What is the best drone for beginners?
Drones and drone technology are exciting concepts to tech lovers. These days, more people are buying drones for various purposes. These flying gadgets are actually flying off the shelf! Obviously, new drone and quadcopter owners face a few hitches on the technical part of the drones. Even more challenging to drone beginners is starting to fly the drone itself. Drone lovers also often ask what would be the best drone to start out with. I am probably asked what is the best drone for beginners more than any other question here, and that just goes to show that each day there are novice pilots eager to take the skies.
Ideally, for beginners, it is advisable to start out with the cheap toy drones before you graduate to the real deal; bigger and faster drones and quadcopters that have powerful cameras and longer flying time. The reason for this is so as to gain sufficient flying experience, with a few crashes being commonly experienced.
So, below, I have sampled a few pocket-friendly drones for beginners. Note that all of them are below $200 as I don’t believe you need to start at the top price range to enjoy flying drones.
This is a plastic model tiny drone that measures 148 x 148 x 45mm and weighs 80 grams. It has a camera underneath it that can shoot in HD with a resolution of 720p. The drone comes with an extra set of rotors mainly because the propeller guards are not that strong to offer protection when the drone hits trees and walls. It does not need any assembly, just install four AA batteries on the remote and the Revel Control app on your android phone or iPhone and you are set to fly!
The X-SPY however requires careful attention when powering it. Always power on the drone first. To use the physical sticks, make sure you turn on the controller. The drone can also be controlled by tilting the phone, or by using the joy sticks on the screen after you have connected the android app to the Wi-Fi network of the X-SPY. The maximum flying time is 6 minutes, which falls below the average of 10 minutes. With an increased payload, the drone will last less in the air. The operating frequency is 2.4 GHz. Also, with an operating range of 40 meters, the X-SPY falls way below the 100 meters average of other similar drones.
Hovering is usually one of the greatest challenges, and with the X-SPY, it is not different. Adjust the sticks to hover and also remove the camera to perform flips. Fly the X-SPY outside when there are no winds. You won’t want to risk the X-SPY blowing away!
Overall, the X-SPY is ideal for photography and for just having fun especially for beginners who want to get first-hand experience.
Costs around $160 from Amazon.
The Nighthawk is also known as GW007 and is an ideal drone for beginners and also for those looking to explore. It comes in white and black colors, with the black nighthawk being referred to as the real ‘spy’. You will get a complete package when you buy the drone, which includes an LCD transmitter, spare propellers and a 4 GB SD card. The transmitter is powered by 4 AA size batteries.
The nighthawk comes with 6 axis gyros enabling you to conduct 360 degrees flips. Flying the nighthawk can be in either the low or high speed modes available in the drone. As a beginner, you can start practicing hovering indoors before flying the nighthawk in the outdoors.
The DM007 has a durable frame but the stability of the drone is not really impressive. However, mastering your flying skills should counter this. With a 2.4 GHz operating frequency, the nighthawk’s range goes up to 300 meters. Flying time is also impressive with the DM007, at 10 minutes. However, you will require 150 minutes to recharge the copter.
The camera is a 2MP on-board type, offering first person view on HD at 720p while flying. The video recording is stored on the removable 4GB SD card.
The nighthawk is quite an impressive drone for beginners. In fact, it is one of the best! Just remember to start indoors first, and look out for the battery when flying at high altitudes. It just might fall off!
Costs around $40 from Amazon.
BLADE NANO QX RTF
The Blade Nano QX is a fun and simple drone that is suitable for beginners. RTF means ‘ready to fly’ and you have to simply insert the battery to start flying the quadcopter. Measuring at just 5.5 x 1.97 inches, it is designed for indoors flying but you can also try some stunts with it. It is made of light but tough plastic that ensures no damage upon crashing.
The quadcopter is powered by a 150-mAh battery that offers about 7 minutes of flying and takes slightly less time to fully recharge compared to its peers, at 25 minutes only. A two-stick remote control that uses 4 AA batteries helps with the navigation with a range of 40 feet. This is quite fine for a drone its size.
Since it is mostly designed for fun indoor flying, the Blade Nano QX quickly reacts to the controls to offer you the beauty of precise flying. The design is also quite nimble and agile, and the copter can make fast turns at decent speeds. The quadcopter employs sensor technology called SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) that enables it to hover when you are not touching the controls.
Due to reparability, the quad comes with spare rotors and canopy which don’t require tools to replace.
Overall, the Blade Nano QX is without doubt, a beginner’s choice. It is lightweight, cheap and fun to fly.
Costs around $85 on Amazon.
HUBSAN X4 H107C
This is almost an RTF quadcopter, only that you will have to fit the propeller guards first before flying. The Hubsan X4 H107C is a small copter measuring 8 x 8 x 2.5cm. It fits well on the palm and is quite fun flying for beginners. The copter comes with two flying modes to suit your preference. Beginners can use the normal mode which limits the speed and agility, so no stunts using this mode. The expert mode just as it sounds, is for the experienced. This mode allows full speed and different flips in all directions.
The camera on the copter is at 2 MP. It can produce good quality footage at 25 frames per second, with a resolution of 720 x 480. All video is stored in an SD card. The quadcopter offers relative stability thus you will require to master the fine art of flying to avoid unstable footage. The controls on the copter respond quite well enabling you to maneuver well. To absorb the impact on landing, the drone has rubber feet.
The maximum control range is 100 meters, enabled by a 2.4 GHz 4 channel transmitter. This allows you to fly the copter without fear of interference. However, if you want to try flying outside, consider a time when there are minimal or no winds at all. A 3.5V 380-mAh battery will enable the drone to fly for about 8 minutes, and requires about 30 minutes to fully recharge.
The main advantages of this drone is the camera quality at 2 MP, its strength to fly outside even with slight winds and the propeller guards which provide durability. The downside however, is that you have to shut off the camera before you turn off the quadcopter to avoid losing video footage.
The Hubsan X4 107C is an inexpensive and durable quadcopter that provides great ease in flying. It offers one of the best experiences for beginners.
Costs around $40 from Amazon.
The Syma X8G is an easy to use FPV drone that offers good drone experience. It comes with a complete package that makes it ready to fly, you only have to install the batteries. The drone has a powerful 8 MP which is way above average for drones in its class. However, it slightly heavier than its peers, weighing 3.5 pounds. The drone is also fairly big, measuring 19.7 x 19.7 x 7.5 inches.
The camera on the drone is a GoPro style HD type that can capture amazing aerial shots. The camera however cannot work independently, and has to be attached to the drone. It records video at HD 1080p, which is a pretty impressive resolution. Photography using this drone should be something fun and exciting.
The battery is a 2000-mAh which provides about 12 minutes of flying time with a capacity to fly longer with a lesser payload. This is better than most drones in this class. With such a flying time, it is expected that the battery takes longer than average to fully recharge, at 200 minutes.
Flying the Syma X8G can be a nice experience and any beginner will concur with this. First, the headless mode, 4CH with 6-Axis Gyro technology ensures that stunts and various maneuvers at 360 degrees is possible. Also, with this Headless mode, you can avoid some common crashes when flying in the outdoors.
A 2.4 GHz powerful transmitter ensures that there is no interference while flying. The flying range of the drone stands at about 100 meters. I find this distance quite impressive. Also, the transmitter allows a standard and high speed mode according to the experience that you want.
The main advantages of the Syma X8G are the reliable and tough design, the headless mode that enables one to perform aerial maneuvers and the 12 minute flying time. Also, the drone is relatively cheap and easy to fly. The disadvantages are the weak propellers and the long time it takes to fully recharge.
Costs around $140 from Amazon.
Good luck choosing your first drone. And remember, once you’ve got the hang of flying and decide to upgrade, there are practically no limits to what you’re capable of doing, from filming HD or even 4K movies, to even drone racing!
To see the best selling drones on Amazon, click here.
If you have any feedback or suggestions, perhaps you have a personal preference to what is the best drone for beginners, please comment below.