With the holiday season only a few weeks away, you may one of the millions of people considering asking for/giving a drone as a gift this year. If you simply Google “best drone” you may be alarmed how how expensive these machines can get.
This is why we have compiled this helpful list of quality UAVs that fall below the $1,000 mark.
Solo by 3D Robotics
3D Robotics offers a top-of-the-line, GoPro-ready UAV in its Solo model. Thanks to 3DR’s information portal, the Solo might also be the easiest drone to fly on the market. Although it doesn’t ship with a camera, the Solo’s smart gimbal is designed with Go-Pros in mind. The gimbal also enables some autonomous camera movements. You can check out our full review of the Solo right here.
Phantom 3 Standard by DJI
The most affordable of the DJI’s Phantom 3 line, the Standard includes the best proprietary camera on a drone you can get for under $1,000. While the controller may be closer to the Phantom 2’s rather than the Phantom 3’s, the drone itself is noticeably more stable than its predecessors. The Phantom 3 Standard is also the cheapest DJI drone fully integrated with the new DJI GO app which is chock-full of camera setting and features the should prove extensive enough for even the most passionate photographers. Read our full review here.
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. Check out our full review here.
Ghost by EHANG
The Ghost drone is a perfect introductory UAV because it combines both manual and autonomous flight controls with its mobile app. Available for iOS and Android, the mobile app allows users to pilot their drone with a traditional controller layout (similar to the Bebop) but it also includes a point-and-fly function that lets users tell the drone where to go, leaving them free to work on capturing the best aerial photos. The Ghost comes in a variety of colors and configurations, most for under $1,000.
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.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com