Why do people have such a fascination with mini-drones? We think it all starts at a very young age when we all “love making things fly”. Boys typically have airplanes, whilst girls have plenty of fairy or fairy-like toys when they are young, and some of us carry it to the adult years as well. No one can deny that there is a great level of satisfaction connected to objects that we can make fly on our command.
Mini drones have taken that child-like fascination to a whole new level, allowing you to own a technologically advanced flying object which is able to do many entertaining things depending on your level of creativity.
Let us take you through all that is needed to know about mini-drone. We will also recommend a few mini drones with great value and many features to offer you.
1. What is a mini-drone?
To give you the simplest introduction to the device, a mini-drone is a miniature remotely controlled flying device. The advanced versions of mini-drones have enough computing power to carry a recording device such as a camera and even give out a live streaming session to a pre-connected device.
While the initial usage of the term “drone” was connected to unmanned aircraft used by the military to send out with pre-programmed flight plans, now the term is more loosely used for flying devices which are commonly available.
2. Why the recent hype for mini-drones?
As you should have noticed, the fascination for mini-drones has gone sky-high (pun intended) recently. If you have always been a fan of small flying objects, then you surely remember the r/c helicopters of the 90s, which soon became a hobby for many people.
While the diehard fans for r/c helicopters persevered with their hobbies, that large interest for flying object faded out until mini drones brought it back recently.
The reason for this recent hype of mini drones is probably the huge development when it comes to mobile devices with the arrival of smartphones.
GPS trackers, processors and many other aspects make mini drones much more interesting have mostly been based on mobile technology.
3. What do you need to know before purchasing your mini-drone?
Before you go ahead and make an order for your new mini drone, there are a few practical and legal details that you should know as a potential mini-drone user.
Since they have once been used as military devices and since they give the potential to do rather invasive activities, there are a few rules you have to follow if you are to own a drone.
This, however, depends on where you live, but drones weighing less than 250gs are usually the safest. It is also recommended that they are to be used only by those who are over 13 years old although there is no written legal requirement for it just yet. Keeping your drone away from children is probably for the better.
Commercial usage of drones and using it for spying purposes is also prohibited.
Truth be told, you’ll need to get advice about your local legislation to make sure you stay within the laws.
Mini-drones can pose serious risks to commercial and other aircraft, so it’s not something which should be taken lightly.
4. What can you do with a mini-drone?
If you are creative and resourceful, there are many things which can be done with a mini drone.
Photography is one of the main uses of mini-drones currently. A mini-drone will give you the ability to get amazing aerial pictures and videos. There are used by special event photographers to give a different perspective (bird’s eye view) for those who attend.
Using drones in wedding photography is also becoming increasingly common.
Drone racing! If you buy a drone and happen to have a few friends who also have them, then you can organize a very entertaining drone race. Take your drone to the park and make friends. Small kids can be very easily entertained with the mini-drones as well – just make sure you do not let them fly it if you want to avoid accidents.
Another most important situation where mini-drones were used has been for disaster relief. During a recent natural disaster, drones were used to have a look at places which are difficult to access, in order to discover whether there are victims who needed to be rescued. This concept can be adapted to many situations when it comes to relief and search missions and is currently been practiced as well.
Using mini-drones for journalism purposes such as covering rallies and riots has been used recently with much controversy. However, if you live in an area which does not prohibit mini-drone usage then you should not miss the opportunity to use it as a journalist – or even to get a nice photo for your social media pages.
Another industry which very creatively used mini-drones for the advantage is advertising.
Banner advertising with the use of drones in popular events is becoming more popular.
While there are still debates on whether drones invade the privacy among citizens, drones can be used for the completely opposite purpose as well, which is ensuring security in a larger area. A mini drone is able to capture a wider area than a normal CCTV camera, and the ability to move is also an advantage when it comes to security.
People who vast stretches of land (farmers, ranchers etc.) can use mini-drones to quickly survey their land.
5 Popular Mini-Drones in the market (costing less than $100)
There are a variety of mini-drones in the market with different prices according to the features that they offer. If you’re looking at a drone to do simple flying and maybe taking a few aerial pictures, there is no use going for the priciest drone in the market.
Let us take you through a few drones with good reviews which we can recommend to give you a good value for your money.
This affordable mini-drone is one of the best choices for beginners. It is very small in size which makes it possible for you to easily fit the device in your hand. Hubsan X4 H107C consists of 4 motors to power it up, making you have a smooth take off when flying and taking any sort of vertical climb. It conveniently comes with two different modes of flying – for beginners and for the expert flyers. While the beginner’s mode will allow you to do simple moves and flying, advanced more makes it able to perform more complex flips. Ideal to be used for entertainment and racing. It is child-friendly as well.
The LED lights attached to the body of this device makes it able to be found easily in the bad light, and also fly at night if needed. The camera attached has a resolution of 2 MP and you can take both still and video footages from it. Keep some extra batteries on hand to ensure you will not have any disturbances for your fun while flying this affordable but amazing mini-drone.
Hubsan X4 (H107C) 4 Channel 2.4GHz RC Quad Copter with Camera – Green/Black
Latest 6-axis flight control system with adjustable gyro sensitivity
Permits super stable flight. With 4 channels
Lightweight airframe with nice durability
This is a slightly high-end mini-drone with a higher price tag, and yet a seamless and powerful performance to go with it. It comes with an advanced 6-axis gyro system to give you a precise and powerful takeoff and flight. The size of the product is small and comes with a great wind resistance. WLtoys Q242G Mini RC is ideal for when you are comfortable with your flying skills and need a drone with more advanced features to play with.
This mini-drone has a 2MP FPV camera to get clear footages from up there, and the position of the camera allows you to get the best angles. The wireless remote control of the device also features an LCD display making it even more convenient to get real-time transmission as you record videos or take pictures. You can adjust the settings as you go depending on the quality of the footage that you get. The LED lights attached to the body makes it easy to stand out and fly in darker light.
WLtoys Q242G Mini 5.8G FPV With 2.0MP Camera 2.4G 4CH 6Axis RC Quadcopter RTF
This is by far one of the smallest mini-drones in the market and hence one of the lightest as well due to its plastic body. It has distinct LED lights due to it being small and easily losable. Even though the device is rather small, it has 4 separate motor speed controllers which ensure stability during the flight. With all these features, however, Estes Proto X Nano R/C Quadcopter is better only for home and indoor usage since it does not have a big ability to tolerate wind resistance and other factors in outdoor conditions.
This will be the ideal gift for someone who is just getting used to flying mini drones, and also for small children to be used in indoor conditions.
Syma has always been a favorite among mini-drone enthusiasts. X52C Nano Quadcopter by Syma was recently introduced to their line with development such as more speed and better stability. You can get the best use out of this device if you are flying it in less windy areas. The modified rotor blades are secured to a plastic frame which will protect them from collisions. The most significant feature of this device is that it does not have a distinct front and back, allowing you to fly it in any direction without the hassle of turning the “head” to the front similar to many other mini-drones in the market.
You can use the strategically placed 2MP camera to get a quality picture or video footages. The attractive light display will allow you to fly the drone at night without the fear of it being lost.
Syma X52C Nano Quadcopter with 2MP 720P HD Camera and Bonus Battery – White
Nano (smaller) size Syma quadcopter. Smaller, lightweight size for easier maneuverability and more fun indoors!
Intelligent Orientation Control/Headless - The X52C features "Headless" (IOC) flight mode, which makes flying much easier than before. Headless mode eliminates the need for a "nose", as it can be flown in any direction regardless of which end is in front or back.
2MP HD Camera: The Syma X52C Nano Quadcopter comes with a 2MP 720P HD camera. Ideal for taking aerial photos and videos for fun footage while playing.
This is another mini-drone that is good for both the beginners and expert players and it performs well both indoors and outdoor environments. Night flights with JJRC F180 Mini RC Quadcopter will be interesting due to the 6 LED lights place on all the sides. It also has 6-axis gyroscope to ensure the stability during the takeoff and the flight. The remote control is more advanced than the peers in this price range and is able to perform seamless rollovers of 360 degrees. It usually needs a charging time of about 45 minutes for a 7 to 8 minute flying time.
JJRC F180C Remote Control 2.4GHz 4CH Battleship Quadcopter with 360 Degree Roll Red
Conclusion: want more about mini-drones?
Before you purchase your new mini-drone, you need to understand that not every drone works universally well for everyone.
You might have to try a few different mini-drones before discovering what is best for your needs and the environment in which you fly it.
Getting peer reviews is always a good thing to do rather than depending on what is on the websites, but again make sure you are aware that just because a mini-drone works well for one person, does not always mean that it will work well for you. Going for the device with the best reviews and the minimum risk is your best bet.
Always look for factors such as wind resistance, stability, remote control, the weight and the power of the motors before you buy it. If you are looking for a drone for mostly doing photography and videography, the quality of the camera plays a big role as well. As a beginner, going for a low-cost minidrone is rather advisable since it will be prone to a few accident before you truly learn how to keep the control. The important thing is that you have fun while doing it. Hopefully, we covered all the basics that you need to know before buying your first mini drone, or upgrading to a new one.
Good luck and enjoy your mini-drone!