Drones are all the rage right now when it comes to tech toys, and I can’t really blame anyone for liking them. Used properly the quad rotor devices are easy to maneuver and a whole lot of fun. While not all flying machines are created equally, finding one that suits the ability of the pilot and produces the desired effect can result in hours of entertainment at the flying field and editing that precious one of a kind video.
When it comes to that first quad rotor drone though, the water is a bit murky. There are a lot of not so good models out there, but there are also a bunch of great devices ready to please the first time pilot of any age. The very first caveat though is that these flying machines are not toys, regardless of where they are purchased; they are very real things and not used properly and safely can result in serious injury. Even a plastic blade spinning that fast can do some damage, let alone four of them, and falls and crashes from height are always an issue. That being said, flying over crowds and private property are pretty much something even experienced pilots avoid.
ENTRY LEVEL DRONES
The UDI U818A 2.4GHz 4 CH 6 Axis Gyro RC Quadcopter with Camera RTF Mode 2 is a great place to start (it's pictured at the top of this article, and is especially appealing because of the low price tag. This unit has a dedicated remote control and typical line-of-sight range. It gets pretty high, and I can say I’m pretty happy with it overall. Of course, extra batteries are a must and even an extra charger for the batteries will probably be pretty well served. The video is okay and the photos are nice as well, and putting together grand type of videos is very much possible. Remember, this is a great model that has a camera on board and records to a MicroSD card.
The Syma X1 4 Channel 2.4G RC Quad Copter - UFO is another entry level drone and also aggressively priced to appeal to everyone. It’s a pretty good model as any other. It gets airborne well, and handles extremely well for a unit in the entry level price range. The big downside is the lack of a camera, but if you want to try a keychain sized camera on it, you might have some luck. This is more of a learn to fly model for me, again, extra batteries and a charger are a likely a must.
For anyone looking for a smaller drone, the Hubsan H107L X4 Mini RTF RC Quadcopter is a great little microdrone that is pretty much designed to fit in the palm of the hand. Again, priced below $50, this is a great tiny model that is sure to be the talk of the party. Just remember to not fly into a party. It’s also great for learning before you jump into one of the super high quality models like the DJI Phantom 2 Vision.