With the rise of blogging and travel vloggers, it’s easy to see how drones have become increasingly popular, especially amongst budding professional photographers and videographers. Depending on the drone you buy, you can get incredible picture quality with full HD cameras and even 4K video footage. Buying the right drone can be challenging because there are so many high-quality drones on the market. Each offers different picture quality, shooting quality, controls, GPS, Wi-Fi and many more features making it hard to make the right decision.
There are all kinds of different drones around, that buying the right one completely depends on what you want to use the drone for. If you are interested in using it for photography or videography then a good camera and picture quality is a must. If you wish to use your drone as a hobby then it would be a waste of money buying a drone with a quality camera.
Here we have made the job easy and created a comprehensive review of the best drones for this year.
- 1 What is a Drone?
- 2 Features:
- 3 Best Budget Drone
- 4 UDI U818A
- 5 Syma X5C Explorers
- 6 Cheerson CX-10 6Axis Mini Quadcopter
- 7 Best Mid-Range Drone
- 8 DJI Spark Drone
- 9 Parrot BeBop 2
- 10 3DR Solo Aerial Drone
- 11 Best High-End Drone
- 12 DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Drone
- 13 DJI Phantom 4
- 14 Yuneec Typhoon H
What is a Drone?
A drone, or a UVA, is an unmanned aircraft usually associated with its role in the military in situations deemed too risky for a person to fly or enter. Today, drones are widely used for all sorts of purposes, being used by hobbyist and even companies, like Amazon and Google, who are developing a way to use drones to deliver packages to their customers. Facebook even want to use drones to deliver internet signal to remote parts of the world.
Aside from companies using drones, most people are interested in using them for their amazing bird’s-eye view shots and smooth video quality which is why they are super popular today.
- Cameras – most drones are equipped with HD cameras mounted to the base. They can take high-quality pictures and videos but not all drones camera quality is the same.
- GPS – drones that include GPS can actually follow you around as you move, meaning you can say goodbye to old-fashioned remote controls. This is better for those that are not looking to fly drones as a hobby. They can be thrown into the air where they will follow you wherever you go.
- First Person View – glasses that mean you can see more from the drone’s camera. Though first-person view is available, these are not compatible with all drones yet, but it is a good indication of where drones are heading in the future.
- 4K footage – 4K shooting quality offers the highest level of picture and video quality for photographers and videographers. Though many drones offer this, be wary of going for 4K because laptops and computers may not be 4K compatible. Again this is soon to be where technology is heading so take this into consideration when buying a drone.
Best Budget Drone
Best Drone for Beginners
If you are new to drones, then the UDI is the one for you. It’s durable and won’t fall to pieces if it crashes making it a suitable model for beginners to learn the basics. It includes a 640 x 480-pixel camera with video capabilities. For under £100, you get camera quality and a sturdy drone to learn with, without the worry of breaking or losing the drone. At that price, it isn’t going to be the end of the world if it falls into a river or smashes. The rotors are protected by the four loop protectors, ensuring they stay intact if the drone crashes. If the rotors are damaged when flying they are super cheap to replace. It comes with a built-in, 0.3 megapixels camera that can shoot at 30fps. Obviously, this is not a professional quality style camera but it is really decent for its price.
- Includes camera
- Easy to fly
- Don’t need to register drone
- Only has 8 minute flight time
- Can’t control the drone with a smartphone
The Syma X5C Explorer comes fully assembled, cutting out some of the legwork before you can use it. For this very reason, it’s perfect for beginners. With a 720p HD camera and around 30 mins of video time, this drone is especially good for those who wish to take up flying as a hobby. Perhaps the most surprising feature of the Syma is the picture quality. Coming in at less than the UDI U818A, the quality is so much better, and is probably the best that you can get for below £100. It’s cheap and cheerful and probably the best drone you can get for that price. Though the Syma X5C Explorer is cheap, it still offers surprisingly good picture quality, making it a great choice for beginners to learn to pilot.
- Good picture quality
- Comes assembled
- Flight time is short (around 7 to 10 minutes)
This little drone is making it onto our list for being the cheapest drone out there. It’s a miniature drone with a flight duration of around 4-8 minutes. It can charge in 30 minutes and it’s super sturdy to learn how to pilot on a budget. The Cheerson doesn’t come with a camera, but what do you expect for that price. If you’re looking to practice and start learning to become a drone pilot, or just looking to use droning as a hobby, then this is the perfect drone for you. At £10, I wouldn’t think it would matter if this drone got lost or fell in a river making it the perfect drone for beginners.
This miniature drone comes with three flight mode speeds and a throw to fly feature. To get the drone moving simply throw the drone into the air and it will stabilize and begin flying making it a great option for beginners.
- Cheap (£10)
- Easy to fly
- Small and easy to store
- Throw to fly feature
- Doesn’t have a camera
- Only flies for 4 to 8 minutes
Best Mid-Range Drone
Best Mid-range Drone
How could we have a drone review without mentioning the biggest brands in drones? The DJI Spark Drone is a quality model offering a range of different features and best of all, incredible picture and video quality. It comes with 1080p, 12 MP camera with a 3-axis stabilization gimbal, providing you with stunning picture quality every single time.
This model is easy to fly and even has an intelligent flight system. Capable of automatically handling the most complex aspects of safe operation, it comes with GPS and GLONASS and so is aware of its exact location wherever you decide to fly. The DJI Spark is easy to fly and even helps you by processing information from every sensor on the drone to take care of the complicated parts of flying. This is hands down one of the best mid-range drones available and is great for both videographers and hobbyists alike.
- Intelligent flight system
- Easy to fly
- Live HD view
- GPS and GLONASS
- Affordable price
- Short battery life
- Camera cannot be removed
The Parrot BeBop 2 is a great drone aimed at beginners. This drone is the best option if you are looking to buy a drone that the whole family can get involved with because it is durable and sturdy and so won’t fall apart if it has an unexpected crash landing. The Parrot BeBop 2 does come equipped with a camera although the picture and video quality is not the best. This drone is small and compact making it easy to transport wherever you go. The Parrot BeBop 2 rucksack is not a bad accessory for those that like to travel. The bundle offers immersive first-person view with cockpit glasses, allowing you to stay at the forefront of the action. It has a flight time of around 25 minutes and has follow me features for ease of flying.
Though this is a great drone, if you are looking for picture quality then the DJI Phantom 3 may be a better option. At around the same price as the Parrot BeBop 2, you will get unbeatable picture quality with many of the same features.
- First person view
- Follow me feature
- 25-minute battery life
- Includes camera
- Poor picture quality
- No option for removable camera storage
The 3DR Solo Aerial Drone is a clever drone that actually lets you stream live HD GoPro footage to your iOS or Android smartphone while you fly. This is a great feature but unfortunately, this drone does not include a camera so this will need to be bought separately. The 3DR is compatible with the GoPro Hero 3 and GoPro Hero 4.
This is a smart drone meaning you can control both the copter and the camera with the 3 axis gimbal available, again sold separately. The Solo comes equipped with a 1 GHZ computer system and Pixhawk flight controller that powers the Wi-Fi hub, ensuring your drone stays connected for the duration of your flight. This drone offers lots of features like follow me, orbit, cable cam and selfie features to ensure you get the best shot every time. Though the 3DR Solo is a mid-range drone, it is perfect for skilled fliers or beginners, thanks to its simple controls and flight assistance.
- Follow me feature
- Equipped with 1 GHZ computer system
- Live streaming capabilities
- Camera sold separately
- Need a mobile phone to fly
Best High-End Drone
If you are looking for the best drone to shoot video and photos, then the DJI Mavic Pro will have you covered. This is a game changer for those looking for incredible footage every single time. It’s a small and compact drone making it easy to carry. But don’t let its small size fool you because there is a high level of complexity lying underneath the Mavic’s matte exterior. It comes with a 12MP camera and is 4K ready, shooting up to 30FPS. It can fly up to 40 mph and has a battery life of around half an hour, which is impressive for such a powerful machine. It includes GPS and GLONASS and even has object avoidance sensors mounted to its exterior, keeping your drone safe and flying. This is, without a doubt, one of the most popular models of DJI Phantom and it’s easy to see why.
- Includes camera
- Shoots in 4K
- Obstacle avoidance sensors
- GPS and GLONASS
- Slightly less agile than the DJI Phantom 4
- Reflection off of the plastic camera guard can remove if it is interfering with video or photo quality
DJI Phantom is very well known within the drone community, probably because they are such amazing drones offering unbeatable quality and a superb flying experience. At the top of any drone enthusiasts list is, of course, the DJI Phantom 4, the ultimate favourite for both beginners and intermediate users. Coming in at just under £1,000 the DJI Phantom 4 is a very good all-rounder drone. Controls are simple and make flying the drone easy and picture and video quality are impressive, with a full HD 1080p 4K camera. The TapFly feature allows you to fly with the tap of a finger and is equipped with object avoidance sensors. It also comes with an integrated gimbal for greater camera stability and smoother footage while flying. The Phantom 4 can fly for around 28 minutes and is a must-have for all drone enthusiasts (if you have the money of course).
- Shoots in 4K
- 1080P camera
- Integrated gimbal
- Flight time of 28 minutes
- Easy controls
- Full of handy features
- Actual flight time is a little less than 28 minutes, instead flying around 23 minutes
- Fixed camera
The Yuneec Typhoon H is one of the best aerial camera drones available. It comes equipped with six rotors, a 360-degree gimbal, stabilized 4K camera with 12MP still shots and GPS navigation system, perfect for aerial photographer enthusiasts, whatever your flying level. IT comes with an automatic return to home features and orientation control with its ultrasonic sensor at the front of the body. This helps the drone to detect large obstacles and offers precise control when flying. The Yuneec Typhoon H is ready-to-fly straight out of the box with it’s built-in, 7inch touchscreen controller and intelligent flying capabilities. This clever machine even offers Geo-Fencing, to restrict possible flight patterns. This makes the hexacopter lock-in to a user-defined radius of the pilot, ensuring safe flying at all times. First person view is also available with the Yuneec Typhoon H.
- Smart drone
- First person view available
- Geo-Fencing capabilities
- Touchscreen controller
- 360 degree gimbal
- Full HD camera
- Object avoidance sonar only capable of detecting objects from 5ft away, the drone doesn’t have enough time to stop before a potential collision
So there you have it. These are the best drones for 2018, whether you are a beginner or a professional pilot. What drone do you think you will buy and why? Let me know in the comments below.