What Drone Should I Buy as a Gift?
As the author of The Complete Guide to Drones and The Drone Pilot’s Handbook, a question I often get asked is “What drone should I buy first?” and – this time of year “Which drone should I buy as a present?”
Hubsan X4: Beginner, Indoor, Under-$99
In truth, the ‘What Drone’ question is one to which there are many answers, and budget will play a huge part, but one drone that often fits the bill is the Hubsan X4. This is a compact drone – you can rest it on your palm – but it still includes a camera, a slot for a MicroSD card for recording video, and (optionally) a First Person View (FPV) controller. This has a built-in screen that allows you to ‘see’ as if you were a tiny pilot inside the drone, a technology used by more expensive racing and photography drones. Given the size and weight, the Hubsan can be used indoors safely, and it’s a great way to get familiar with the 2-stick control system that almost every drone uses without risking an expensive camera ship.
Yuneec Breeze: Folding Drone
A new category for Christmas 2016, all the big players are launching drones that feature powerful cameras like the pro models, but can be tucked in the back of a rucksack and taken anywhere. This is the market that GoPro Karma have stepped into with their first drone, and that market-leader DJI have just entered with their new Mavic model, but it’s one that need not be as expensive as these two brands make out. The DJI starts at $999 (latest UK pricing below) and the Karma $799 not including the GoPro Hero 5 you’ll need. Intel-backed Yuneec, however, have opted to use a digital stabilisation technique rather than mechanical which makes for a lighter, easier to manufacture product that performs nearly as well (it still records 4k video). Using your phone as the controller there really isn’t too much to carry.
Inspire 1 Pro: Unlimited Budget
For the photographer in your life, who could beat a drone that features a pro-quality image sensor and swappable lenses? That drone is the DJI Inspire 1 Pro and I include it here because, well, sometimes we just want to spend that bit more! The Inspire 1 Pro is a big drone – not something you’d want to carry a long way without investing in a pricey bag (see “>my video on the subject) – but for the photographer who has everything, this will take them to new heights (sorry).