Holy Stone F181C RC Quadcopter Drone
Why we like it: The Holy Stone F181C RC Quadcopter drone is ideal for beginners who want to learn the ropes but are also looking for quality.
The F181C is undoubtedly one of the best drones for beginners, particularly at this price point. While it has enough advanced features to keep expert pilots happy as well, this is best suited for those who are just getting started.
So, what makes the F181C such a good option for beginners? Well, to start with, it arrives at your doorstep almost completely assembled. All you have to do is to screw in the prop guards and landing gear which really shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. The company has even provided a screwdriver to help things along. Then, there is also the fact that the drone weighs around 14 ounces, meaning that you don’t require FAA registration to be able to fly it.
The other advantage is that flying this drone is quite simple. There are four speeds to choose from and beginners can opt for the lowest one until they have become used to the process. To add to this, the controller looks and functions a lot like a game console controller, making it relatively easy for anyone with previous video gaming experience to work it. You should be able to get a flying time of about 8 minutes when it is fully charged, along with a range of about 50 to 100 meters.
Of course, what really matters is how the drone flies. One of the features that really stands out with a drone of this price is the Altitude Hold Function. This ensures that the drone remains at the current height even when you let go of the throttle. The Headless Mode is also great for beginners as it corrects the course of the drone, ensuring that the drone’s right and left always aligns with yours. What’s truly fun about the F181C is the 3D flip feature that lets you flip the drone in four different directions. The other piece of good news for novice pilots is that the drone can be ordered to return to you with the press of a button.
While there is no doubt that this could be the best drone under $100, the F181C is not without its faults. Perhaps the main inconvenience is to do with the camera features. First, there is no first person view so it can be difficult to determine just what it is you are photographing or recording from the air. Second, the quality of the camera is quite poor which means that your footage is not nearly good enough for professional use. Last but not least, despite the 6-axis gyro technology, the drone isn’t sufficiently stable to capture non-blurry footage.
- Easy to fly for beginners
- Altitude Hold function
- Has flip feature
- No first person view
- Camera is of poor quality
- Inefficient cleaning modes
TOZO Q1012 X8tw RC Quadcopter Drone
Why we like it: The TOZO Q1012 X8tw drone offers up exciting features such as easy handling and FPV for both beginners and experts alike.
What stands out about the Q1012 is that it is a great drone for pilots of all stages. So, regardless of whether this is your first time or umpteenth time flying a drone, you will find something to keep you entertained.
Now, not only is the drone easy to setup, it is actually foldable. This means that although you are getting a medium-sized drone, it has the portability of a mini or pocket-sized drone. If you like to travel, this drone is going to come in handy. Its low weight also means that you don’t have to go through the additional trouble of an FAA registration process.
What makes the Q1012 ideal for beginners is obvious from the very start. This is the one-button takeoff and landing feature. Even if you have absolutely no experience in flying a drone, you will be able to take to the air without any problems at all. Then, there are the three variant speeds. In the initial stage, the drone is very easy to control although it doesn’t fly that fast. Once you have mastered this, you can pick up speed although this requires you to have better control over the drone. The final stage is where the drone offers superior performance but also necessitates a skilled and steady pilot.
The drone is also equipped with both Headless function and an altitude-hold feature. These add to the ease with which you can fly the drone, particularly when you are trying to get it back to you. As you can see, it has something for everyone.
What takes the Q1012 up a notch, though, is the fact that it is equipped with first-person view. See, the camera picks up the images and you are able to view it on your phone. In fact, instead of saving the images and video on an SD card, the drone transmits it to your smartphone. Of course, depending on your opinion, this could either be a good or bad thing. The camera can be described as being average at best so you shouldn’t expect professional looking images or video.
The main drawback with this drone is its inability to stay on course when there is wind blowing. This, of course, is hardly surprising considering how little it weighs. Nonetheless, it can still prove to be quite frustrating. Apart from that, the only other real complaints are that the range on this drone isn’t that great and even when fully charged, you can’t expect it to be able to fly for too long.
- Very affordable
- Works well for beginners and experts
- FPV mode
- Altitude hold function
- Average quality images
- Poor range
- Short flying time
- Difficulty staying on course when windy
Altair Aerial AA108 Drone
Why we like it: The Altair Aerial AA108 drone is great for beginners and experts alike, offering numerous features including decent flying time, good video, and FPV.
With the Altair Aerial AA108 drone, you may have to extend your $100 just a little bit. However, it is completely worth it if you do, since you get an abundance of features for just a slightly higher price. This is definitely a middle-of-the-range drone.
The first thing that should be discussed regarding the AA108 is how easy it is to fly. Well, the good news is that the drone caters to both novices and professionals. This is because it comes equipped with three flight skill levels. So, although you can get started with this drone, it also has enough of power to help you go faster and higher, the more skilled that you become. With a flying time of almost eight minutes on each battery, this is good news.
From a beginner’s point of view, it is actually quite easy to learn how to maneuver the AA108. This is mostly because of how small the drone is – in fact, this works well indoors too while you are practicing your skills. Its size is also what allows for faster and sharper turns, making it less likely that you will crash it. However, the controller can be a bit difficult to use since it has a rather slick and sleek design that makes it rather slippery.
What’s great about this drone is that it has all of the modern features that you could possibly need. This includes the headless mode and altitude hold feature. You can even take off and land the drone with the help of a single button.
Now, the first-person view can often make taking pictures and recording video with a drone a great deal easier. This is why it is great that the AA108 offers it. Speaking of the camera, the manufacturer touts a 720p feature. While you may not actually get the same level of HD as with a smartphone, the camera is actually quite good. This, however, is as long as you maintain a slower speed otherwise the picture tends to get a bit choppy. It may not be the best cheap drone for photography but it will definitely make the list.
The AA108 also has a lot of useful features that aren’t typically found at this price range. For instance, there is an emergency stop function that shuts off the motor before you crash into something. So, depending on how high up the drone is, you could actually end up avoiding serious damage. Another beneficial feature is the out-of-range alarm that lets you know when the drone is getting a bit too far away from you.
- Extended flying time
- FPV feature
- Altitude hold feature
- Emergency landing and out-of-range alarm
- One button take-off and landing feature
- Images and video can get grainy at higher speeds
- Slipper controller
Force1 F100 Ghost Brushless Drone
Why we like it: The Force1 F100 is one of the better affordable options for flyers who are looking for better flying and camera quality.
Let’s face it, if you want the best cheap drone for filming or photography, you are going to need to increase your budget a little bit. So, if you are willing to spend upwards of $100 on your drone, the F100 should be a top choice for you.
Since the focus on this drone is the photos and video, let’s start there. Now, the drone comes equipped with its own HD camera which is able to capture footage in 1080p format. As such, you can expect some pretty high-resolution footage. In case, you aren’t happy with what the F100 has to offer you, you can simply use a GoPro Hero 3 and 4 since the drone is equipped with the mount. Unfortunately, these are the only GoPro’s that the mount accepts.
Of course, you still might have some trouble capturing the shots that you want. This is because the drone is equipped with additional stabilization features to prevent it from moving around. Also, because there is no first-person view, it can be tricky to see precisely what you are videoing until later on. The good news is that the stabilization issues should work themselves out once you have become more skilled at flying the drone.
Now, it isn’t just the camera that you are paying extra for – the F100 boats a brushless motor design. Simply put, this allows the drone to be more powerful while also remaining more efficient. This increases your flying time considerably, allowing you to get around twice what is expected of other cheaper drones. Not to mention, you get two batteries with the drone which doubles your flying time again. The F100 also has a much greater range and you may be able to control the drone up to 500 meters away!
The drone has two modes built into its programming. There is a slower option for beginners, making it easier for them to control the drone. The faster option makes it more fun to try out various spins and tricks on the F100. The more advanced control allows for just enough power to keep even experienced flyers entertained.
One of the more annoying features of this drone is actually to do with the charger. Once plugged in, you can expect your drone to take up to two hours sometimes to fully charge up. This means that you can’t fly your drone as often as you might like. Apart from that, this is possibly the best drone under $500 for you.
- Good quality camera
- Suitable for beginners and experts
- Longer flying time
- Greater range
- Easy to do tricks
- Extensive charging time
- No FPV
- GoPro camera mount for only Hero 3 and 4
QCopter Quadcopter Drone
Why we like it: The QCopter Quadcopter drone has plenty to offer both children and adults with excellent control, FPV, and extended flying time.
One of the main downfalls of most drones under $100 is that the flying time is too short. The best that you can hope for is several minutes at a time before the battery runs out and your fun has to come to an end. Well, with the QCopter, you can enjoy yourself for a little longer. Not only is the battery able to power the drone for longer, you also get an additional one for free. This typically amounts to close to half an hour of flying time. Considering the price point of this drone, it’s quite impressive. However, the downside is that it takes the batteries longer to charge.
The other thing that makes this drone a good buy is the fact that it is equipped with first-person view. The images or video that are captured can be instantly viewed on your smartphone. If you prefer for the images to be stored on the drone, then you have this option as well. It may not be the best drone for photography but you will certainly be able to get some decent shots and video out of it.
The QCopter is a good choice for beginners and perhaps even kids. This is because it is quite easy to get a handle on flying the drone with only a little bit of practice. The gyro feature adds some much-needed stability to the drone so that you don’t waste as much time and energy keeping the drone steady. Another reason that novices will find this drone useful is that it comes with a crashpack included. You no longer have to go searching for the pieces and parts that you need, should your drone happen to crash into something.
Crashing is quite possible for newbies since the drone has a tendency to drift off course in the wind. So, unless you are quite skilled at flying the QCopter, you may encounter some issues in the beginning. Even when you are more experienced, it is best to avoid heading out into stronger winds.
The drone offers just as much excitement in the nighttime as well. The QCopter has more LED lights than most other drones which makes it quite visible against the night sky. Sure, the FPV will not be useful at this time, but it is certainly a fun option, nonetheless. You will just need to remember that the lights contribute to the draining of the battery so you will need to cut your flying time short if you are keeping them on.
- FPV mode
- Extended flying time
- Easy to fly
- Great for nighttime flights
- Decent camera resolution
- Drifts off in wind
- Batteries require longer charging time
DBPOWER MJX X400W FPV Drone
Why we like it: The DBPOWER MJX X400W works well for intermediate users that are looking for additional features like real-time transmission.
The X400W is touted as being a good choice for beginners but depending on who is flying it, that is debatable. See, this drone has a bit of a learning curve, not to mention, a controller that does take some getting used to. As such, it may not be the optimal option for a starter drone.
What makes this drone such a great buy is the first person view and the real-time transmission that comes along with it. All of you have to do is to sync the drone up to your smartphone and you will be able to see exactly what it sees. This comes in particularly handy for photography or video enthusiasts.
Unfortunately, there does appear to be some lag time between what the drone is capturing and the images that appear on your phone. This could prove to be a problem with photographs. Still, at this price point, it is a welcome feature.
The camera is actually quite decent although you can’t expect the same resolution or clarity as your smartphone. Still, it is enough to keep most hobbyists happy, even if it can’t be used for professional purposes. The camera and its features drain the battery somewhat so the expected flying time of about ten minutes can sometimes be halved.
Apart from this, the X400W flies like a charm, once you have figured out how to control it. In fact, it is so responsive that this is one of the few drones that you can fly indoors as well. Now, the drone has two speed features with the lower one being for beginners and the higher one reserved for experts. This all or nothing approach can be a bit tricky when graduating from one speed to another.
One of the features that will prove to be useful for novice pilots is the headless mode, which makes it easier to maneuver the drone. When this mode is initiated, you can also activate the one-key return function, ensuring that you will not lose your drone while you are getting used to flying it. There is also the additional fun option of being able to flip the drone with relative ease.
The thing that you need to be careful with is flying this drone in even mild winds. It is quite light and has a tendency to fly off course and it can be difficult to gain control over the drone again. It is best to keep the drone inside during less than ideal weather.
- FPV mode with real-time streaming
- Responsive controls
- One-key return home
- 3D flip feature
- Takes a while to learn how to use it
- Strays off course in winds
- Lag time during real live streaming