Drones have become all the rage these days. Previously, every time you heard about them, your mind immediately jumped to the weapons used by the military for spying and other purposes. However, these drones are different; they are known by several names including mini-quads, quad-copters, multi-rotor craft etc. Typically, they have four rotors, but vary in terms of features, price and size. The problem is that the sheer amount of choice at your disposal can make it difficult for you to choose a drone. How do you figure out which one is suitable for you? There are several factors you will need to consider in order to make a decision. Read on to know what they are:
At the entry level, the small drones start off from £10, but if you want one with a camera, that’s going to cost you around £50. You will be able to get live video on your smartphone through a free app if you can extend your budget to £100. You can even get a color screen on the remote control for this price. For instance, you can pay £80 for the Revell X-Spy, which boasts a mount above the remote control for holding your smartphone. Higher prices will mean more features. They will have longer flight times and better on-board processing capabilities.
Not all drones have cameras in them. You may not require a camera if you are going to keep your drone in your line of sight at all times. Even if the drone has a camera, it may not offer you a real-time video stream that’s needed for flying it out of your sight. At the cheapest price point, you may get VGA video, but nothing more. If you are investing in a drone for aerial video, you should opt for at least 720p as it can shoot detailed footage. The best drones with camera are going to cost you plenty as they have other capabilities like direct recording on a USB drive or microSD card.
Flight and Charging Time
Typically, the low-cost drones are going to provide you with 5 to 15 minutes of flying time and take at least an hour to charge up for it. Most manufacturers aren’t providing multiple batteries as yet so you need to set a budget for getting rechargeable AA batteries. If your drone offers live video screens, it is going to burn through batteries in an hour so you need to have spare batteries handy.
While some manufacturers of drones claim to offer a range of 100m, most of them don’t go well beyond 50m. Realistically, it is best not to fly the drone within your home as rooms aren’t that big and the rotors are also dangerous for pets and people. You can only fly mini-drones around your home. The best place for you to fly these drones is in an open space, preferably a park or field, but make sure there aren’t any trees for it to be caught in. Also, remember that you can only fly the drone in windless conditions and it can get difficult to control the drone when it goes higher.
As drones are fragile in nature, it means your drone’s rotors and other parts will be broken regularly. A full spare set of propellers is provided, but you only have two spares for each pair as one pair rotates clockwise and the other anti-clockwise. Therefore, it is best to get a drone for which spare parts are available. Sure, a low purchase price is tempting, but it would be a waste if you cannot purchase spare parts.
Once you have kept these factors in mind, you will be able to narrow down your choices. Some of the top ones you can consider buying are:
- DJI Phantom 3 Professional
This is the best quadcopter available currently as it produces stunning video and is quite stable. It has a huge range, more than required, and it needs an Android or iOS device for using the controller. It has excellent safety features and is great for beginners. The advanced model is available for £800, but if you want 4k video, you will have to spend £1000 for the Professional model.
- 3DR Solo
This is a fantastic drone for capturing spectacular aerial shots that are otherwise impossible. It is one of the best drones with camera and has follow and orbit modes. However, it has a hefty price tag of £979 and you have to pay £379 more if you want the gimbal that comes with it.
- WLtoys V303
If you don’t have a big budget, this is a great alternative to a Phantom drone. As a matter of fact, you are basically getting the WLtoys V303 at one third of the price because it comes with a camera and gimbal. You can also find spares.