Updated 12th October 2017
The spirit of Christmas is approaching fast, and we’re just about to enter the period where anticipation and excitement of the gift-giving tradition will reach its peak! The drone industry has blossomed tremendously over the last decade – with more and more big manufacturers entering the arena of drones, it’s getting harder and harder to resist the temptation to cruise your own little aircraft above your neighborhood!
We’ve all got that one friend or relative who are just crazy about these cool gadgets and take every opportunity they can to keep you up to date on the latest trends in drone racing or aerial photography.
If they’re a keen hobbyist or a beginner who’s been waiting and saving for their first drone – catch them off-guard this year by surprising them with their very own new model. Imagine the smile you’ll bring to their face this year when they’re unwrapping their gifts and find a shiny brand new drone to race around on Christmas day!
In this special Christmas themed guide, we’ll bring you the low-down on our picks of the best drones broken down into price brackets – so if you’re buying for a first-timer, or an experienced enthusiast, we’ve got you covered!
Cheerson CX-10 mini drone is one of the world’s smallest drones that come with a fully functional remote controller and camera. With 12 grams of weight, this mini-aircraft is made with superior ABS plastic and can record videos and photos from its 0.3-megapixel camera.
The controller is heavier to allow easy maneuvering for the operator, and individual buttons are set for capturing of images and videos with a single click. Powered by 1.5V AAA batteries, this remote also has sensitivity adjusters and joysticks.
It is ideal for beginner drone lovers, looking for a way to develop some handling skills on a flying mini-aircraft. You should not expect superior features and professional aerial photography from this drone, but it is perfect for learning and drone hobbyists.
Very quick and responsive.
Reasonably priced and highly portable
Short range of the remote controller
Flight time of only 2 minutes
Not stable in heavy winds and camera quality is average.
Hubsan X4 H107 was a drone that became immensely popular among the beginners in the drone industry.
Hubsan upgraded this quadcopter with a new version that has FPV mode, and X4 H107D became world’s smallest FVP drone with a 0.3-megapixel camera. With a transmission of 5.8 GHz, the chances of losing connection and latency are uncommon. Even with the inbuilt camera, this drone weighs only 57.8 grams and very handy.
The eyes of your drone-enthusiast friend will twinkle when they’ll see the amazing FPV flights in real drone view with Hubsan Video Goggles. This drone might be challenging for beginners, but with little practice and patience, this drone can deliver some surprising results.
It is incredibly durable and can survive small crashes onto surfaces like trees, buildings, and even footpath.
Live drone footage viewing on the transmitter.
Directly records flight video to SD card, which is very convenient.
The camera doesn’t offer any peripheral vision that makes it difficult to operate with FPV function.
The 0.3-megapixel camera records some little fuzzy shot, but it is easy to take video footage.
JJRC is one of the most active drone manufacturers in the industry and releases great products throughout the year. In the drone world of beginners, it is hard to get by without mentioning JJRC drones.
JJRC X1 is not only one of the many brilliant drones that this company has under its name, but it is also the world’s cheapest brushless motor quadcopter. The motor is also much more powerful and durable than the other under $100 drones, and can fly as far as 400 meters – amazing control distance for a drone in this price range!
With a flight time of 15 minutes, the recipient of your generosity can explore the land from high above this Christmas holiday.
Disassembling and maintenance is easy and less time-consuming.
Has an incredible range of 400 meters
It is compatible with a cheap FVP platform, Syma X5C FPV kit.
LEDs are tiny and are useless during night-time.
No camera or gimbal system on the drone.
Parrot drones are popular and one of the favorites of many drone professionals around the world. This aircraft has a unique design, which is highly different from traditional drones and is considered as a beautiful hovering machine.
This Parrot drone does not come with a remote controller; instead, you can maneuver your drone using an Android or iOS device when connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot, which is generated by the drone itself. You can use your phone or tablet to control it through a free app, AR.FreeFlight and enjoy the real-time video transmission on the device’s screen. This app also updates the firmware of the drone, with which you can upload videos and photos.
The built-in camera provides a quality video transmission of 720p HD and the lens has a wide angle, which is better to take aerial shots. It has another wonderful feature; a Director Mode that lets you program automatic movements of the drone to give you more time to focus on your video.
This is by far the best drone that you can buy under $200.
Easy to use controls and better aerial photography experience.
Automatic movements control through Director Mode.
Highly durable and can take a crash like a champ.
Replacement parts are easily accessible.
Excellent customer care service by Parrot.
Wi-Fi is required to control the drone and sometimes connectivity issues are experienced.
Walkera QRX350 Pro is no doubt an improved version of Walkera QRX350 and has shown tremendous development on their biggest flaws.
The drone is easy to fly and has a great user-friendly design, which can make stronger wire connections and has a better construction. The controller has an FPV screen, which streams live footage from the drone’s camera and has a range of 2 kilometers. The controller is equipped with easy to fly buttons, which makes the whole flying experience even better for the operator.
You can buy DEVO-10 to extend the range of the remote controller even further if you think the recipient of your gift knows how to fly drones to great distances.
Comes with a highly functional and great DEVO-M GPS remote controller.
The battery is powerful and gives a flight time of 25 minutes per charge.
GPS is inbuilt with the transmitter, which allows the drone to access satellite information and return home safe in case of low battery.
Gimbal can get difficult to connect too and may become a tedious task for intermediate drone flyers.
The instructions are not easy to understand, and this drone is not recommended for beginners.
One of the Parrot’s recent drones, Bebop 2 is a quadcopter that has a fantastic inbuilt 14-megapixels camera that will record 3072p resolution and 30 FPS.
This drone is loaded with some of the most incredible features like autopilot, GPS, brushless motors, return to home functions, and a sky controller remote compatible. This drone is made with ABS plastic and heat-resistant material, which makes it lightweight and impact resistant.
Whoever is lucky enough to receive a high-performance quad like this Parrot, will squawk with joy when they tear open the christmas wrapping paper!
It will give you a longer flight time, as the battery life is now longer.
The lightweight structure and premium ABS plastic.
No heavy gimbal system required stabilizing aerial videos and images.
The touch screen controls lack sensitivity, and the camera is prone to lens flare.
DJI always comes up on every wish list of drone lovers around the world. Phantom 3 Standard is one of the most affordable high-end drones in the market and shares some incredibly impressive features with its siblings.
Even though this drone was designed for beginners, it is still considered complicated for someone who has no prior knowledge about quadcopters. This aircraft has a higher level of control and can be maneuvered by DJI app, to assist professional aerial photographers and experienced pilots.
When the controls are complicated, the learning curve becomes steeper and more time-consuming. Learning every mode is necessary to experience every advanced feature of the drone with ease.
If you think your loved one has some knowledge of how a drone works and is good with technical aspects, then this is the best drone to give them as a gift this Christmas.
You can set up the drone easily to fly.
It has some advanced GPS features like waypoint navigation and follow me mode.
You can get advanced control on the drone’s camera with DJI Go app.
The highly stable 3-axis gimbal system can take world-class photos and videos.
You have to keep the software regularly updated, as the drone will not operate without the latest update installed.
It has some “no fly” zones.
There is no GoPro version for this drone.
Expensive upgradable batteries and replacement parts.
3D Robotics drones have been made their mark in the drone industry in the recent years with their unique and technologically advanced quadcopters.
3DR Iris+ is a drone that has a large footprint, humongous remote control, and angular lines. This drone doesn’t come with a gimbal system or a camera, which will give you the option of adding your favorite aerial photography setup to get the best out of this drone.
A pilot can use a wide range of remote controllers like Android or iOS device through an app, or a nine-channel radio transmitter with a screen for telemetry data display. There are many neat features like automatic take-off and landing by pushing a button. It also has a Mission Planner Software, which allows you to map your flight and draw out the intended path.
The design is crafted in a way to give greater camera angle for better aerial shots. The arms and legs are made of lightweight Zytel nylon and crash resistant material, which won’t increase the payload of the quadcopter. It is loaded with a high-performance 32-bit Pixhawk autopilot system, which will run real time NuttX operating system and sensors. ST Microelectronics sensors
It also has many incredible flight modes such as ‘Follow Me’, where the drone will follow you wherever you go and is a great “selfie” trick. With a flight time of 22 minutes and powerful motors, your loved one will get some of the best experience of flying a drone.
Easy adjustment of GoPro camera settings on the controller
Great wind resistance
Best flight planning software
No additional parts are available
Yuneec Typhoon H is known to have great specifications and can take some fantastic aerial photography. This drone has six rotors instead of four, and it only needs five to make it fly.
If your drone enthusiastic friend loses one rotor for some reason during a flight, the drone will automatically recognize the problem and will initiate the home return function. It has a highly functional 3-axis gimbal system that can swivel 360 degrees. The landing gear is also durable and is designed to effectively retract the flip of a switch, to help you take effortlessly great shots.
This hexacopter has a built-in obstacle avoidance tech, which allows the drone to avoid obstacles in low light and even complete darkness. But, it can only detect obstacles when they are approaching towards the nose of the drone. The propellers of this drone are foldable, which gives it a unique look but can become most vulnerable in case of a crash.
Apart from all the stunning features, Yuneec Typhoon comes with its own dedicated controller that is designed to give you a true drone pilot experience. This transmitter includes knobs, buttons for every function, 7-inch touchscreen for telemetry data display, live video streaming, and many flight mode buttons. You can actually think of the controller as two, and use one for the onboard 4K camera and other for maneuvering.
This drone requires a learning curve and is recommended for a seasoned UAV pilot. There are two piloting modes: Angle Mode, which allows you to trigger movement of the drone relative to its nose’s direction and Smart Mode, which allows you to maneuver regardless of the nose’s direction. The camera of the drone can shoot 4K at 30 frames per second video or 1080p at 60 frames per second, and 12-megapixel stills.
The 360-degree camera offers an unobstructed view for your aerial photography.
The dedicated touchscreen controller offers many great features and allows FPV droning.
It has many great intuitive autonomous flight modes.
Great features for the price range.
DJI has taken a step forward with their latest Mavic Pro release. It is a portable quadcopter that can fold up into a small package and comes loaded with all the popular DJI drone features.
The aerodynamic airframe and ultralight structure weigh only 743 grams, and it is half the size compared to other mighty drones. Mavic Pro is the first drone that is small enough to be thrown into a backpack and comes with the elitist features for an expert piloting experience.
The two front arms swing back into a folding position while the rear limb flips down, which creates a compact structure that you can carry anywhere. You might wonder about the small size, but this is not the case with Mavic Pro. You may slightly lose on the speed with this smaller drone, but you can still achieve a maximum speed of 40mph in sports mode. The drone flies steadily even when it faces high-speed winds and can stay connect to the transmitter for up to 4.3 miles.
Mavic Pro has inbuilt camera and gimbal system, which are non-removable. The camera records 4K video at 30 frames per second, and 1080p footage at 96 frames per second. It can take 12-megapizels still and can stream your live footage on social media channels like Facebook and YouTube. The gimbal can turn the camera to 90-degrees for portraits and capture tall architecture in the air.
The remote controller of big drones can get intimidating, even from expert pilots, but with Mavic Pro remote, you can control this pocket rocket with ease. The built-in screen can be partnered with iPhone 6S and later versions of a DJI app, to take the full advantage of the gimbal controlled camera. You can snuggle your smartphone at the bottom part of the controller and unhinge the side panels to hold the remote. Release the two antennas on top, and the control setup will be ready!
With gesture controls, maneuvering this drone is now easier than ever.
App-only accessibility allows better use of gimbal camera.
Compact design for easy portability.
There is no doubt about the popularity and fine production of DJI drones. DJI Phantom 4 is one of the latest and elitist drones in the market, which is designed for professional aerial photographers and expert UAV pilots.
This quadcopter has DJI’s new Obstacle Sensing System (OSS) and a highly streamlined design, which works great for intermediate learners as well. This drone has a front optical sensor that will act as the eyes of the drone and will stop and hover within 0.7 to 15 meters of an approaching obstacle. For most parts, the drone can avoid crash and bumps with fences, buildings, and even cars. These sensors can protect you from occasional bumps, but there are no guarantees in case of reckless driving.
The shell of the Phantom 4 is shiny and sports a glossy white finish, while its motors stand tall with a quick release propeller mount. The controller of the drone shares the same white finish and is much identical to Phantom 3. It has buttons and switches to manage various functions and mode of the drone.
The camera can record 720p HD video and can take 12-megapixel still images, which makes it a fantastic choice for surveillance and aerial photography.
Obstacle Sensing System to avoid a head-on collision.
Slow motion video to an already excellent camera.
Tablet or phone necessary with a controller.
Landing gear and camera are non-removable.
Walkera’s latest drone is a drone that comes with attractive features like a ready-to-fly kit and double rotor count.
It can lift twice as much as any other quadcopter in the market and the sleek designs add more points to its pros. It has a unique waypoint mission planning feature that allows users to plan their flights before takeoff. You can program up to 128 waypoints for the drone to cover on your journey.
The Over the Horizon feature is a great advantage for photographers looking to capture stunning aerial shots of mountain peaks and skylines. The quadcopter is compatible with iOS and Android devices, to get instant telemetry information and record live footage. The remote controller offers a smart device holder along with backup power supply to allow longer flight time for X4. The DEVO 12E transmitter gives out powerful signals and is loaded with buttons to access any mode instantly.
The drone is also loaded with follow me mode, to avoid losing your Scout X4 during a flight. The follow record track feature allows the drone to automatically come back to its takeoff point when the back button is pressed.
The multipurpose plane is the most important feature that allows a user to convert the four motors machine to eight motors, which will increase the power and will enable it to carry heavier loads. The multi-axis control system gives the pilot better maneuvering abilities, to capture never before aerial shots. The iLook camera allows the drone to capture stunning 1080 pixel images from its 3-axis gimbal system from different angles, without getting blurry.
It has great stability in high-speed winds with help of its multi-axis control system.
The structure is highly durable and safe during rough landings.
The 3-axis gimbals help take stable aerial footage and stills.
It is slightly bulkier than its rivals, due to eight motor ability.
We’re lucky this year to have so many incredible drones which fit all budgets to help you make that special someone’s Christmas all the more memorable this year – Happy shopping!
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