Every adventure needs a Spark of creativity! Spark is a mini drone that is great for taking quick selfies. With Gesture mode, you can use simple hand gestures to get Spark to follow you, take photos, and record videos. Spark can be operated without a controller, but if you prefer more traditional operation, you can fly with a remote controller or use your smartphone.
This oddity of a drone may be a small one but it’s definitely got a lot of technology packed into it. You use your smart device, be it your phone or a tablet, for flight through the FreeFlight 3 app. The speed is determined through pictures, which is kind of neat. Every 16 milliseconds a photo is taken and compared to each one to see how fast it’s going.
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.
Yes, the main feature of the Falcore is the video streaming quality, and that alone is a good enough reason to want this drone, but there’s some other features that make it great for beginners as well. The new SHIELD mode is something we’ve never seen in a racing drone before. It’s a flying mode that uses ultrasonic sensors to keep the Falcore at about 3 feet from the ground at all times. It also mixes the roll and yaw controls together, so you can fly with only one control stick ( left/right and forward/backward). This makes flying the Falcore more like driving an RC car!
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.
Even if you have no good reason to justify buying one, you have to admit that drones are cool. Some are glorified tech toys, but most models we highlight here are fit for use in imaging and cinematic applications small and large. If you think you can use a flying camera in your next project, there's some good news—the tech has come a long way in a very short time. There are models on the market now that put earlier copters to shame in terms of video quality and stabilization.
For the power system, it has Lumenier RX2206-11 2350Kv motors and Lumenier 30A BLHeli_S ESCs with DSHOT Multishot and all of the other high-speed communication protocols you need. The flight controller is a MPU6000, STM32F405 (what a mouth full!). Basically, it’s a clone of a flight controller called the REVO that originally cost over $100 to make and had a super fast F4 processor. The FPV system is nothing that will blow you away like on the Falcore drone. It’s just your standard 200mW 5.8GHz Raceband TX and 600TVL camera, but it gets the job done for pro pilots, so I guess we can’t complain!
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.
That said, price is a key consideration for most people, and luckily there are a lot of excellent budget options out there now for those that don't want to spend as much on their new toy as on a used car. Beyond that, there's camera integration and quality, as well as how compatible each drone is with the best drone accessories. We selected the best options across a wide range of budgets and use cases, to spare you some shopping headaches and get you flying ASAP.