Flight of the Drones – Taking Over 2015 With Power, Practicality & Style
The best drones of 2015 have proven to be durable, efficient, practical, user friendly (in most cases anyway), and stylish. Their uses, needless to say, are astounding. Have you ever wanted to fly like the eagles and such a lay of the land? Or perhaps a bit lower like the ravens and see how the landscape spreads before you, oceans and other water bodies included. Getting to inaccessible mountainous and cliff-ridden terrain is a cinch with these devices.
Drones have made everything that much easier, from real estate scope-checks and explorations to helping varied professionals with several different needs and industry pre-checks before they can commit to a venture. If they can see it, they can plan it. Drones are the eyes of the future, looking down at possibilities from their lofty realms in the sky.
Essentially robots that fly, hobbyists and those who ‘just love this kinda thing’ enjoy spending time with their drone as much as someone would with their laptop, car, or prized pet. These unmanned vehicles have far superior versatility and provide way more options than sticking a pilot in a fuel-guzzling machine and having them fly across a landscape to gather visual data on it.
The best drone for beginners, bringing wind resistance, durability and range at an affordable price. Our favorite drone of 2015.
Hubsan’s H107D FPV drone brings first person view flying in a small affordable package.Fly around and see what the drone sees in real time… allowing you to fly in places you couldn’t otherwise see.
Great all-around drone with great flight performance, maneuverability, battery life and recording abilities.
The best intro drone currently available on the market. Fun and reliable.
Inexpensive, great battery life packed with a ton of features. Extremely fun to use.
Professional drone with great features but rather steep price.
Good price point but there are better alternatives for other usage.
If you’re excited about owning a new drone, then you’re at the right place. We packed this page with some serious drone reviews of some of the world’s best:
Here’s a front-row-seat tech look of the full potential of today’s best drones: we have 5 drone reviews, ranging in price from entry-level hobby drone all the way up to a semi-professional drone for cinematographers. One by one, live and direct.
Imagine: you want to borrow a book from your friend across town. You give him a call. Then you stand by your window. 15 minutes pass, and there it is: your friend’s drone lands in your front yard, carrying a little box with the book inside.
This could happen today, and the friend could be you.
From delivering packages to desert islands through re-enacting film scenes to filming weddings, drones are no longer toys and can enrich our lives in countless useful and fun ways. They are a future that’s starting today.
Except, you may not want to sit around and wait for that future to kick into high gear. You may want the full personal drone experience right now, and first-hand. If so, read on as we review the top drones on the market today.
Today’s consumer-level drones are known by a number of names, including RC drone, RC helicopter, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), quadricopter and the most common: quadcopter (short: quad).
Of course, we already know about autonomous drones controlled by onboard AI, as well as those controlled by a remote human pilot: they’re in widespread and growing use by military, police, firefighters or public services. In other words, they are no longer just a toy.
But that’s not all. Not by a long shot! And this is where the reviews gets interesting. Give it some time, and you’ll have the first friends using their own drones: as awesome toys and tools that make life a lot easier. Alternately, you could be the first. You could be their heli advisor when they get into drones themselves.
For consumers, even the most basic of today’s remote-controlled helicopters come with much more than just a joystick-spiked remote. From built-in HD cameras to the most precise GPS, they can provide myriad fancy features and equipment, depending pretty much only on your budget. When you’re buying a drone, you’re choosing your own personal adventure.
The company Ei-Hi really hit it out of the park with their newest drone, the S911C Huge Edition. After listening to feedback, they went back to the drawing table and mapped out what would be the ideal drone for anyone wanting to get a true taste of flying without any of the hassles usually associated with quadcopters.
With the Eli-Hi S911c, they increased the size and modified the shape to provide strong wind resistance. If you’ve ever used any small drone, you’ll know that flying in windy conditions is near impossible with many other beginner drones. The beauty of the S911C is that it’s designed to perform well even when there’s a slight breeze blowing outside.
That translates to an easier, smoother and more fun flight. You feel more in control and therefore you concentrate on flying around and impressing your friends.
The second improvement of the Ei-Hi quadcopter is that they increased it’s drop resistance. In other words: this thing is built to take a beating and keep on going! Trust me, even for a veteran flying, I can tell you that this is important. If you’re learning, then it’s critical.
When you’re flying, you want to feel safe and it’s reassuring to know that you can pretty much throw the Ei-Hi around without damaging it. If you have to hand over the controller to someone new, you won’t be worried that they might ruin it which makes this extra resistance a must-have.
They have also increased flying distance of the Ei-Hi S911C with the new 2.4ghz 6.5 channel RC radio. If you’re just starting off, you’re likely not going to be pushing the limits however when you get the hang of flying around, you’ll appreciate the 300 feet range that it offers. To put that in perspective, that means about 1 football field of range all around you. (So if you fly from one end to another, you’re talking about 2 football fields in length!)
Now there are professional drones that go further… however for the sake of a first drone, this is nothing short of amazing.
Now the less good. It can’t be perfect? Can it?
Unfortunately the stock battery that comes with the Ei-Hi is a palsy 3.7v 500mah battery. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s better than other drones in this category but it’s still not enough. You’ll quickly find that these only provide a few minutes of flying time. (And trust me, time passes by fast when you’re flying!)
My first solution was to get a TON of these batteries (I have 12 batteries at the moment that I charge 5 at a time) and I swap them out in about 30 seconds when they run out. One of the best things you can do when you’re getting a drone is to get as much power as you can afford. In my books, more power equals more fun!
That’s why I was ecstatic to discover that you can fit the Turnigy 1000mAh battery in the Ei-Hi drone. That means DOUBLE the flying time on each charge which is why I’d recommend you pick up 3-4 of these in addition to the drone. (I know, it might sound like overkill now but you’ll thank me later).
Flying the Ei-Hi S911C drone is both fun and relatively easy. You’ll get to experience real drone flight and learn how to maneuver it around your area relatively quickly. One of the most fun parts of the whole ‘drone experience’ is actually learning how to fly it. I’ve tested many drones in my time and the ones that really put a smile on my face are the ones that don’t baby you all the way through. This one has gyro stabilization and that’s all you need!
(This just means it will keep the drone flat so you don’t flip out!)
Your first flight is likely going to be you just getting used to the controls, going up and down… maybe a bit of back and forth. After a few minutes, you’ll be flying forward, left right and backwards (already there!) and if you’re good, you’ll be circling around objects in no time. Once you get really good, you’ll be able to start taking some cool aerial photography with the built in camera and maybe even going through obstacle courses.
Personally, I’ve built myself a small obstacle course and I fly my drone through some trees for that extra little rush. Once you get going, you won’t want to stop! So if you’re in the market for a great overall drone, the Ei-Hi S911C is the one to get.
We’ll start off by reviewing a cute little RC bugger for beginners: at a mere 60 Dollars, the Hubsan X4 H107C gives you a sporty flight experience and the opportunity to record great-looking video.
This micro quad weighs just under 50 grams, which is still a bit heavier than equally-sized competitors (more on that later), and fits in the palm of your hand. Out of the box, it comes with pretty much everything you need to take off:
- USB cable
- Extra rotors
In addition to the whole system, we recommend you get a micro SD card for your digital videos, and four AAA batteries for the transmitter.
We found that the H107C’s rotors are quite delicate, and we recommend being very careful with them. It’s great to have the extra rotors out of the box, but you don’t want to have to use them right off the bat.
If you want to protect the little guy while bumping into things (between us: you do), definitely mount the included blade protector: you’ll need to look to find it, but it’s in the box! It’s attached to the bottom of the packaging.
And, before we go any further, a word about the manual: it’s not the most helpful. You may want to check out a few of the useful tutorials available on Youtube before you reach for the sky with this little dude.
Charge the batteries, and off you go! You’ll find that, thanks to a built-in 6-axis gyroscope, the quad flies very stable and level even in windy outside conditions. This very satisfying flight behaviour is also due to its weight, with the Hubsan H107C being heavier than equivalent models.
The quad’s battery will take 30-40 minutes to charge and keep the it in the air for anywhere between 7 and 9 minutes. We recommend you get extra batteries for extended sessions. Thankfully, those are easy to find and you may even be able to use packs from other quads or helicopters you own.
The RC transmitter, sturdy and easy to use, features a standard and expert mode. In “Expert”, you can do flips in all 4 directions! We appreciated the fact you can choose this mode, which means you won’t start flipping unless you want it.
Now, flying is nice and fun per se, but of course, we’ll also want to record video. For that, you’ll first need to get a Micro SD card.
Use a button on the drone to start and stop recording (a bit annoying: you can’t do it from the remote).
The camera records at 720p (that’s a 1280×720 resolution) and provides crisp and lively footage – we were quite impressed! Thanks to the good flying behavior, you can get quite stable video – just make sure you shoot under good conditions, because, well, wind is wind. It’ll shake it up.
The camera quickly adapts to light changes, e.g. when looking out through a window and then quickly panning to the inside of your living room. The colors are nice and even, though clearly not as natural and strong as more expensive, dedicated cameras. When you film at night, you’ll see ghosting when e.g. making fast turns – again, this isn’t anything you wouldn’t expect and doesn’t detract from the overall solid impression!
One thing we didn’t experience, but users seem to have run into more than once, is problems with the camera: sometimes, it will refuse to record, and you may wonder if it’s broken. Fear not! Chances are you can fix the issue. Check out this forum thread for easy approaches.
No two ways about it: we’re quite fond of the Hubsan X4 H107C! Any drone newbie will appreciate this model’s strengths:
- Fast and sporty
- Stable flight thanks to gyroscope, weight
- Solid video quality
- Competitive price
There’s only a handful of quibbles you can easily live with or work around:
- Battery life: get extra batteries
- Can’t start/stop recording from transmitter
- Camera might develop issues: fixes here
- Blade protector included, but hard to find (bottom of packaging)
Whether you want to perform acrobatics outside, get some cool aerial shots of your house or freak out your cat in the living room (yes, good times were had), this is a perfect way to start off your new quad hobby.
You’ll want more. And that’s why we have more drone reviews for you.
One of the most exciting drones of the year is improved Hubsan H107D. It takes a solid foundation, upgrades all the components and integrates an FPV system into the radio controller. Yes, that means that you can fly your drone without even seeing it, using exclusively the on-board camera that is relaying the video feed in real time.
In other words, you can use it like a video game, piloting the Hubsan H107D drone around the house, through obstacles or outside, in places you’ve never gone before. This makes owning the Hubsan H107D a whole adventure with endless possibilities at a price that was never before possible. (Previously, having FPV capabilities meant you had to spend thousands!)
The first time you fly the Hubsan H107D, you’ll be surprised by it’s size. It’s amazing that they packed so much technology into such a small drone. The video quality is very good and the performance is very intuitive.
This is one of the better drones to get started with because although it does have decent stabilization (in other words, it won’t flip upside down when you’re flying!), it allows you to learn how to really fly properly. (So when you learn how to fly this little guy, you’ll be able to fly the bigger ones with ease)
In fact, most of the fun with these drones is learning how to fly. When you’re just starting off, I recommend trying to fly around a tree or small obstacle. Just get it around and come back.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, try flying around your house using only the on-board camera for navigation! (Trust me, it’s not as easy as it sounds… but sure is fun!)
The Hubsan H107D packs all the features that you want in a drone at this price but there are some compromises to be made. For starters, the radio controller has all the important parts (6 axis-control, full fledged video menu allowing you to configure everything on the drone, recording options, live video display) however it doesn’t have the smooth rubbery grip that you can expect with some of the more expensive drones.
Same with the drone itself. The aim was to have the lightest possible drone in order to increase maneuverability and battery life so the propellers are made of soft plastic. This is both good and bad. Good because the drone propellers are safer (you won’t be losing any limbs because the propellers are so soft! This alone should be an argument why you get this drone over other ones.) however this also means that you’ll want replacement propellers handy. Fortunately, these are extremely inexpensive and I recommend you get a handful of them. Hubsan has put together an amazing crash-pack kit which allows you to pretty much do anything to your drone and have piece of mind.
If there’s one thing Hubsan got right is the performance on this drone. If you’re going full speed, it moves! However, not at a rate that is uncontrollable. You have enough power to make it fun and enjoyable while not worrying about running into a wall. Sometimes it’s a little difficult to tell the orientation of the drone (what’s forward and what’s backward) however in terms of flying, it provides very stable flight.
If ever flight does seem a little bit wobbly, you’ll want to make sure the propellers are properly set (sometimes when you crash, the propellers change orientation a little and you just need to make sure they are level). Overall, I was very pleased with the performance and stability of the drone. I was unable to flip it no matter what I did which is a true testament to the stability control that is included with the drone.
As expected, the one problem with having so much fun with a tiny drone is that the batteries always leave you wanting more. The stock battery is adequate but you’ll want to get the larger capacity 500mAh batteries when flying with the Hubsan H107D. If you have a pack of 500mAh batteries on hand, you’re set for a good afternoon of flying!
I personally charge up 4-5 500mAh batteries before I go flying and I have found that to be sufficient, giving me about 45 minutes of fun with some small breaks to change the batteries.
One of the benefits of having such a popular drone is that there is a huge community of enthusiasts (like myself), that own the drone. This means that are there are countless mods, videos and components that you can use with the Hubsan H107D if you want to take it to the next level. (For example, there is a fish-eye lens mod that is pretty cool).
Really, you can improve any aspect of it (range, battery life, camera, propellers, etc) which was a great selling point. However, you really don’t need any mods to start with (just get the basic drone with a few extra batteries, the crash-pack kit and you’re good to go!)
Overall, the Hubsan H107D is a great drone that offers the best FPV experience at this price range. You’ll learn how to fly a drone and have a ton of fun flying using the FPV camera. It really opens up a new world of possibilities, something that wasn’t possible until right now.
I highly recommend the Hubsan H107D FPV drone.
More: that’s s what you get when you opt for the Parrot AR Drone 2.0. We’re talking more in every respect: from 36 minutes of flying time to smartphone or tablet control, this bird can lift your drone experience to new heights to the tune of 350 bucks.
The “Power Edition” comes with a valuable set of accessories. Here’s what we found in the box, next to the model itself:
- 3 sets of rotor blades: red, orange, blue
- A tool to replace them
- 2 lipo 1500 mAh batteries
- Battery charger
- Protectors for indoor and outdoor usage
- Stickers (yay!)
- Instruction manual
The batteries are the main draw of the “Power Edition”: while the regular version comes with one 100 mAh pack, this one has 2 high-density lithium-polymer batteries, each packing 1500 mAh. You get three times the battery life of the regular stock model, jumping from 12 to 36 minutes.
The bad news here for the Parrot is that you need to interrupt your session and exchange batteries once the first one is dead. Also, you’ll want to plan your RC session well ahead of time: charging a battery takes a couple of hours.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is coated in black, with the colored rotors adding a solitary touch of color. The design makes them stand out and add vibrance to the the quad’s ninja-style exterior.
Welcome to full Hollywood experience! Even though it’s becoming a more common feat these days, you’ll feel like a secret agent after you turn your iOS (Ipads are great for this but phones work too) or Android device into a full control panel for your AR Drone 2.0. There are apps for everyone.
The quad Parrot has an integrated wifi system that allows you to connect your device like connecting to any wifi hotspot. After you do, start up the control software and you’ll get a live video stream right from the drone. The RC flight range extends to 160 feet (50 meters).
It comes with sophisticated electronics that help you straighten up and fly right: embedded sensors make it easy for you to take off and land just like a helicopter, even if you’re not an experienced drone pilot yet.
The rotors are individually powered and we were impressed with the superior stability the quad’s technology affords it even in particularly windy conditions. When left to hover, it will maintain a very solid distance between itself and the ground. The hull is also very well built and will resist to the inevitable bump in the road.
Be sure to mount the included protectors to keep the quad safe from damage. The drone’s app is nicely laid out and user-friendly, but we sometimes wished it was easier to precisely steer the quad.
Yes, the on-screen controls overlaying the live video stream provide great flexibility, and you can even move the drone using your phone’s or tablet’s accelerometer. It’s precise and responsive most of the time – but still, we had to use the emergency landing function several times during testing, when the quad went off on its own or the app lagged.
In the “pure fun” department, the Parrot AR Drone will perform a badass barrel-roll when you double-tap your screen. Acrobats rejoice! Just don’t do it too often, it costs a lot of energy.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 comes fitted with another 720p camera (meaning a 1280×720 resolution), which provides some truly great video quality.
This guy doesn’t just record video: you can instantly upload content to e.g. Youtube or Picasa straight from the drone. It also features USB capability, allowing you to extend your storage space.Beyond toying around, you’ll find yourself recording memorable digital videos for yourself, your family and friends in no time. The only thing that you’ll want to modify on your video is the sound but we recommend that you add a fun music track to go along with your flight adventures.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Power Edition is clearly not the ideal beginner’s choice, but after you’ve cut your teeth and banged up your edges on a strong starter drone, this is a great next step. The experience of steering it using your smartphone or tablet alone is worth the price of admission, and that’s only one among a plethora of extended features. Out of all the reviews, this one was the easiest drone to recommend. It also works well with both Apple and PC systems.
- iOS/Andriod-compatible (Apple and PC) control app (Ipad & Iphone) is user-friendly, provides intuitive and flexible controls
- Comes with 2 high-performance batteries for 36 minutes of flying time
- Long range of 160 feet (50 meters)
- And here’s what we think could still be improved:
- While ultra-precise most of the time, the controls sometimes get laggy and erratic, forcing you to emergency-land
- You’ll need to change lipo batteries halfway through your session
- Batteries take several hours to charge
At around 350 Dollars, this is a great drone to satisfy your quad hobby, and you’ll love the great videos you’ll shoot for yourself, friends and family.
Get the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Power Edition here.
Now, we’re getting into big guy territory: the Phantom 2 V.3 , currently available at 967 Dollars (from the regular 1400), is larger than most shoe boxes and weighs quite a bit. That said, it packs a powerful punch: thanks to advanced electronics and endurance, you could easily go professional in photography with this one.
Here’s what we pulled from the box, besides the quaddie system:
- 1 5200 mAh lipo battery
- Charger + wall socket adapter
- 4 propellers + 4 extras
- Accessories: rubber dampers, landing cushion, spanner, screws)
- Video range extender
- iPhone clamp
- USB cable
Powered by a big ol’ 5200 mAh lithium-polymer battery, this baby can remain in the air for up to 25 minutes in a single session.
The integrated Wi-Fi extender gives you a range of up to 980 feet (almost 300 meters). Vertically speaking, don’t take the quad higher than 400 feet, even though you could: that’s the maximum allowed by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).
Should you ever lose control, e.g. by flying too far, the drone will find its way back to you thanks to GPS-powered autonomous functionality. Full disclosure, though: there are reports out there of people losing their devices, so ensure it has proper GPS connectivity and be careful and smart about your application. (None of the other reviews will tell you this)
The “Free Vision” app you use to control your flight is highly intuitive and useful, providing you with a host of real-time flight data.
The drone’s stability is great, you get perfectly calm images from hundreds of feet above ground – in crisp, sharp hi-res quality, and the colours look amazing. More on that now…
Wow. Just wow. The Phantom 2 Vision comes with an integrated 14 Megapixel camera that shoots video in pristine 1080p (1920×1080) resolution, with the field of view (FOV) selectable between 90°, 120° and 140°. Needless to say, photos you take look equally amazing, and you can even shoot in RAW picture format!
The video streams reliably to the Free Vision app, which you can install on your Android or iOS device. Then, mount your phone on the dedicated clamp that comes with the transmitter, and you’ll have all your controls right in your hands.
Your remote control capabilities extend past the quad itself, as well: we liked that you can tilt the camera up and down right from the touch-screen interface.
Let’s be clear: we’re in professional territory now. We recommend getting into the DJI only if you’re an experienced flyer who can handle this device securely and knows about properly adjusting all settings, including GPS. You’ll also want to check out youtube or the feature-packed DJI website to educate yourself about this particular RC model before flying off.
Unfortunately, DJI is notorious for their substandard customer service – on the other hand, the tutorials available on their website are highly helpful and we consider them invaluable. In any case: bear that in mind when you opt for this otherwise highly interesting, powerful quad.
Get the DJI Phantom 2 Vision
“Oh, hello,” the Walkera QR X350 says. “Want to fly around for a bit? Because, technically, we can totally do that. I’ll give you 15 minutes of flight time – and we can record some cool video along the way!” That’s pretty good, you think. Then again: what else does this quad offer for under 400 Dollars?
We need to tell you right away: this one has no camera.A glance into the box reveals the following besides the quadcopter:
- Transmitter with built-in live-feed display
- 800 mAh lithium-polymer battery for transmitter
- 2200 mAh lithium-polymer battery for drone
- Battery charger
- Video cable for GoPro Hero 3 device
- TX8503 FPV Video Transmitter (sends video signal to LCD screen on controller)
- Spare propellers
Wait a minute! Hero 3, you say? That’s right, this drone is ready for the high-quality GoPro Hero 3 camera, though the camera itself is not included. Reviewing it is material for another article, but for our purposes: suffice to say, it’s an amazing high-resolution camera suited even for extreme conditions (e.g. underwater).
The Walkera QR X350 comes in a sleek, sportive design that caught our attention right from the get-go. It’s built sturdy and with long-term use in mind. You can see the quality-conscious approach Walkera took e.g. in the way the rotors are mounted.
Unfortunately, the battery of this device doesn’t last for more than 15 minutes: we recommend getting additional ones, which is easy to do.
The Walkera QR X350 comes completely ready to go: in less than 15 minutes (including easy calibration), you can take off. It’s a great first impression that suggests Walkera cares about user experience. The good news: once you start using the quadcopter, you quickly realize they mean it.
The big draw here is the quad’s agility, speed and ease of use! This guy is built for action, and you can tell it can’t wait to get it.
We love the LCD screen that’s integrated in the transmitter (more about video below). It goes hand in hand with very intuitive controls you can quickly get into. While this is easy on the user’s side, the underlying technology is sophisticated enough to provide you a reliably responsive, sportive and precise flying experience, both indoors and outdoors.
There’s no getting lost or weird behaviors with this quad: it does exactly what you want, any time.
Much like comparable quads in this price range, the QR X350 features a very precise GPS and altitude hold system that stabilizes flight. The results are quite impressive for this class.
The GPS allows the quad to return to a precise location you can define, in case you ever lose connection. It will also find its way home and autonomously land. The same also works at the flip of a switch.
Lastly, you’ll be thankful for the integrated low-voltage warning feature, telling you when it’s time to pack it up.
So, here we are. As mentioned above, you won’t get a camera with this boy out of the box. On the other hand, it’s ready to carry the excellent GoPro Hero 3 camera.
The Walkera comes with an anti-vibration camera mount, which features the same sturdy high-quality processing as the rest of the quad. You can instantly connect the Hero 3 using the included FPV transmitter (which sends the video signals right to your transmitter’s LCD) and video cable.
We have to be honest. This drone is most interesting once the DJI Phantom 2.0 Vision’s price is considered. Otherwise, consider this for the sweet live LCD screen built into the transmitter, or if you’re looking for a quad that favors user experience and flight capabilities over video features.
Our favorite bits:
- Very intuitive and easy to use
- Fast and agile
- Impressive GPS-assisted targeting and stability
- LCD screen in transmitter supports live streaming
- Fully compatible with the high-quality GoPro Hero 3 camera
Here’s where you can currently do better for less coin:
- Battery life: 15 minutes
- Video: no camera included while the DJI Phantom 2 Vision has a very good one
By leaving camera features out, Walkera put focus on providing a superior flying experience with the QR X350. Take our advice, if you want the best flight experience then this is the drone to get.
Get the Walkera QR X350 here.
“The perfect one-stop aerial video and FPV solution,” says the Walkera website about the Tali H500 hexacopter (yes, we’re in 6-propeller territory!). At 1900 bucks, we certainly hoped their promise was true. Then we took off… And so did our excitement!
In the box, we found the drone and:
- iLook+ 1080p camera 3-axis G-3D gimbal to mount it
- 5400 mAh lithium polymer (lipo) battery
- Battery charger
- DEVO F12e transmitter
This hexa’s great impression starts with the first look: the very sleek exterior hides every last cable inside while other drones often have e.g. battery cables protruding to the exterior. It’s easy to handle: for instance, the legs are very simple to attach and detach. Unfortunately, they’re also a bit more flimsy than we’d have liked.
The Walkera Tali H500 will stay in the air for 25 minutes in one session, giving you the freedom to move very far and get some tremendous video footage along the way. Once you run low on battery, the device will warn you so you can bring it home and wrap up the session.
With 6 (!) propellers, this drone achieves amazing stability and nimbleness. At a whopping 1 km (0.62 miles), its range far exceeds any other drone we’ve tested.
Featuring 12 channels, the fully FPV (first-person view) capable Tali H500 gives you maximum control over every aspect of your flight, allowing you to monitor your flight in real-time streaming video. It appears on the large PCD screen that’s built right into the transmitter, alongside sophisticated flight information like battery life, temperature and GPS data, including altitude, distance and more.
It’s most comfortable to fly in GPS position-hold mode, simply because the drone will stop moving and hold its position any time you release the controls. This is quite convenient and makes it easy to handle the hexa.
Needless to say, the drone can come back home and land safely at the press of a button or if you lose contact, and its autonomous flight and path-finding capabilities are highly advanced. However, please note that it climbs to an altitude of 15 meters by default when it flies autonomously: if it runs into obstacles at that altitude, it’ll crash into them. Change the default setting if you need a higher altitude in your area.
There’s one more thing we particularly liked: the Tali H500 is capable of circling a GPS waypoint you define!
This drone comes with the high-quality iLook+ HD camera that shoots stills at 13 megapixels and provides you 1080p video at 30 fps. It’s attached to the drone’s body with a sturdy, stabilized gimbal that allows for smooth 3-axis movement and is compatible with both iLook and GoPro cameras.
The gimbal is one of the accessories you can replace, if you so desire. On its own, the included gimbal goes for roughly 150 Dollars, and more pricey pieces provide even smoother movement, e.g. when counteracting fast movements of the drone to preserve still and smooth video.
The TALI is also designed to carry a host of other (superior) compact cameras, like the GoPro, the Sony RX1000 or the Canon EOS-M.
That said, we were quite happy with both the video and still photo quality that the iLook+ HD camera delivers. In this price range, you can expect professional quality, we predict you’ll do just well with the Tali H500’s default cam.
There’s no two ways about it, this is a highly impressive piece of technology that far exceeds hobby usage: it screams for professional implementation. Whether you want to take your photography business to the next level, provide presentations for your architectural plans or film your skiing team’s acrobatics, this drone is your number one choice. Out of all the drones reviewed on this page, this is the most serious one.
Provided you’ve got the money to burn, that is. We’ll have more on that in our final words below. For now, here are the obvious pros of this device:
- Highly comfortable handling
- LCD screen integrated into transmitter
- Features live video and flight data
- Very good default camera
- High-quality default gimble
- Replaceable accessories in case you want to upgrade
- Long battery life
- Fantastic design
Beware of these issues:
It takes up to 3 minutes to lock on to GPS. Give it enough time, otherwise you’ll lose precision or, worse, the hexa. The 984 Dollar DJI Phantom 2 Vision is comparable in many ways and costs less Manual isn’t too informative. Refer to tutorials online to figure out all features
No doubt, we’ve got a real badass on our hands here. If you want to use it for professional purposes, go for it. Get it as it is, and once you’re broken in and have some extra money saved up, you can upgrade to a better camera and other useful accessories.
Get the Walkera H500 Tali here.
Look, we’ll make this easy for you. If you can afford it, there’s really no way around the DJI Phantom 2 Vision. There’s a reason these DJI drones have such a great reputation (and, you know, DJI can have a douchey customer service and still thrive).
At currently under $1000, you get a massive bang for your buck – from 25 (!) minutes of flying time to great handling and high-quality videos and photos, this is an ideal drone to use both for your hobby and professional endeavors.
That said, all our other contenders have their individual benefits. For beginners, the Hubsan is simply the best tech choice: even if you bang up the hull beyond recognition, it’ll only set you back 60 bucks in exchange for easing you into the fun and adventure of the drone hobby.
The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0, especially in its Power Edition, won us over with 36 minutes of flight time and Wi-Fi connectivity to turn your phone or tablet into a control center. It’s fiddly and stubborn sometimes, but for 350 bucks, you’re getting a great deal. Out of all the tech reviewed here today, this is a surefire win.
In the higher price reviews, we find the full Walkera QR X350, which is designed with flight in mind and only rudimentary support for video – you’ll need to get your own camera and accessories. For 1000 bucks, Walkera did a great job coming up with a powerful, fast, agile and sporty quad that provides just great action.
And then, of course, there’s the Walkera Tali H500. The big dawg. The expensive guy. The one with the massive 1 km range. For 1900 dollars, you get a quality, high-end, supremely professional unit that is easy and intuitive to handle, has a ton of power and comes with full set of high-quality accessories you can even upgrade, should you ever so desire. But keep in mind: the DJI Phantom 2 Vision does many similar things for a smaller price.
So, ready to conquer the air? By now, you shouldn’t have any excuses left to keep missing out on this amazing new hobby.
So get going and get your favorite drone now at Amazon before it’s too late.