an open-source software and USB computer interface that you can use to creating a GPS-guided flight plan and control its every aspect, such as automatically compensating for wind, keeping the optional GoPro camera pointed at a specific object or even controlling external lights and other devices. With its amazing features and flexibility, this drone of course does not come cheap, starting at more than USD700 for the base model and reaching over USD2,000 for the fully featured model.
Best Drone for Beginners – UDI U818A:
Learning how to fly a drone would involve a lot of mishaps and crashes, so if you are a beginner, you need a drone that is durable—but also cheap enough—that you will not go bankrupt if you lose it to a river or a tree, which would take you to the UDI U818A. This drone has a great range of features for its price, coming with a 4-loop style frame that protects its large rotors in crashes. For the rotors, they are just cheap, under USD3 a set, and are easy to replace if they did not survive. Moreover, this great toy includes a video camera that can capture 640 x 480-pixel videos, but it can be shaky as the device strongly vibrates. But for beginners, this model will be a difficult package to beat.
Best Drone to Be Mounted with Cameras – Phantom 2 Vision+:
The DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ is the best drone if you want to take photos while aloft or get the 1st-person pilot experience. For about USD1,100, you get a ready-to-fly quadcopter drone that is complete with a 14-megapixel camera that can capture 1080p 30 fps or 720p 60 fps HD videos. For the camera, it is held under the quadcopter body and can be tilted independently, allowing you to track a specific object while flying over it. With a remote control included, this drone can send back videos to your tablet or smartphone over a separate Wi-Fi connection, so you can view what is being recorded. And if you lose the control connection, this toy just automatically try to return to where it took off. In addition, the large but easily swappable 5200 mAh battery can offer 25 minutes of flight time as what the manufacturer claimed, which is significantly longer than most.
Best Drone for Making Money – Blade Nano QX RTF:
If you have already learned how to fly with a cheap drone and are wanting for more, then you will have the Blade Nano QX, which offers a great selection of features for a flier who is wanting for more without taking out too much money from his pocket. Its price starts under USD100 for the basic, no-frills model and goes over USD300 for the FPV model, which includes a 1st-person view headset that can show you the drone’s perspective of the world. Take note that the Blade QX is more maneuverable and faster than cheaper models, but still would not break the bank if you commit mishaps, such as misjudging a tree top or getting it stuck out of reach.
Best Miniature Drone – Air Hogs RC Helix X:
4 Stunt Good things do come in small packages, and that is what the Air Hogs RC Helix X4 Stunt is all about. This is a miniature drone that can fly in a small yard or even indoors, allowing you to practice in bad weather conditions. It is also cheap and easy to fly, with a rubber-foam coating and ducted fans to prevent it from destroying things if you accidentally fly into them. Its overall design makes it a great choice for the novice or practiced flier who does not have easy access to the space required for full-size drones.
Best New and Impressive Drones:
DJI Phantom 3 Standard:
The new release sports improved video capabilities of that of the Phantom 2 Vision+, while also cutting a little bit off its price. Like the former model, the Phantom 3 Standard shoots 1080p videos at 30 fps and 720p at 60 fps, but it can also capture 2.7K HD videos at 30 fps. For the images, it can capture still photos with its 12-megapixel camera, compared to the 14-MP camera of the Vision+. The manufacturer also updated the controller by adding an integrated Wi-Fi range extender and a wheel for angling the camera. Though the company is supposed to be targeting beginners with this drone, it made it compatible with features that are found in other Phantom 3 drones, including the Follow Me feature and the waypoint navigation feature for setting multipoint routes.
Parrot MiniDrone Hydr ofoil:
Designed for fresh air and freshwater flying, this drone features a miniature quadcopter that can be detached. When you turn on its propeller blades, a plastic flap would flip up to send it hovering across the water. By detaching the mini copter, you can let it fly at up to 11 mph using the companion Parrot app. Though it is water- resistant, it is not water-proof, so do not try to dunk it.
Parrot MiniDrone Airborne Night:
This release will be your light-in-the-dark quadcopter—literally. Weighing just about 1.2 pounds, this drone can reach 11 mph for about 9 minutes, with 2 LED lights that can be set to flashing patterns or adjusted to various levels of intensity. It even has a police-themed version, named Mac Lane. With a 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope and ultrasound sensor, the drone can be kept stable in the air, with a miniature camera on its underbelly to perform aerial selfies.