You may have heard about the new rave in aerial photography and racing that is taking the world by storm. It has enabled photographers and videographers alike to explore many different sites that would have otherwise been inaccessible to them, and it has allowed them to capture photographs and videos of places on Earth that human eyes have never seen before. This new device comes in many different forms and I am sure that there is one out there that will fulfil all of your desires.
You can fly it high, you can fly it low, you can take pics of beautiful birds while it soars through the sky, and you can video your birthday celebration from an angle up above. If you’re still not sure what I am talking about, then it is the time I introduce you to the quad drone – the innovative device that allows you to pilot your own little aircraft and take over the skies!
Let’s kick things off by discussing some cool pictures and videos from all over the world that have been taken using drones; after watching them, you will begin to realize the world of opportunities that having a drone will grant you. After watching these videos, you will also begin to think of the many ways in which you could incorporate a drone into your life and use it to capture timeless memories. So without further ado, please take a look:
This video displays a variety of beautiful pictures from around the world that were taken using drones. The pictures include the breathtaking Amalfi Bay in Italy, a camel race track in Dubai, a mesmerizing islet in the middle of the sea and even the view of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janiero from up above.
A pod of dolphins racing through the waters and also a few whales swimming leisurely along.
See how discoverers used quadcopters to explore the largest cave in the world. This one shows how volcanologists and other scientists used their quadcopters to get up close and personal with an active volcano!
All in all, these videos show you how fantastic and convenient drones really are and the world of possibility that awaits us once we begin to fully incorporate drones into our daily lives. Many of these shots would have been very expensive to take had the photographers not used quadcopters and the one with the volcano would have been very life-threatening too. But quadcopters take away those high costs and risks and make capturing these scenes a breeze.
Imagine how attentive children will be in class when they are learning about volcanoes for the first time and getting to see actual footage of active volcanoes taken by quadcopters from around the world. Knowledge will spread like wildfire!
Think about it… what beautiful scene could you capture today and turn into a timeless photograph or video that you could share with the world online? How cool would it be to take aerial shots and impress your friends with your futuristic device? Don’t you want to get the best drone available? I know you do and that’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best drones available that you can get for a reasonable price.
The best quad drones you can buy
When you do a search for the best quad drones for sale, the following 5 quads will always pop up in the results and there is a good reason why. These quads are some of the best on the market and they are surprisingly affordable!
You will love their innovative features and if you’re ready to begin your quest for the best, then I cordially invite you to read on and choose the quad that best suits your needs.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0
This drone is over two years old but when it was released, it was one of the coolest drones on the market. It features a pressure sensor, two cameras, magnetometers, an ultrasonic sensor, accelerometers, gyros, 1 GB of RAM, a 1 GHz 32-bit processor and so much more.
This quadcopter can also be controlled entirely from your smartphone or tablet. You would connect your Android or iOS device to the Wi-Fi hotspot generated by the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 and use your device to steer the drone by pressing the right or left side of the screen. Your tablet or phone screen would also function as the point of view display for the drone’s camera. The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is also compatible with the Nvidia Shield portable gaming device, and you can use its physical analog sticks to control the movement of the drone.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 has two cameras – one facing forward and one pointing downwards. You can take record videos using any one of these cameras in 720p quality and you can take pictures with them too. The drone does not record audio but you can add audio to it later using video-editing programs. All of the pictures and videos are automatically added to your tablet or smartphone because the drone does not have any onboard storage.
Even though the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is more than two years old, it is still one of the most advanced drones available in its price range and you will surely have a lot of fun with it too. This drone can be bought for about $230. You can also get much more familiar with all the features it has to offer by reading our Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 in-depth review.
The LaTrax Alias is your go-to drone if you really want to learn how to fly quadcopters manually. It is made of extremely durable materials and it has a full manual flight mode that will give you complete control over your drone.
The manual flight mode will give you ample flying practice and you won’t have to worry too much about your device being damaged because of how hard-wearing the drone really is. In fact, the developers of the Latrax Alias claim that durability was one of their main aims when they were designing this quadcopter and they ensured that the construction material was extremely light and virtually indestructible too.
You can also do pirouette maneuvers, bank turns and so much more because the device has great yaw authority; your seven-inch wide quadcopter with its big propellers will make doing these stunts a breeze.
Developers used a completely new flight control system that provides remarkable 6-axis stabilization to the drone without impacting its speed or performance. This 6-axis stabilization acts like a virtual spring that snaps your drone back to stability no matter what crazy stunts you do with it.
It is also big enough for you to attach a small camera to it, such as a small video camera or the 808 keychain camera. This is especially useful for those people who need to use their special cameras to take aerial shots.
Even if you do add a camera to the Latrax Alias, it won’t hide the spectacular high intensity LED lights that can be seen from below or above it. These LED lights help to clearly define the shape of the drone and they help to make night flight extremely fun too. The lights are very bright and colorful and they look sharp in the night sky. With these LED lights in place, you will be able to see your drone even if you fly it far away. Its rotors are also elevated, so they will not interfere with any camera that you place on it, neither will they be tangled if you land your drone in grass.
3D ROBOTICS IRIS+
Out of all the drones listed here, the 3D Robotics Iris+ emerges as one of the drones with the biggest list of features. These features include Geofence, Flight Protection, Follow Me technology and it also has superb stability in the air.
The Geofence feature allows you to set borders for your flight before you take off. So even if you end up running into one of these borders that you have set, you won’t have to worry because the drone will automatically return itself to the point where you launched it. The flight protection plan comes in handy when your drone starts to run out of battery.
This feature allows the 3D Robotics Iris+ to return to a set home point or land itself safely and automatically if it does not have enough energy to return to the set home point. With the flight protection feature, you can rest knowing your drone and your camera will be well protected from falls in the event that you run out of juice.
Automission Planning is also a very impressive feature of the 3D Robotics Iris+. It allows you to use the mission planning application that comes with your drone to pre-plan a flight path for it using your smartphone or tablet.
All you would have to do is open the application and trace out a path on its map. This would configure waypoints and the plan for the flight beforehand. After the flight plan is set, the drone would go to the exact points that you directed it to go on the map, and more importantly, it would return to you with the perfectly sequenced footage that you need without you having to pilot it at all. So you would be able to relax and put your drone on autopilot…would such relaxation and ease be what life is all about?
The Follow Me technology, on the other hand, requires a GPS-enabled Android device. The Iris+ would then follow the GPS signal being emitted the phone and all you would have to do is keep the phone on you and let the Iris+ do the rest. It would essentially keep the camera centered on you while it follows you flawlessly. Think about how brilliant this innovation really is! You would be able to have your quad lock you down and follow you while capturing your dramatic footage as you immerse yourself in your adventures. How awesome is that!
The 3D Robotics Iris+ also has remarkable stabilization ability; it is able to keep steady while you capture sharp pictures and videos to wow your audience later but those aren’t the only cool features of the Iris+. It also offers live data telemetry, auto takeoff and landing, and so much more, and you can find out everything there is about it by reading our 3DR Iris+ in-depth review.
The Cheerson CX-20 Quadcopter
This is basically a medium-sized DJI Phantom clone that sells for a more affordable price. This aircraft is great for intermediate flyers who just want to have fun and even beginners who are just learning how to fly.
The Cheerson CX-20 is made of durable ABS plastic and it has the following measurements:
- Length: 11.61 inches
- Width: 11.61 inches
- Height: 4.13 inches
It can fly to a maximum of 984 feet in the air and it has a range of about 100 feet. It also runs on a rechargeable 2500 mAh lithium battery that can give you about 12-15 minutes of flying time at a maximum speed of 22 mph.
It does not come with a camera but it does have room for an attachment on the underside of its chassis. You can hook up your GoPro or any other lightweight camera there and use it to take great shots from altitudes and angles that you would not have been able to do before.
The Cheerson Cx-20 also comes fully decked out with LED lights that help you keep a sense of the orientation of the quadcopter while you fly it. The remote control transmitter also caught my attention due to its ease of use. For instance, if you release the joystick, your drone will stop flying immediately and simply hover in place until you give it another command. The controller boundaries reach to just under a mile, so you can comfortably fly your quad far away within the battery limitations and know that you will still have complete control over your drone.
The Cheerson CX-20 is for all those pilots out there who need the same capabilities of a Phantom at a much lower cost. It is very stable and produces sharp, crisp pictures when you do add a camera to it and it is also very user-friendly once you get the hang of the controls.
The DJI Phantom 4
The DJI Phantom 4 is the new and improved DJI quadcopter on the market, and let me tell you, it is a beast! The drone comes with a new ‘Obstacle Sensing System’ which uses its two forward-facing cameras to identify objects in front of the drone and gauge their distance so that the Phantom 4 can avoid those obstacles
The drone weighs about 3 pounds and it has been streamlined to improve both its aerodynamics and its looks. It measures about 11.5×11.5×7 inches and when you buy a new DJI, you also get a free carrying case that can hold a couple of spare batteries, propellers, a charger, the remote and the drone too. This carrying case is quite handy and it has a latch to keep it tightly shut and a handle for carrying it around too.
The gimbal of the Phantom 4 has also been redesigned and it can tilt up and down because the flexible shock mount is now inside of the chassis, leaving the camera secured at both its left and right side. It can also move to the left and right modestly but do not try to spin it all the way around like its higher-end cousin, the Inspire 1. The micro SD memory card slot and the micro USB port have been shifted from the shock mount and they are now a part of the chassis itself, thereby giving you an easier access.
Flying the Phantom 4 will be a great experience for both beginner flyers and experienced flyers alike. You can choose to use one of the drone’s automatic fly modes and sit back and let the drone fly itself or you can take full control of the drone in manual mode and use the control stick to pilot your quad. As always, no matter which mode you use, landing and takeoff are completely automated and they can be started by using the control app.
The Phantom 4 is able to fly up to about 4500 feet in a clear, unobstructed area before the video signal cuts out. Therefore, you can relax knowing that there won’t be any stuttering in your video feed. In a crowded area, you will be able to go about 1,800 feet before your signal starts to cut.
The video quality is also out of this world! The 12 MP camera will give you clear videos of 4K quality and that promise is guaranteed. These videos and pictures can be captured in a variety of different formats.
In closing, let me let you in on a little feature I discovered while flying my DJI Phantom 4 – every single flight that you make is logged. Therefore, you can go back and view the flights that you took and you will see it overlaid on a satellite world map. You can replay these flights in real time; you can even slow them down or speed them up.
It also records the battery life, flight mode, airspeed, distance from home and the altitude at all points during the flight and so your log will show you this information as well. If you want to know your maximum altitude, total distance traveled and your total flight time, don’t fret, that information is readily available too. And, for much more information about this model, we suggest checking out our DJI Phantom 4 review.
Rules and regulations you should know
Flying quads are great but there are many rules and regulations that govern the practice. You may wonder why there are rules and regulations, to begin with, but you must remember that everything can be a possible danger if they are misused.
This is especially true for drones since they can be used for unlawful surveillance, reconnaissance, the taking of pictures without permission and a host of other things.
Therefore, The United States and other countries around the world have put in place laws to govern the use of drones and lessen the chance of them being used for illegal activities. Some of these rules include:
- Keep your quadcopter below 400 feet and stay away from nearby obstacles
- Keep your quadcopter within your visual line of sight at all times
- Do not fly your quadcopter near to manned aircraft such as helicopters and airplanes
- Do not fly your drone within five miles of an airport unless you have contacted the airport prior to doing so and have gotten their permission
- Do not fly our quadcopter near to stadiums or a group of people
- Do not be careless or reckless with your quadcopter and endanger the lives of others
The United States and Canada also require drone registration for certain types of drones that exceed a certain weight limit. In the United States, that weight limit is 0.55 pounds while in Canada, the weight limit is 77.2 pounds.
Not sure what model to buy?
If you’re still on the fence about which drone to buy, firstly don’t stress yourself. These are some of the best quad drones for sale and you won’t lose if you purchase any one of them. The best thing you can do is think about your specific needs and compare them to the features of all the models above. To help you out, I am going to do a quick recap to refresh your memory and I am also going to highlight the possible disadvantages of each.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is an advanced drone that sells for a good price but it can only be controlled using a smartphone or tablet. It cannot use a normal RC controller that has a real control stick. Therefore, if you prefer flying using a controller or if you want to learn how to fly so that you can pilot a more advanced quadcopter in the future, then the Parrot AR 2.0 would not be for you.
The Latrax Alias is great for beginners who are just learning how to fly but those same beginners may have a problem with its price. It is important to remember that the Latrax Alias is very durable and even if you do break it, it is very likely that the broken part can be easily replaced. So do not look at the cost alone when you are contemplating whether or not you should buy the Latrax Alias – take all factors into consideration.
The 3D Robotics Iris+ will wow you with its many innovative features. It has many different yet useful automatic modes and it also offers a stable platform and a reasonable base price. However, it does have a limited flight time and you may end up spending a lot of money in pricey add-ons.
All in all, this drone is great for hobbyists and tinkerers, but if you are a person who does not like spending extra money on add-ons, then the 3D Robotics Iris+ may not be for you.
The Cheerson CX-20 is definitely a great drone with many features that are similar to those of the DJI Phantom line. It is also very durable and it has a camera-mount pre-installed on it. But should something happen to one of the parts, you would have a very hard time sourcing spare parts for your drone. Also, the battery does take quite some time to charge up fully.
The Phantom 4 is great for almost everybody! Its sturdy design matched with its colorful array of beautiful colors makes it the perfect drone. It is, however, pricey and so many people may consider this to be a disadvantage.
Drones are a remarkable advancement in technology that allows us to:
- Take beautiful and unique shots from angles and elevations that we probably would not have been able to take if we did not use drones
- Save time and money because they are much easier to maneuver than their alternatives and they use less fuel too
- Get footage of dangerous areas that would have otherwise been impossible or life threatening for a human to visit.
Nevertheless, drones can be disadvantageous if they are used for the wrong purpose:
- They can be used for unlawful surveillance
- They can be quite distracting and may cause a lot of mayhem if they are flown into areas with a lot of people who do not know what the drone is being used to do
- Many drones have short battery lives and so their use may still be limited because of this factor
But all in all, drones are wonderful creations that you can use for a number of different tasks. You’ve just seen some of the best drones on the market, now its time for you to grab one before it is too late and send it soaring into the sky!