the first thing we do when we get a new drone is beat it up a little bit. We don’t kick it down the stairs or anything, but we’ll give it a few knocks, twists, and shallow drops to assess the build quality and durability. Does it feel flimsy, or does it feel like it could survive a crash landing in the park? We give each review unit a light beating (and usually a couple unintentional crash landings) before we give you a definitive answer on how durable it is.
Any drone is going to be a handful when you’re first learning to fly it, but the makers of drones in this price range largely take the novice pilot into consideration with features that make the UAVs easier to handle. A feature called headless mode (which we cover below) helps you orient the drone, while multiple speeds enable you to start more slowly and gradually go faster as you gain more experience and confidence. Another feature, called one-key landing, can also save the day (and the drone) if your flight goes completely sideways.
Blade itself says the QX is for intermediate pilots, but this is the ultimate beginner quadcopter that can probably take any user to all the way of some pretty advanced flying. In addition to this factor, it’s almost double the price of other Nanos, which are great in their own right, but the drone of this capability has an immense brand appeal and reflects the quality Blade has put into its craft over the years. Blade also offers a BNF or “bind and fly” version of the QX in case a purchaser wants to use it with their existing radio transmitter, and there are some value packs around that will give them spare props and extra batteries for a reasonable price. Although the drone in its act- is very nimble, it comes with special safe technology that decreases control input speeds and automatically hovers the drone so that it becomes perfect for someone just starting out. In fact, it’s even better than that. You can play safely, in contrast to that, once someone is ready to control the drone, the safe mode can be kept on but double the control rate, so it will start hovering and the drone is still automatic, but pitching, yawing, and rolling are much more responsive when the safe mode is enabled. In another mode, the agility mode the user will get the full, crazy manual experience. Here, the user will have to hover the craft, he/she will have to figure out flips and rolls. People can sometime complain that the prop guard design tends to hook on stuff, so there’s that, but the actual crash durability of the quad is pretty good, going by the people who have actually crashed it. So, to sum up about this drone, it is a drone with many promises to undergo with and the user will have many usage of the drone when they will be upon an interesting experience of running a drone on their own.
I spoke to these guys when I wrote my complete review of the Altair Aerial AA108 which you can read here. They picked up their customer service phone line on the 2nd ring, which in itself is amazing when you’re talking about drone companies. I’m so used to trying to reach a company only to find out they operate out of China!They have a great product, with specs at least as good as any other drone in this category.
At that point, the advanced obstacle avoidance systems and SmartCapture features are just icing on the cake. But these high-tech features also make the drone extremely accessible to newer pilots who may not know how best to handle their first photography drone. So if you want the power of a Mavic 2 with a less frightening price and intimidating feature set, the Mavic Air is an excellent choice.
Lead camera analyst for the PCMag consumer electronics reviews team, Jim Fisher is a graduate of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he concentrated on documentary video production. Jim's interest in photography really took off when he borrowed his father's Hasselblad 500C and light meter in 2007. He honed his writing skills at retailer B&H... See Full Bio
For those looking for a basic done that has FPV camera capabilities that are still pretty decent, but at a fair price, the Hubsan H502S is definitely the way to go. There are minimal features, mostly just the GPS function, which is a nice touch that makes all the difference, and you get up to 12 minutes of flying time on a single charge. You also get Return to Home, Follow Me, one-key control, the whole set.
As one of the fastest growing hobbies among tech buffs, photographers, and enthusiasts alike, drones offer a unique experience unlike any seen before in the world of hobbies. I remember when I was younger, one of the coolest things to do was to go down to the hobby store, buy a model rocket, and shoot it off in a field down the road. Now there are drones with cameras that can flip, swoop, and record video. On top of all that, they are even available affordably under $100 price point.
If a drone in this category has first-person-view (FPV) capability, you can see what the drone sees. All except one of these drones require a smartphone (not included) to be able to view and record the video. The smartphone is held in a bracket and then it is connected to the controller. Some of these drones can be flown by only using the smartphone with a downloadable app installed that controls the drone.
A. The law is a bit murky here in terms of licenses and registering of drones, and as such your best bet is to check local regulations and brush up on the latest requirements from the FAA. In general, you won’t need a license if you’re flying a drone recreationally and the drone weighs under 55 pounds. Anything heavier than that and you might need to register it. If you’re trying to earn money with your drone, you’ll need to be licensed. The FAA is more than willing to fine or even jail those who violate drone rules, so this is definitely not an area you should ignore.
The Altair AA108 is durably built and will not break easily. You can count on a solid flight time of around 10 minutes, a bit less when you’re running it FPV. However the 720p camera really works well and connects to your phone through WiFi. It’s easy to fly because it has 3 flight modes, 1 beginner, 2 intermediate and 3 advanced mode. It also has Altitude Hold which allows you to take your thumb off the control and the drone holds it’s own altitude, making it very stable because it’s not bouncing up and down as you try to maintain altitude!