Drones have been growing in popularity in recent years as the price has become more affordable. They are not just for people who are into photography and videography, but also can be used for competition and simply leisure activity. If you are planning to try this intriguing consumer electronics product, this buying guide will help you to find the right drone that fits your purpose.
What is a drone?
Generally speaking, drones are small and unmanned remote-controlled aircraft which can be equipped with a camera and fly with multiple rotors. They can move like a helicopter and hover in mid-air, and piloting can be done by mobile phones and tablets through wireless connectivity.
How much it cost?
The price range of drones is pretty wide, which can be somewhere between USD30-10,000. You buy a toy drone with less than $100, a beginner racing drone for $100-$250 and an entry-level camera drone with more than $300. Mid-level consumer drones are somewhere around $500-$1,000. Unless it is a commercial drone, you don’t need to spend more than $2,000 to get one. If you are just buying one for fun and aerial photography, there are lots of options with reasonable price.
Different types of drones
Toy drones and camera drones are the most common types of drones you can find. Racing drones belong to a new category which is designed to satisfy the competitive spirits of some.
1. Toy drones
This is the simplest group that is designed for basic flight. They seldom come with a camera, even if they do it is a low-quality one. Toy drones fit for outdoor fun and entertainment for all ages because they are safe and easy to control. They are very affordable and a good choice for beginners because replaceable parts can be purchased with a low price in case there is any damage. You can consider buying a toy drone for practise before jumping to a more sophisticated model, especially when younger ones are going to use it.
2. Camera drones
Camera drones belong to the category of professional drones so are usually more complicated to control. To fit the purpose of capturing breath-taking pictures and videos, they are equipped with high-definition camera (up to 4k resolution). Look for the one with a flying range over 5 miles, attitudes more than a mile and battery life around 30 minutes for a more satisfying user experience.
Before purchasing one, you need to know that a video drone is required to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration in the US as videography equipment makes it heavier than usual. This type of drone is integrated with gimbal, which can keep the lens stable by dealing with vibrations with tilting and panning the camera. Gimbal is a necessary component because camera drones usually operate in higher altitudes where winds are typically stronger.
3. Racing drones
Drone racing is a pretty exciting idea if you are involved in similar activities with other remote control vehicles. Designed for competition, racing drones are equipped with cameras to give users a better view of the racing track. In addition, headsets are used to provide first-person view of the track, making it easier to navigate the drones in a race.
Look for a drone with smaller size, higher speed, good remote control, clear video resolution and sufficient battery life. If you are not satisfied with the performance of your drone, don’t just start looking for a new one, as many racing drones can be modified manually, like upgrading the motor power or reducing the weight.