Want to take Instagram-worthy aerial photos without spending a small fortune? Now you can! Consumer drones – and aerial photography – have exploded in popularity. And today, drones are more affordable than ever.
Most budget-friendly models come equipped with HD cameras, so you can take the kind of photos you see in travel magazines.
But which drone is the right choice for you? What should you look for when choosing one? We’re going to share our top five picks for the best drone, and tell you what to consider when buying one.
There are so many drones on the market today, but these five are our favorite models:
The pocket-sized SkyCamHD tops our list of the best drones. As far as mini drones go, it’s hard to beat this model. Equipped with an HD camera and easy to fly, the SkyCamHD is like a more affordable version of the high-end, crazy expensive DJI drones.
The SkyCamHD fits right in the palm of your hand when the blades are folded in. There’s no need to lug around a big, bulky drone and case. This one can fit right in your back pocket if you want.
This Wi-Fi drone comes equipped with an 720p HD camera, which allows you to take stunning aerial photos and videos.
The drone is controlled via your smartphone. Just connect through your phone’s Wi-Fi, and use the free companion app to fly your drone around. While you’re flying around, you can save your video footage or photos right to your phone and even share with friends.
With the tap of a button, you can move this drone:
There are high and low speed options, hovering and one-key landing.
The hover option is ideal for taking sharp, clear photos and videos. The SkyCamHD can fly up to 150 feet away, so you can get a true bird’s-eye view of the landscape.
The drone itself is easy to setup, and its foldable, portable design makes it easy to take on-the-go.
The SkyCamHD’s battery only gives you 6-8 minutes of flight time, but you can pack extra batteries to keep the fun going.
We think the SkyCamHD is the best drone for the money. It’s easy and fun to fly. It takes great photos, and it’s extremely portable.
The Drone X Pro is a pocket drone designed by two engineers. Their goal? To make a drone that you can take anywhere.
Like the SkyCamHD, the Drone X Pro features a foldable design. The propellers fold inward, which makes the drone easier to carry. It also protects the drone from damage during transit.
Here’s the cool thing about the Drone X Pro: it has a gravity sensor. The sensor can detect the ground and even other obstacles. It automatically changes course when it detects obstacles to avoid collision. That’s a pretty advanced feature for a casual, budget-friendly drone.
The Drone X Pro comes equipped with a 12MP, HD camera that can record video at 120 frames per second. Slo-Mo mode allows you to replay highlights of your adventures, and the panorama mode captures 360-degree photos with the tap of a button.
We like that the Drone X Pro has an extended flight time of 12 minutes.
The Drone X Pro comes with a remote control, which also holds your smartphone. The app allows you to see what your drone is seeing (FPV) and record photos and videos.
Some drone controllers are tricky to handle, but this one is easy to use. Flying and controlling is simple, and the anti-collision features prevent crashes.
The only minor complaint with this drone is that it doesn’t come with a carrying case. Because this drone is pocket-sized, you shouldn’t have a problem finding your own bag or case.
We love the Drone X Pro – it’s our second top pick. It’s one of the best mini drones out there, and it boasts an impressive list of features.
The DJI Mavic Pro is a high-end, professional mini drone with a camera. Meant for the serious and professional user, the Mavic Pro bundle pack has everything you could want in a drone.
Like our other drone reviews, this model is pocket-sized and pretty lightweight. The Mavic is 83mm x 83mm x 198mm. And the blades fold into the drone, making it easy to take with you on-the-go.
The bundle comes with a bunch of extras, like SD cards, batteries, chargers, cables and adapters, extra propellers, a carrying case, and more.
The sensors, stabilization and camera are all sophisticated, high-end pieces of equipment. And the DJI Mavic Pro’s price is a reflection of its advanced features. For casual users, the Mavic Pro may be far out of their budget. If you’re a serious professional, this model may be a good fit for you.
The DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter offers advanced features that are hard to find on mini drones. Lightweight and equipped with a high-end camera, you can capture professional-quality footage with the Phantom 4.
The Phantom 4 has a magnesium skeleton, which reduces the drone’s weight significantly. But the drone is still stiff enough to minimize vibration during flight.
The DJI Phantom 4 is a little difficult to fly, so there’s a learning curve to using this model. It’s also not easy to travel with because the propellers don’t fold in. You’ll need to carry around a big case or backpack to take your drone with you on your adventures.
The Phantom 4 is an impressive piece of equipment, and it’s a drone that you can use if you’re an amateur filmmaker. But if you’re just an everyday user who wants to take a few selfies and fly around, this model is overkill.
The Yuneec Typhoon H looks just as intimidating as its name sounds. This hexacopter offers 4K video quality, advanced avoidance sensors, a crazy complicated controller and a carrying case.
The Yuneec Typhoon H actually won ‘Best of Class’ at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. And while the controller looks complicated, this drone is actually pretty easy to fly. In fact, Yuneec says that you don’t even need any experience to fly and have fun with this drone.
The Typhoon H is a really impressive drone, but it’s not as travel-friendly as other models. That’s partly because it’s a hexacopter, which means that it has six arms and propellers. That makes it more stable, but it also makes it bigger and bulkier.
This drone also comes at a high price – $890+. That’s a high price to pay if you’re a beginner or just want to use your drone casually.
If you’re a professional filmmaker or photographer, you might find that the Typhoon H is a great option for you. While expensive for the casual user, it’s still more affordable than other professional drones.
Which type of drone is right for you? There are many to choose from, but you’ll find that most are classified by purpose.
When we say mini drones, we mean really tiny drones. Technically, the SkyCamHD and the Drone X Pro both fit into this category. For a drone to be considered mini, it has to fit in the palm of your hand.
Some mini drones are great for indoor use, but the SkyCamHD and Drone X Pro are both designed for outdoor use.
Drones are becoming more advanced and compact as the industry evolves, so you may see some really impressive models in this category.
The SkyCamHD and Drone X Pro also fit into this category. These are the drones meant for fun. They usually have cameras, and many models are bigger than the palm of your hand.
They’re designed to be flown outdoors, and they come at a higher price.
DJI and Yuneec drones fall into this category. These are drones that are equipped with high-end cameras, and have sophisticated sensors and stabilization. They usually have longer flight times, too (25 minutes or more).
The anti-collision features of these drones help prevent crashes and make them the best option for aerial photographers and filmmakers.
These models can cost thousands of dollars.
Drones can be used for a variety of purposes. Yes, most have cameras equipped, but they can be used for so much more than just aerial photography and filmmaking.
Drones can also be used for hobby flying.
But there are also commercial and government uses for drones, such as:
For the everyday person, drones are a fun hobby. Whether you just like to fly around, or you want to try your hand at photography, drones can be a versatile investment.
When you choose a drone, you want to go with one that you know will last. The best drones offer the best benefits, such as:
There are several things to look for when choosing a drone, including:
Whether you’re into aerial photography or just like flying, a drone is a fun investment. The SkyCamHD and the Drone X Pro are our top two picks because they come at a consumer-friendly price and still have HD cameras.
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