Drone Buying Guide

Buying Your First Drone: 4 Things You Must Keep in Mind

You’ve probably seen unmanned aerial vehicles flying across beaches, parks, and other open spaces and promised that you’ll get yourself one of them. After all, with these devices’ modern elegance and high-tech capabilities, who wouldn’t want to have their very own drone?

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However, deciding on what is the best drone to buy isn’t exactly a walk in the park. With the sheer number of options available nowadays, you might find yourself dazed, confused and unsure about what you’ll buy. But don’t worry; by knowing what to look for, you can choose a drone that best fits your needs and preferences. Some of the factors you should keep in mind include:

PURPOSE

Before hitting the shops, decide what you’re going to do with your UAV. Doing this is important so you can pick a make and model that can help you accomplish what you want to do and give you great value for money.

For instance, if you want to hone your flying skills, get a basic model like the Parrot Rolling Spider and the Syma X5C. These mini-drones are equipped with durable bodies which can withstand crashes (which are inevitable since you’re still practicing) and can last for a long time. If you’d like to take aerial photos or short films, on the other hand, it’s advisable to get a reliable quadcopter with a high-performance camera (such as the DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus).

FEATURES

Once you know what you’re going to do with your drone, you need to determine the features you’d like to have. Different makes and models come with different specifications, so do your research and look for a gadget that has most (if not all) of the features you’re looking for. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Cameras ― Some models have moderately decent photo-shooting capabilities, such as the Hubsan H107C with its 0.3MP camera. Others, meanwhile, are on the upper end of the spectrum and are designed with better equipment, like the DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus with its 14MP camera and HD video recording abilities.
  • Battery life ― Many drones nowadays have a battery life of around 10 to 12 minutes, which is plenty enough for most practice sessions or flight missions. More modern UAVs, however, boast of 25 minutes’ worth of flight time.
  • Mobile app ― Some drones come with a smartphone applications, while some don’t. If you want to see what your UAV records in real time and adjust its camera settings in a quick and efficient way, buy one that comes with an app.

SIZE AND WEIGHT

Since you’re still starting out, experts recommend that you opt for smaller and lighter drones, which are easier to control than their bigger, dinner table-sized counterparts. Studies have also found out that UAVs with a smaller mass are more resilient and don’t get easily damaged, which means you can practice to your heart’s content and won’t have to worry about your drone’s condition if you’ll crash it into a tree. Of course, once you’ve mastered the basics and are more confident with your skills, you can move on to bigger and better drones.

BUDGET

Shopping for drones is similar to buying other kinds of consumer electronics: you need to find a balance between cost and quality. If you purchase a drone with a price that’s too good to be true, it probably is and might end up getting completely damaged in just a week. But there’s no need to break the bank since there are lots of higher-end units that are offered at slightly high but still affordable prices. Basic gadgets like the Syma X5C and the Swann QuadStarship are offered at around $60 to $80, while modern makes and models (such as the 3DRobotics IRIS+ and the DJI Phantom 2) will set you back around $800 to $1,100.

Keep these tips in mind to find the right drone for you!

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