Best Drones 2017 – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

I wont lie;

Finding the best drone for your specific need is hard.

There are just too many drones in the market right now…

… so we decided to review 137 of them and come up with a list of the best drones of 2017.

The list is divided into categories; with the best UAV in each category listed.

These are the best drones of 2017!

 

DroneFlight TimeControl RangeMax SpeedVideo Resolution
DJI Inspire 227 mins7 km94 km/h5.2K/4K
DJI Mavic Pro27 mins7 km65 km/h4K
Yuneec Breeze 4K12 mins0.8 km18 km/h4k
Walkera Furious 2158 mins1.5 km120 km/h600TVL
Hubsan X4 H107C7 mins100 meters16 km/h720p

DJI Inspire 2 Review – Best Filmmaking Drone

DJI Inspire 2 - Best Filmmaking droneThe DJI Inspire 2 is by far the most expensive consumer drone on the market right now…

… and thats where its cons end.

It features the best obstacle avoidance system of 2017. I actually spent most of my time trying to crash with little success.

This UAV is a must-have if you want to venture into filmmaking. It can record videos of upto 5.2k and works great even in low light conditions.

Its intelligent modes also make it easier to shoot complex scenes.

Here is a sample movie shot using the DJI Inspire 2!

Features of the DJI Inspire 2

  • Comes with Apple ProRes; which is a lossy video compression format developed by Apple Inc. That means that your 4K and HD videos use very little space.
  • Has a maximum speed of 94 km/h ( 54MPH ) – While not as fast as most racing drones; it is still faster than most of it’s competitors. To be fair, racing wasn’t it’s target use.
  • Goes from 0 – 80 km/h in only 5 seconds.
  • Can fly at any temperature due to the self-heating technology. That means you can still shoot your movies in the winter.
  • Has a maximum flight time of 27 minutes which puts it ahead of other quadcopters its size.
  • Comes with a dual IMU and Barometer for increased reliability.

DJI Inspire 2 Modes

  • ActiveTack – Enable this mode to follow a single object. The drone will keep it in the camera frame even if the object is moving.
  • Return to Home – The drone can return to where it was launched while avoiding obstacles at the same time.
  • Broadcast Mode – This allows TV directors to stream what the drone’s camera is capturing directly to the TVs.
  • TapFly – Tap a point on the controller’s screen and the drone will fly directly to the given point in the real world.
  • Waypoints – Set Multiple points and the aircraft will fly to them while you focus on the camera.
  • Point of Interest – Set a given object as the point of interest and the plane will continuously circle around it.

 

DJI Inspire 2 Cons

This quadcopter does not come with its own camera so you will have to buy your own before you can make use of its 4K lens.

You will also to purchase a DJI License key separately in order to use the Apple ProRes and CinemaDNG.

DJI Inspire 2 Specs

Material Magnesium shell with carbon fiber arms.
Props Length 15 inch
Thrust Per Rotor 2kg
Max Speed 94kph
Max Flight Time 27 Minutes
Battery 2 self-heating Batteries of 98Wh
Signal Frequency 2.4GHz / 5.4GHz
Controllable range 7 km
Ports Extension Port, USB Port, HDMI Port
Images 20.8 MP

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DJI Inspire 2 Official Video

DJI Mavic Pro – Best Portable drone

DJI Mavic ProThe DJI Mavic Pro is the most portable drone of 2017; thanks to its foldable technology. It can easily fit in your backpack.

This UAV comes with 4 Extra propellers, a 16 GB Micro SD card, Remote Controller and 3 DJI batteries. This means that whenever you crash you can always replace some of the parts that come with the drone.

You can easily edit and share the photos that you take on social media. However; it’s video editing functions are limited and won’t replace photoshop anytime soon.

The DJI Mavic Pro is probably the best drone under $1000.

DJI Mavic Pro Features

  • Offers basic video and photo editing along with instant sharing to social media.
  • Can be flown via a smartphone or using it’s external controller.
  • Dual Technology – Uses dual IMU and batteries in case of emergencies.
  • Obstacle avoidance system. This means you won’t be crashing your drone soon.
  • It can fly itself thanks to it’s superior machine learning systems.

DJI Mavic Pro Modes

  • Gesture Mode – Control the drone and take pictures using gestures. For example; wave at the drone and it will focus on you.
  • Sport Mode – Turns on peak performance. This will however drain your battery.
  • Dynamic Return to Home Mode 
  • Tripod Mode Best for beginner flyers or when you want to take precise cinematic shots.
  • ActiveTrack
  • Profile – Select an object and the drone will fly alongside it.
  • Trace – Instructs the drone to fly behind, infront of or circle a subject.
  • Selfie Mode – Same as gesture mode but specifically for taking selfies.
  • Terrain Follow
  • Tap-Fly

DJI Mavic Pro Cons

The only problem about this drone is that it has a relatively small field of view.

This might or might not be a problem depending on your intended usage of the drone; but if you really want to make professional grade movies and videos; then you are better off getting a Phantom 4 Pro or the Inspire 2.

DJI Mavic Pro Official Video

DJI Mavic Pro Specs

Dimensions9.8 x 9.7 x 4.5"
Weight734 g
Gimbal3-axis (pitch, roll, yaw)
Battery50 mA3830 mAh LiPo 11.4 V
Controller7 km (line-of-sight). 2.4 to 2.483 GHz Frequency
Images12 MP
Video ResolutionUp to 4k
Max Speed65 km/h
Flight Time27 minutes

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Yuneec Breeze 4k Review – Best Selfie Drone

Breeze 4kThis flying camera weighs less than 1 pound and is small enough to be carried in a backpack.

It allows you to take 4K UHD videos or 13MP photos; apply filters and then upload them to your favourite social network. All from your drone.

Thats just the tip of the iceberg;

Its fully autonomous. This means that you can use this drone without knowing how to fly aerial vehicles. Simply let Breeze 4k fly; control it using you Android or iOS device and it will automatically land when you are through.

Playing a sport or driving your new bike

Just press a button to enable Follow Me mode and Breeze will automatically follow you wherever you go.

Want to take a 360 degree video; Orbit mode got you covered.

The drone even comes with a selfie mode that lets you take great portrait photos.

Thanks to the return-to-home feature; the drone automatically comes back to where it took off whenever there is no signal.

Features of the Breeze 4K

  • Has Propeller Protectors which prevent the propellers from coming in contact with you.
  • Ultra-portable. It weighs less than one pound and has foldable propellers.
  • Quick battery charging time of 30 minutes.
  • Easy to share photos and videos on social networks.
  • Ready To Fly.

Yuneec Breeze 4k Modes

  • Selfie Mode – The drone auto-positions itself so that it can snap the perfect selfie of you and your friends.
  • Pilot Mode – This allows you to manually control the drone.
  • Orbit Mode – Similar to DJI Inspire 2’s Point of Interest mode.
  • Journey Mode – Let’s the drone fly away from you then come back.
  • Follow Me Mode.
  • Return to Home.
  • Hover Mode.

Yuneec Breeze 4K Cons

  • No Image Stabilisation when using the 4k Mode.
  • The Controller and Propeller protectors are bought separately.

Yuneec Breeze Pro Video

Yuneec Breeze Specs

Dimensions 196 x 196 x 65 mm
Max Speed 18 km/h
Max Flight Time 12 Minutes
Battery 1150 mAh LiPo
Controllable range 0.8 km
Images 13 MP

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Walkera Furious 215 Review – Best Racing Drone 2017

Walkera Furious 215Being a good drone racer is great.

Having a good racing drone is great.

But when you have both?

Thats when you go Usain Bolt and dominate all races.

This article will teach you how to become a better drone racer; while the Walkera Furious 215 gives you the power needed to win.

The Walkera Furious is a FPV RTF Brushless Motor racing drone that moves at a top speed of 120 km/h.

You can replace any part of this UAV with even better components to squeeze out extra speed…

… and leave your competitors in dust.

This is how it feels like to race a drone!

Features of the Walkera Furious 215

  • Very fast. Moves at a top speed of 120 KPH which can be increased by replacing some of its components.
  • It comes with a HD Camera that supports night vision.
  • Has an integrated microphone.
  • Comes with 4 spare propellers.
  • It’s stable center of gravity makes it easy to take corners and change direction.
  • Huge Field of View ( FOV ) of 130 degrees.

Walkera Furious 215 Cons

  • The battery is bought separately and is only 1300 mAh ( Worse than what you will find on most smartphones ).
  • Long charging time of 2 hrs.
  • Very short flying time of 8 minutes. Most drones it’s price fly for more than 20 minutes.

Walkera Furious 215 Specs

Weight 375 g ( excluding batery )
Wheelbase 215 mm
Propeller 5 inch
Max Speed 120 kph
Max Flight Time 8 Minutes
Battery 13 mAh LiPo
Camera Lens 2.5 mm
Controllable range 1.5 km
Signal Frequency 2.4 / 5.4GHz
Power supply 5 – 17 V
Power supply 8 x 1.5V AA battery
Dimensions 16.80 x 20.90 x 7.15 cm
Material Carbon fibre

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Walkera Furious 215 Official Video

Hubsan X4 H107C Review – Best Toy Drone

Hubsan X4 H107CThe Hubsan X4 H107C is a mini quadcopter made of plastic; with a 720p HD camera and a stylish LCD transmitter.

Not the best HD quality but for a price of less than $60; it represents value for money.

It is an RTF. This means that you can fly it immediately after unboxing it. No need to mount anything.

Better still is the fact that it comes with spare propellers in case something happens and you crash.

This UAV is not stable and therefore cannot be flown in windy places.  Its best to keep it indoors.

It also has  a maximum flight time of 7 minutes; which is the lowest among the all drones in this guide.

The poor quality camera can only record up to 720p videos. To put it in contenxt; the DJI Inspire 2 records videos that are 16 times clearer than this. Things get worse in poor lighting conditions.

Lack of gps means that we won’t be enjoying features such as autonomous flights and dynamic return to home.

To be fair; this drone costs less than $60.

Hubsan X4 H107C Specs

MaterialPlastic
Dimensions70 x 70 x 60 mm
Max Speed16 kph
Max Flight Time7 Minutes
Battery3.7 V LiPo
Signal Frequency2.4GHz
Controllable range100 meters
Video Resolution720p
Images2 MP

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Ultimate Drone Buying Guide

Here are the things to consider when buying a new drone;

  1. Price. Toy drones cost less than $150 dollars and should be treated as such. Toys.
  2. Target use. This determines whether you end up buying a racing drone, selfie drone etc. No size fits all.
  3. Your flying skills. If you are beginner; make sure you get a drone that has gps. Cheap drones lack sensors and will be a pain to fly. You also dont want a very expensive drone in case you crash.
  4. Weight of Drone. If you buy a UAS that weighs more than 0.55 pounds; you will have to register it with the FAA.

Before you dive deeper; you should know some of the following drone vocabularies:-

  • UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Another name for “drone”.
  • UAS – Unmanned Aircraft System. Same as above.
  • RPAS – Remotely piloted Aerial System.
  • Gimbal – A pivoted support that allows the rotation of an object ( in this case a camera ) about a single axis. This makes it easy to take pictures at different angles.
  • RTF – Ready to fly out of the box.
  • ATF – Almost ready to fly drones. You only have to attach propellers, camera etc before you fly.
  • Drone Kits – A kit containing parts used to make a DIY drone.

Types of Drones

  • Quadcopter – Also known as quadricopter or quadrocopter. This is a UAV with 4 rotors positioned on a horizontal plane.
  • Mulicopter – A drone with multiple propellers.
  • Hexicopter – Most stable. Has six props.
  • Octocopter – Has 8 blades.

Finally

Generally; make sure that the drone you buy has safety features such as GPS and dynamic return to home. If your drone lacks GPS; you can try using a standalone GPS tracker such as the Flytrex Live 3G.

That way; it will fly back to where it took off incase the battery runs low or signal is lost.

You will also want to keep of the cheap plastic models. They perform poorly in harsh weather; are hard to fly and rarely last more than a month.

Generally; if I had to chose …

… I would buy a DJI Mavic Pro. Its brings a premium feel at a great

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