Commercial drones are quite a recent addition to the gadget market, but their appearance marked the entrance in a new gadget era – the age of drones! While smartphones and tablets are still increasingly popular for the modern people, “cool” has just got a new meaning with drones. People of all ages want one, and it is estimated that this will become a popular Christmas present for the years to come. If you have not yet seen one of these devices flying around your house, the chance of such an encounter is getting higher and higher as my first drone.com estimates that over 1 million new drones will fly the skies by the end of 2015.
Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (or UAV) and have been first used for military purposes. The first civilian use of drones involved land surveillance, humanitarian aids, rescue missions, environmental monitoring and other similar tasks.Lately, the drones have also become available to private citizens and organizations. For prices starting at $100, everyone can purchase a drone for recreational purposes. The drones used for film-making and photo shoots have more prohibitive prices (which average $1,000 -$1,500). Other common uses for commercial drones (or quadcopters) include live coverage of important events, surveillance of cultivated lands and film industry.
The quadcopters vary in complexity, size and price, so choosing one model over the other may pose significant pressure on a drone novice. This is why we have listed the cheapest, the most expensive and the best quality for the price drone models available on the market. Each section includes common features of the selected drones, targeted public and price range.
Cheapest drones available
The cheapest drones on the market are priced somewhere between $70 and $99. Most of these devices are extra small quadcopters with limited performances. They have a 2 to 4 GB SD memory card, a low-resolution camera for films and photos and low weight (between 1 to 2.5 pounds). The average time for charging is 30 minutes for a functioning of 7 – 8 minutes. The most popular drones under $100 can be guided from the smartphone, using special applications, but there are also kits that include a dedicated remote controller. The most common drones in this price range include:
• Hubsan H107D FPV X4 Mini RTF Quadcopter–smart, stable and easy to use, this drone enables you to capture photos and videos on an SD card. The resolution is relatively low but good for practicing.
• BLADE Nano QX RTF Quadcopter – stable and agile, this small sized quadcopter is one of our favorites for beginners. It does not have a camera, but its maneuverability makes it ideal for training.
• Jumping Sumo with FPV – a drone that jumps and turns at 90 degrees and 180 degrees, perfect for those willing to perfect their drone flying skills. It is compatible with cameras and can be operated by Android and Apple iOS devices.
• UDI U818A-1 Discovery – priced at a little over $100, this small drone flies 7 to 9 minutes and can be controlled from a maximum distance of 30 meters. It comes with a dedicated remote control.
• Heli-Max 1SQ V-Cam–the 2.4 pounds drone can take 1MP photos and films at 1280×720 30 fps resolution. The images are stored onto an SD card, which enables you to play the content on a variety of devices.
Reserved to beginners, these affordable quadcopters are perfect to learn the basics about flying a drone. They have a good maneuverability, and you will not lose a fortune if they crash prematurely.
Most expensive drones
Women love diamonds and men love expensive gadgets! And since drones are the latest craze, we can only suspect that every gadget passionate secretly dreams about anAEE F100 or, even better, a XactSense MAX 8.
Priced above $20,000, the most expensive drones offer a functioning period of 30 minutes in average, high-quality resolutions suitable for documentaries and film-making and an operation range that exceeds 1,000 meters. These devices are often employed for professional film and photography, mapping, surveillance and public safety. Popular high-end drones, apart from the ones listed above, include:
• XactSense Titan – priced at $120,000, this is probably the most expensive drone available for private use. It can be operated from 16,095 meters and offers 30 minutes of flying.
• AEE F50 – for $37,000, the owner benefits form the stunning results of the 16-megapixel camera and the 40 minutes autonomy. The operating range exceeds 20,000 meters, which makes it ideal for surveilling areas which cannot be otherwise reached.
• Service-Drone MULTIROTOR G4 Eagle V2 – available at $28,000, this drone flies for 30 minutes continuously and can be controlled from maximum 2,000 meters.Best quality vs. price
Not everyone is willing to spend over $50,000 on a drone. Luckily, there are numerous UAV devices thatoffer ahigh-quality resolution for photos and videos, good battery autonomy and decent maneuverability. Our top picks cost about $1,000 and offer a great quality vs. price ration.
• DJI Phantom 3 Advanced – equipped with a low-distortion camera, wide angle lens, and a good battery which enables a flying time of up to 23 minutes, this drone is the most popular drone for private use. It is easy to fly and if it loses connection returns to its initial position.
• Yuneec’s Q500 Typhoon 4K–comes with an android-powered remote with a built-in touchscreen. It has a 4k video camera that can be removed and replaced when it is no longer functional. The flying range and agility are slightly less impressive than with the Phantom 3, but still decent for private use.
• 3DR Solo –the ready to fly bundle includes a transmitter as well as a mobile app compatible with Android and iOS. It features a camera, a 3-axis stabilizer and a battery which enables it 25 minutes in the air.
Drones are the hottest trend in gadget world. From fun flies to documentary use, they have a varied range of utilization. Regardless of your purchase scope, do not forget to register it with the Department of Transportation if you plan on flying your drone in the US. Also, keep it below 400 feet to avoid any penalties from authorities. Last, but not least, enjoy it to the fullest!