Get Into the Drone Game With These Entry Level Options

first_imgLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Drones are one of the latest gadgets that modern geek culture has sort of glommed onto. And what’s not to like? They’re basically the ultimate RC, and we’ve been tinkering for those for… as far as I can remember, at least. But! With the sudden burst in popularity, there’s been a glut of models with tons of different features.Some of that can be confusing. If you want something that can carry a GoPro, you’ll need to look for one with a mount. Most drones are really hard to fly, too — especially once they start getting expensive. And not every drone can be flown immediately. Many, often labeled “BNF” and “ARF” require some additional steps or parts.In the interest of getting you, dear reader, airborne, we’ve gone out and found some of the best drones you can get for under $250. All of these are ready to fly and get our hearty recommendation.DBPOWER UDI U842This machine from DBPOWER comes with a 720p camera that can stream to your phone or tablet via WiFi. Yeah can either live stream or save video for later, plus you can use your device’s accelerometer to steer the drone if you’re not a fan of the controller. This is an ideal drone for people new to the hobby as well. The UDI 842 has a “headless” mode to make control a bit easier. That essentially means that you don’t have to worry about orientation when flying, and the controller will automatically compensate for your inputs to that you don’t have to think about which way the drone is facing relative to you. A small addition, but it can be a huge help for new pilots. If you get really serious, you’ll want to fly without it so that you can get used to it (think of it as the difference between manual and automatic transmission), but if you’re only looking to get into drones as a casual hobby, this makes start-up a lot simpler.Holy Stone F181The F181 from Holy Stone is another fully-loaded quadcopter that’s ready-to-fly. It’s not quite as feature-packed as the U842, but it’s also $50 with most of the same functionality.UDI U818A The signature feature of the U818A from UDIis its VR headset compatibility. With it, you can strap on the Samsung Gear VR or Google’s Dream and feel what it’s like to fly around. Now, I suspect that it’d make just about anyone sick in no time, but if you’ve got an iron stomach, you could well have some unique experiences. The drone also comes with a spare battery to help you get a little bit more flight time.DBPOWER MJX X400WGetting into the more entry-level drones, we have the DBPOWER MJX X400W (insert obligatory “that’s a mouthful”). It’s not going to be as easy to fly or give you quite the same mileage as some of our other entries, but if you’re unsure if drones are for you, $70 is a lot easier to swallow than $160. With that cash, you’ll get everything you need to start flying. This model is ready-to-go out of the box, and it does have some ease-of-use features for newbies, namely gyro stabilization for easier pictures and video capture.Holy Stone F181WHoly Stone is a well-recognized, solid brand in the drone space. And their entry-level piece, the HSF181W could give just about any other quadcopter on this list a run for their money. It comes feature-packed with typically spendy add-ins like altitude hold, so you can easily stabilize the copter and focus on exploring the skies.Coolmade DM009The DM007 Nighthawk is the successor to one of the popular models from any company: the DM007. The product line update includes a dramatically improved motor that cuts down on power draw so you can have longer flights. Combined with the larger battery, this model from Coolmade has more flight time than any other copter on the list with up to 15 minutes. Plus you get two batteries in the box — letting you swap them out quickly to keep flying.last_img

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