The drone market has been booming for a long time. Before buying our first device, it is worth finding out which models are getting good reviews. The ranking of drones changes like in a kaleidoscope, and with it the functions and parameters of top constructions. See the best drones for every budget.
We buy the first device – what should we pay attention to?
First of all, let’s start by determining what type of drone we are interested in:
- Drones for children . Small devices that can be described as a slightly more advanced toy . The small and uncomplicated design allows you to fly not only outdoors, but also at home. Contrary to appearances, they are not only entertainment-related. Drones for children help to develop spatial thinking, improve motor coordination and manual skills. If we choose a model with a camera , we can add to the list of these advantages also stimulating the imagination and developing creativity. For parents who are concerned about windows, enamel and delicate home furnishings, we have good news – propellers usually have protectors, and due to their design they are not devices that sow chaos and destruction.
- Drones for beginners . A copy from this shelf will allow us to learn the basics and piloting rules necessary to handle more advanced constructions. It is on devices of this class that we will learn the correct operation of the control pads, we will gain confidence in the operation of the drone and good spatial orientation. In this category, the great price-performance ratio still often wins.
- Professional drones . The most expensive and technically advanced drones that will allow you to truly spread your wings . Often packed with technologies that make life easier and provide greater precision in operation. Operating professional devices will require focus and monitoring of many flight parameters (angle, speed), as well as the mounted camera.
The most important functions and parameters of drones
When buying, it is worth paying attention to the following parameters:
- Drone range and operating time . Children’s drones stay in the air for a relatively short time, and their range allows them to be controlled only from a short distance. So the key is to maintain eye contact and play under controlled conditions (at least at the beginning). The range of devices varies from several dozen meters to even several kilometers in the case of more advanced devices. This is one of the key parameters when creating film materials, which we will tell more about below. The distance and time of action are of particular importance here.
- Image quality . Camera drones are gaining popularity all the time. However, we are fine with a fantastic flight over a beautiful landscape, if the mounted camera is not able to record the image in good quality. The most important is the resolution (in equipment for adults, do not go below the HD Ready standard) and stabilization . We will record the liquid material by using the so-called gimbals (anti-vibration stabilizers, e.g. cardan joint).
- Intuitive operation . It is not only about preparing the device for flight, but also about the ease of use of the remote control , pad or controller . Without proper precision of these elements, the difficulty of piloting increases and instead of having great fun, we can fly into a tree.
- Additional Features . Regardless of the price range, there are always features that can distinguish the product from the competition. Some models allow, for example, automatic take-off or landing of the drone, which will be a great convenience for freshly fledged adepts of flying in the urban jungle. Advanced constructions may, in turn, have sensors that facilitate avoiding obstacles , the optical zoom of the camera allows you to zoom in on the image and controllers using an additional screen to preview the flight or our smartphone in the holder.
- Workmanship and details . Although we cannot count on much when it comes to the cheapest proposals, pay attention to additional accessories (e.g. propeller protectors), the quality of fitting the elements and the material used. With increasing costs, warranty and servicing equipment, and the availability of spare parts becomes more important .
Legal issues. Drone regulations
The new European regulations regarding the use of drones will apply from December 31, 2020. A fundamental change is also regulating drones intended for the consumer market. Previously, such devices were considered toys, now only models that do not have cameras and weigh less than 250g (class C0) have this status.
Registration on the website of the Civil Aviation Authority covers operators performing flights in the open and special category (name and surname and e-mail address are enough). The minimum age of the person completing the form is 16 years, and the individual number obtained in this way should be placed on the device.
So if we want to fly up to a height of 120 meters with a drone with a camera or a machine exceeding the weight mentioned above, we have to complete the formalities. In addition to registration, a free short course and an online test based on it are also obligatory , after which we can take our drone into the air.
The best drone up to USD $45
A representative of a light weight and an ideal candidate in the category of a drone for a child. For little money, we can check whether he will be interested in conquering the skies, and the built-up structure protecting the propellers will also allow safe play indoors.
Beginners of flying will enjoy the automatic take-off, landing and obstacle avoidance modes. Releasing the remote control’s altitude control stick will enable hover mode, that is, keeping the altitude constant.
Syma X26 also has the ability to rotate 360o in any direction and the automatic landing function at low battery level.
- Producer : Kiditos Syma
- Camera : No.
- Maximum flight time : up to 6 minutes
- Drone weight : Up to 250 g
The best drones up to USD $100
Syma X25 PRO
This is the second proposal from Syma in our ranking and we must admit that it is equally successful. The presence of GPS on board a model priced so attractively is a real surprise. We don’t have to worry so much about losing the drone in action – with low battery power or loss of connectivity, the device will come back to us without any problems.
The quality of the 720p camera allows you to comfortably view the views in FPV mode (from the first person perspective), thanks to the smartphone placed in the holder next to the remote control. Things are a bit worse when recording film material due to the low resolution and detail of the image, but it is understandable in the equipment that is a kind of introduction to the world of adult drones.
The quality of workmanship and the fitting of the elements deserve praise . Nothing creaks here and we do not have the impression of dealing with relatively cheap equipment, on the contrary.
The whole is complemented by numerous flight modes , incl. follow me, i.e. following the operator, circular flight or autonomous flight to a designated point on the map.
- Producer : Syma
- Camera : Yes
- Camera resolution : HD 720p
- Live view : Yes
- Image stabilization : No.
- Gimball : No.
The best drones up to USD $300
If I were to summarize the Mini SE in one sentence, I would describe it as the new improved version of the Dji Mavic Mini. All the shortcomings of the famous predecessor have been corrected.
Not only better quality materials deserve the distinction, but also a new battery and propellers . All this translates into fantastic parameters – up to half an hour of working time, maximum speed of nearly 47 km / h and a camera recording the image in the 2.7K 1520p standard (or 1080p at 60 frames per second).
The matrix with a 1 / 2.3 “CMOS sensor is supported by a three-axis image stabilization in the form of a gimbal. The CineSmooth mode will allow us to unleash a little more creativity in recording movies by reducing the speed and increasing the precision of control, and the safety will be ensured by the lower vision system, collision avoidance system and GPS with automatic return to the starting point.
So are there any disadvantages and contraindications? Due to its small design, it is not a drone that will perform well in poor weather conditions. The wind is its worst enemy and in this element the larger models always have a natural advantage. The second is the price, because for a few hundred zlotys more we will buy the hero of today’s ranking – DJI Mini 2.
- Producer : Dji
- Maximum flight time : up to 30 minutes
- Maximum flight speed : 46.8 km / h
- Range : 3km
- Maximum video resolution : 2.7K, 1520p, up to 30 fps, FullHD, 1080p, up to 60 fps
The best drones up to USD $450
The strength of this device is determined by the numbers: 31 minutes of flight time, transmission range up to 6 kilometers, movies in 4k resolution and 30 frames per second, 4x digital zoom and a three-axis gimbal ensuring stabilization. A dream-like specification , worthy of the winner of our first ranking.
Particularly noteworthy is the modern OcuSync 2.0 image transmission system , which simply “does the job”. A stable connection, better data transfer quality and elimination of interference mean that we no longer have to stress if we can record the material without additional problems.
Improvements in the construction of the DJI Mini also allowed the manufacturer to increase wind resistance (up to 5 on the Beaufort scale). So we can fly not only in ideal weather conditions, at the time we choose.
Downloading videos and their basic editing takes place in the DJI Fly app . I would describe the overall user experience with this software as at least good. From the app, we can easily trim the movie, use creative filters and a built-in editor. File synchronization is done via QuickTransfer , which provides speeds of up to 20 MB / s.
- Producer : Dji
- Maximum flight time : up to 31 minutes
- Maximum flight speed : 58 km / h
- Range : 6km
- Maximum resolution of movies : 3840 × 2160