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 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.
You can read our full review here for more detail, but here’s the gist of things: the Altair Aerial AA108 is the best drone for anyone who’s just getting started, and an excellent choice for more experienced fliers as well. It’s incredibly durable – something that’s very important for anyone who’s just getting started and is likely to crash often. It also has a very good range (100m) and flight time (8-10 minutes) considering that it costs less than $200.
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.
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.
The Mavic Air takes most of the features DJI has implemented in their Pro drone line and just packs them into a much smaller package. It isn’t exactly mini-drone sized when it’s fully unfolded, but once folded up, DJI touts a size no taller or thicker than the average smartphone. Even the intuitive controller folds up to a smaller size, too, so clearly, DJI was building this drone with portability in mind.
Flying the Disco isn’t like flying other RC airplanes. If you want to go up, just push the stick up and it automatically adjusts the motor speed and wing pitch to go up at a steady controllable pace. If you want to go left or right, just push in a direction and it will go there. The Disco won’t flip or roll out of control like a standard plane. Even if you lose signal, the Disco will fly back to you just like a DJI drone would.
All Phantom 3 Series drones are currently available as refurbished models, which all come with full product warranties. The Phantom 3 Standard offers a stabilized 3-axis gimbal and up to 2.7K video shooting. It also features Lightbridge digital streaming, which allows live viewing at up to of 720p. The refurbished version is available for just $399, which is a great, affordable drone for hobbyists.
Video transmission is a vital aspect of aerial photography in that it transmits what the camera captures straight to your phone in real time. If video transmission is delayed or interfered with, you might find it difficult to control your drone’s HD camera, let alone store those carefully captured images. Advanced transmission systems support dual frequencies of both 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz for greater interference resistance, and have a long transmitting distance.
The Phantom 4 is an impressive photography drone that features a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, 4K 30fps video, and 12MP stills. If you don’t require 4K video, there are also options to shoot in 2K, Full HD, or 720p. The 12MP sensor on the Phantom 4 camera has an ISO range of 100-1600, and the camera also supports auto exposure bracketing, EV bias, and HDR imaging.
The Mambo FPV is a cool drone. It comes with everything you need (other than a smartphone) to start doing FPV. Although Parrot advertises the Mambo as an FPV racing drone, it’s not a real FPV racing drone like the ones in our FPV Racing section. It’s more of a cool FPV toy made for beginners and kids. In any case, I’m sure it will be a lot of fun around the holidays!

Drone Racing is a real sport with real competitions and very real prize money, and it’s starting to take off all over the world. Nobody knows where this sport will end up years down the road, but it’s only getting more intense as technology advances. One day drone racing could become just as popular as any other major sport, so if you want to be the best, you better start now. Click here to learn more about drone racing and where to start.
Though you’ll occasionally find good drones for less than $100, most drones for sale tend to be fairly expensive. It all depends on the brand and model that you are buying, as well as the features, specifications, etc that are involved. For example, for a more high-tech, newer drone that incorporates more than ten features, you’re going to be looking at a price that’s closer to $1000 more often than not.

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.


You get up to 9 minutes of flight time, have a 640x480p camera, and video capabilities that lack audio as there is no microphone. You can do flips in the air at the touch of a button on the transmitter, and there is a button that lets you share a video on social media instantly. The LED lights located at the center of each propeller and the headlight are pretty useful for flying at night, too.
Aside from the video features, the Breeze has a lot of the same features that the Spark has. Follow-me, orbit, dronie and all of the other features work ok, but DJI has more flying options while still being easier to use. To be honest, the Breeze flies great. It uses a downward facing camera and IR sensor to keep it from drifting just like the Spark. It’s actually more stable than the GoPro Karma, but that isn’t saying much…
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.
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.
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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.
This camera has a 1 inch 20 megapixel sensor (four times larger than the sensor on the Mavic 2 Zoom). This gives the Mavic 2 Pro much better low light performance than the Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic Air while capturing higher resolution photos. To complement the larger sensor, the Mavic 2 Pro also has a larger lens with adjustable aperture controls. Changing the aperture also allows you to get shots with the background slightly blurred out. It also helps with controlling the exposure better when you want to have a fixed shutter speed.
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.
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