Making the decision to buy a drone is one that you know is going to involve spending some amount of cash, but chances are you may not want it to be exorbitant, especially if you are just getting started. You may have already decided on exactly what you want, but just need a bit more guidance to the finish line, these quick tips will help you visualize what is important to you in a drone, and steer you away from any features that you don’t need.
Figuring out Camera Specs
There is a new breed of drones available that only cost about 1/3 as much as a DJI Phantom 4 or Mavic Pro that have a 4k camera. Many pilots will flock to these, because it is admittedly the feature that people are most concerned with, wondering “how high quality of image can I capture with my drone?”.
This is quite possibly the biggest concern you may have. If you are not concerned with having a camera at all, you can get a drone that responds well and you can learn to fly with for a very low price. If you want one with a 720 P camera, there are a few situated in the just over $100 range that will be suitable for you. If you are looking for an inexpensive drone with a 1080p or 4k camera, it will be in the upper end of price range, but you can be assured that your imaging will be on par with what is the current standard.
Some drones in the lowest pricing category have a video camera that is of the 2mp category: these are always going to be “choppy”, but will still allow you to practice some basic pans and experience what moving up and down looks like on camera.
If Mini is your style, you may be in luck
One truth about the inexpensive drone market is that many of the tiniest quads available are the least expensive. The reason why is because they don’t have a camera, and are just for flying fun. They can provide entertainment for around the home and the office, and are great to learn on before graduating to something bigger.
May of these super tiny critters are available for under $30, and flight times are around 7-8 minutes. The best thing about these is that they can give you practice taking off and landing, which are two of the most important skills to have under your belt.
Look at Reviews with a Discerning Eye
The best types of reviews on websites such as Amazon will describe a bit about the user’s experience. When it comes to drones, if they are talking about the way the drone was during flight, whether or not spare propellers are included, and things like remote control properties, chances are they themselves purchased the drone.
The shorter the review, the more it is possible to scrutinize it a bit. You can run across many that will say things such as “DON’T BUY!” Keep an open mind, and realize that there are those with motives to write such a thing: details about how the drone flies, battery life, etc are what you are looking for in a review.
When Spending Less, Think About Wind
While you are on the hunt for a drone that won’t break the bank, keep in mind that drones under $200 are very light. This makes them excellent to use in training, and definitely easy to transport.
Almost any drone you are looking at on the inexpensive end in price could be very easy to blow away, and you will really want to watch the wind. Indoor fields for college and high school practices, rec rooms, and other places are great training grounds: a broken propeller is a lot easier to handle than a lost drone altogether.
Keeping in Mind The Fun Factor
One of the best reasons to be on the hunt for a drone that won’t break the bank is to have fun and learn with. If you go into the learning experience with an attitude that what you are purchasing may not function 100% perfectly and you may deal with a warranty claim at some point, you’ll be in the right mindset to learn.
Hubsan and Syma are two of the manufacturers who definitely have a corner on the entry-level drone department, and Hubsan makes some of the best ultra-minis on the market. You can expect a flight time of around 7-8 minutes, charging time of around an hour and a half, and many hours of fun learning to navigate the skies.
This is an exciting time to be in a position to purchase an entry-level drone: models with 720 and even 4K cameras are much cheaper than just around a year and a half ago. Features such as 360 flips and return to home are available on many inexpensive drones, and you’ll soon be hovering, dipping, and surveying the skies at your leisure.