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[ Our #1 Choice ]
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|DBPower U818A Wi-Fi Drone||720p HD|
|USA Toys UDI 818A||2.0 MP HD|
|Gool RC31 Waterproof Drone||None|
|Tozo Q1012 Drone||720p HD|
|Potensic U42W Drone with Camera||720p HD|
Once in a while, technology throws us something that is both fun and practical. We have had radio controlled aircraft – some quite wonderful models of actual aeroplanes designed and built painstakingly to scale – for many years, but the recent arrival on the scene of drones and quadcopters has completely changed the scene. As this review will show you, these are fun and exciting devices that usually feature four rotors, and this gives them a versatility that cannot be replicated by other RC craft. Also, as we are about to show you, you the best drones under £100 – so it’s a great idea for a Christmas gift, and remember, Christmas is not that far away!
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So, what can you do with the best drone under £100? Well, you can fly it, and you will be surprised how easy it is to perform basic aerobatics such as 360-degree flips! Many come with a fitted camera, so you can film your exploits and even stream live, and you will find that you can buy light kits, to give your drone a custom look.
If there is one thing we should mention before we go on, it’s safety; there are specific guidelines to where and when you can fly a drone. Some reckless fools have been known to fly them in the vicinity of airport or airfield flight paths. This is not just foolish but dangerous, so make sure you check the internet for information on where you can fly your drone safely. So let’s have a look at the best drones under £100.
Best Drones Under £100
This is a good pick for the first on our list as it is a very typical drone and one that comes with most of the features you should be looking out for. Bear in mind that – unlike RC aircraft kits, which are designed to resemble an actual aircraft – these drones are designed specifically with purpose and function in mind, essentially being able to fly and perform some quite amazing manoeuvres.
The early breed of drones proved quite difficult to fly for many as, after all, it was a completely new concept and a fresh way of flying. As development has progressed, so the latest versions – of which this is one – are intended to be simple even for the beginner. For example, the maker has done away with the early type of controller: with this one, you get what they call ‘headless mode’, which means your drone will fly in the direction your controller tells it to.
It comes equipped with flip mode, which is great fun, plus navigation lights for night flying, and has a 720P HD camera attached, from which you can stream to any suitable device. It’s no wonder that emergency services use drones to check dangerous buildings before sending crews in. As with all of these, the only downside is a short flying time on a full charge – between six to nine minutes – so this one is handily supplied with a spare battery so you can swap quickly. All in all, excellent fun for a drone under £100. Very good value for a capable device.
It is important to remember that certain drones are required to be fully licenced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which is the body that issues licences and governs flying aircraft. This one, and all on this list, are exempt from this requirement, so you don’t have to worry about getting a licence. This model is similar in style to that above, and is made from a durable plastic that will give it a longer life: it may be easy to fly, but be prepared to crash when learning, it’s part of the fun!
This one also comes with Headless mode operation, so perhaps we should explain: with earlier drones, it was a requirement to set the aircraft in the right in relation to the controller. The Headless versions don’t need this; whatever direction the front is facing, it will go where you tell it to! It can perform 360-degree flips, which are great fun and will impress your friends, and the 4-channel controller has an LCD screen that tells you what is happening. You also get an audible alarm so you can bring it home when the battery is getting low.
As is the general requirement, you get the navigation lights for realistic night flying, and you also get an HD forward- facing camera from which you can record onto a microSD card – but no Wi-Fi streaming. There is no potential for app control from a mobile with this one, but that’s not too much of a deterrent. It’s a good model, but perhaps missing a couple of the functions of some others, and at around £90 is perfectly good value for one of the best drones under £100.
If you are a complete beginner, it is perhaps best to hone your flying skills on a cheap and yet usable device, before perhaps moving on to a more sophisticated model. This is one of the cheaper alternatives, and is a very good buy indeed at less than £25 – that’s not a misprint, you really can have a perfectly good, flyable and fun drone – with plenty of fun features – for that little money its one of the best drones for under £100.
We like the design of this one – it’s very modern and stylish – and we also like the fact you get the required LED lights for night flying. It’s also waterproof, so you can fly it in the rain if you wish, and it is very easy to fly as it comes with the Headless mode. We really can’t stress enough how important this is for beginners, as it makes things much, much easier than with conventional directional drones.
So, what do you get for your £25? Well, you can perform flips and impress your friends, it has a one-touch return home function, and it has a six-axis gyro stabiliser – usually a feature of more sophisticated models – for added versatility. There is no camera, but you wouldn’t expect one at this price, but all in all it’s a great machine for a beginner.
This model is a very neat design with the usual quad-rotors and other features, and it is very stylish indeed. It’s worth remembering that these things are not designed for looks, but this one does look pretty neat. It’s another with the Headless mode – we can’t stress the relevance of this as it basically means that, whatever way you launch the device, it is facing forward! It’s designed to be easy to fly for beginners, and is also equipped with many other impressive features.
For a start, in addition to Headless, this one has an altitude hold feature; get it to a height, release the throttle, and it will stay at that altitude. This is great for taking pictures, and the drone is complete with a very nice 720P HD camera for stills and video. It also comes with app control from a phone if required, so is even more versatile than usual. You can stream when flying, for added fun, or record to a MicroSD card.
Flight time is between five and seven minutes – not the best of these, by any means – and there is no spare battery so regular charges will be necessary. You do get spare blades, as those are the parts most likely to be damaged when you crash! The one downside with all of these is the charging time, in this case around 80 minutes, but that can’t be helped. All in all, a good model which – at around £80 – is comparatively good value.
One point we should make about these quadcopter drones is this: while they are fun, these models are not toys, so to speak. This one, from Potensic, is similar to most of these: it is the usual quadcopter design, it doesn’t require FAA registration, and you can simply get it out of the box, charge the battery and off you go.
This one is the first on our list that does not have the Headless feature; this means you will have to sync it with the controller before flight. It’s no big deal and takes a few seconds, but the Headless models do make life easier. What you get is a great model that can perform all the excellent flying manoeuvres you want, is easy to fly once you have set it up, and that comes with the handy fixed-altitude hold mode for taking great pictures.
It can be controlled via your phone if you wish, comes with a spare battery – but no spare blades – and has a perfectly adequate camera that will do the trick. It’s made from durable material, and even comes with its own screwdriver! This one, we think, is good value at around £60, if you can get away with syncing every time you want to fly.
When it comes to beginner’s drones, we reckon this one is going to be hard to beat. Why do we say this? Well, to begin with, for less than £30 you get a drone – albeit not the most sturdy one we have seen – with a camera and Headless technology. That is surely what most beginners want? It is quite a neat design – although we’re not sure the white finish shows it in its best light (you can get it in black) – and at the price, you really cannot complain.
So, here we have it: Syma has given you a drone that doesn’t need to be synced before flight, and one that comes with a perfectly usable 2MB camera. It may be a basic model, but it is perfect for the beginner who wants to learn how to fly one of these before graduating to a more sophisticated model.
For example, it does not have one-key return, which means you have to fly it back whenever you find the battery is running out. It also appears to lack altitude hold, so you can’t use it for that aspect. It is also not Wi-Fi compatible, but it does come with spare blades although no spare battery. Would we recommend it? At the price, it would make a great gift, but we reckon there are better models for little more outlay.
We have found these drones to be very exciting, interesting and great fun devices, but this one has something added that makes it even more fun. We’ll come to that in moment, but first, here are the features you get with this one from Drocon: it is a Headless mode device so you can fly straight away without syncing, and you also get altitude hold for standing steady to take great pictures. This one can also be controlled via a mobile app.
It has one-button take off, landing and emergency stop – so is great for beginners who simply want to fly and enjoy the experience – and can also be used with a VR headset, which is a nice touch and gives you a real-time sense of flying. The camera is a wide-angle one and of a decent quality, and you can stream via Wi-Fi or record to the MicroSD card. All of that is what you would expect from a top-end sub £100 drone, so what is the added feature we were talking about?
Well, it’s fun and also very useful, and the maker calls it Custom Flight Route: basically, when you operate it from your mobile, draw a flight route on the screen, and the drone will follow that route automatically! This one also has an out-of-range alarm that tells you when you’re flying too far away, and at around £95 it may not be the cheapest, but is very good indeed.
There is one aspect of these drones that we have yet to mention, and it is a problem facing any RC device. We’re talking about the possibility of interference. Radio frequency transmitters need to be at a certain point in order to eliminate interference, and most of these are set at 2.4Ghz for protection against interference, so if there is more than one drone flying close by, you will not be affected by the other controllers.
This one comes with Headless function so you don’t have to sync before take-off– simply launch and it will be follow the instructions from the controller exactly as you suggest – and a simple push of a button brings the drone home, thus minimizing your chances of losing it. It will hold altitude and hover, so you can take great pictures or videos using the built-in camera, and you can send real-time pictures to a suitable device such as your Android or iPhone.
The camera is perfectly adequate and can also store images on the memory card, and you can perform amazing 360-degree flips that will make life a lot more fun! It can also be controlled from your phone, and at not much more than £40, we find it hard to fault – although there is only one battery supplied.
This one appeals for two reasons: it is full-functioned, and it is a simply amazing price. We’ll cover that later, but for now, let’s have a look at what you get. This is a typical quadcopter with the usual 6-axis gyro for accurate flying, and comes with the Headless technology so you can fly straight from the off. It also comes with altitude hold, so you can keep it steady with one move for taking pictures.
It has an emergency stop and land button, and is designed to be easy to fly for beginners, and the camera is a perfectly adequate one that can provide both love video and stills storage. It also has, and we like this, three speed mode selections, which makes it even more useful for beginners. One-key take off is also a bonus, and unlike many of these, the direction of the camera can be reversed for more interesting and unusual pictures.
It comes with the usual LED navigation lights for night flying, or for frightening others into believing they are seeing aliens, and you not only get a spare battery, but also a spare set of blades. Also, it takes just 50 minutes for a full charge, and gives you 10 minutes of flying time. What else can we say? Oh yes, we nearly forgot the price – you get all of this for about £40. That is a bargain.
Features to Consider
The above reviews should give you an idea of the features you need to consider, so before we sum up, here’s a recap of some of the more important ones:
Headless – we recommend the Headless function if you are a beginner, as it makes life a lot easier.
Camera – what fun is a drone if you can’t send videos or take pictures?
One-Touch Return – being able to instruct your drone to return to base easily is a major bonus.
Altitude control – telling it to remain at a certain height means you can easily take better pictures.
Spare Battery – if one doesn’t come with the kit, we recommend buying one, as flying time is limited.
That’s the most important factors to look for – and there are many more – so now all that remains is to wrap things up!
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Let’s Wrap It Up!
Ten quadcopter drones to choose from – which do we recommend? All of these have their own attributes, and most do the things you want as standard, but we do have a couple of recommendations. If you want a serious bargain-basement drone, and are a complete beginner, we reckon the Syma – number 6 – is worth considering if, that is, you can put up without a Wi-Fi connection.
However, it’s difficult to get away from just how good and full-featured number 9, the Kidcia model, is at a price of around £40; you get all the functions you need, full Wi-Fi, a good camera and all the spares you need, so that would be our choice.
Have another read-through, and get yourself one of these excellent devices, and once you get your flying experience, you might want to check out our review of Pro Drones – coming soon – and move up-market!