Category Archives: Reviews

The Fat Shark FPV drone kit could be the key to bringing drone racing to the masses

Drone racing has an adoption problem. It looks glamorous on ESPN, but for an average person who is inspired by a drone race they just saw, the barrier to entry is often to hard.

It’s difficult to find a drone racing kit that is easy to set up and fly.Fat Shark FPV drone racing thedronegirl

But the same company arguably responsible for even making drone racing a thing to begin with could soon be credited with bringing drone racing to the masses.

Shenzhen-based Fat Shark is known for making FPV (first-person view) headsets for drone racing, and its headsets are widely regarded as the gold standard when it comes to drone racing pros. Continue reading The Fat Shark FPV drone kit could be the key to bringing drone racing to the masses

Lily drone review: It would have been awesome — if it were 1/5 of the price

The Lily drone has had a rough go — and things haven’t gotten better since its release.

It’s a nice little drone with a decent camera that’s extremely easy to fly and set up. But the big problem? At $699, the Lily drone is 5x more expensive than what it should be.

A brief history of Lily Drone:

For the uninitiated, Lily launched to much fanfare in 2015 on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, raising $34 million in pre-orders. The promo video showed a sleek drone that took off when thrown in the air and could navigate around objects — something no drones were able to do at the time.

The Wall Street Journal put Lily on its list of products “that will change your life,” and the drone’s cofounders were named in Fortune’s 30 Under 30.

(Drone Girl has a policy against reporting on Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns because there is little to no guarantee the drones will come to production in the form they were promised.)

Of course, Lily was a textbook example of that.

After a series of delays and hundreds of angry customers, Lily’s creators eventually admitted they couldn’t finance production and said they would give refunds to backers.

In January 2017, Mota Group, which at one point filed for IPO, bought the brand name of Lily.

Related read: Mota’s Jet Jat Nano is an excellent stocking stuffer for newbies on a budget

Many in the drone community felt it was an odd choice for another company to buy such a tarnished name. But if anyone could do it — Mota had a shot. Mota is the company behind the Jet Jat Nano,  a delightful $30 toy drone. It’s easy to set up, and at such a low price point, tough to go wrong with. Continue reading Lily drone review: It would have been awesome — if it were 1/5 of the price

This Aura drone is controlled entirely via glove — and learning to fly it is totally hilarious

Fascinated by the idea of gesture-controlled drones like the DJI Spark, but not willing to drop more than $100?

This Aura drone from KD Interactive is controlled entirely via a glove — and it is just $99.

The drone embodies the spirit of a Jedi using the Force — you don a controller on your wrist, and control it entirely with the movement of your hands.aura drone gesture control toy kd robotics

There’s no RC transmitter or phone app involved, so the control of the drone entirely is up to the way you wave your hand. Tilt your hand up, and the drone flies higher. Tilt your palm toward your body, and the drone comes to the ground. A certain flick of your wrist will also make the drone flip.

Continue reading This Aura drone is controlled entirely via glove — and learning to fly it is totally hilarious

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