The DJI Phantom series drones are some of the most capable and recognizable drones on the market. The Phantom 1 was a revolutionary aircraft that put DJI and prosumer drones on the map. The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 has collectively built on the series success and continues to be used for photography, filmmaking, inspections, and various other applications.
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.
The Phantom 4 Pro is an excellent choice for aerial photographers that seek professional results. It features a 1-inch CMOS sensor and shoots 4K 60fps video, making it great for filmmaking and photography. It also features DJI’s FlightAutonomy system, providing you with five directions of obstacle sensing. This can come in handy when flying in tight spaces, which is sometimes required for filming and photography. If this feature isn’t hugely important to you, you can save some money and get a Phantom 4 Advanced, which comes with two directions of obstacle sensing. While this drone model is no longer in production, you can pick up a refurbished one!
I've been flying drones for seven years now, and I still get a little nervous every time I fly. If you've invested more than $1,000 in your drone, you'd be crazy not to be a little nervous. One of the best ways to get over that is to practice with a cheap one—like my favorite toy drone from Symatoys. The X20 is sold in a variety of configurations and rebranded by several companies, but it's all the same basic hardware. Don't pay more than $40. Be careful flying indoors, as it can hurt when it hits you (ask me how I know that). It's a little different to fly compared to the bigger drones (if anything it's more difficult), but also a lot of fun.
With a camera that tilts a full 180 degrees, a Hitchcock-style "dolly mode," and built-in zoom, the Parrot Anafi can shoot some footage no other drone on this page can manage. The downside is, the footage isn't as sharp and clear as what you'll get from DJI's machines. Out of the box, the Anafi is very sluggish to fly, but head into settings and bump up the speed and it will fly just as well as more expensive options. Flight time is a solid 25 minutes, and it's hands down the quietest drone I've ever flown.
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.
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.