The Contixo F18 Advanced GPS Quadcopter is loaded with interesting features that make this drone a great value compared to similar drones on the market. Thanks to built-in GPS, the F18 knows its location and where it is in relation to you. The return-to-home system commands the drone to move back to the home point when the battery gets too low or when the control signal goes out of range, so you are less likely to lose your drone after a long day of flying. Four powerful brushless motors give it the ability to quickly gain or drop in altitude and stop on a dime, yet they consume less battery life than non-brushless motors so you can fly longer. The onboard FPV FHD camera gives you a drone’s eye view – simply link the camera to the Contixo F18 app and the 5.0GHz band Wi-Fi beams you real-time images with zero latency up to 500 meters away.
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.
Our top pick is the best budget camera drone around and is sure to wow with a 720p HD camera and 6 axis gyro technology. It comes with headless security, which makes it easy for beginners to learn without destroying their drone. It also has one key return, which allows you to easily and quickly call the drone home when you’re finished flying. It even comes with an altitude hold function, which can be incredibly useful for getting a great view of one particular spot. As one of the best low cost drones with camera, the Holy Stone F181C Quadcopter Drone is an easy top pick. It comes with two batteries so you can keep flying for longer. This drone flips four ways, so it’s great at doing tricks once you get the hang of flying it. It is easy to safely land, with one key engine start and stop. This is a great pick for pros and beginners who are looking for a fun drone that won’t break the bank.
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.
My wife bought this for me for my birthday last week. She'd noticed me looking at drones in the store, and I'd told her about the mini-drones I'd seen some of the local high school students playing with, but she also knew I was concerned about getting something that would break on first impact - having never flown one before, I knew it was inevitable I'd end up crashing it a few times.
If you want to take drone activity to new heights (literally), the DJI Mavic 2 Pro makes a pretty great splurge. This drone is an evolution of its predecessor, capable of staying airborne for 31 minutes and hitting speeds of 44 miles per hour during flight — faster the previous generation. But we think drone aficionados will find their true joy in the new DJI software. Features like ActiveTrack 2.0 assist the drone with following moving subjects autonomously. Seeing real-time video is better than ever in 1080p with the addition of OcuSync 2.0, and eight gigabytes of storage (with SD card capacity up to 128GB) allow for plenty of HD footage or images from the 20MP camera.
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.
The Altair 818 Plus has a lot of the features that made the AA108 our top choice, but it also adds a little something extra – it can get 15 minutes of flight time off of a single battery charge. That’s almost unheard of in low-end “toy” drones like this one and it means that the 818 has the longevity to be used for actual photo shoots and videography sessions. It also has a much longer range of 150 meters, which makes it perfect for finding those hard-to-reach perfect shots.
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!
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.
Removable cameras: In some models, users can remove the cameras and fly the drone without the camera attached, excellent if this is a gift for a beginner who still needs to learn to fly. This helps to reduce the weight of the drone, thus enabling longer flights. More importantly, this feature enables camera upgrades when there are advances in the technology. Perhaps your gift to mom or dad next year will be just such an upgrade.
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.
If you’re looking for the perfect drone to take your creativity to the next level, or if you work in videography, look no further than the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0. The advanced camera features, including 20 megapixels, 4K video, and an accurate mechanical shutter put it on par with many traditional cameras. It delivers stunning video and images that any photographer would be proud of.
The Phantom 4 is an impressive photography drone that features a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, 4K 30fps video, and 12MP stills. If you don’t require 4K video, there are also options to shoot in 2K, Full HD, or 720p. The 12MP sensor on the Phantom 4 camera has an ISO range of 100-1600, and the camera also supports auto exposure bracketing, EV bias, and HDR imaging.
It is a bare-bones quadcopter that relies entirely on the skills of the pilot handling the remote. Controls are easy to use. It comes in a minimalistic design with a plastic frame and electronics placed in a small cavity at the center. It has a small battery-powered at 500 mAh. The camera is small and is connected by wires. It also has a micro-USB card for storing videos and images. The rotors are small at 5.25 cm diameter and made of plastic with a small screw locking it in place. You also get a spare set of rotors along with a small screwdriver. Buttons on the quadcopter can take photos, start and stop videos, flip and change the flight mode, etc.
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.
The 4K camera is a wide-angle 120-degree one that can adjust up and down within 90 degrees. The 2 batteries of 7.4V 1200 mA are intelligent batteries that offer a substantial flight time of 2 x 13 minutes. GPS enables precise positioning and it returns home automatically when the battery gets low or when you press the return key. It is also suitable for taking selfies as it has the Follow-Me feature that enables the drone to follow you no matter how fast you run. The dimensions are 11.3 x 10 x 3.4 inches and it weighs 2.3 pounds.
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 are a number of products on the market that are sold as drones, but don't quite fit the bill. Remote-controlled aircraft have been around for ages. (Check out this clip from Magnum, P.I. if you don't believe me, or just want to see Tom Selleck in a bathrobe.) But with the recent surge in popularity, quadcopters that would simply be sold as RC products are now being tagged as drones. These don't include GPS stabilization, return-to-home functionality, and other automated flight modes that make a drone a drone. We also don't review many of them.
The Parrot Anafi drone has anrf/2.4 wide-angled ASPH HDR lens with a digital zoom of 2.8x capable of 4K videos FHD or 2.7K videos at 2704 x 1520 pixels with 21MP photos, and a 180-degree tilt gimbal. In addition, it has a timer, Burst mode for 10 photos per second as well as wizards for professional settings. The design is an ultra-portable one weighing just 11.2 oz, being both robust and easily foldable. It comes in a case that protects the quadcopter during transportation. The dimensions are 9.4 x 6.9 x 2.6 inches and it weighs 1.56 pounds.
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.
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.
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.
The Realtime FPV App Flyingsee is easy to download and connect to the video cam drone. You simply attach your phone to the remote controller in the provided phone holder, and with a simple wifi connection your ready to fly. The range of the video is around 50 Meters which is a little above average for most entry level FPV Drones. Without spending $500 or more, this is the best
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…
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.
UPDATE: We called and emailed Holystone and they have delivered! Their customer service is outstanding! This is one of the reasons why after shopping for different quadcopter brands by reading the product reviews, the customer service factor was a huge consideration for me. So, we got the replacement 3-4 days after we called and emailed them about a problem on the trimmer with the first quadcopter sent. It definitely worked and performed way better. It took awhile before we figured out how to make it fly and try different things with it. So for those who almost or about to give up on their quadcopter, please call their customer service and they will be very happy to help you. I'm glad we did. It pays to be nice too.
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.
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.
The HubsanZino Pro drone comes with a 4K camera placed on a three-axis, stable rotating gimbal. It has a flight time of 23 minutes and several flight modes along with 4 kilometers connectivity. The camera has a 1/3 inches Sony sensor. A useful feature is that you can remove the camera lens and install other lenses with built-in ND filters. The ND filter reduces the light entering the lens and prevents overexposure. Users get greater creative control over shots with the detachable filter whereby they can select the aperture and the shutter speed.
It is the most famous name in consumer drones and DJI always delivers the goods. The Mavic 2 Zoom was launched in 2018 and comes with some ground-breaking features. The camera comes with a 4x lossless zoom and FHD video. It also includes a 2x optical zoom of 24 mm to 48 mm. The sensor has a resolution of 12 MP and 1/2.3 inches CMOS. Other features include avoidance sensors that cover all around the object.