Category Archives: Reviews

Trackimo tiny GPS can help you find your lost drone

True story: a friend of mine had just purchased a DJI Mavic Pro. He was flying it in San Francisco, and a few minutes in, the drone started flying away, out of his control.

He tried to use the video footage recorded to his phone to hunt it down, but to no avail. The $1,000 he spent were lost.

I can’t help but think, if he had taken this one simple precaution, this wouldn’t have happened! A GPS tracker for your drone.trackimo drone gps tracker

Trackimo has been making 3G GPS tracker devices for years — to give to kids or elderly relatives who might get lost, or to add to cars. But the company recently developed one specifically designed for drones.

Trackimo’s 3G GPS Drone Tracker is about 1 ounce and sticks anywhere on your drone (typically the top is a good place to put it). Once activated, you can see on your smartphone app exactly where the drone has been.  Continue reading Trackimo tiny GPS can help you find your lost drone

Aerix just made the ultimate indoor drone racing kit

Want to get into “Tiny Whoop”-style racing?

The Aerix drone racing kit is the complete package for getting into indoor drone racing. It’s called the Nano FPV Indoor Drone Racing Package, and for $245 (* currently on sale for $195!) offers everything you need to get started drone racing, including the controller, goggles, and even light-up archways to fly through.aerix indoor drone racing kit

The drone looks similar to the wildly popular “Tiny Whoop” drone, an ultra-lite, pocket sized drone with rounded ducts around the blades for safety. Continue reading Aerix just made the ultimate indoor drone racing kit

The 4 best drones under $200

Looking for a drone that costs less than $200? The market is saturated with cheap, toy drones, and it can be tough to filter out which is the best.

Toy drones under $200 are great for a variety of purposes, including introducing kids to drone flying and practicing on yourself before you fly a more expensive drone (you really don’t want to mix up your left and and your right and accidentally fly your new DJI Mavic into a pool).

Note that while all of these drones technically can take videos, the video quality is pretty low — think about the same quality as the camera on your Razr phone back in year 2004. But, for such a low price and ease of use, these drones are a great gateway into the world of drone flying.

All of these drones are also “FPV” drones, meaning they offer a smartphone app you can connect your drone to, and see in real time what the drone’s camera sees.

Here are four of my top picks for toy drones for fall of 2017: Continue reading The 4 best drones under $200

XIRO Xplorer 4K is another DJI Phantom competitor – but the camera and gimbal need work

These days, I dream about a solid competitor to DJI’s lineup of drones. Yuneec was a solid contender, but hasn’t introduced new products of late to compete with DJI’s Mavic or Spark. GoPro had us hopeful — briefly — until recalls happened.

And lately, it seems my dreams of any drone company taking down DJI are about as realistic as Amazon drone delivery happening on any sort of wide scale by the end of the year. (Aka: highly unrealistic).

Enter the XIRO Xplorer 4K.

The $599 XIRO Xplorer 4K is a quadcopter drone with a 4K camera that enables live video stream through your smartphone or tablet. Continue reading XIRO Xplorer 4K is another DJI Phantom competitor – but the camera and gimbal need work

This $150 GoPro drone is one of the cheapest ways to get a camera in the air

Looking for a cheap way to get your GoPro in the air?

The $150 Force1 F100 GoPro RC Quadcopter Drone is an introductory drone for pilots who already own a GoPro.

It’s essentially a low-cost toy drone, but it has a mount for a GoPro.

The drone can also do 360 flips , and it has about 12 minutes of flight time and comes with an extra battery. force1 f100 gopro drone review

The drone does require some level of setup. Since the drone can interchange with your own camera, the drone has modular landing gear, which you’ll have to install if you opt to include a GoPro.

Of course, as with all things, you get what you pay for. The mount is not a 3-axis gimbal, so the video is not going to have that silky, smooth look that drones these days commonly produce. (Think all the way back to the days of the Phantom 1.) The drone itself is significantly less stable than more expensive camera drones. Continue reading This $150 GoPro drone is one of the cheapest ways to get a camera in the air

DJI Spark Review: An amazing, low-cost drone (90% of the time)

Looking for a good-quality camera drone that costs less than $500? Without a question, it’s the DJI Spark.

But hold on. Is it a perfect drone? No. But is it the first major step in an extraordinary era of ultra-smart sensors in drones? Absolutely.

The $499 Spark was announced in May 2017 as DJI’s smallest drone to-date — addressing concerns (much like the Mavic), that drones like the Phantom and from non-DJI competitors are just too cumbersome to tote around.

See related: DJI Mavic vs. Spark — which is better?

The Spark is notable for two reasons: 1. It’s incredibly small — (it’s small enough to fit in a large coat pocket) and 2. It’s operated primarily via gesture control, meaning a sensor can recognize hand and body patterns, and fly in sync with your movements.

And then for the bad news (as we get to the not perfect aspect of the DJI Spark): that gesture control. The drone’s sensors are supposed to detect its user’s body movements such as raising and lowering your hands or waving them, as pictured in the video above. It then can interpret those gestures to follow commands such as flying up and down, or taking a picture. Continue reading DJI Spark Review: An amazing, low-cost drone (90% of the time)

DJI Mavic Pro vs. Spark: which is better?

The new DJI Spark is the drone maker’s first step into lower cost, strictly consumer-targeted drones.

See also: my complete review of the DJI Spark

With the new DJI Spark, DJI fans will be able to purchase their first drone priced at an initially cost of less than $500. There’s only one other sub-$500 DJI drone out there on the market right now; currently users can also buy the DJI Phantom 3 Standard for about $500, though it was initially priced closer to $1,000.

But it seems the debate is: which is better? The DJI Mavic Pro? Or the DJI Spark? Here are the specs:

 DJI MavicDJI Spark
Cost$999$499
Takeoff Weight1.62 pounds0.66 pounds
Max Speed40 mph31 mph in Sport Mode
Max Flight Time27 minutes16 minutes
Diagonal Distance13.26.7 inches
Cost of extra battery$89$49
ControllerRC controller or smartphoneRC controller, smartphone or gesture control
Sensor1/2.3” (CMOS), Effective pixels:12.35 M (Total pixels:12.71M)1/2.3" CMOS
Effective pixels: 12 MP
ISO RangeVideo: 100-3200
Photo: 100-1600
Video: 100-3200
Photo: 100-1600
Image Size4000×30003968×2976
Video ResolutionC4K: 4096×2160 24p FHD: 1920×1080 30p

There are some obvious differences between the two, like size. The Mavic was revolutionary for its ability to fold up to the size of a soda can — making it much more convenient than something like the Phantom to tote around. But the Spark is even smaller.

And with the smaller size, it also means the Spark is a lot quieter, and a lot less annoying.

Here are some other differences: Continue reading DJI Mavic Pro vs. Spark: which is better?

Flybrix review: using Legos to build a drone

Yes, it is possible to fly a bunch of Legos through the air. Are Legos the most optimal, aerodynamic material? Definitely not. But they sure are fun — and an awesome learning tool.

San Francisco startup Flybrix developed a kit consisting of Legos, a preprogrammed board, propellers and motors for kids and kids-at-heart to build their own drones. The kits start at $189.

It’s intended to be a tool to teach its users a variety of skills, from the principles of flight to computer science to the basics of electrical engineering.  It’s an awesome tool for the classroom, for kids and their parents, or just for any drone user looking for a fun weekend project.

Flybrix: what’s in the box

Continue reading Flybrix review: using Legos to build a drone