The first piece of advice I will give anyone looking to getting into drones for the first time. Don’t start with an $1,000 drone you will inevitably crash. Pick up a $30 toy drone and start practicing with that.
This drone is really easy to use — pretty much just plug it in once it’s charged (you charge the drone through a USB on your computer, while the controller requires AAA batteries) and you’re good to go.
It flies like a traditional drone, but also can do stunts with the click of a button. The drone is programmed to do a 3D 360 degree roll, 180 degree flip/inverted flying, book flip, triple flip and tornado stunt.
I had a blast flying this around, but the one drawback is that its battery life lasts between 5-8 minutes, so my friends wanted to give it a try but it ran out of battery before everyone could use it.
For about $40 on Amazon, this is a great buy for beginners, or even just kids who are intrigued by electronics and flying robots.
If the battery life is a deal breaker, Tenergy does sell spare batteries. a pack of 5 spare batteries runs for just $17.99.
The Robin Pro is an obvious upgrade from the Spider. It’s a more controlled drone that can do the same stunts the Spider can do, but it also has a camera that records videos to a Micro SD card and transmit the video in real-time to your controller.
The main difference between the drone itself and the cheaper Spider is an auto hovering feature that allows the drone to hover in mid air.
The drone has a camera that can record aerial videos 720P HD or snap JPEG photos up to 1600×1200. It’s not particularly great video quality — if you wanted a photo to frame you certainly wouldn’t want to use these images, but if you just wanted a fun selfie for your Facebook page or were curious how your house looked from an aerial view, this would do the trick.
The really impressive part to me is that the RC transmitter has a live LCD display that can show you what the drone’s camera sees in real time. For someone who wants to get into FPV and isn’t ready to throw down $500, this is a great, cheaper alternative.
Both the Robin and Spider have highly durable airframes. I crashed them multiple times just to see what would happen, and they survived like nothing happened. They are smartly designed with propeller guards, so generally when they hit a wall or some other object, they will bounce right off – no damage done.
Toy drones like these are fantastic. They’re typically harder to maneuver than the ultra-stable drones on the market these days like the Phantom, Typhoon or X-Star. That’s a good thing, because when you start flying one of the bigger, more expensive drones, then maneuvering it is easy.
You can take risks with it, flying into tight spaces. Even if it crashes, nothing will break since they’re so light.
And of course, they’re cheap. If you fly a $30 drone into your pool, that’s a bummer, but nothing like crashing an $1,000 drone into your pool.