The Christmas is approaching and maybe your loved one or friend has a drone on their wish list! As a very young kid i loved flying aircrafts, helicopters and drones, I’m pretty sure every kid also likes these flying toys, but usually the word “drone” is associated with Dangerous Machines or Expensive Aircrafts, not enough people know about toy drones, that are cheap and safe to fly both - indoors and outdoors.
And they are perfect Christmas Gift!
Drones, can be used as learning tools. Some drones on our list need building and programming, this can teach you the basics of programming or building your own drones. Programming is often associated with writing algorithms and coding, but programming drones is usually Dragging And Dropping boxes.
For a beginner drone, there are a few important things, you would want the drone to have. Most people look for long flight time, short charge time and functions like Headless Mode, Return To Home. You can also look for a camera, more features like Auto Land/Takeoff , small size or controller type, it’s up to you! There are many more functions but i think these are the most important one.
It has prop guards so its perfect for indoors and young pilots. Sadly it doesn’t have a camera but it has headless mode and One-Key Return. It uses a small 2,4Ghz controller, that matches the color of the drone, the range is about 30 meters (100 feet) - that's enough for indoors and small outdoor spaces. You can do 360 degrees flips by just one button on the controller!
The quadcopters size is around 9 x 9 cm (3,5 x 3,5 inches) - its small, light, fast and agile. Flies up to 5 minutes and uses a 150 mAh battery that charges around 30 minutes. It has blue and red led lights which look beautiful at night or in the evening! It’s great for a beginner or kid!
You use your smartphone or tablet as controller and you can use the build in presets or code your moves using a interface very similar to scratch - drag and drop. It has about 20-30 meters (65-100 feet) range and it can be used in many ways. It is durable, when you crash you put it back together and go fly!
It can even race and battle against other Airblock vehicles so you can compete against your friends. It is suited for kids above 8. It flies about 6 minutes (depends how it is build). Comes with an 700mAh battery. It uses the Makeblock App that is available for Android and IOS, sadly it has no camera. It is a great pick for kids that want to learn to fly a drone, to program and code working machines!
You can make your drone fly in less than 10 minutes! The coding is based of the well known and popular arduino. As a controller you use your smartphone, the app is using Bluetooth (At least 4.0), the range is 20-30 meters (65-100 feet).
The drone is small and quite durable,it has propeller guards and it’s made of strong plastic. it flies about 8 minutes and charges 40 minutes. It has IR sensors, a gyroscope and a barometer. It weighs 37 g which is very light. You can buy Add-Ons like the Drive kit which allows it to drove on wheels and the camera Add-On which allows you to use it as a camera drone. It is great for young kids.
For the cheaper ones, you can use your smartphone or buy an optional transmitter. Bricks similar to legos are durable, so when your quadcopter crashes, you can just rebuild it using the instructions that come with it. It is great for people that like learning, engineering - the app can show you battery power reports, barometer sensor and lots of other information.
The FLYBRIX aircrafts are very light and fast. You can start in around 15 minutes after unpacking the kit - That’s quick for building a drone. Isn’t it? Simple kits with great quality, recommended for young engineers and LEGO enthusiasts. The kits also have tips and tricks online.
The drone has prop-guards. Comes with a controller, bigger than the one that comes with the E010! It has very powerful motors, and it flies about 5-6 minutes. The range is around 50-100 meters (170- 340 feet) . The camera is 1000TVL, which means the camera has 1000 horizontal lines, it proceeds very high quality video. It’s size is about 9 x 9 cm and it weights 20g without battery.
It uses a 1s 200mAh and includes an USB charger. The goggles are the Eachine VR-006, they weight 170g and have a built in 3 inch display. The resolution is 500x300 pixels. they come with a built-it 1s 500mAh battery, it lasts for around 1h of working time. The goggles only consume 350-450 mA. They are small. light and have auto Frequency search so you don’t have to search your FPV video. Perfect for people wanting to discover FPV.
You have a lot of range and even HD video streaming to your phone. The flight time can be as long as 21 minutes! It has a 4K camera, it shoots 32 MP Panoramas or 12 MP Stills. It also records 4K 100 Mbps video or 1080p 120 FPS for slow-motion. It has a camera gimbal so the footage is stable. It has 8 GB internal storage.
Active Track - you can choose a target (for example a car) and the drone will automatically follow it and record it,
QuickShots - you have 6 modes (Rocket, Dronie, Circle, Helix, Asteroid, Boomerang), using one button, it records an EPIC and smooth video, without you having to do anything,
SmartCapture - You want a selfie? Just use your hand to control it. It recognises hand gestures and does what you want.
TapFly - Lets you pick a spot on your video feed or map, the Mavic Air will fly where you want, while making a beautiful clip. You can adjust the speed so you can make the clip slow or fast, depending on how you want your video to look.
It has VIO, it brings a more stable footage and the flight is precise, also it has Return To Home and Sensors. It can fly 70 (68,4) km/h! You can pair it with DJI goggles and get live video feed in front of your eyes!
It has functions like Altitude Hold, Return To Home and GPS.It also has one-button take-off and landing. It is powered with a 1s LiPo battery and a USB charger.It has brushed motors and small propellers. It flies up to 10 minutes on one battery and comes with 2 batteries.
The camera has a 120 degree FOV and records stable 720p footage. The drone also streams FPV footage to your phone, using WIFI. The drone is very small and lightweight. It has 3 speed levels available, so you can pick the speed for your shot. It comes with a cardboard pad you can put on your controller, it tells you what every button does.
The drone has LED lights, which make it fun to fly at night. It is very durable and lightweight so you shouldn’t worry about destroying your 120$ drone.
Controller Type - It’s the device you use to control your drone or vehicle. Most drones are controlled by a normal controller (also known as transmitter), but some of them can use a smartphone or even voice and hand gestures.
Body Durability - Drones on our list are durable, because beginners will crash a lot. Toy drones are usually made of plastic. Plastic is a good material for drones, it is light and because that, it is quite durable. It will survive most crashes.
Flight Time - For toy drones the flight time is around 5-8 minutes. For other drones (for example the Mavic Air from our list) the flight time can be up to around 30 minutes maximum.
Maximum Range - For toy drones the range is about 20-40 meters (65-130 feet), more professional drones can go from 300 meters (around 1000 feet) up to like 2 kilometers (1,2 miles)!
Camera - Lots of drones, have cameras. Some of them record HD footage and some send Live Video feed to your device. They can record beautiful footage like on the Mavic Air taht records 4k 100Mbps video!
Weight - Drones have to be light to fly, that’s why they are made of plastic or carbon fiber. Toy grade drones are usually up to 100 g, some basic and small aerial video and photography drones can weigh up to 500g.
Charge time - Most drone chargers plug into an USB port on your computer. Usually it takes from 20 minutes up to 2 hours.
Failsafe - It’s a setting, that will save your drone if it loses signal. Usually without failsafe the drone will do a flyaway. There are many ways of failsafing - your drone can land, return to home or maybe drop on the ground and make a loud noise so you can find it easily. Failsafe is very important.
Headless Mode - Usually when flying a drone, you need to keep orientation and know which way is which, even if the drone is rotated. It’s not that hard to learn, but for your first days of flying, you can use headless mode - it will move your drone corresponding to your sticks regardless of the angle, left is always left, and right is always right. It’s very useful for beginners, that find it hard to keep orientation or when your drone is far away and you don’t know which way it will fly back.
Altitude Hold - Usually you have to control your motor speed to keep the drone in a stable hover. Beginners may also find it very hard - the drone flies too high or flies in the ground. That’s why we have Altitude Hold - If you center your control stick, the drone will automatically find the right motor speed and will hover very stable. There is no need to struggle with keeping it stable in hovering.
Return To Home - When you are far away or your battery is running low, you should fly back and land your drone. This feature allows you to push one button and the drone will do it automatically for you! (Toy Grade Drones only fly in your direction, they don’t land and you have to stop the drone by sticks or it will just fly over you continue going that way. Professional drones will land in front of you)
Obstacle Sensors - While flying, you have to be careful not to hit anything, otherwise you will crash, drones with Obstacle Sensors will see the obstacle and warn you or fly away from it. It is a very useful function that will help you not to destroy your brand new camera drone.
Prop Guards - Usually a plastic basket or half-bowl to protect your propellers. They also protect people from getting hurt, because the plastic Prop Guards block the drone, before the propellers hit anything or anyone. It is very helpful if you want to fly inside, near trees or buildings.
Charge your battery, get everything ready… then comes that moment - first flight. I think you should try to hover and fly forward/back and left/right. If you feel comfortable enough, you can try flying forward and turning. You might get lost while rotated, don’t panic, try thinking like if you were on the drone or use headless mode or return to home if you are scared!
You will crash a lot, that is normal. After many flights, you will get better, feel more confident while flying and still crash, but not so often! Try flying every day at least once, if you feel comfortable, if not - ask a parent to look and maybe help you if you lose orientation. Don’t be like me - watch out for high trees you could hang in and street lights you could fly in… 🙂