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.
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).
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.
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)→
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.
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But it seems the debate is: which is better? The DJI Mavic Pro? Or the DJI Spark? Here are the specs:
31 mph in Sport Mode
Max Flight Time
Cost of extra battery
RC controller or smartphone
RC controller, smartphone or gesture control
1/2.3” (CMOS), Effective pixels:12.35 M (Total pixels:12.71M)
Effective pixels: 12 MP
C4K: 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.
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.
In PowerVision’s world, UAV can stand for unmanned aerial vehicle — and unmanned aquatic vehicle.
Chinese drone manufacturer PowerVision announced the new PowerRay drone — a drone that works underwater rather than in the sky. Much like how photographers use drones to get a new aerial perspective, this drone could be a game changer in underwater exploration.
Photographers might want to use it to photograph underwater worlds. Scientists might use it to conduct research in real-time, without having to go underwater themselves. Fishermen might use it to detect where fish are.
The drone, which starts at $1,488 operates very much like most consumer-level drones you’ll see on the market today. The whole thing is controlled with an RC controller. Much like how the left stick controls altitude on an aerial drone, the left stick controls the depth of the drone in the water. The right stick controls the direction that the drone swims. A mobile app allows you to livestream what the drone sees directly through your smartphone or tablet. The app also allows users to adjust camera settings. Continue reading PowerVision’s new PowerRay is an underwater drone→
For those of you Star Wars nerds out there, there’s a drone for you too.
Propel’s new line of Star Wars battle drones are essentially a basic 4-ounce toy drone that is operated via remote controller — but there’s a whole lot more to it than justthat. These highly-deta iled, hand-painted (and very pricey) drones are a perfect gift for the Star Wars fan in your life, and an incredible keepsake item for the collectors in your life.
The drones cost $199 each and come in three different designs, the 74-Z Speeder Bike, the T-65 X-Wing Starfighter and the Tie Advanced X1.
Star Wars drone review: The packaging
I had so much fun simply opening my drone from its box, which was the Tie Advanced X1. Each drone arrives in a wax-sealed box that, much to my surprise, actually plays Star Wars music and lights up when it’s opened. It’s mounted on a fancy stand inside a clear plastic case, for display in my home, rather than packed in a closet (which unfortunately most of my drones are!). Continue reading Star Wars drone review: Propel’s collectible $200 battle drones→