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 Phantom 3 Pro shoots video at 4K, 3820 x 2160 pixels on a fully stabilized, 3-axis gimbal. You can shoot 4K videos of up to 30 fps and take 12 MP photos. Besides, it has a vision positioning system enabling a stable flight experience indoors as well, whereby you can fly it low to the ground in GPS free areas. Live viewing at 720 pixels is possible with Lightbridge digital streaming, along with full-resolution videos getting recorded in the microSD card. It also comes along with a flight battery and remote control that is rechargeable.
The flight time is only 22 minutes on one battery, which is a pretty good amount of time. It’s a pretty big drone, though, weighing in at 21 points, so it’s definitely not a toy. Unfortunately, a lot of people have had issues with dead batteries being sent. Some have had issues reaching DJI and have even been asked to send them a proof video. If you receive a faulty battery that is dead on arrival and will not charge, ensure you contact them straight away for a replacement.
And now the bad news. You get what you pay for, and if you want an aerial video platform that can capture stunning footage, you need to be ready to spend some cash. Because drones are such pricey propositions, it pays to do your research before buying one. We've tested many of the ready-to-fly models on the market to determine what's important to look for, and the best models available.
The mini drone has a bunch of built-in quick shot functions that let the unit fly itself in preprogrammed aerial patterns, and DJI has even created a SmartCapture mode which lets you control the craft with hand gestures. Hook it up to the DJI Fly app and you can even control the drone with some cool features there, including a tap-to-fly option where you literally touch the place on the camera you want the copter to fly. The whole thing weighs only 430g — a true marvel of engineering for its size. Pick up this package on Amazon and you’ll get everything you need to start filming amazing flight-perspective vistas.
At that point, the advanced obstacle avoidance systems and SmartCapture features are just icing on the cake. But these high-tech features also make the drone extremely accessible to newer pilots who may not know how best to handle their first photography drone. So if you want the power of a Mavic 2 with a less frightening price and intimidating feature set, the Mavic Air is an excellent choice.
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.
Battery life - Battery life is a factor that many drone manufacturers are still trying to nail down. Some drones can only fly for six to eight minutes, while more powerful ones can last up to 30 minutes. If you’re worried about the battery life, look for one with a “return to home” feature, which automatically directs the drone back home when the battery gets too low.
You get up to 9 minutes of flight time, have a 640x480p camera, and video capabilities that lack audio as there is no microphone. You can do flips in the air at the touch of a button on the transmitter, and there is a button that lets you share a video on social media instantly. The LED lights located at the center of each propeller and the headlight are pretty useful for flying at night, too.
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.
Our expert reviewer and tester evaluate drones on a number of factors. For starters, we examine the size and design, taking into account my many rotors the drone has, how portable it is, and if it comes with an included remote control or camera. Next, take it out to a park or wilderness area and test how easy it is to learn and fly. We pay attention to the learning curve of learning the control, and how much latency there is in video transmission (if the controller has such a feature). We also look at flight capabilities like omnidirectaonal sensing, obstacle avoidance, tracking, and automatic landing.