It is easy to fly the quad. You just hold it in front of you and double tap on the power button. The camera scans the surroundings and locks onto your face and then spins the propellers. The gesture control works remarkably well and all it needs is just some practice related to the gestures. The gestures are cool but limited to a few actions useful for taking a quick selfie or a video clip. For other actions, you can use the DJI app. There are different flight modes to select from and with ActiveTrack, it can be set to follow you or any other subject selected from the screen.
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.
This is a nice sturdy and attractive quadcopter for the price with a lot of features only found in the more expensive drones. It’s good for beginners and intermediate pilots, but not recommended for those wanting to take professional video and photography. It doesn’t have any of the features that make a good video drone, like stabilized video, low video compression, or just having control over the camera settings.
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
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! 

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! 
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.

There is a DJI Pilot application for both iOS and Android, enabling total camera control and live viewing. It also has a Beginner Mode for learning to fly. The drone comes including all the tried and trusted features of a DJI drone, with auto-takeoffs and landings, intelligent high-powered flight battery, safety database for no-fly zones and an efficient mobile app. It also locks itself if you use it within a 15-mile radius of the White House, as this is restricted. The dimensions are 18 x 13 x 8 inches and it weighs 9.2 pounds.


The Mavic Air 2 (9/10 WIRED Recommends) is the drone that most people should buy. It's portable and lightweight, but it still manages to pack in a brilliant half-inch sensor for high quality images and video. Tons of automated features mean you can just fly and get the images you want, or shoot video and let the drone avoid obstacles and track your subject. You'll even get 60 frames-per-second 4K video—something that still isn't available in the more expensive Mavic 2 Pro—and Spotlight, a powerful automated flight mode pulled from DJI's pro-grade Inspire drone.

The HubsanZino Pro drone comes with a 4K camera placed on a three-axis, stable rotating gimbal. It has a flight time of 23 minutes and several flight modes along with 4 kilometers connectivity. The camera has a 1/3 inches Sony sensor. A useful feature is that you can remove the camera lens and install other lenses with built-in ND filters. The ND filter reduces the light entering the lens and prevents overexposure. Users get greater creative control over shots with the detachable filter whereby they can select the aperture and the shutter speed.
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.
The transmission range is 4.3 miles for 30 minutes and it offers a true 4K stabilized and smooth footage. Buttons are simple to access and users can command the drone to return home, including automatic take-off and landing, capturing photos, videos, etc. It can autonomously follow objects, thereby creating a box shape around the object. Cinematic shots are easy, where you just select the point that is to be shot and the drone flies a perfect circle around it. Automatic flight routes can also be set for surveying.

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.


As the name implies, the Breeze shoots 4K video, and honestly it looks really good! The only down side is that there's no gimbal, so you don’t get image stabilization, so everything will be shaky looking unless you use special editing software to stabilize the video. There is a 1080p mode with stabilization, but I found that it doesn’t work all that well. For smooth shots, the DJI Spark wins, but the ability to shoot in 4K does allow the Breeze to get some decent shots if you know how to stabilize them.

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.
The Skydio R1 is an amazing piece of new technology. It’s the first truly autonomous drone that you can buy right now. If you’ve ever flown a drone before, you know that it can be hard to shoot videos of yourself. Even with the obstacle avoidance and follow modes like Active Track on DJI drones, it’s really hard to control the drone and get it into the right mode to follow you. Once the drone is following you, it will usually go a few seconds before coming to an obstacle and failing to follow you.
My favorite feature of the Anafi is the 180 degree 2 axis gimbal. Unlike most drone cameras, with this special gimbal, the Anafi can look up to 90 degrees up or down. This means if you’re flying under some trees and you want to take some shots of the leaves and the sky in the background, you can actually do it. There is one downside to the Gimbal on the Anafi though, and it’s a big one. Just like the DJI Spark, it’s only a 2 axis gimbal, meaning that the third axis is still digitally stabilized. For slow shots, you won’t notice this small detail, but if you’re flying in windy conditions or you do a lot of panning shots, you might see some jittery panning motion.

Drones aren't just flying cameras, though; they're also the modern version of remote-controlled vehicles. And again, they've made flying easier and more accessible, thanks to intelligent collision sensors that protect your investment from mishaps. There are a dizzying array of drones available, but there is a basic division to be aware of—cheaper drones, while fun, will never fly as well or deliver the kind of video and photo results possible with more expensive models. With drones, you get what you pay for. That said, if you're not worried about wowing YouTube with your sweeping panoramic masterpiece, you don't have to spend a fortune to get a good, fun drone. Here are the best drones I've tested for every budget.
This is one of the most unique drones I’ve seen in a while. Instead of having a quadcopter design like all the other drones, the Parrot Disco is a flying wing. Unlike other flying wings, the Disco is very easy to fly thanks to Parrots flight controller which uses all of the same sensors found on a typical camera drone. since the Disco is technically a plane, it can’t stop while flying and it can’t take off vertically either. To launch it, you throw it forward and it automatically flies itself until you take over the controls.
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.

Toy drones are limited by radio signal strength and therefore can’t go higher than around 300 feet or less. Camera drones (specifically drones from DJI) are capable of flying up to 1500 feet above the takeoff point, however the legal height limit for drones in the USA is 400 feet. If you are in a county where you can go higher, some drones (mainly drones with wings can reach heights of 10,000 feet and higher.
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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.

Drone technology has rapidly developed in recent years, opening up exciting possibilities for budding pilots, filmmakers, and industry professionals. This article presents a roundup of some of the most popular remote-controlled drones for sale on the market. Whether you’re looking for a small portable drone for everyday use or an advanced filmmaking drone, check out the drone recommendations below.

There’s nothing particularly special about the Syma X5C, but it works and it’s really cheap. It’s a blast to fly if you’ve never flown anything before and it’s cheap enough where you don’t have to feel bad if you lose it on the roof top of your house.  That’s probably why it has over 4,200 reviews on Amazon, which is a number that no other drone has come close to.
If you want to take drone activity to new heights (literally), the DJI Mavic 2 Pro makes a pretty great splurge. This drone is an evolution of its predecessor, capable of staying airborne for 31 minutes and hitting speeds of 44 miles per hour during flight — faster the previous generation. But we think drone aficionados will find their true joy in the new DJI software. Features like ActiveTrack 2.0 assist the drone with following moving subjects autonomously. Seeing real-time video is better than ever in 1080p with the addition of OcuSync 2.0, and eight gigabytes of storage (with SD card capacity up to 128GB) allow for plenty of HD footage or images from the 20MP camera. 
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.
The flight time and speed on the Mavic 2 is unmatched by anything but the Phantom 4 Pro. It’s super fast in sport mode, and surprisingly faster than the old Mavic Pro even in the normal flight mode with obstacle avoidance enabled. With all that speed combined with a 30 minute flight time, you can go super far distances without worrying about if you’ll make it back to home base. The video feed is also improved over the old mavic. With Ocusync 2.0 you get a full 1080p video feed with little to no interference even in urban environments.
Drones have many uses, but most people use them as flying cameras. You can capture amazing videos and photos thanks to the advances in camera quality and the invention of brushless camera gimbals. Drones are also used for many industrial applications such as: search and rescue missions, fire fighting, police operations, wildlife monitoring, crop surveying, crop dusting, structure inspections, 3D map generation, professional video production, controllable lighting, signal repeating, and communication.
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
Drones have many uses, but most people use them as flying cameras. You can capture amazing videos and photos thanks to the advances in camera quality and the invention of brushless camera gimbals. Drones are also used for many industrial applications such as: search and rescue missions, fire fighting, police operations, wildlife monitoring, crop surveying, crop dusting, structure inspections, 3D map generation, professional video production, controllable lighting, signal repeating, and communication.
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