Most of us think of drones as highly expensive, specialized, novelty items that we can neither afford, nor find some understandable use for. At least for the time being, as drone technology is still in its infancy and mass produced, multi-purpose drones are far from a reality. But the following drones are bridging the gap between exclusivity and mass appeal and that is why these are our favorite drones of 2014.
1. Husban X4 – For the amateur drone enthusiast
For those of us who have never handled a drone in our lives, the Husban X4 is the drone to buy. Cheap (about $45), effective and fun to play with, it is the ideal product for those who are intrigued by the concept of drones, but don’t have the heart or the cash to spend thousands on buying one.
The Husban X4’s six-axis gyro is pivotal in keeping the drone stabilized while you try and get a hang of the controls, which doesn’t take very long. Your flying lessons would be interrupted by constant recharging though, as the X4 has a measly flying time of about 5 minutes. The in-built camera, will however, allow you to document your learning curve – from stuttering beginner to a maverick of the drone world.
2. DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ – For the seasoned users
This one is for the experts. Easy flight control, a built-in 14 MP camera, 1080p video recording and a hefty price tag ($1,000) – the Phantom 2 Vision+ has it all. The highlight of its varied and distinguished features is the massive 5,200 mAh Li-Po battery which can facilitate a considerable flying time of up to 25 minutes – nearly double the average of other drones in the same price range. The Vision 2+ is the perfect choice for those who want to upgrade to serious drone flying.
3. DJI Phantom FC40 – For the lazy/sneaky photographers
In case the Vision 2+ is a little too expensive for you, DJI also produces the FC40 – which, at half the price ($450) is the best drone for those who want to click crisp and clear pictures of the outdoors while they sit in their room staring out of the window. It has the ability to record 720p videos which automatically get stored in an SD card while also streaming live on your phone via its iOS/Android app. It’s flying time of 11 minutes per charge is average at best, but the ability to add GPS features such as Return to Home, more than makes up for the pedestrian battery life.
4. Skybotix CoaX Autonomous Micro Helicopter – For rich kids and professional spies
Not only is it the only helicopter UAV on the list (mostly all commercial drones are quadcopters), the CoaX is a dream machine. At $5,000 it gives you the best of everything – two cameras, WiFi capabilities, pressure sensors, four sonar sensors and a Linux based micro computing system that you can stuff with programs and software. The CoaX is the ideal drone for heavy duty research or even espionage, but mostly just for the rich kids with too much time and money on their hands.
5. Ziphius – For those who wish to dive rather than soar
Not all drones fly in the air and Ziphius is one of them. The Ziphius can be your favorite submarine buddy as it swims through the water at 6 miles per hour, has an in-built camera that shoots videos and photos at 720p, has WiFi streaming, a battery life of one hour and is entirely controllable through your smartphone or tablet. Ideal for underwater research or some lazy fun while lounging in the pool.