The best drones of 2016
Drone tech is changing all the time, so if you’re buying your first machine or thinking about an upgrade, check out this guide to the best drones of 2016.
Drones are not cheap, and if you want the best aerial video platform available, you’ll have to spend serious money. But if you’re prepared to compromise, there are cheaper alternatives.
The DJI Phantom 3 Standard doesn’t have the range of its pricier cousins, but captures 2.7K video that’s similar in quality to the Phantom 3 Advanced, and you can pick one up for $670.
The Xiro Xplorer V is cheaper, at around $500 but the Phantom has the better camera.
DJI is dominating the consumer market with its Phantom range. The Phantom 3 is an improvement on the Phantom 2 in terms of video quality and ease of use, and comes in Standard, 4K and Advanced models.
For more serious users, the DJI Inspire 1 is available at around $3,000. It’s a carbon-fibre model, with multi-direction camera and dual operating controls that offer professional-quality images and video.
Best of the rest
Yuneec is the main competitor to DJI, and its Typhoon H is an interesting six-rotor model with an integrated avoidance system, which will keep flying even if it loses an engine or a propeller.
PowerVision’s PowerEgg and PowerEye are exciting new models for the consumer and professional market respectively, and the striking X-Star series of drones from Autel Robotics compares favourably with the DJI range in terms of price.
Professional video makers favour the DJI Inspire 1 Pro and DJI the Inspire 1 Raw, which come with the same hardware as the Inspire, but use an interchangeable lens camera, and produce superb quality footage. Yuneec’s Tornado H920 is a viable alternative, and although it doesn’t record uncompressed video, at $4,999, it’s a much more budget-friendly model.
Miniature drone technology has also improved lately, and there are a number of small drones that use ingenious methods to maintain flight stability, such as the easily transportable Snap and the equally portable Mavic Pro, which produces impressive performance for its size.