The concept of drones/unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has been constantly developing with technology getting more advanced these days. Earlier, this technology was utilised only for military purposes but for the past few decades, drones have become easily available to businesses across all sectors and to regular people, too. Technologists have been continuously contributing to the development of drone technology, and drone manufacturers are finding ways to make it more cost-effective.
According to market research firm Statista, their sales are escalating in various parts of the world. In the US, the sales are speculated to cross the one billion dollar mark. According to a report by FICCI and Ernst & Young, the Indian drone market is speculated to reach around 885.7 million dollars by 2021 with the international UAV market size reaching close to 21.47 billion dollars.
Drone is now being used in various verticals such as logistics and transportation, security, photography and filmmaking, and entertainment sectors. Various industries are now seeing this technology as an opportunity to reduce their costs.
Hence, we will showcase some of the latest and affordable drones available in the market. But before that, let’s find out the qualities and requirements one should look for before buying this product.
Register and know where to fly
Your drone needs to be registered, irrespective of whether you are using it for photography, videography, or just for fun. Also, if your product weighs less than 25kg, or if you are using it for commercial purposes, you need to take additional steps for registration. And before flying a drone, you must know some additional guidelines—flying within 8km of any airport is prohibited, flying below 122 metres (400 feet) is allowed, and most importantly, flying a drone over any government building is not allowed.
The most important thing to consider before buying any product is budget. You should be ready to pay a high price on industrial drones that come with heavy-duty motors.
After you know the purpose of buying a drone, you can easily set your budget by checking out the various price ranges for the drones. A slightly expensive drone is better because it is lighter and comes with a flying training mode.
Before you buy any tech product, it is advisable to check all the brands and features as it would help in selecting the product as per your requirements. That’s the same with drones. There are four types of drones that you must know and then set your buying target.
The first one is Ready to Fly (RTF), but it is a bit expensive. You just need to charge the batteries and attach the propellers. The second one is Bind to fly (BTF), which doesn’t come with a controller and it needs to be installed on your mobile device. The third is Almost ready to fly (ARF), which is basically a drone kit and does not include transmitters and receivers. Most of them do not have motors, speed controllers, flight controllers, or batteries. Thus, you will have to make your entire drone, while additional items need to be purchased. The last is First-person video (FPV) that can capture footage and send the footage to your smartphone, VR headsets, or other compatible devices.
Always keep in mind the weather conditions of your region when you are flying a drone. If there is wind in your area, your drone must have the potential to handle it because many of them can handle only 20mph (nearly 32kmph) wind speeds. Also, ensure that your drone is waterproof because there is a lot of moisture in windy areas.
Now, let us find out the latest and affordable drones available in the market.
DJI Mavic Air 2
This product is equipped with a camera sensor of 12MP and has a flying range of 10km, while it is powered by a 395mAh battery and weighs only 570gm.
According to some reviewers, this is an ideal option for beginners. It has the potential to shoot a top-notch 4K/60p video and is furnished with a vast number of shooting features and 34-minute constant flying time. It has a new 1.3cm (½-inch) sensor that assures enhanced ISO performance and supports slo-mo 1080p video up to 240fps.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
The Mavic 2 Pro has a state-of-the-art camera sensor of 20MP that weighs only 970gm. Along with an available controller, the product is powered by a 3,950mAh battery whose flying range is 8km. This drone comes under a premium category and is equipped with a slew of new cutting-edge features. As it is equipped with a large sensor, it has a better photo and video quality and is travel-friendly because of its portable and foldable design. It has the capability to shoot 4K video at 30fps, while the aperture is adjustable between f/2.8 and f/11, which means less need for ND filters. Additionally, it is quite easy to fly and control with its partner app. It has lots of new and sophisticated flight and shooting modes that help capture the best of cinematic shots.
Syma X20 Mini Pocket
The Syma X20 is crafted with hyperboloid design and appears with high elastic amicable environment material and comes with an automatic power-off option. The altitude hold mode enables Syma X20 mini drone to maintain a consistent altitude while allowing roll, pitch, and yaw to be controlled normally. Another USP is its headless mode that ensures the quadcopter will always follow controls from your perspective all the time, regardless of which way the quad is facing. Moreover, there is a 3D roll option; just press the button on the transmitter, and you get 360-degrees flip, continuous roll for perfect action, and wonderful performance.
Parrot Bebop 2 FPV
Coupled with a unique Parrot sky controller 2 and Parrot cockpit glasses, Parrot Bebop 2 drone has lots of new features such as you can embark on long-distance courses combining extreme piloting precision and ultra-real viewing. There is a fully immersing experience while flying via FPV goggles. Users can experience a true HD image quality with the FreeFlight Pro app on smartphone. The broad, 90-degree field of vision offered by the Parrot cockpit glasses’ lenses gives total immersion experience. It has been designed to fly both indoor and outdoor. According to the company, it is the first leisure drone weighing less than 500gm with 25-minute battery life.
DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
Powered by a 12MP sensor with up to 4x zoom, including a 2x optical zoom (24-48mm), DJI Mavic 2 Zoom drone is all about dynamic perspectives. It has one minute flight time, 44mph max speed, 905G take-off weight, 3-axis gimbal for steady shots, 8GB internal storage, and SD card support up to 128GB. Apart from that, it has various functions that include active track 2. 0, omnidirectional obstacle sensing, hyper-lapse, low-noise design, adjustable aperture, HDR photos, and dolly zoom. It has a remote controller that offers up to 135 minutes of battery life on a full charge. Users need to use the DJI GO 4 app on their smartphone.
Autel Robotics Evo
This drone features an enhanced sensor on a 3-axis stabilised gimbal that records video at 4K resolution up to 60 frames per second and a recording speed up to 100Mbps in an H.264 or the H.265 codec. Using real-glass optics, EVO captures stunning photos at 12MP with a wide dynamic range for more details and colour. It boasts flight times up to 30 minutes with a range of 7km. According to Autel’s official website, EVO offers failsafe features, letting you know when the battery is low and it’s time to return home. It also includes a remote controller that houses a 8.4cm OLED screen, providing you with critical flight information or a live 720p HD video feed and letting you see the camera view without the need for a mobile device.