Jim Fisher is our lead analyst for cameras, drones, and digital imaging. He studied at RPI and worked on the retail side of the industry at B&H before landing at PCMag. He has a thing for old lenses, boneyards, and waterfowl. When he’s not out with his camera, Jim enjoys watching bad and good television, playing video games (poorly), and reading. You can find him on Instagram @jamespfisher
A lot of people also asked about the charger and whether or not they would need to buy one, but the drone comes with a USB charger that connects the drone to the remote. One user even commented saying that they were using a phone charger cord, which is a great replacement if the original cord breaks. You will need 6 AA batteries for the remote itself, so make sure you stock up!
The Hubsan X4 H107C has super stable flight capabilities, gives you approximately 10 minutes of flight time, includes gyro sensitivity that can be adjusted based on your personal preference, and a 0.3MP camera that can record video and take picture paired with a Micro SDHC card. The only feature that seems to exist, and is worth mentioning, is that it can do a 4-way flip, which could be fun and something interesting to add to a video.
Can you believe a drone this small actually has an HD camera? Well, it does! Even though it’s 2MP it still gets some decent shots paired with the 4GB Micro SD card, which is included with the drone itself. There are even a few features, such as the Headless Flight System, which orients the flight capability on the actual controller, so it’s easier to get the hang of. That feature alone is great for kids.
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.
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.
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.
I've been buying and flying quadcopters for two years now. Everything from Hubsan X4s to Cheerson CX 20s (Quanum Nova). The Phantom 3 Professional is simply amazing. Unboxing and set-up was pretty easy. Set up consists of charging the batteries, updating the firmware, installing the props, and calibrating the compass (also the IMU but that's a one time thing). Even if this is your first quadcopter and you don't understand everything I'm writing about, you can set this up and fly it, trust me, and its a blast! Once I got in the air, ... full review
At just a tap away, QuickShots like Dronie and Rocket help you take impressive videos with cinematic effects. TapFly allows you to maneuver Spark when you tap on different locations on your smartphone screen. You can buy the Spark Controller Combo today for $399, which contains a remote controller, an extra Intelligent Flight Battery, three extra propellers, and more. For more value, get the Fly More Combo for $549, which contains a remote controller, two extra Intelligent Flight Batteries, four extra propellers, and more. For even greater savings, users can also purchase a refurbished Spark or a refurbished Spark Fly More Combo, which both come with certified quality and a full warranty.
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.
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.
Portability is the new trend of the camera drone market. Most of the time, it is inconvenient and tough to carry a large, heavy camera drone around. This is particularly the case for those of you who want to shoot when traveling. By that rationale, mini drones make it infinitely easier for you to shoot on the go, no matter if hiking or attending a family barbecue.

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!
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.
Your purchase choices may be driven by politics, but we look more closely at product performance and value. The price of DJI drones recently increased across the board for US customers, a response to increases in import tariffs. As result, competing drones from Autel, Parrot, and Yuneec are more compelling alternatives, as their prices have not yet ticked upward.
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 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.

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.
It comes in an amazing design and can even be controlled with voice commands. The camera has an HD resolution of 720 pixels. It comes pre-assembled and so just needs charging for setting up. The 720p HD camera can take pictures at a 120-degree wide-angle. It also has an FPV aspect, which means that it has a Wi-Fi real-time transmission for connecting to the phone.
It’s priced very reasonably at $489.99 on Amazon, which is probably the cheapest place to get it based on what we’ve seen. There is no built-in camera on this drone but if you have a GoPro from the Hero line, being 3, 3+, or 4, then you’re good to go. One of the coolest features is the Smart Shots, which is a computer-assisted feature to help you get more out of your photos taken in flight. Not to mention the live HD video streaming, as well. 3DR and GoPro worked together to make the first GoPro gimbal, which is definitely more bang for your buck.
The Dolly Zoom enables capturing both wide-angle and mid-range shots. It includes a 3-axis gimbal for providing stable footage whatever the situation may be. The total flight time is 31 minutes, which is the longest for consumer drones today. It has a maximum speed of 72 kmph in Sport mode and also includes a low-noise technology during flight. Other features include an Active Track 2.0 and high-speed tracking abilities for speeds up to 27 kmph. Aerial shots are taken and processed automatically with the Hyperlapse feature. Another useful feature is obstacle avoidance sensors that sense obstacles around the object. It is capable of planning its path on a 3D map and can recognize and move away from obstacles in the front or from behind.
This drone really stands out style-wise from other good cheap drones. It has striking green streaks on top that give it the look and feel of an alien insect. This drone also comes with a controller, which can sometimes be rare in affordable drones. It is made of strong ABS material. ABS material is light, flexible, bendable, and soft. This makes it a really durable drone which is perfect for beginners and crash-prone pilots. It comes with real-time transmission via its wifi network. This allows it to connect directly to your phone so you can view everything your drones camera sees in real time. It has a headless mode which allows it to be operated easily regardless of which direction it is facing. It also has gravity induction which allows you to fly your drone forward, backward, left, and right in correspondence to the angle at which you hold your mobile device.

The Mavic 2 Zoom introduces brand new zooming capabilities. The 24mm – 48mm zoom lens offers 2x optical zoom and 2x digital zoom, giving photographers and filmmakers more flexibility when it comes to framing their shots. It also offers an upgraded QuickShot mode with the fun and creative Dronie, Circle, Helix, Rocket, Boomerang, and Asteroid and Dolly Zoom flight modes.
To be sure, you don’t want to lose any of the fruits of your drone’s flight recordings, so it might be a good idea to have microSD cards with you for plenty of storage. You can choose an app-controlled drone if you’re interested in having access to advanced in-flight features and aren’t concerned with the shorter range that goes along with using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Regardless of which drone you select, you’ll want to consider getting a drone case to protect it against moisture, dust and impact damage.
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.
So, you’ve decided to buy one of the many drones for sale. Maybe you want to get in on the future of aerial photography. Maybe you’re looking for a fun and futuristic toy for your kids. Or maybe you just want to see what all the fuss is about. No matter the reason, unmanned aerial vehicles make great tools and toys, and there’s never been a better time to get one for yourself.
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! 
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.
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.

Portability is the new trend of the camera drone market. Most of the time, it is inconvenient and tough to carry a large, heavy camera drone around. This is particularly the case for those of you who want to shoot when traveling. By that rationale, mini drones make it infinitely easier for you to shoot on the go, no matter if hiking or attending a family barbecue.


Other capabilities of the Snaptain A15 are that it can do 360-degree flips with just a button press. This feature can be used for creative effects in your photos and videos. The return home feature allows you to bring back the drone at any point in time, thereby reducing the chances of losing it. Another useful mode is the Headless mode, which is useful for beginners. In this case, you can make smoother videos, as you don’t have to face the direction in which the drone will travel. Voice commands like Landing, Go Right or Forward is the other smart and useful features.

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.
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.

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.
A true legend among cheap fast drones, AKASO offers an amazing drone without the hefty price tag. It even comes with a foldable quadcopter design. This helps you keep your drone protected while in transit and makes it easy to take it with you anywhere. This drone comes with the one key return feature that allows you to call your drone back with the press of 1 button. It also comes with a 720P HD camera. This allows you to record high-quality video or take clear photos from the air. It also has a powerful air pressure altitude hold function that allows you to keep your drone hovering at a certain height, a great feature in cheap drones. This can be useful for beginners learning how to fly drones or for just taking a picture of yourself from the air. It also has 6-axis gyro flying control that offers strong stability. You can get it to do many different tricks by changing the directions- up/down, left/right, and even 360-degree rolls.
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.
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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Headless mode took me some time to figure out, but once I did it worked like a charm! Very stable flyer. Very durable. I have crashed this a few times doing some extreme flying (trying to fly through obstacles like picnic tables, playground etc) It took some nasty beatings and still flies excellent. The prop guards are a thicker gauge and will def. protect the quad, however, I like to fly with them off to kill some weight and the quad performs a little more aggressively too. The camera is removable also if you want to shave more weight. Even with the prop guards off it's still strong (most of my crashes were without the prop guards) over all 100% recommended and if the video helps please leave a thumbs up.
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.
A lot of people also asked about the charger and whether or not they would need to buy one, but the drone comes with a USB charger that connects the drone to the remote. One user even commented saying that they were using a phone charger cord, which is a great replacement if the original cord breaks. You will need 6 AA batteries for the remote itself, so make sure you stock up!
This thing is a highly sophisticated and advanced piece of aeronautics technology. It is not a toy. The firmware and remote controller requires updating before operation. That consists of downloading the zip file from the Dji website, loading them onto the micro SD card, and inserting it into the micro SD slot on the gimbal. After that it's pretty automatic. First flight: DO NOT FLY INDOORS for the first flight. Attitude mode means it relies solely on the VPS sensors and does not have GPS guidance. In which case the bird can get a little squirrelly and takes practice and experience with the controls to know how to maneuver without GPS. To stop the motor when landing, either initiate the Return to Home function (in which case the drone will land itself) or put the sticks both down and inward for an instantaneous canceling of the motors, or put the ... full review
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.
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.
A key part of our evaluation is testing out various flight modes, and putting the battery life to the test to see if it lives up to expected flight time and range. More advanced drones may have pilot assistance systems and the ability to perform advanced flight maneuvers, which is something we also test. If the drone includes a camera built-in we use it and evaluate the camera resolution, focus, tracking, frame rate, and other key features. Finally, we take a look at the price of the drone and compare its features to a competitor in the same range to make our final judgement. All of the drones we test are purchased by Lifewire; none are provided by the manufacturer.
Almost all of the models featured here have some safety features. Even the DJI Spark, which isn't built for long-distance flight, includes a GPS and automatic return-to-home functionality. If your control signal is interrupted, or if the battery gets down too low (most drones can only fly for about 25 minutes on a single battery charge), you drone will start to head back to its takeoff point and land.
To be sure, you don’t want to lose any of the fruits of your drone’s flight recordings, so it might be a good idea to have microSD cards with you for plenty of storage. You can choose an app-controlled drone if you’re interested in having access to advanced in-flight features and aren’t concerned with the shorter range that goes along with using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Regardless of which drone you select, you’ll want to consider getting a drone case to protect it against moisture, dust and impact damage.
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