Drones are more than glorified tech toys that have evolved from just a hobbyist project to mini remote-controlled vehicles that offer anything from selfies or stunning aerial shots of the beach for your YourTube channel, or for fighting fire and even delivering groceries. And thanks to sophisticated collision sensors and high-quality cameras, drones are becoming more integral in our lives – provided you‘re ready to spend some cash.
But before you make an investment, we’ve listed the top five drones that should save up for, to capture those epic landscape aerial footage for your travel, hobby or work.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
With its high-quality images and videos and excellent battery life, we can see why DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the market leader.
Despite having a large sensor, this drone is easily portable and travel-friendly thanks to its foldable design. You get a 20MP 1-inch sensor that can shoot 4K videos as well as RAW stills at 30fps. Also, there isn’t a need for ND filters because of the adjustable aperture between F/2.8 and F/11.
The bottom of the drone houses obstacle detection and positioning sensors, which honestly surprised us with its accuracy. The intuitive Control Panel is easy to use and has a wide range of shooting and flight modes.
Although with the latest Mavic just announced by DJI, the Mavic Air 2, it could be an affordable alternative that might be worth waiting for.
Pixel Resolution: 20MP
Flight Time: 31 minutes
Control Range: 11 miles
Parrot offers two extremely popular drones – the Parrot Anafi and Parrot Bebop 2. We, however, decided to go with the former because of its greater control range and 4K support for sharp videos.
This consumer camera drone has a 21MP camera packed in a sleek plastic body. Its 180-degree vertical tilt gimbal lets the drone shoot overhead as well as from below, looking up. In addition to the common features of folding propeller arms and folding propellers, it has functional modes that can be particularly good for clicking selfies.
One major shortcoming here is the absence of an obstacle avoidance feature. Parrot quickly needs to look into this if it wants to stay in the race.
Pixel Resolution: 21MP
Flight Time: 25 minutes
Control Range: 2.5 miles
Zero Zero Robotics VCopter Falcon
What instantly sets the VCopter Flacon drone apart is its compact folding bicopter design that promises to give you 50 minutes of flight time.
The drone’s low-noise propellers boost the overall stability and are attached to the main body by tilting arms. It has a 1/2.3 inch 12MP CMOS sensor that is stabilized by a 3-axis gimbal. And yes, it offers 4K video too.
The front-facing obstacle avoidance sensors are efficient and can track subjects. The built-in flight modes give it the ability to take cinematic JPEG and RAW photos.
Pixel Resolution: 12MP
Flight Time: 50 minutes
Control Range: 4.5 miles
Autel Robotics EVO 2
In its bid to establish itself as a pioneer in the consumer drone market, Autel launched the EV0 2. As one would expect, this drone tries to eliminate any shortcomings of its predecessor, EVO.
It has a maximum transmission range of 9 km, a 45mph speed, and 40-minute flight time. This combination makes it one of the most impressive drones on the market right now.
Further, you can choose from three powerful variants: EVO, EVO 2 Pro, and EVO 2 Dual. Each one of these has a unique camera setup catering to specific needs. For example, the EVO 2 Pro has a 1-inch sensor that can shoot 6K video with an adjustable aperture. On the other hand, the EVO 2 Dual has a FLIR Boson sensor and an 8K camera.
An 8GB internal storage, powerful AI technology, obstacle avoidance sensors, and subject tracking features are the other pros.
Pixel Resolution: Up to 48MP
Flight Time: 40 minutes
Control Range: 5.6 miles
Skydio 2 is faster, compact, and versatile with upgraded battery life compared to the first Skydio to make it more functional.
Best known for its AI self-flight system, Skydio returns with improved guidance systems that claim to dart around (or through) densest foliage and minimize crashes. The Skydio 2 also offers subject tracking software that’s capable of continuing to follow and lock onto a subject that’s left the frame, even if that subject is running behind some trees.
The 4K60 HDR camera and 3-axis gimbal give you one of the best video quality. Although as with most drones these days, the Skydio 2 can be flown with a smartphone, we’d recommend using a different type of controller altogether – Skydio Beacon remote. This alternative controller, which resembles a miniature Roku remote, enables you to just point and click to navigate the drone. Flying a drone couldn’t be simpler.
Pixel Resolution: 45MP
Flight Time: 23 minutes
Control Range: 2.2 miles