Buyer’s guide: new drones that you need to see

It has been another big year for drones, with many new releases from the big brands. Here’s a roundup of all the new drones that caught our attention over the past 12 months.

Buyer’s guide: new drones that you need to see
Tello Small Toy Drone in Action
  • Do I need a license to fly a drone? In the USA, you only need a CAA license if you plan to use your drone for commercial purposes.
  • What is the best drone for beginners? Look for an affordable quadcopter with six-axis stabilization and adjustable sensitivity.
  • Which drone is best for photography? Right now, the DJI’s Mavic 2 is a favorite with professional snappers.

With so many features to look for, buying a drone can be really confusing. But fear not — we’re here to make the search for a new drone less confusing.

Which drone should I buy?

Buyer’s guide: new drones that you need to see

Best drones to buy right now

The answer to this question entirely depends on your level of piloting experience, what you want to do with your drone, and your budget.

Drones under $100 are generally designed to be toys rather than serious aircraft. As such, they are usually fun to play with — but don’t expect anything more.

There are quite a few good drones in the $200 to $500 range. While none of them is suited to professional photography, some take great pictures. Many also offer autopilot modes and a generous battery life.

Buyer’s guide: new drones that you need to see

There are great drones under $700

Once you cross the $700 mark, anything is possible. This kind of investment can get you a lightning-fast racing drone, a flying video rig, or even a cargo drone. Just like high-end cars, these premium flyers have all the tricks.

What features do you need on a drone?

Perhaps the most important feature is gyro-stabilization. Without this automatic assistance, most drones would be very difficult to fly — particularly in breezy conditions.

Buyer’s guide: new drones that you need to see

Gyro-stabilization keeps things steady

The next thing to look for is flight time. Some drones can only stay airborne for three minutes before needing more juice.

Another useful feature on bigger drones is GPS. This allows your drone to “return to base” autonomously should anything go wrong.

What are the best new drones in 2018?

Here are some of the best drones to be released this year:

Tello Small Toy Drone

 

Buyer’s guide: new drones that you need to see

Tello Small Toy Drone

At the budget end of the market, Tello is perfect for first-time flyers and young pilots. It’s small and nimble, with a built-in camera for taking videos.

Price: $79 USD

Yuneec Mantis Q Foldable 4K Travel Drone

 

Buyer’s guide: new drones that you need to see

Yuneec Mantis Q Foldable 4K Travel Drone

This impressive foldable flyer takes 4K videos, with auto flight modes to handle the camera work. In addition, the Mantis Q can stay airborne for up to 33 minutes.

Price: $499.99 USD

Parrot Anafi Flying 4K HDR Camera

Buyer’s guide: new drones that you need to see

Parrot Anafi Flying 4K HDR Camera

For $100 more, you can capture HDR 4K video with the new Parrot Anafi. The camera also has a 2.8x zoom, and it is mounted on a stabilizing gimbal.

Price: $599.99 USD

DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 4K Drone

Buyer’s guide: new drones that you need to see

DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 4K Drone

 

Version 2 of this ever-popular drone offers 4K video at 60fps, 20MP photos, a 4.3-mile range, and advanced autopilot modes guided by on-board cameras.

Price: $1,249 USD

DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone

Buyer’s guide: new drones that you need to see

DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone

 

Meet the undisputed king of drones. Equipped with a Hasselblad camera, the Mavic 2 Pro offers exceptional image quality. It also has enhanced HDR, with multiple video modes for breathtaking footage.

Price: $1499 USD

New releases in 2019

None of these take your fancy? Not to worry. With the DJI Phantom 5 slated for next year, there’s plenty to look forward to in 2019!

The Gadget Flow Daily Digest highlights and explores the latest in tech trends to keep you informed. Want it straight to your inbox? Subscribe ➜

Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he's pretty handy with a camera, and he's a self-confessed tweetaholic.
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