Blade Nano QX Review

The Blade Nano QX's manufacturers may not be among the biggest companies in the drone industry, but their products are not unknown. Many people who are into UAVs know this electronic bird and what it can do. In this piece, we take a critical look at the highs and lows of the Blade Nano QX quadcopter.

What is the Blade Nano QX?

Simply put, it is a small affordable drone designed for those who want to experience a taste of flying. This drone is specifically geared towards beginners. While it was built for the fun of flying, it prides itself in the fact that it offers more features than expected for a drone of its quality.

Features

The Blade Nano QX RTF clearly doesn’t have the mega features of a DJI and Yuneec drone, but it has just about all it needs to deliver the expected performance. This includes the stability to fly indoors, as well as the agility to navigate the outdoors.

Design

This drone comes Ready to Fly – meaning it does not require much input before it can get airborne. Made of a plastic body and accompanied by useful prop guards, this drone seems to be able to withstand minor crashes. Its 150-mAh battery charges in about 25 minutes and lasts for roughly 7 minutes in flight.

Flying

The Blade Nano QX responds quickly to commands from the remote control, but you may end up a little frustrated if you are looking at pushing its maximum speed. To fly this drone, turn it on and place it on the ground. Once it is on the ground, its LED lights, which were blinking blue, will turn a steady blue when the battery is connected. You can now set it in motion by pushing on its throttle. 

Perhaps a flight feature of the Blade Nano QX you may want to look at is its Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope, which is represented by the acronym SAFE. This simply means that the drone will not immediately fly out of sight or randomly even if you let go of the controls for a few seconds. It will try to remain on the same flight level and area as it was just before the pilot lost control.

As a lightweight drone, which weighs a meager 0.58 pounds, it is very easy for the Blade Nano QX to easily and cleverly execute aerial maneuvers. But then, the winds – even the weakest of them – can affect the stability of its flight.

Battery Life

You can expect 6 to 7 minutes of battery life from this drone, which is standard for small drones. Depending on the activity, the time may be shorter since the measurement was done with the drone hovering. Interestingly, this drone’s batteries are very cheap and are rechargeable. Since it takes approximately 25 minutes for the batteries to charge completely, it may be a good choice for a beginner who would simply use the drone as a hobby.

In the Box

  • 4 rotors
  • Canopy
  • 4 AA 150 mAh Li-Po battery
  • 1 remote controller
  • 1S USB Li-Po charger

Setting Up the Drone

The drone comes in either of two versions: the BNF and RTF. The RTF version simply requires the pilot to charge the batteries, turn the drone on, connect with the controller, and the flying begins. As for the BNF version, you will have to buy the transmitter as it will not be in the box. Carry out the RTF set-up process and you are ready to go. 

Blade Nano QX: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Supports First Person View
  • Batteries are cheap
  • Easy to control
  • Fun to fly
  • Comes with extra blades, plus a canopy

Cons

  • Has to be registered with the FAA
  • Battery life is short
  • Not stable in windy weather
  • Transmitter absent in BNF version

Price

$59.99 on Amazon

Bottom Line

The Blade Nano QX is what you would expect it to be: a small drone that any beginner pilot will be able to fly. Often times, beginners use this drone to get a hang of flying a quadcopter before proceeding to a bigger drone.  Its battery life might be a cause for concern, but the affordability seems to compensate for this. Given its price – about $60 – it might be a good idea to start your journey as a pilot with this drone.

DJI Spark Review

Every year, new drones are introduced into the market. These drones often aim to better the existing ones in both flight and physical structure. One aspect of drones that continues to improve is size. Original drone designs were disturbingly large, and mostly difficult to handle by users. Today, manufacturers in the UAV industry boast more portable models, which still perform as good as, or even better, than the bigger models.

Leading this revolution is DJI – arguably the world’s leading drone manufacturer. Previously, DJI’s Mavic Pro had already done the almost unthinkable task of reducing the size of a quadcopter without compromising its functionality. Now, the company’s most recent installment – the portable DJI Spark – is currently one of, if not the, best performing mini quadcopter in the industry. In this DJI Spark review, we look at the features, as well as the pros and cons of this drone.

Design

At just under $500, the Spark is 2.2 inches high, 5.6 inches wide, and 5.6 inches long. It weighs about 11 ounces – a breakthrough in modern day drone technology.

The DJI Spark is available in multiple colors, such as sky blue, white, and green. It houses a 12MP camera, which is capable of capturing 1080p video clips. However, while this can be done at 24Mbps and 30fps, it is not possible at 24fps, 60fps, or 120fps. For the professional videographer, the Spark does not offer the opportunity to experiment with various video modes and qualities. It is worth commending DJI for the Spark’s bi-axis gimbal, which ensures stability of the camera while capturing quality footage during flight.

Flight Experience

The Spark is a great drone for beginners. Renowned for its portability, the drone is designed to take off from your hand. However, make sure you pay careful attention to ensure you don’t accidentally interfere with the propellers. To turn the Spark on, the user must quickly tap the power button two times while holding it in the palm of one hand at arm’s length making sure the camera faces the user. Once the camera turns on, the rotors begin to spin signaling readiness for flight. This means the drone is ready for flight, and can be released.

Once in flight, the Spark quickly recognizes the user’s hand and will follow whatever direction the hand points. To make it land, the user stretches both arms towards it, and it will come hovering back. Once it is close enough, it will comfortably land on either of the user’s palms. Should the hands gesture control fail, the spark may be allowed to hover in the air until its battery drains, or is cautiously snatched from the air. Videographers who choose the spark can make the most of its flight videography settings. For instance, it can be automated to take shots from one out of four possible modes:

Flight Modes

QuickShot

Let’s the Spark take photos for you. QuickShots will take amazing footage with cinematic composition.

  • Rocket - Ascend the drone with the camera pointing downward
  • Dronie - Fly backward and upward while the camera is locked onto a designated subject
  • Circle - Circle around your designated subject
  • Helix - Fly upward, spiraling around your designated subject

TapFly

TapFly mode allows you to control the DJI Spark from your phone screen and direct the drone where to go. While the drone flies in the direction you chose you can actively capture multiple shots with your fingertips.

  • Coordinate - Tap the screen and fly to the spot you chose while maintaining altitude
  • Direction - Keep flying in the direction you tap on the screen

ActiveTrack

ActiveTrack mode allows the DJI Spark to automatically recognize objects of different shapes and sizes and then track them.

  • Trace - Track your subject by staying in front or behind them, or circle around them
  • Profile - Follow your subject from a designated perspective

Gesture

The Gesture mode recognizes simple hand motions, allowing the drone to take selfies.

  • Selfies - Raise your arms, wave your hand, or make a frame with your fingers to maneuver the DJI Spark and tell it to take photos
  • PalmControl - The drone can follow your hand movements or take off and land on your palm

Other Flight Tips

A user can fly the drone by manually controlling it from their mobile app. This is a tedious task as the user would be forced to constantly look at the phone’s screen. A real remote control, which sells for $149, is a better way of flying the DJI Spark manually. This is costly, but considerably more efficient than the smartphone control, which restricts flight to heights of 50 meters within a 330 meter perimeter.

Performance and Ease of Use

The newly released DJI Spark lives up to expectations in the eyes of most pilots. The performance is superb, but there is room for improvement. Its app icons are not always easy to understand, or large enough. The drone is expected to have 16 minutes of flight time if fully charged prior to flight.

DJI Spark Pros and Cons

Pros

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    Small and portable
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    Extremely lightweight
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    Various smart flight modes
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    Excellent picture quality
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    Gesture recognition and control
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    Programmed shots
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    Target tracking
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    Obstacle avoidance

Cons

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    Short range under phone control mode
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    One photo format (.JPG)
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    One video format (.MP4)
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    Relatively expensive add-ons

Final Thoughts

DJI did not disappoint with the Spark. As expected, DJI brought something new to the mini quadcopter industry: a smart drone that can be launched right out of a user’s hand and be controlled by the wave of a hand. The only “problem” with this drone is that it can have a better battery life and easier app control. However, outside of videographers who would likely need more camera-related perks and users who need something bigger, this drone is the ultimate delight for beginners to professionals.

FAA Drone Registration Guide

As of December 12, 2017, all drone owners are required to register their drone with the FAA. There was a brief period where US drone pilots could fly without registration, but President Trump has since signed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018, reviving the requirement.


So you just bought your first drone and are wondering whether you should register it with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Perhaps, you are a first time pilot who wants to follow the due process but aren't sure you know how to go about it. 

As a first time drone owner, it can be a struggle to understand the FAA drone registration process. This resource was put together to ensure you are able to register your drone hassle-free.

Some of the questions we will answer are as follows:

  • What are the drone registration requirements?
  • Who should register a drone?
  • What are the costs?
  • What types of drones qualify for registration?

What are the Drone Registration Requirements I Need to Know?

The United States Federal Aviation Authority instructs that all drones that weigh over 0.55 lbs or less than 55 lbs be registered with the FAA. You will be presented with two different registration options; recreational registration and commercial registration. Most drone owners will be using the recreational registration option.

Do I Have to Register My Drone?

As stated in the section above, not every drone needs registration with the FAA. Only drones that weigh more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds need to be registered. If you are unsure about the weight of your drone, you can find a list with the drones required to register here.

How Much Will a FAA Drone Registration Cost?

It costs a one-time fee of $5 to register a drone with the FAA.

What Happens if You Don't Register Your Drone?

There is no definite response for this question. However, in the event that a pilot does not register a drone and should have, the drone owner will be subject to civil and criminal penalties put forth in the U.S. Government drone regulation terms. Some potential penalties could be up to $27,500, and even potential jail time. If an unregistered drone is used for anything criminal, the charge can be as much as $250,000 in some cases.

Can the FAA Track Your Drone?

When you register a drone, the FAA keeps a record of your information, as well as that of the drone you just registered. Your UAV will also get a registration number. This means they can identify your drone. It does not mean, however, that some sort of homing device has been planted inside your gadget and that it will be tracked day and night. 

Why Do You Have to Register Your Drone?

The FAA requires that drones be registered for various reasons. First, they need to ascertain the status of the drone; if it is in good flying condition. This reduces the risks of it crashing into people accidentally. Again, the FAA wants to make sure the aircraft is safe for you and others, and make sure it is available to be returned to you if lost in the air. 

What if I Forgot to Register My Drone?

Kindly register your drone as soon as you purchase it (if it qualifies for it). But in the event that you forget to do so – and this is usually unlikely as most manufacturers would remind you in a way –  register your UAV as soon as you remember. You will be penalized if found with an unregistered drone.

Are There Any Drone Operator Fines I Should Know Of?

Yes. And they have been stated already. You will be fined if you fly your drone over people, or in ways the FAA considers illegal or unacceptable. Should it be linked to crime, it could lead to jail term.

What Happens if You Fly a Drone in a No Fly Zone?

You get penalized. The FAA has various fines for various drone related offenses.

Do You Have to Update Your Drone Registration?

Your drone registration lasts for three years at which point you will need to register the device again. Under certain circumstances you may have one drone registration which covers all of your drones; it doesn’t matter whether you own one or a thousand. Simply mark them all with one drone registration number. However, in certain rare cases, such as selling your drone, there is a need to update ownership on the registration. In this case, you will need to send an e-mail to support@federaldroneregistration.com for database update.

Do I Have to Have My Certificate of Aircraft Registration With Me While Flying?

Yes. If you are flying your unmanned aircraft you must have your FAA registration certificate in your possession. Luckily, the certificate can be available both electronically or on paper.

If someone else is flying your drone they too must have the certificate in their possession.

Under Federal law, drone operators are required to show the certificate to any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer if asked.

How Do I Start My Drone Registration Process?

While there are several resources on drone registration out there, you must not assume you have successfully registered your drone if you do it elsewhere other than with the FAA. So long as you are an American citizen, up to 13 years of age, and your drone meets requirements, you should register it through the FAA official drone registration site.

We hope you find this mini guide helpful. You can always visit the FAA’s site to get more information about the process.

Got questions or opinions? Let your voice be heard below.

Can You Take a Drone on a Plane?

Despite the unquenchable enthusiasm of lawmakers to regulate the drone usage, taking a drone on a plane is actually not as complicated as you might think. So, the question, "Can you take a drone on a plane?" is not a far-fetched one. 

Lucky for us drone users, taking your quadcopter along does not involve a ton of paperwork or any special permissions. It does however require some preparations which will guarantee you and your drone a timely boarding procedure.

Flight Regulations Concerning Drones

The current regulations set by the TSA do not prohibit you from traveling with a drone. So, the permission to board a plane with a drone is in the domain of the airline you are traveling with.

Most airlines do not prohibit drones and consider them to be electronic devices. However, many airlines do limit the watt-hour capacity of lithium polymer batteries (most common type of battery used for drones) that you are allowed to take with you on the plane.

Make sure you check with your airline on this regulation and any other potential limitations. We found a great site for calculating your drone's battery watt-hours here.

Carry on Bag vs. Checking In

Whether to check in your drone or take it as carry-on is up to you, but we do advise you to use the latter option when possible. The main argument for taking your drone as a carry-on is the safety of your gear. If you check it in, you are then putting faith in the people managing it to carefully do so without misplacing and/or damaging it.

Bag or Case?

The type of protection for your drone can be an important decision when deciding to take it along on your travel. The decision is usually a priority pick between safety and comfort.  For all the medium and smaller sized drones, the carry-on option with a soft-shell bag is probably the better choice since it will be much easier and comfortable to carry around and will probably fit in the over-head compartment of the airplane. For bigger sized professional drones, the check-in with a hard-case will most likely be the only option. 

Lithium Polymer Batteries

While the drone itself can be checked-in, the airlines are adamant about how to go about traveling with lithium polymer batteries. Commonly referred to as LiPo's, these batteries are categorized as hazardous material by the airlines. 

For this reason, they can be taken on the plane only as carry-on baggage in a fire proof bag with the connectors of the batteries covered with duct tape or electrical tape.

Going Through Security

Before going through airport security with a drone, it is a good practice to place your drone's batteries into a separate container the same as you would with your laptop batteries.

Being honest and open about your intensions and the items you are traveling with is always recommended. The security officers will usually only ask what the batteries are for and not drill you about the details. But, to be on the safe side, we advise you to learn about your batteries specifications; amperage, voltage, C ratings, and Watt-hours prior to the travel.

Think Ahead and Prepare With Extra Parts in Case of Travel Damage

While planning your trip and the awesome shots you will make with your drone, put some thought into possible "what if's".

Prepare for any potential damage to your drone caused by the flight, or damage it might sustain during your expedition. Try to consider which parts might fail and will be inaccessible at the location you are traveling to.

Extra props, batteries, connectors, USB cables, SD cards, and such will increase your luggage weight only slightly, but will benefit you greatly in case of damaged equipment. There are also plenty of so called "Emergency" repair tool kits available to you, which are usually packed with the most essential tools needed for on-the-go repairs. Also, look up special tool kits for your drone specifically, as the tools needed to repair some drones are unique.

As with most drone activities, the proper preparation is the key. We hope this article encouraged you to bring your drone to your next travel destination and make your friends gasp when they see the amazing footage of the scenery you visited. Share with us your thoughts and experience with traveling with a drone in the comments below.    

Promark P70-VR Review

The Promark P70 Virtual Reality drone is an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) which – like its competition – has found uses in a number of fields and careers. Though a bit advanced, and common among techy drone enthusiasts, it can still be flown by children no younger than 14. The manufacturers of this drone want to provide the drone industry with more than just a toy. Let’s review the Promark P70-VR and see how they go about this.

Features

This quadcopter comes in different colors; most significantly, black and white. First off, it might interest you to know that the Promark P70-VR is one of the Syma X8 series. Many pilots find this helpful as it makes sourcing for parts easier. However, before you decide on whether to buy this drone or not, you might want to review the following features.

VR 3D Viewing

This is, in fact, what gives the Promark P70 its VR status. The virtual reality 3-dimensional goggles are included in the box the Promark P70 comes in. It allows the pilot to stream the footage captured by the drone live – this is what the VR feature is all about. It also enables easier flight control. Just like other VR goggles, the Promark P70 allows you to monitor your drone in flight without having to carry your phone with you. 

Built-in WiFi Video Streaming

The Promark P70’s built-in WiFi signal allows flight control, live streaming, and recording of videos and images with your phone through the Promark VR aerial photography app, which you can download for free on the google play store or the apple app store.

Camera and Videography

The Promark P70 VR Payload is a sophisticated 720p high definition camera that enables you to carry out your aerial photography and videography jobs in full color. The camera functions to enable flight control too. That way, if you remove the camera, you remove the capability to control the drone’s flight on your phone. This drone enables remote-controlled vertical camera movements through a small gimbal on which the camera is attached.

Two-Way Flight Control

Due to this app-enabled feature, you can control flight on your phone by linking to the WiFi signal of the drone. Due to limited WiFi range, you can get a maximum flight height of only 100ft.

For a more traditional flight control method, use the radio remote with the typical 2.4GHz transmission power. This is more efficient and gives you a maximum flight limit of 936ft.

Battery Life

The Promark P70 has a double cell 7.4volts 2000mAh rechargeable battery. According to the manufacturers, this battery can support a total flight time of 12 minutes before you will need to recharge again for about 5 hours. 

Flight Modes

The Promark P70 has three main modes: the normal mode, which is the default mode for conventional flying, the altitude-holding mode, which makes the drone stay put right where it is was when the mode was activated, and the headless mode. The headless mode makes any part of the drone serve as its head, which means the quadcopter flies towards any direction the pilot instructs.

Other flight-related features include auto hovering function, one-button 360 degrees flip, auto take-off, and one key landing.

In the Box

  • 1 aircraft
  • Li-Ion battery
  • 1 user manual
  • 1 VR goggle
  • USB power cord
  • 1 remote controller
  • 2 spare landing gears
  • 6 blade guards
  • 2 extra blades
  • Screws and screw drivers
  • Customized arm stickers

Setting Up the Drone

First thing to do is to remove the battery for charging. It should be fully charged at about 300 minutes before being slid it into the drones battery chamber. The next step is to scan the QR code to download the Promark VR App. Lastly, you may now turn the drone on and connect it with your device. 

Pros

  • Equipped for virtual reality function
  • Stores videos directly in smartphone
  • Comes Ready-to-Fly
  • Easy to fly

Cons

  • Has brushed motors
  • GPS feature absent
  • FAA registration is necessary

Cost

Depending on the retailer, you can get a brand new Promark P70 for as low as $139. Considering it has close to the same materials as other bigger drones out there, it is a very affordable option. You can buy it online from Amazon at a good rate. 

Final Thoughts

The Promark p70 is one of the first quadcopters to adopt VR technology. Beginners looking for a cheap drone that offers VR technology might find this drone to be a perfect match. Again, going by the sheer simplicity of the drone’s manual and tutorial videos the manufacturers have put up on their website, it would seem they want to provide the best experience for their users.

DJI Inspire 2 Review

Following the success of the Inspire 1, DJI wasted no time in taking the dronesphere by storm with the release of the DJI Inspire 2. This drone – though similar to its predecessor in many aspects, especially videography – comes with improved features, which do not come for free by any means. In this review, we take a look at what the company claims this drone is.

What is the DJI Inspire 2?

The DJI Inspire 2  is a top performance drone, manufactured by DJI, and made for those working in the film and news industry, as well as drone enthusiasts who can afford a high-end drone. Robustly built to withstand the constant changes of weather, the drone records 5.2k videos, and it is an excellent choice for many pilots looking for one of the industries best drones.

Design

One of the first things you may notice about the DJI Inspire 2 is its retractable landing gear. At 7.3 pounds, even without its camera installed, you will have to register it with the FAA as soon as you buy it. While the camera can capture footage as it rotate 360 in the air, it cannot do the same when on the ground prior to takeoff. This is because the landing gear blocks its left and right view. DJI sees to it that the drone’s body is made of metal – a magnesium alloy to be exact. This gives the drone much more durability.

This drone can be controlled with two remotes. This allows the pilot to use one of the remotes to control the drone’s movements, while an assistant pilot focuses solely on the camera with the second remote. However, only one is included in the box, and costs about $549. The drone can also use the Active Track function, which trails objects moving on the ground; as well as the Waypoint, Spotlight Pro, Tapfly, and Orbit flight modes.

Camera Options

The DJI Inspire 2 camera can take still shots at 20 MP. It does this with its 5.2k camera – made possible by its changeable lenses. Compared to its competitors, such as Yuneec’s H920, the Inspire 2 camera is smaller in size. This is good as it puts minimal pressure on the gimbal. The 16GB chip that comes with this drone stores captured footage even though the pilot can download the same clips to a mobile device. There is an option for improving the storage space by buying a chip between 120 GB and 480 GB, which cost $299 and $899 respectively.

Performance

The DJI Inspire 2 does not fail to impress. The drone can reach a maximum speed of approximately 40 mph in its base mode while the crazily fast sport mode reaches almost 70 mph. One caution you must take in sport mode is that due to the high speed it is difficult to make sudden stops and avoid obstacles.  With this in mind, you should be sure to only use sport mode in open areas.

This drone can cover considerable distances while saving enough battery to make a return trip. This battery life stands to last longer if the drone is in its standard mode. Beginners and expert pilots may not have to worry too much about accidents as the combination of the Return to Home function and Obstacle Avoidance function reduces this risk significantly. 

In The Box

On opening the drone’s box, you will find these:

  • The aircraft,
  • 1 remote
  • A charging hub
  • 1 power cable
  • 1 USB cable (with 2 A ports)
  • 8 propellers
  • Battery charger
  • 2 batteries
  • 1 16 GB SD Card
  • Plate for visual system calibration
  • Insulation sticker for batteries
  • Gimbal damper
  • Mounting plates for propellers
  • A carrying case.

Pros​​​​

  • Has a strong body made with an alloy of magnesium
  • Cameras are easily interchangeable
  • Able to shoot 5.2K videos
  • Enabled for recording in CinemaDNG and ProRes
  • Able to detect and avoid obstacles
  • Landing gear is retractable
  • Camera rotates 360 degrees
  • FPV camera that allows simultaneous dual control
  • Brilliant flight modes

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Recorded video may require some editing

Price

$2,999 on the DJI website

Bottom Line

DJI may have priced this drone very high for the average drone buyer, but its features just might be a justification for its high price. The DJI Inspire 2 could certainly win more hearts with a slash in price, but as long as money is not a factor, the DJI Inspire 2 is a great option for anyone looking to shoot high quality videos, such as filmmakers and news agencies. It is easy to assume that the DJI Inspire 2 was not built for the average consumer. Overall, this drone is one of the best performing drones in its class.

The 9 Best Long Range Drones

The 9 Best Long Range Drones

Check out the best drones on the market for maximizing your distance.

Even though they’ve been around for several years now, the full potential of drone utilization is increasing daily. One of the key aspects in diversifying the role of drones is expanding the limitations of the crafts autonomy and range. While a majority of drone users who fly for fun or focus on videography purposes will find the range their drone is capable of more than adequate, there are areas where a drone’s extended reach is vital to complete a given task and this is where long range drones come into play.

The range of the quadcopter is often pondered by people who are just getting into the drone hobby. The question: “How far can it go?” is the one asked most often by people just getting into flying their own drones. The usual answer is: “Further than most feel comfortable flying at.” It should be noted that long range flying is not something most users will find joyful, but should be viewed as a technical achievement - much in a way a recreational jogger might attend a marathon to prove to themselves they are capable, but they don’t feel the need to run 30 miles daily.

As far as enjoying the immersive feeling of flight goes, there is not much difference in flying 100 yards from your position and flying a mile away - other than feeling the stress of not actually seeing your drone and relying solely on the narrow angle of video feed and on screen data your drone is sending you. When you spend several hundred dollars on your drone that feeling of stress intensifies. With that in mind, let’s get serious about finding you a long range drone.

Things You Should Consider Before Buying a Long Range Drone

As mentioned previously in the article, flying long distance can be risky and proper awareness and preparations are essential. As with any technology, things can malfunction. Always ask yourself the terrifying “What if?” before taking off. Not only do you risk losing your expensive drone, it will be flying beyond your clear visuals and in case of technical failure, might come plummeting down.  Five pounds falling from 400ft equals a big force, and if circumstances are “right”, potentially lethal. So always inspect the area of your flight path prior to flying, avoid hiker lanes, crowds, structures, power lines, and airports!

Battery Life

Another thing to consider is the autonomy of your craft, such as the battery life. If you set a checkpoint far away and then plan on flying back, make sure your battery will last through the flight. Even though this might seem as a piece of “duh” advice, you really should factor in the wind conditions.

Let’s say you’re flying to a predetermined checkpoint in the direction of the wind and your battery shows 70% at arrival. You have to realize the quadcopter will need significantly more power to return in countering winds. When flying with wind-speeds of 10mph in the same direction, achieving 40mph will only take the drone 30mph of power consumption. When flying opposite to the wind’s direction, it will take 50mph to achieve the actual 40mph speed. That’s a pretty significant increase in power consumption for the same given distance.

If it took 30% of your battery capacity to reach a checkpoint flying in the wind’s direction, it will take another 50% to fly back at the same absolute speeds. In the given scenario, your drone would get back to the starting point with 20% of power left remaining - well below the recommended 30%. We all had one of those moments staring at our dead phone; “What?! The battery was at 20% a minute ago and now it’s empty!” The same battery sagging happens with drones - so always try to end your flight with at least 30% battery capacity left and realize that winds at 400ft altitude might not be the same as the ones you’re experiencing on ground level. 

Signal Strength

Signal strength (radio connection between the controller and the craft) is one of the most important aspects in achieving a long-range flight. Since the radio frequencies the drones use are outside of what us humans can sense, there are many misperceptions in understanding the subject.

Manufacturers will usually state a range your drone is capable of, but this should be viewed with a grain of salt. As with the claimed mileage per gallon by car manufacturers, these are observed only in ideal conditions. A good analogy for understanding the radio connection is soundwaves. Picture your remote as a loudspeaker screaming at your drone, while your drone’s receiver is a microphone picking up the screams of your transmitter.

If the surroundings are quiet your drone will pick up this sound clearly, but if the surroundings are noisy the drone will struggle to clearly distinguish the exact signal you’re sending it.

Unfortunately, drones use the same frequencies as a majority of wireless devices operating in 2.4gHz and 5.8gHz bands, which are occupied by modern modems and routers. So, while you might achieve the range the manufacturer claims in a field far away from the urban areas, it will be impossible to achieve those ranges above an area with thousands of screaming Wi-Fi access points or a large cellphone tower.

For a successful long-range flight, those connections need to work two-way. Your transmitter is sending the flying control commands to the craft while the craft is sending back the video signal to your goggles/phone/tablet. If either of those are interrupted during a long-range flight you will find yourself sweating fast.

“The lower the better…”

The lower the frequency the stronger the signal. If your drone has the option to select the frequency it’s operating on, always go for the lowest one. Sticking with the sound analogy; When a car with loud music passes you by what do you hear the loudest? The deep bass of that song - same principal applies to radio frequencies, lower frequencies have better penetration and a stronger connection at given power. If you’re given an option between 5.8gHz or 2.4gHz, go for the latter if your goal is longer range.

The Camera

For flying long-range, a good camera with a solid video transmission is crucial. We need to distinguish between the camera’s recording ability and the camera's picture transmission quality.

Many toy drones come with a camera specified as HD, but this does not mean you will get an HD video feed to your FPV screen. When considering the proper camera we have to factor in the purpose we want it to serve. If the drone is meant as a real-time surveillance tool then a good transmission quality is crucial. If, on the other hand, you plan to fly long range to record a large area, you can get away with lower transmission quality.

In short, picking between the two options should be based on whether you need highest quality picture while flying or just need the camera to successfully operate the drone. This difference usually costs a couple hundred dollars, so saving on the camera will allow you to opt for better specs on the drone’s other hardware or additional battery packs.

Another factor when selecting a proper camera is the video latency (the delay in transmission). The camera’s latency is most important when proximity flying i.e. flying near other objects where a fast reaction to avoid an obstacle is needed. Although this is usually not needed for long-range flying (assuming you’re trying to record a large area at high altitudes) consider it if you plan to use your drone in close-quarter flying as well.

The final video quality of the recordings will often depend on the lighting circumstances, the camera’s sensor and the gimbal it’s attached on. This is another price vs. need compromise that you have to calculate based on your own needs and acceptable costs.

Sensors

If you plan on flying long distances, any additional sensor featured on your drone will be worthwhile. When flying beyond the visual range, you will appreciate any extra data the drone can provide you.

The first time you venture beyond this border, you might feel strange and insecure so the potential flight data imposed on your video feed will counter some of those feelings. It would be considered irresponsible to fly your drone far away without the GPS sensors most serious drones these days come equipped with.

Apart from GPS, today’s drones come with many other sensors such as barometers, visual positioning sensors, airspeed measuring units, and some even with obstacle avoidance systems.

Potential Uses of Long Distance Drones

We are only witnessing the dawn of what drones can do and what their full potential is. With improvements in battery technologies and reliability of the hardware itself, drones will become an everyday sight of the future landscape.

Delivery

With much fanfare, Amazon announced its Prime Air deliveries. Although we felt this might have been slightly ambitious at the time of announcement, they are making steady progress in developing and patenting drone technology as a viable mean of delivery. This is probably the most exciting area for potential commercial growth of drone usage. Most mid-sized drones with a few tweaks are already capable of carrying small loads (under 1lbs) even though many manufacturers advise against it. We believe it’s not far-fetched to claim drones will take over the deliveries of small to mid-sized packages in the coming years.

Surveillance

One of the first areas where drones were utilized was surveillance. Just like many other innovative technologies, drone surveillance has its origins in military use and eventually made its way to civilian life, where its potential was extended to use in natural disaster control, missing persons searches, traffic control, crowd management, border control, and other situations.

Mapping

Mapping is the area where drones have already taken over the industry. What was once reserved for expensive helicopter and airplane use, is now mostly done by drones. Used for mapping hard to reach wild areas, waterways with fast water-flows, urban areas and other fast changing environments has become the norm.

Farms

Another area with promising future for the practical use of drones is farming. The technology is already making its way in most cases still as experimental, but the potential value of the drone for agricultural purposes is clear. Inspecting the crops, watering, crop dusting, and animal feeding, all of which used to be done by cumbersome tractor towed machinery could be made cheaper, faster, and less invasive to the environment by the use of drones.

Distance Restrictions (USA)

The new FAA drone regulation sets two distinct categories for drone flying for casual users and commercial users. The rules on casual user drone flying set limitations in terms of distance and altitude the user is allowed to fly. The altitude limit is at 400 feet and the distance is determined by (LOS), meaning you can only fly your drone to the distance it is still clearly visible to you.

The sanctions for violating these limits include fines up to $250,000 and up to 3 years in prison. Commercial users will have to pass a test set by the FAA, but passing this test will not allow them to fly outside the limits set for casual users. To fly beyond the line of sight, commercial users will have to get a special permit issued directly by the FAA.

Buying a Long Range Drone: Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Enables further flights
  • Extended range is useful even when flying at closer ranges offering stronger signal connection with less interference
  • Most drones capable of long range flight are built to higher quality standards
  • Extra sensors available
  • Software and hardware support

Cons:

  • The complexity of the craft can become overwhelming
  • Cost  

Best Long Range Drones on Today's Market

1. DJI Mavic Pro

To say DJI is the Apple of the drone world would be putting it mildly. The features, sensors, software suite, and the overall quality sets DJI products in a class of their own. The DJI Mavic Pro is no exception to this. Packed in a small foldable frame, it is a beast packed with sensors, a big battery, and a proven hardware layout.

The main goal of DJI was to make a drone comparable in specs to the famed Phantom series, but in a lighter and handier form. Mission accomplished. The only setback of the Mavic compared to the Phantom 3 & 4 is a slightly inferior camera.    

Pros:

  • DJI product
  • DJI GO app
  • Range (2 miles+)
  • Handy
  • Sensors
  • Gimbal
  • Value
  • Huge community knowledge base
  • 720p live video feed

Cons:

  • Price
  • Complexity
  • Questionable Android compatibility

2. DJI Inspire 2

The DJI Inspire 2 is the most recent reincarnation of the famous Inspire drone that has taken over the professional air videography industry. Equipped with double batteries, the Inspire 2 offers even longer flight times, along with the usual DJI treats in the form of every imaginable sensor out there, the best piloting app, which is complemented by the expected DJI build quality.

If you are enthusiastic about making pro aerial video, this drone is the one that should make you drool. But all of this awe comes with a hefty price tag. The drone (without a camera) will set you back $3000, allowing you to pick between two camera options, the X4S at $600 or the X5S at $1900.

Is it worth it? If you are into making professional looking drone videos then the answer is a resounding yes.

Pros:

  • It’s camera is as good as it gets
  • Double remote option, allowing it to be controlled by 2 people (1 controls the craft, the other manipulates the camera)

Cons:

  • Price

3. DJI Phantom 4 Pro

The Phantom 4 is the latest version in the lineage of the Phantom models by DJI. Proven time and again, the Phantom 4 shares the successful hardware layout of the previous generations with the addition of extra sensors and flying modes. The most noticeable difference from the previous model is the obstacle avoidance system, which will prevent your drone from hitting an object straight on.

With the LightBridge technology, it sends your display live video feed in 720p quality (HD Ready) from distances up to 2 miles. The Go app gives you several flight modes, point of interest, follow me mode, course lock, and others. As with the other DJI products, the Phantom 4 is pricier than its competition but also gives much more in value. As the world's most popular drone it will also serve as a benchmark to all the other drones which made it on the list.

Pros:

  • Obstacle avoidance system
  • Range (2 miles+)
  • Build quality
  • Camera
  • Gimbal
  • Sensors
  • App
  • Huge community knowledge base
  • 720p live video feed

Cons:

  • Price
  • Questionable Android compatibility

4. Autel Robotics X-Star Premium

One of the most serious competitors to the DJI Phantom monopoly is the Autel Robotics X-Star Premium. Less expensive than its main rival the Phantom 4, it offers great value similar to the Phantom in flight performance and the overall characteristics. It comes with a similar app which offers equal flight modes, while the autonomy of the craft is only slightly shorter than that of its more known adversary. Compared to the Phantom it’s a bit twitchier and feels less “locked-in”, but aside from that, it’s an amazing drone worth serious consideration.

Pros:

  • Range (2 miles+)
  • Camera (detachable)
  • Gimbal
  • Sensors
  • App
  • Value
  • Price

Cons:

  • Twitchier
  • Shorter flying times than with the Phantom 4

5. Yuneec Typhoon H

Yuneec is an established drone manufacturer and their new Typhoon H model brings to the table many functions only seen before on higher priced drones. The sonar object sensory suite, retractable landing gear, and a 360-degree pan 4K camera are goodies rarely found on drones in this price ranges. It shoots amazing quality video, which might be even smoother than those taken by Phantom. There are few areas where the Typhoon H lacks compared to its competition; namely the range (stated at 1mile) and somewhat less sturdy frame.  

Pros:

  • Image quality
  • 360 deg 4K camera
  • Sonar
  • Retractable landing gear
  • Double remote option

Cons:

  • Range (1 mile)
  • Flimsier frame

6. Yuneec Q500 4k Typhoon Quadcopter

Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon is one of the most user friendly drones on this list. Its size makes it significantly bigger than most drones discussed here (only Inspire 2 is bigger), which makes it easier to spot in the sky when flying long distances. Another fact in favor of the Yuneec compared to the DJI drones, is its built-in live video feed as a part of the crafts transmitter, meaning you won’t need to buy a good tablet to operate it.

The quadcopter is fairly robust and straight forward, thus much friendlier to beginners. It offers a good camera on a great gimbal and shoots very smooth video. The Q500 doesn’t offer as much in terms of flight modes, and its range is significantly shorter than those found on the Mavic, Phantom and the Autel’s X-Star.  

Pros:

  • Camera and gimbal
  • Great for flying LOS
  • Beginner friendly
  • Built in video feed
  • Cost

Cons:

  • Range (less than 1 mile)
  • Lack of flight modes
  • Fewer sensors than competition

7. 3DR Solo Drone

The 3DR Solo made the list as one of the more popular drones out there. Its slightly bigger and heavier than the Phantom, and as a consequence the flight times it can achieve are shorter (between 17-20 minutes) but it is significantly faster than the Phantom. It comes without the camera as it was made to carry around a GoPro camera. It holds its position based on the GPS information, lacking the visual positioning sensor found on the DJI products. Despite its setbacks, it produces a nice smooth video. The range the drone can achieve is stated at 0.8 mile-much shorter than some on this list but with price to match. If you already own a sports cam this might be the right choice for you.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Speed
  • Video quality

Cons:

  • Shorter flight times
  • Absence of visual position sensors
  • Shorter range

8. DJI Phantom 3 Standard

A good alternative to the pricier models on the list is the tried and tested Phantom 3 Standard, which served as a basis in developing the Phantom 4. Despite the lack of obstacle avoidance system and the LightBridge, the Phantom 3 Standard offers a competitive range (stated at 1mile). It also features the visual positioning system, DJI Go app-allowing it to fly in different flight modes; Follow me, Point of interest and Course lock. Its capable of shooting HD videos which come out just as smooth as its other DJI “relatives”. Definitely a great bang for the buck.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Flight times
  • Video quality
  • Sensors
  • Flight modes
  • Huge community knowledge base
  • Great gimbal

Cons:

  • No 4K video
  • Shorter range

9. Parrot Bebop 2

The Parrot Bebop 2 is the only drone on the list that doesn’t come equipped with a camera gimbal which means all the video stabilization is achieved by the drones flight controller. This results in its inability to pitch up and down, and it makes the footage somewhat less smooth. But not everybody is looking for a Hollywood opening shot quality and would rather need that extra range. Compact and backpack friendly, Bebop 2 is capable of flight times way over 20 minutes and ranges in excess of 2 miles, incorporating GPS assisted flight, follow me mode and way point planning. Quite remarkable for such a small drone at a bargain price.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Flight times
  • Flight modes
  • Excellent range

Cons:

  • No 4K video
  • No camera gimbal
  • Shakier footage

Final Thoughts

We hope this article helped you uncover some of the mystique surrounding the long range drone and that you will find our list helpful in your decision of acquiring a drone that can reach your desired distance. We love to read your feedback, so share your thoughts in the comment section. Let us know if you think there is a drone out there that would deserve to be on this list and your own experience with long range flying.

3DR Solo Drone Review

In 2015, 3DRobotics proclaimed that the 3D Solo had the largest sensor on a drone under five pounds, and over the last few years, it has certainly maintained its place as a front runner for that title. At the time, the Solo carried some of the most spectacular specs in the industry. Today, with DJI and Yuneec constantly improving their products, the competition for who wins the top spot for entry level drone is stiffer than ever. Let’s briefly find out what the 3DR Solo is all about.

What is the 3DR Solo?

The 3DR Solo is an entry level drone that was built for aerial videography. It is highly regarded as one of the best drones, if not the best, at creating accurate maps and data for construction companies to survey pieces of land. It competes with many other drones within its price range in the industry. Let’s take a look at its features and specs.

Features

The 3DR Solo’s manufacturers billed it as the “first drone with a brain”. What they might not have told you is that this flying machine does not have a camera. It does support GoPro cameras, but you need to buy one separately. The cost on these varies depending on your needs.

Another thing an experienced pilot will quickly notice about this drone is that it flies faster than expected. In Follow Me mode – which is one of the four autonomous modes of this drone – the drone will follow the target even if you are in a moving vehicle, as long as the vehicle’s speed does not exceed the drone’s maximum speed of 55 mph. Other autonomous modes include Orbit, Selfie, and the Cable Cam, which allows the drone to fly between two given locations or points. There are other flight options available, but these modes are used the most.

Design and Build

This is where credit has to be given to the manufacturers. The 3DR Solo has a robust design, which gives it the ability to take a fall and not easily lose or damage its camera or other sensitive parts. Made of glass-reinforced nylon materials, they give you the impression that they are not going to break at impact – an impression which they most often live up to.

From experience flying the 3DR Solo, only its propellers, and perhaps a rotor or two, suffer tangible damage when they crash from distances of up to 44 feet. The main aircraft remains relatively untouched.

The Battery

The Solo operates on a 14.8v Lithium battery which generates a current of 5,200 mAh. 3DR claims this battery is expected to keep it in flight for 25 minutes. This seems particularly impressive if you consider the fact that this battery takes about 95 minutes before it is fully charged. This duration is relatively short but cannot be relied on in heavy videography sessions – hence the need for extra batteries.

You will have a hard time seeing this drone in the air if it reaches a distance of about 250 kilometers. At about twice this distance, the drone comes to its maximum flying range beyond which the drone returns home.

Flying the Drone

Perhaps the 3DR Solo earned its place in the hearts of many drone enthusiasts simply due to the ease and simplicity required to fly it. This is largely due to the fact that its controllers perform like a video game controller instead of a regular remote. The brilliance in this design is that users will feel more comfortable piloting the drone.  The controller has two joysticks, which control acceleration and rolls, a “Fly” button, “Return to Home” button, “Pause” button, and a few others.

The 3DR Solo’s interesting flight modes also make it easier for beginners to adapt to it with little practice. This does not still rule out the possibility of crashing it a couple of times as it lacks the obstacle avoidance technology.

Videography

Not much can be said about this drone’s videography as it does not come with a given camera. Most of what you obtain when using it to capture video footage has to do with the type of camera you purchase. Since it allows for future upgrades, it is clear the manufacturers have plans of their own or at least it seems so. This is because there is already a compatible attachment waiting for the arrival of your GoPro.

In The Box

3DR Solo arrives with the following:

  • 1 aircraft
  • 1 aircraft charger
  • 1 Controller
  • 1 controller charger
  • 6 Propellers
  • User manual

Pros

  • Very easy to fly
  • Various auto flight modes available
  • Rigid and durable build
  • Stable flight
  • Camera is upgradable
  • Impressive speed of up to 55mph

Cons

  • Must connect to mobile device before flying
  • No obstacle avoidance technology
  • Charge time for the battery

Setting Up the Drone

After unboxing, the first thing to do is charge the aircraft batteries. Next is to attach the propellers by tightening clockwise or counter clockwise depending on propeller type. Now attach your GoPro cam and download the 3DR Solo’s mobile app on your mobile device. Finally, connect the 3DR Solo to the app and you are ready to fly.

Price

$250 (without camera)

Conclusion

The 3DR Solo isn’t the best drone in the world, but it is a great option at its price. Its build and durability, put together with the simplicity of flying it, makes it stand out from many other options.

Where to Buy Drones

Once reserved only for futuristic visions and tech savvy enthusiasts with deep pockets, drones are a common sight in today's world. The expansion of consumer priced quadcopters and the flood of drone related knowledge has enabled the masses to get a taste of this new exciting technology. Let's face it, once you have seen a drone fly, chances are you entertained a thought of flying one yourself. When that thought turns to desire, compelling you to pick a drone best suited for you, the next lingering question is: Where to buy drones?

Online Stores

Ordering online is what a majority of drone owners have done for a number of reasons. The ease of ordering, finding a great bargain, and having it delivered to your doorstep are just a few of them. Even though going to a store near you is the easier way of getting first hand information, many love to research and learn about their drone on their own. Spending time online discovering things about your craft is an exciting part of the hobby, and we encourage it.   

U.S. Online Retailers

Amazon

The undisputed king of online retail in the United States needs no introduction. Ranking top in customer service surveys, constant innovation in marketing and logistics, great bargains, Amazon Prime, and fast deliveries have helped propel the company to the top of the most successful online retailers in today’s market.

Target

Target is aiming to greatly increase its share in the online retail market. The company decided to sacrifice 1 billion of potential profit within next three years to drive low-margin sales-promising potential great deals on drones.

Walmart

A synonym for the discount store - Walmart, is becoming an increasingly important player in the online retail market. Innovations in logistics, good supply vendor agreements, keeping margins at a minimum, and extra discounts for picking up your order from one of their stores might be the deal you are looking for.

Non U.S. Retailers

Alibaba

Alibaba is a relatively new contestant on the e-commerce market, which makes the fact that it generates more profit than eBay and Amazon combined even more impressive. Their business model is to make earnings off the sellers not the buyer have generated a huge community of loyal customers. Sourcing their products from the biggest supply vendors to small businesses, Alibaba is able to offer you great bargains and should not be dismissed when deciding where to buy your next drone.

Hobbyking

American owned retailer based in Hong Kong had caused a revolution in the radio controlled market in the early 2000's. The decision to move the company closer to a manufacturer and their logistics policy of moving goods as fast as possible are the pillars of the company's success. Crushing their competition with the prices on drones and especially LiPo batteries made them one of the most renowned retailers in the RC hobby community. Their products come without any import dues when you order from one of their local warehouses.

Banggood

The oddly named Chinese company started as a software merchant, which later shifted to e-commerce, dealing with mostly hobby style electronics. It is Hobbyking's toughest competition on the market for lower end drones and electronics associated with them. If you are into DIY, cheap drones, or robotics on a budget, this site is perfect for you.

Local Stores

Despite the trend of retail shifting online, there are still plenty of good reasons for buying a drone at your local store. Be it a local hobby shop or an electronics store, the first hand information you get from the sales person is often the best source for your own specific need. Asking the seller additional questions while actually seeing the product, will save you heaps of time compared to trying to find that same information online. Many sellers will also give you their honest opinion of the product even if risking the loss of a sale.

Conveniency

While shopping from the comfort of your couch and tapping the screen of your phone might be the most convenient way to shop, it is often not the most convenient way to own a drone. Owning a drone means damaging it by hard landings, breaking propellers on tree branches, dealing with malfunctioning components, needing extra batteries, and sometimes more. Finding the right parts for your drone and ordering them online, will take you endless hours. But, if you bought your drone locally, you can just ask the seller for the spares knowing only your drone's model name. Also, if you ever had to deal with returning damaged goods under warranty to an online retailer, you will know the headaches that come along with it. So those few dollars you might have saved finding the bargain online might turn out to be costlier than buying your drone locally.

Asking for a Discount

Another advantage in buying your drone in a local shop is the option to barter in person; do not be afraid or ashamed to ask the seller for a discount. The merchant might have overstocked the product or their sales might be slow, or maybe you’re a regular customer they are keen on keeping - whatever their reason might be to give you a better deal, the worst possible outcome for you is that you buy the drone at its listed price.

Think Globally Buy Locally

By buying your drone locally you support your local community and also help maintain the diversity on the merchant market. Why should you care about that? Diversity means competition and competition drives down the prices. While supporting your community, it helps the store near you stay in business.  Buying online often means delivery times of several days, while going to a store means getting those items the same day.

Things To Consider Before Buying

Cost

Whatever your reason for buying a drone is, think of the cost first. Regardless of the type of drone you're after, the batteries that come along with it will likely not suffice if you are interested in longer trips and less time waiting on a full charge. You cannot have enough batteries if you're a passionate droner! Include extra batteries, props, car charger, spare parts and a storage case (for larger models) as a part of your cost calculations.

Type of Drone

Knowing what purpose you want the drone to serve will make choosing the type of drone much easier. If you only want to try it, out of curiosity, i.e. how it feels to fly a drone, buy yourself a small toy drone. If you're into first person piloting experience and acrobatics, there are plenty of affordable drones available for you.. If your desire is to make breathtaking drone footage, look up drones dedicated to aerial imagery, which have a camera and a gimbal incorporated in their design.

Registration

Flying a drone in the U.S. requires you to register your craft with the FAA if it is between .55 and 55 pounds. Make sure you read and comply with all the regulations involving drones and fly them accordingly (regulations in your country might differ from the ones in the USA).

Research

Most consumer drones have a large knowledge base, users sharing their observations through online message boards, YouTube videos, blogs, etc. Research other people's experience in flying the type you're interested in and don't repeat their mistakes.

Final Thoughts

Deciding where to buy drones could be as time consuming of a task as figuring out the model of the drone you want. We hope this article made your decision easier and saved you some time looking for best places to purchase one. Your opinions, suggestions and questions matter to us, so please share them in the comment section.

DJI Inspire 1 Review

DJI is arguably the biggest name in the world of drone manufacturing today. The Inspire and Phantom series, as well as the more recent Spark, have kept many drone enthusiasts at the edge of their seats. In tune with the most recent developments in the industry, DJI continues to improve the features in their drones.  One such drone that embodies these many features is the DJI Inspire 1.

What is the DJI Inspire 1?

The DJI Inspire 1 is a robust, user-oriented drone, designed to give a performance that is amongst the best. While anyone can purchase this quadcopter, it is most suitable for individuals who need a consumer level drone that can perform expert functions related to aerial photography and taking 4k video footage.

Build and Design

Right of the bat, the DJI Inspire 1 looks like one of the most durable drones on the market today. Its size can be intimidating – especially to newcomers in the world of drone flying. But expectations of anything less from a quadcopter that was built with hard carbon fiber, metal, and plastic would be silly. So this is not the type of drone you would easily place into your backpack.

With brushless motors and negligible resistance by wind when in flight, DJI claims this drone can achieve a whopping 49 miles per hour. At this speed, you should feel confident in your ability to capture any quick moving object. This is possible because of its bundled remote, with which the pilot can easily rotate its camera 360 degrees, return it to the ground in case of emergency, and watch live feeds of the drone’s field of view from your mobile device.

Video Quality

This is the most outstanding feature of the DJI Inspire 1. Its videography features easily make it one of the leading camera drones in its category. The sheer ability to control its camera independently – with a separate remote – means that two users can pilot this drone at the same time. While one flies it to desired angles and locations, the other captures the purest, crispest, possible footage. The obtainable video quality is 4K as the drone’s rigid build allows for great mid-air stability.

It is quite easy for the pilot to adjust camera elements such as exposure and white balance to adjust for the current weather. At the end of a video recording session, the pilot can download the clips with a smartphone while the original clip remains in the 16GB SD card that comes with the quadcopter.

General Performance

It is easy to be impressed by the DJI Inspire 1 once it’s in flight. The sheer availability of the GO app to both Android and iOS devices makes you want to take your quadcopter on a new adventure. However, the multiplicity of options makes the GO app quite daunting for beginners to master. Thankfully enough, DJI has included the Beginners Mode, which helps beginners fly within a smaller area. On mastering the app, the beginner can exit this mode and enjoy the DJI Inspire 1 to its fullest.

It might give you some respite to know that the DJI Inspire 1 automatically flies back to the exact spot it took off from in the event that the battery becomes very low or there’s a disconnection from its remote. This prevents both loss of your drone in air and potentially dangerous collisions. The company claims 20 minutes of flight time. The difference in obtainable flight time can be attributed to climatic conditions and drone activity.

In the Box

In unboxing the DJI Inspire 1, you will find the following:

  • The aircraft
  • 1 camera and a gimbal
  • 1 remote controller
  • 4 propellers
  • 1 5700 mAh battery for flights
  • 1 battery charger
  • 1 user manual
  • 1 ND filter
  • 1 16 Gigabyte micro-SD Card
  • 1 power cable
  • 1 remote controller charging cable
  • 2 micro-USB cables
  • 1 harness
  • 1 carrying case
  • 1 camera & gimbal carrying box

Pros

  • Can record video in 4K
  • Cameras can rotate 360 degrees
  • Great operating range
  • High maximum speed
  • Camera is removable and can be replaced
  • VPS functionality for flying indoors
  • Durable body built with carbon fiber
  • Has a portable carrying case
  • Separate remote controllers for flight and camera

Cons

  • Very big and not portable
  • Very expensive
  • Not ideal for beginners

Price

DJI: $1,999

Conclusion

In a nutshell, the DJI Inspire 1 parades a professional level body design and a great camera to go with it. As a company, DJI loves to take things one step further. While this drone was supposed to help users take good pictures or selfies from afar, DJI couldn’t help but ensure the videos the Inspire captures are very sharp, and their photos more brilliant than its competition. At $1,999, the price is on the high side for a consumer level drone of its type, but it might just be worth your money if you are looking for something far from ordinary.