We live in mind-boggling times- airplanes let you experience the sky, bikes can slice you right through the winds at extreme speeds, with the advent of technology we are breaking all those barriers that seemed like a fairy tale back in the day is a common commodity nowadays. A drone is a similar modality that gives you an extra pair of eyes from an angle only birds could see. Keep in mind, you are missing out on a lot of adventure and fun if you’re still unaware of drones and the rage they’ve brought. For starters, let us give you a quick ride through affordable drones under the $200 price tag.
1. Holy Stone HS120D FPV Drone
Our Rating: 9.8/10
- SD card is included
- Long flight time
- Beginner friendly
- Stable against windy situations
- No obstacle avoidance capability
Camera: 1920p 1080p FOV of 120 degree, 75 degree angle adjustable lens | Flight time: 18 mins | Controller range: 300 meters | Battery: 1200mAh, 120min charging time | Dimensions: 270*270*120 mm
We’ll start our list with the sweetest deal of them all, Holystone FPV drone. It ticks all the boxes to bamboozle its user with wide functionality. Let’s start with its flight time, it can last in the air for 18 whole minutes, yes, double the number of standard drones. You can get the battery charged in 120 mins.
I must say this is a fine specimen of technology gaining more intellect with time. Firstly, its “Low battery protection” is the prime example, when the battery gets low or it loses connection during the flight, it automatically rises to an altitude preset by you and starts flying back to the exact location where it took off. Secondly, the “Altitude hold mode” will let you hover the drone in one place, a good feature for beginners. Thirdly, you can set a path in advance for the drone to follow on your phone screen in a matter of a single tap. Lastly, it is the most loyal device in the market, via GPS, it can catch you and follow you around and capture your every move wherever you go without any controller, pretty neat.
Its camera is a tip-top HD camera which can dish out 1080p on your SD card and 720p on your phone. The camera can be tilted from the remote and its 120-degree field of vision and 75-degree adjustable angle lens gives you a panoramic view. You can watch the view from your phone, wireless headset, or screen at home. Another heartening feature, live streaming lets you stream the video live through an exclusive app for this drone which lets the drone connect with its own WIFI to enable live stream and we observed no significant video lag.
Taking a look at the controller, it enjoys creative features just like the main body. It is rechargeable, hence you are free of recycling batteries every other week. It has a tremendous range of 300 meters for your drone. Once the drone gets out of the range, it will return automatically, however, it has no avoiding ability should an obstacle come in the way. However, the “Headless mode” will align the drone into the direction of the pilot to prevent straying off into the wrong direction. The remote has made more ergonomic with proper handles for a better grip especially for users with large hands. Despite quite a number of different features, its usage is made quite easy for beginners, it takes off with a single press of a button and the App on Android is very easy to use. The app will also keep you updated about how far you’ve flown, how high the drone is, and whatnot. The buttons on the controller are very sensitive to the touch and you conveniently adjust the height and movement which will not get wavered by a mere gust of wind, it will keep hovering in its determined place even under strong windy conditions which is very critical for a drone. Lastly, although it is light, we’ve confirmed its sturdiness and you are guaranteed to last a long time with this beaut. To summarize, all the rights heavily outweigh the wrongs, if any. It displays the highest degree of versatility with numerous creative features and impressive battery time.
Our Rating: 9.7/10 Camera: 1080p FOV of 120 degree, fixed angle | Flight time: 7-8 mins | Controller range: 100 meters | Battery: 1000mAh | Dimensions: 10.1 x 9.1 x 4.4 inches
2. Altair AA108 Camera Drone
Our Rating: 9.7/10
Camera: 1080p FOV of 120 degree, fixed angle | Flight time: 7-8 mins | Controller range: 100 meters | Battery: 1000mAh | Dimensions: 10.1 x 9.1 x 4.4 inches
This drone is tailored to provide the rookie/beginner drone users with a good head start to their hobby with its simple and straightforward setup. It stays in the air for 10 minutes with its two batteries fully charged. Its range goes as far as 100 meters
This drone’s strongest forte is its great usability for beginners, whether it be a 9-year-old kid or an adult who’s putting his hands on this drone, are sure to master the art within few minutes. It negates all the worries for repetitive crashing and collision by the virtue of its light yet strong plastic design conferring durability to he build. In the worst case scenario, you can always replace the damaged parts with spare parts. If you get panicked or confused during the flight, you can instantly push the landing button to automatically bring the drone down. The hover exhibited by this drone was top-notch as it could easily withstand a breeze of 5-10 MPH which is also a good sign for the beginners. Most importantly, it has a selector button on the back which allows you to change between 1-easy mode, 2-mid level, and 3-advanced mode to aid the gradual learning process. Moreover, it has headless mode, altitude hold mode and 1-button takeoff/landing for easy maneuvering. The instruction manual is extremely easy to follow and the neat labels on the buttons make the leaning a much easier task. The LED lights at the bottom of the drone will help with flight directions when the headless mode is off.
Its camera boasts 720p HD clear images and videos with 120-degree wide angle mobility with a fixed camera angle. The Flyingsee app at the top of the controller shows you all the pictures and videos taken by the drone in great quality. You can enjoy real-time videos on the app to feast on the dynamic thrill as well. Lastly, it has “Custom Route modes” where you can use your smartphone to draw custom flight routes on the mobile screen to make the drone follow the specified trajectory. We shall establish the fact that it is an exceptionally good drone for beginners whether you’re flying outdoors or indoors, you are free to explore your skills without any fear of breaking it.
Our Rating: 9.5/10 Camera: 1080p FOV of 120 degree, 75 degree adjustable lens | Flight time: 7-8 mins | Controller range: 300 meters | Battery: 1000mAh, less than 1 hour of charge time | Dimensions: 13.7 x 11.1 x 6.3 inches
3. Potensic T25 GPS Drone
Our Rating: 9.5/10
Camera: 1080p FOV of 120 degree, 75 degree adjustable lens | Flight time: 7-8 mins | Controller range: 300 meters | Battery: 1000mAh, less than 1 hour of charge time | Dimensions: 13.7 x 11.1 x 6.3 inches
Potensic T25 is a well-rounded drone tailored for indoor as well as outdoor use. It boasts a 1080p HD camera with 120-degree field of vision aided by 75 degrees adjustable wide angle. It can cover quite the distance of about 300 meters with its rechargeable controller which is a great plus.
Moving on to its bright spots, it has a number of clever features in its arsenal. Its headless mode, altitude mode and one key to take-off or land functions highlight the list and check the box for beginners in particular. We observed exceptionally stable flight by the courtesy of dual GPS+9-axis Gyrospace. When the power fails, the drone stands still in the air and gets back home. One impressive factor, it can capture great photos even flying at high speeds. The controller allows you to hit four different levels of speed. Moreover, you can get the drone to tail you all day with “Follow me mode” and dual GPS to ease your hands. Moreover, the “Customize flight mode” will let you set a predetermined course on your phone screen for the drone to follow.
This drone’s niche is indoors, with well-balanced responsiveness well complemented by a steady and sturdy build which copes well with indoor collisions. Assembly is pretty simple and you are provided with a handy case for the drone body to keep it safe and sound. Moving on to its batteries, they have loaded quite an ammunition of 1000 mAh batteries. This modular type battery has more life than other ones and 3 batteries take 2 hours to charge. You get an integrated button which lets you power up or down the drone with a push of a button. The controller has a number of convenient features, you can easily adjust the camera to the angle you want and take a snap at your will. Lastly, you don’t FFA license to fly this bad boy. Overall, it packs a great punch for its designated price tag. Good for beginners, outdoors and especially indoor users.
Our Rating: 9.5/10 Camera: 120 degree FOV, 720p | Flight time: 10 mins | Controller range: Video transmission range is about 60m/196ft, Transmitter operation range is about 100m/328ft | Battery: 120 mins to get charged | Dimensions: 12.6 x 12.6 x 3.5 inches
4. Holy Stone HS110D FPV RC
Our Rating: 9.5/10
Camera: 120 degree FOV, 720p | Flight time: 10 mins | Controller range: Video transmission range is about 60m/196ft, Transmitter operation range is about 100m/328ft | Battery: 120 mins to get charged | Dimensions: 12.6 x 12.6 x 3.5 inches
Holystone gathers quite a share of the spotlight in the drone game. This one is armed with a 720 p HD first-person view camera which is capable of rotating 120 degrees. Unfortunately, it does not enjoy the freedom of angle adjustment. Take the snaps and directly save them to your phone or SD card.
Taking a look at the compelling features of this camera, it has “altitude hold mode” for stable hovering mid-air however you should be wary of windy conditions as it is a smaller drone. The “headless mode”, the drone stays in proper orientation in relation to the pilot to allow easier maneuvering especially while returning back once out of range. You have a key at your disposal, just push it to start the drone and take it off or stop it by a single press especially when the drone strays out of range. A unique proprietary model of this drone, Gravity Sensor mode, it allows you to mimic the movement of your phone accordingly, it adds an extra spice to the fun. You can pull tricks with this fella using “Flip mode” for that mid-air acrobatics keep in mind that the drone will not do flips when the battery is low. It comes with three-speed levels which can be adjusted according to the wind conditions.
Just like the rest of the drone from our list, get a complete hold over your drone through a comprehensive and neat mobile App and click through multiple aforementioned functions. This app only works with Android 4.4 and later or IOS 7.0 and later. To make full use of VR, you have to switch to “VR mode” in your app and then put your phone in the VR headset. Furthermore, the app has an extremely accurate battery indicator which comes into play especially at night when you can’t spot the indicator LEDs on the drone for low battery. At the bottom, it has LED indicator lights which tells you if the drone is connected to the transmitter, it if is in headless mode, when the battery is low, and if it is flying without any problem.
It houses a 3.7 V 1000mAh modular battery which is rated to support the flight for 10 minutes and take 120 mins to get fully charged. Of note, you have to charge it with the original charger. It would have been better if it had space to load a second battery. You can swim through the medium to your heart’s content as it comes equipped with guards and landing gear. The landing gear makes the landings as safe as possible. Moreover, it comes with replacement guards and landing gear to further add to the safety. We were impressed by its controller the most. It is beautifully designed to meet the highest of the ergonomic standards. It has a small LED screen at the bottom which notifies you whether the drone is connected if you are in the headless or flip mode, which speed you are on. It is great drone blessed with the best controller and a neat app out of our drone list.
Our Rating: 9.4/10 Camera: 720p FOV of 90 degrees | Flight time: 7-8 mins | Controller range: 100 meters | Battery: 500mAh, less than 1 hour of charge time | Dimensions: 14.4 x 4 x 13.8 inches
5. Force1 U45W Blue Jay
Our Rating: 9.4/10
Camera: 720p FOV of 90 degrees | Flight time: 7-8 mins | Controller range: 100 meters | Battery: 500mAh, less than 1 hour of charge time | Dimensions: 14.4 x 4 x 13.8 inches
This one also panders to beginners, kid, and adult all in one pitch. Enjoy the first-person view with its 720p HD camera giving you a live video feed and capture images with 2MP camera. The video quality is claimed to have 1280 x 720 but we didn’t experience anything crazy with it, however, it was still fairly for overall view enjoyment. It requires manual adjustment up and down, consequently, it 90 degrees adjustable only. You can sync it with both the IOS and Android devices through its inbuilt WiFi module that doesn’t require any external internet connection.
We were delighted by the pack of bells and whistles coming along the drone. It includes spare propeller blade, spare batteries, 4 GB SanDisk Micro SD card and reader for you to start recording right out of the box. A USB battery-you can charge it up and charge other devices with it.
A standout feature, VR mode, gives a dynamic view and a better experience with your VR goggles. It also has the live video feed to enjoy everything at the very moment. Taking a look at further important features, it comes with the altitude mode to make the task for kids and beginners much easier, custom route mode lets you carve a custom path from your phone for your drone to follow. The three batteries coming with the drone takes 1 hr of charging per battery for a flight time of 7-8 minutes. Lastly, some users complained of the drone straying off its expected trajectory under strong wind and unresponsive to the emergency land button leading to the stranding of the drone. In that case, you are advised to contact the customer care which will replace your faulty drone with a new one. It is a decent investment for newbies and veterans alike with essential features of a good drone, however, if you are looking for a drone with more flight time, more stability in the wind, and return to home features look for other drones.
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Prices taken/valid at the time of review.