For users that require more functionality, the Phantom 3 Advanced has a 1/2.3-inch CMOS Sensor that offers 2.7K 30fps video. This version also has an extended flight range compared to its predecessor, offering up to 5 km of transmission distance (unobstructed, free of interference, and FCC compliant). The refurbished version can be purchased for only $539.
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.
In any case, if you’re looking for an almost-ready-to-fly racing drone in 2017, the new Vortex 150 and Vortex 180 are probably the best way to go. The Vortex doesn’t have all of the beginner features, or the amazing HD video transmission system like the Connex Falcore, but it was made to be more of a pro race drone with better flight characteristics and a durable design.
The Falcore has a lot of cool technology inside of it, but this drone isn’t heavy on pro racing features. There is an OSD, but you can’t adjust any settings on the flight controller from the OSD like you can on the Vortex 180 and it runs Cleanflight which isn’t as good as Bataflight. Another thing that you might not think about is range. The video transmitter and receiver have a range of 1000 feet to 3000 feet depending on the environment you’re in. Although this is fine for most park flights, there are races that might require a more reliable signal at those farther distances, and with a traditional analog FPV setup it’s easy to get more range with better antennas.
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 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.
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.
The next 2 versions of the Hubsan X4 have cameras. They’re slightly bigger and heavier than the cheaper version of the X4, but the flight time is about the same. The H107C is the version with a standard definition camera and the 61170-02 is the one with a 720p camera. The Hubsan X4 with the standard camera is ok, but the 720p camera takes much better video. The only problem with the HD version is that it’s more expensive and the flight time is slightly less.
The Fisheye Camera is hands down the best feature, especially being a camera drone. It’s a 14MG device that is able to take photos in high resolution, as well as videos in 30 fps. The lens can provide an 180-degree angle without the picture becoming distorted in any way, which is pretty neat. You will need a smart device of some sort, such as your tablet or phone, to use as a controller through the application, however.
If you look on the top, you’ll see a few little connectors. These connections allow you to mount either a ball shooter or a little grabbing arm. There’s one other thing you can do with this connector though, and It’s super cool if you’re buying this drone for your kids. It’s a Lego mount! There are a few Lego mounting points on the Mambo, so you can turn it into whatever kind of Lego ship you can think of! The only limitation is how many Legos it can carry.

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.


It can take 4K videos at 30 fps and 60 Mbps data rate. The quadcopter has a speed of 22 MPH and its range is 2.5 miles. Video transmission is possible up to 4 km. It makes use of a brushless motor and has a button for auto-return to home. The camera is mounted on a three-axis gimbal stabilizer that helps it to take smooth videos and sharp photographs even while in motion.
I've bought about a dozen or more different micro drones over the last two years and would put this one at the top of the pack. I read the reviews and saw the problems with the charging port. As a result I've made an effort to be gentle with the charging port and have had no probles at all et. Altitude hold is a terrific feature for beginners just learning to fly these things. The auto take-off is another big plus. Very smooth acceleration was a surprise at first, after flying it for the first 5 min's I decided I liked the way it handled better than any micro drone I've owned. Slightly less flight time and a bit bigger mean it's not as 'zippy' as some like the Aukey but when flying indoor's that just translates to fewer impacts with walls and other objects. The prop guards ... full review
The price for this little drone is only about $30. It’s one of the cheapest quadcopters you can buy (but cheap isn’t necessarily a good thing). It’s very fast for how small it is, but at the same time since the rotors are so small and close together, people have found that it’s a bit hard to do bank turns with it. Since the Proto X is so cheap, there is a chance that you could buy a defective one, but you can always just send it back.

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.
It comes in a tiny and lightweight design and boasts of an excellent camera that is mechanically stabilized. Other features that it has are USB charging, gesture control, and obstacle detection. The DJI Spark is an intelligent subject-tracking drone that helps you take selfies with a mere hand gesture. Apart from obstacle detection, it also features a dual-band GPS and a system for visual positioning, which enables it to hover above the ground up to 98 feet, either indoors or outdoors.
The Blackhawk is a fast and durable drone with an action camera mount that’s compatible with a GoPro Hero 3 or 4. It’s a good camera drone thanks to a very stable hover and quiet brushless motors (which allow for better field recordings of audio), but it really shines thanks to a 300 meter range and 15 minutes of flight time. This is a more advanced drone than the 818 Plus that may not be for everyone and certainly won’t be for beginners. However, if you’re ready to graduate to a more hardcore offering and don’t want to put a huge dent in your wallet, this is an excellent drone available for under $120 and among the best budget long range drones for sale.
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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.
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