Check out the updated version of this post: https://dronelife.com/2015/10/15/more-amazing-drones-under-1000/
With tax season well under way, millions of people will soon find themselves with a little extra money in their pockets. The average tax refund in 2014 was $3,116, and is expected to rise to $3,295 in 2015.
For UAV enthusiasts, a fatter wallet may launch into an upgrade from good to great. A nice tax refund can make a higher-end drone fly into the realm of the possible.
With that in mind, here are five drones in the “under $1,000” range that can help you celebrate a windfall from Uncle Sam.
IRIS+ by 3D Robotics
3D Robotics offers a top-of-the-line, GoPro-ready UAV in its IRIS+ model. IRIS+ features the amazing Pixhawk autopilot system that enables agile, autonomous flight, thanks to its two-axis gimbal. Although it doesn’t ship with a GoPro, users can order a Go-Pro Hero3+ Silver HD camera as an option. The IRIS+ boasts an Automatic Mission Planning mode in which pilots can chart a predetermined flight plan using an Android device with the free DroidPlanner app. $750
Phantom 2 by DJI
If you’re looking for a higher-end UAV, look no further than the Phantom 2. The drone offers semi-autonomous flight patterns and longer flight times than the first generation of Phantoms. It includes the Naza-M V2 GPS controlled autopilot system which features “position and altitude hold as well as the ‘return to home’ failsafe.” With a 2.4 Ghz Remote Control Receiver (with a range of 1 km), speeds up to 15 m/s (horizontal) and 6 m/s (vertical),a 5200mAH LiPo battery capable of a flight time of 25 min, high Intensity LED lights under each arm and self-tightening propellers, the Phantom 2 ranks highly in the ranks of the mid-priced market. $579
Bebop by Parrot
In November, Parrot introduced the Bebop drone, their third-generation quadcopter. The Bebop is equipped with a full HD 14 megapixel camera stabilized on a 3-axis framework. It combines numerous sensors that give the drone extensive stability and easy-to-use piloting via Wi-Fi with a smartphone or a tablet. An add-on Skycontroller provides a Wi-Fi extender which can be used to provide extended flight range. The new model boasts eight times the battery life of the flagship AR 2.0. The Bebop is also more muscular in memory, featuring a Parrot P7 dual-core CPU, quad-core GPU and 8 GB of flash memory. The Bebop can be paired with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, $500.
180 QX HD RTF by Blade
Blade’s 180 QX offers SAFE technology that enables a diversity of flight modes. This can limit the UAV’s angle of direction relative to flight control and in lower modes prevent rapid changes in altitude or direction. This makes the 180 QX more difficult to crash and results in stable image capture. The RTF model comes standard with an E-Flite lightweight camera. Its adjustable lens captures the 720p HD video footage as well as still image photographs at 1.3 mg. The 180 QX has flight capability of 5-10 minutes, $190.
The Pocket Drone RTF by AirDroids
The Pocket Drone is billed as the “perfect” UAV for aerial photography. With a maximum payload of a half-pound, the Pocket Drone can reach a maximum speed of 35-40 mph. According to AirDroids: “The Pocket Drone includes an advanced autopilot and a ‘follow me’ mode, and can be piloted via a 6-channel transmitter (included with the RTF version) or by compatible Android devices.” $599
This post has been updated. Check it out here: https://dronelife.com/2015/10/15/more-amazing-drones-under-1000/
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.