Best Drone / Quadcopter Reviews & Guides 2016

best drone featuredDrones and quadcopters are one of the coolest things you can buy right now but they are quite new to the market which means it can be difficult to choose the best drone for you. When you look online and in-store there are a wide range of buying choices and new ones are released all the time as the technology advances. In the future we will see some very advanced models flying around which should have very impressive battery life and photography capabilities but which is the best quadcopter you can get your hands on right now?

That question is not easy to answer because it depends on your budget and also how serious you are about this hobby. The DJI models are the most advanced out there, especially their brand new offerings like the Phantom 4 with an Ultra HD 4K camera. However if you are just looking to have some fun and play around with a new toy then there are budget models like the UDI U818A which really is a joy to fly but isn’t for a professional photographer for example. Ultimately the right way to make a decision is to sit back, take some time and read through some drone reviews.

Top 10 Best Drone Comparison Table

QuadcopterFlight DurationCameraStreaming?Our RatingPrice
dji-phantom-4DJI Phantom 428 minutes4K Ultra HDYes
typhoon-h-4kYuneec Typhoon H22 minutes4K Ultra HDYes
autel-robotics-xstarAutel Robotics X-Star25 minutes4K Ultra HDYes
DJI Phantom 325 minutes1080pYes
DJI Inspire 1DJI Inspire 118 minutes1080pYes
3DR Solo Drone25 minutesGoPro Sold SeparatelyYes
DJI Phantom 225 minutes1080pYes
DJI Phantom15 minutesnot includedNo
Parrot AR.Drone 2.036 minutes720pYes
Latest UDI 818A HD7-9 minutes720pNo

Things to consider

These days you will find that not only are hobbyists, amateur photographers and casual users buying drones but also professionals. These people realize just what they can offer to their business whether they are a real estate agent or work in surveillance. It doesn’t stop there though, aside from the US military there are other huge organizations that have flight plans for them. Amazon sees a future where their packages are delivered using flight and already have big plans for this with Amazon Air. Could it be that one day everything you order could be delivered by these machines?

Build Quality

This is where you get what you pay for, the more expensive quadcopters normally have a pretty sturdy build though you should check individual reviews for specific issues. Whilst on the other hand, those cheaper things you see are not real drones but more like little toys you can fly around. If that is what you are looking for then go ahead but don’t expect a serious piece of kit or that it will last a particularly long time. If you are investing a lot of money then you should expect your drone to be made from premium materials and be able to handle changes in winds and temperatures when in flight. Remember that fancy features are only worth it if the drone is going to keep going after frequent flight sessions.

Power

Drones use batteries to run as opposed to gas which is often used by large RC airplanes and helicopters. This means it is easier for the user but battery life is still fairly short with most models because of the amount of tasks they have to carry out. It is important to know that it’s not all about size when it comes to judging the battery life. Just like laptops, some quadcopters are more power efficient than others. This generally depends on their weight, for example a small drone with a small battery will probably last for as along as larger drone with a high capacity one. Ultimately to increase flight time it’s a good idea to have a spare that you can swap out and get back in the skies again. It’s not unusual for the serious hobbyists to have many batteries hooked up to power supplies at a time. These guys don’t mess around!

Methods of Control

It’s becoming more and more common and almost standard now that the higher end drones have the ability to be controlled from a smartphone or tablet. This is achieved by either a cellular, WiFi or bluetooth connection. At this stage it my not be ideal for all users because you may not have a smartphone with a strong enough antenna to keep a stable connection with the quadcopter. If you do some research and read reviews you should be able to easily find out whether your drone can work well with a smartphone when in flight, and your one in particular.

Of course the standard way to control the quadcopter in flight is to use an radio control handset. This has been used for many decades for RC devices and it still works very well, you won’t have problems with keeping a connection with your drone (though they are designed to come home if there is). Some people also prefer a more hardware way of controlling their flyer rather than moving their fingers on an LCD screen, it can be more intuitive.

Ease of Assembly

Unless you are a serious hobbyist and veteran of assembling your own model boats, cars, helicopters etc then it’s better to choose a drone where the amount of user assembly is minimal. This is for your own benefit as there is less than can go wrong, it is similar to the argument people might use when comparing Macs to PCs.

How easy is it to replace parts?

If you’re just getting into flying drones then expect at some point you will have an accident and something will get broken. Don’t fret it, if you have chosen one which has many parts available then you can often get it fixed pretty easily and cheaply. Though you should also anticipate that eventually you have an engine or rotor issue which needs replacement. This happens to the best aircraft in the business so it’s perfectly logical that it can happen to yours too. If you choose one of the most popular models you will have no problems finding the parts that you need to get yourself in flight again.

Top 10 Drone Reviews

DJI Phantom 4

DJI Phantom 4 QuadcopterThe Phantom 4 is one of the best drones on the market today. It has tons of features that will provide you with hours of entertainment. Designed as more of a professional choice, this model has high-grade features that will allow you to take stunning videos and photos. Let’s a take a deeper look at this amazing Quadcopter.

Features

  • GPS: This model has built-in GPS and will take off and return home automatically which will help you focus on filming instead of flying.
  • Camera: The camera system on has the ability to capture 4K ultra HD video at 30 fps which is truly amazing.
  • Stabilization: This unit has stabilization technology that will allow it to hover in place allowing you to capture high-quality footage.
  • Director software: It also comes with editing software that will allow you to make your videos pop!

The Good

It has an amazing camera system that will capture high-quality video at lightning speed. One of the features that people love most about this model is its ability to take off and return home all based on a GPS flight plan. This can be programmed by the user which makes flying fun and easy.

The Bad

There are not many things bad that you can say about this model. But the only real drawback is the price. If you are looking to only spend a few hundred dollars, then this is not the one for you. While it is not overly expensive, it is a little higher priced than most recreational models. But if you are looking to capture professional footage, then the this one is the perfect model. It can be used to capture all types of events which makes it very versatile and professional grade.

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Here’s an introduction to this model:

Yuneec Typhoon H

Yuneec Typhoon HOne of the latest drones on the market today is the Yuneec Typhoon H. This very versatile model was built from the only the highest quality materials and has been integrated with cutting edge technology. Today we are going to learn more about this drone and why you too should think about owning one.

Features

  • Stability: This drone is one of the most stable around. It uses top-notch stabilization software so that your videos and pictures will always be of high-quality.
  • Camera system: The Yuneec Typhoon H has a full 360-degree camera system that will allow you to capture footage in all directions. This means that you will not have to reposition it in order to get the shot.
  • Easy to use controller: A touchscreen controller makes it easy to fly. This handheld controller will give you full control over the drone making it very fun to use.
  • Autonomous flight modes: This model comes standard with autonomous flight modes that will allow the drone to return back completely by itself, taking off and coming home. This feature is powered by GPS.

The Good

This model has plenty of features that make it a powerful tool for taking videos and photos. It is fun to use and if you are a professional videographer, this is the perfect model for your business. It will also fly completely on its own making it easy for you to capture the most epic footage without having to lift a finger.

The Bad

The only real downside to owning this drone is the battery system. While it lasts a very long time, it also takes a while to fully charge. This might be a turn off to some people, but if you remember to charge the batteries ahead of time, you should not run into any issues.

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Watch the clip below to see the Yunee Typhoon H in closer detail:

Autel Robotics X-Star

Autel Robotics X-StarThis drone has been around for a while now and has stood the test of time. Many people have already purchased it and most of them simply love it! It has a ton of features that many top-level models have but all for a fraction of the cost. Today we will learn more about why so many people are raving about the Autel Robotics X-Star.

Features

  • Dual GPS/GLONASS outdoor navigation: Both of these navigation systems allow users to program the drone for automated flight. It has the ability to take off and return home all on its own which is amazing!
  • A 12MP camera system: This drone has a powerful camera system that records in 4K Ultra HD which will let you take stunning video and photos in a blink of an eye. Nothing will get past this drone’s camera system!
  • Top-rated control: One of the best controllers on the market today, this one comes with an LED controller with one-touch buttons for ease of use.
  • Powerful battery: This model comes with a strong battery that will allow you to fly up to 25 minutes before having to come in and recharge.

The Good

This drone has one of the finest camera systems around with the most features. But unlike some others on the market, you won’t have to break the bank to buy it. A powerful battery allows you to go longer between charges which is great for those events that last a while.

The Bad

The bad thing about this drone is that it does not support large SD cards. The Largest SD card that can be used with this model is 64 gigs. This could limit your recording time depending on usage.

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See how the Autel Robotics X-Star performs mid-flight:

DJI Phantom 3

DJI Phantom 3 standardWhen you are looking for a drone that gets the job done without having to take a loan out at the bank, this is the one for you. While it’s not technically considered professional grade, it still has a lot of bells and whistles that you can use to capture amazing footage. Let’s learn more about this model.

Features

  • GPS navigation: When you are trying to capture high quality video and photos, sometimes you need help. This one will do just that by automatically flying it for you.
  • A strong battery: This model has one of the most powerful batteries around. It will allow you to fly around for up to 25 minutes without having to worry about recharging it. This is great for recording weddings, parties and other social events.
  • Live streaming at its best: This drone will give you a bird’s eye view by live streaming up to a half a mile away by using your smartphone or tablet.

The Good

It has a super powerful battery that allows you to go for up to 25 minutes without having to come in for a recharge. It has a helpful GPS navigation program that will let the drone fly itself so that you can focus on taking videos. You will also be able to live stream up to one half mile with the use of your phone.

The Bad

The camera system is limited to filming in 2.7K HD. For those who are professional videographers, this might not be enough speed to get the job done properly. So you should consider this before making a purchase.

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Watch this hand-on review of to see how it performs:

DJI Inspire 1

DJI Inspire 1The DJI Inspire 1 is the cream of the crop when it comes to drones. This is simply one of the ultimate models out there. Professional grade, it comes ready to fly and record right out of the box. If you are a professional videographer, this is the one for you. Today we are going to learn why so many people who take professional footage choose this model.

Features

  • The perfect camera system: This unit comes with a 4K HD camera with a full 12 megapixels.
  • Real-time feed: The real-time feed option allows you to stream live using your smart device. This is perfect for sharing your recordings with your friends and family via social media.
  • A durable gimbal: This model comes standard with a camera gimbal that will help provide you with plenty of stability.

The Good

If you are looking for a professional grade drone that has an amazing camera system, this is the one! Not many have this many professional features right out of the box. A very strong 4K HD camera that sits on a durable gimbal will allow you to capture the highest quality footage of your lifetime. If you are a professional videographer or if you take filming seriously, this system can help you achieve greatness.

The Bad

Because of all the features, the size is somewhat larger than other drones. In fact, this model weighs in at 15 pounds. Its weight can make it harder to carry around especially if you are accustom to using lightweight drones. But if you are willing to get over this issue, it is one of the best that money can buy.

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Watch this clip below to see what the experts think of the DJI Inspire 1:

3DR Solo Drone

3DR Solo DroneAnother very nice drone, the 3DR Solo does a great job of capturing high-quality videos. But this model does not cost an arm and a leg. Very easy to operate, the controller that comes with it is inspired by a gaming controller. This will make flying super easy especially if you are a person that loves to play computer games. But what else does this new drone have to offer you?

Features

  • Game-like controller: A gaming inspired controller makes flying this drone fun and easy. Quick push button controls allow you to snap photos and start recording right away without having to jump through a lot of hoops.
  • Twin computers: It is powered by two super-fast computers that will make controlling this model a breeze. In fact, it is the first consumer drone with a brain!
  • Gimbal is very compatible: The gimbal allows you to attach your GoPro quickly so that you can start recording right away. But this gimbal will have to be purchased separately from the model.

The Good

The 3DR Solo makes flying fun with its game inspired controller. Push button controls allow you to quickly start recording so that you will never miss a shot. Not many models can offer this much ease of use. Two very powerful computers allow this one to be smarter than the rest. Having built in computers allows this it to be easily controlled and keep you from those dreaded crashes.

The Bad

One thing that might shy some people away from this drone is the fact that a camera is not included with it. You also need to purchase the gimbal separately. This means it will not be ready to start recording right out of the box. But it makes up for the additional purchases by offering a super smart drone for a fraction of the price as others. Plus, if you already own a GoPro camera you don’t really need to buy an extra camera.

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Watch this detailed review on the 3DR Solo:

DJI Phantom 2

DJI-Phantom-2-VisionUntil the very recent release of the Inspire 1 this baby was considered by many as the creme de la creme of quadcopters. It boasts some very impressive features and is designed to assist those with video and photography with it’s HD 1080p camera. Despite in the high end of the price ranges and boasting plenty of features it is also quite user friendly and suitable for those just getting started with drones.

The first thing you will notice when you take the Phantom 2 out of the box is how well made it is, using only premium materials. Another benefit for everyone but especially novices is that it requites very little assembly, meaning you can get in the skies quickly and without any problems. You can fly it up to 300 feet away before it goes out of range but don’t panic if this happens as it will simply return home by itself. It has a pretty impressive flying time of 25 minutes, which is enough to take some great footage and have a lot of fun.

You will find the controller supplied is very well designed in that for most people it isn’t too sensitive and very intuitive to use, especially for those who used to play comuter games! When flying the video and photos are stored on the SD card though it also supports streaming via WiFi to a mobile phone (which can also control it). Not only does the drone move around but the camera can be adjusted up and down to in order to get the perfect shot. You will find the image quality to be very good and right in line with most of the flagship mobile phones at the moment.

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To get a closer look, see this clip of it in action:

DJI Phantom

DJI-PhantomThis is the very first model from DJI which really helped modern quadcopters take off 😉 People realised just what these machines can do and the leap was taken from toys to serious pieces of photography and video camera equipment and along with that a new wave of hobbyists was formed.

Even though it is the older model, it is still actively being sold and is still very relevant today. It comes at a price that is quite reasonable for such a great piece of kit, though bear in mind that it doesn’t come with a camera. It is designed to work with the GoPro camera which you must purchase separately and connect by yourself.

It has an internal battery but also requires 4 AA batteries to work alongside it. With this power combination you are looking at 15 minutes of quality flying time before you have to plug it back in.

Despite being older, this one also requires little assembly, something they got right from the very beginning. You just have to attach the rotors and put the AA batteries inside. Again, the controller that comes as standard is very nice to use and will have you flying like a pro very quickly.

Overall whilst this one doesn’t quite have the same features of the newer models such as WiFi streaming, it is still a very good quadcopter. It’s pretty similar to the Phantom 2 with a bit less power and without the inbuilt camera. If you have to choose between the two I would suggest the biggest factor to consider is your budget.

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Take a look this one in action below:

Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

Parrot-AR.Drone-2.0So here we have quite possibly the biggest competitor to the DJI drones, the AR.Drone 2.0 by Parrot. Boasting an impressive 36 minutes of life courtesy of 2 high capacity batteries and smartphone control, this is a interesting model that you should consider.

Other notable benefits are the long range of 50 meters due to it’s inbuilt WiFI transmission. As you would expect for such a highly rated machine, it comes with a HD camera built in so there is no extra shopping needed to get this baby recording video from the sky. In addition it also offers streaming by WiFi, is there anything else you need?

Well, not only does it tick all of the boxes we talked about above but it can also do acrobatics in the air. The flip it can do is really cool and will get people watching. Not only can it do these amazing tricks but it’s actually also very easy to operate and learn the controls. This means beginners can have a lot of fun with this drone but it’s also advanced enough to offer something to more experienced users too.

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Check out those cool tricks it can do:

UDI RC 2.4 GHz

UDI-U818AThis offering from UDI which is also affectionately named the “ladybug” is certainly most suited to those wanted to get their feet wet in the quadcopter world. It is very reasonably priced but still manages to fly well and record video which it stores on an SD card. It’s not for professionals but in terms of getting the best bang for your buck, this is a really nice little machine.

It’s got a pretty small battery that isn’t the best but it’s enough to give you 7 minutes to play around, not amazing but ok for the price. As you would expect, there isn’t any advanced features like the ability to control it with a smartphone but you get a nice RC controller. The camera isn’t to a professional standard but is surprisingly good, it even comes with a 2GB storage card for your digital memories.

Perhaps the nicest thing about it is the ability to do cool tricks just like the Parrot AR.Drone. For us, this is certainly the best entry level quadcopter out there, it’s well made and isn’t just a toy like some of the other cheap models on the market.

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See the fun you can have with this little one here:

DJI Phantom FC40

Phantom-FC40Another Phantom? Yes, this is a recurring theme and for a good reason, they are the best quadcopters. Don’t worry we will be moving onto other brands soon so stick with us! The FC40 is similar to the original but it is a complete package in that it comes with a HD 720p Camera along with other goodies such as WiFi video streaming.

The most interesting feature is that it has rotors which are self tightening. In plain English this translates to nuts and bolts that won’t end up getting lost when this one is put away in storage. Like the others we already talked about, expect little assembly, even a complete numpty could put this baby together.

Here is the FC40 being put to the test:

Time to Choose the Best Quadcopter

Now you’ve seen our pick of the best drones and best quadcopters, we hope you are step closer to making the right purchase. If you’re still not sure then we recommend you read our in-depth drone reviews and guides for more juicy info about those novel machines.

If you have any questions then please get in touch with us on our contact page. We would love to hear from you.

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