From being perceived as sci-fi, to being thought of as ‘just-another-gadget’, drones have become a penchant in the tech world. Commonly referred to these days as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), its application has been very much widespread; from agricultural uses to security and even in Hollywood industry. Since its first use by Austrians in 1849 for war purposes, it has transcended to more positive uses this 21st century with so many drone brands already being established and more springing up to improve the drone sphere. Present day developments have even generated multi-copters that operate with more than one propeller and accompanying rotor which allow them to attain further heights or carry weights, while also enhancing speed. These forms include the Quadcopters very common in commercial quantity, the hexacopters, and the Octocopters that have a quite limited market due to its expense.
However, the attraction to some of these drone products more than others is its ease of operation through applications compatible with smartphones. Also, special features added to some drones make the market have more preference to certain manufacturers than others. Now let’s give you An idea of the best 3 drone brands
Here Are These Top Drone Brands
Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI)
This is the most established drone brands in all the industry. Founded by Chinese manufacturer Frank Wong, this brand is very notable for its constant introduction of new features to its pre-existing drones while also making them user-friendly. Though their products are directed toward professionals and drone enthusiasts, with just a flip through one of its manuals, even beginners are good to go. Special attention will be given to its Phantom 3 and Phantom 4.
1) DJI Phantom 3
The Phantom 3 is a budget friendly one developed for drone fanatics. It comes with advanced 3axis gimbal stabilization for stable footage technology. This allows it to record with superior video clarity, accompanied with a live-feed camera of 12MP and a resolution at 720p. It is a quadcopter with an integrated array of optical and ultrasonic sensors called Vision Positioning that allows you fly the device indoors without a GPS signal. Its submodels here are:
1.1 Phantom 3 Advance
1.2 Phantom 3 Professional
1.3 Phantom 3 Standard which by far is the cheapest to obtain ($499)
The Phantom 3 Standard is something comparable to a 3DR solo with a gimbal for half the price. This drone is a very handy one especially if you’re a beginner and need something easy to start with.
2) DJI Phantom 4
Often referred to as the smartest drone of all time, the Phantom 4 is equipped with a Sports mode that allows you detect your location using an Obstacle Sensing System (OSS) that avoids a head-on collision with track objects. Sounds too real right? Well, sure it’s real! It just easily navigates over and around obstacles within 0.7-15metres or just simply hovers in the air until it is instructed to move away. It flies with a maximum speed of 45Mph on its sports mode. Its App is available on iOS/Android devices, and not only allows for viewing but also for adjusting, setting and observing flight data and battery status.
Its latest addition is Active Track installed to follow a subject. Simply draw a box on the screen around what needs to be tracked and then tap the GO button. It will track this object until it goes out of view or coverage by the drone of which it keeps hovering until it returns back into view. Another of its feature is the TapFly that allows you tap at any point from the screen of your controlling device and the drone goes over to the pointed part while avoiding obstacles. Beautifully, if you may need to take a stop and think where else to ‘drone’ to, a PAUSE button is added to the controller that keeps the drone hovering in the air till you’re ready to GO.
3) Mavic Pro
The DJI Mavic Pro is one of the newest models from DJI. It looks like the Phantom 3, but smaller and more foldable. With free stabilized 4k resolution videoing and a 12MP camera, it has an Obstacle Sensing System like the Phantom 4. Its major kudos is the ability of the drone brands to reduce its size up to that of a water bottle; weighing a meager 1.6lbs. It has 6propellers that give it an impressive speed. It also has been built with TapFly technology like the Phantom 4. Its downward sensor allows it to maintain a constant altitude, while also being able to take pictures with a wave of the hand (the word actually is dronie, not selfie).
Yuneec Electric Aviation
This, by market share, has to be the closest drone brands which give the DJI Phantoms a run for their money. After starting out as a manufacturer of radio controlled aircraft, Yuneec specializes in easy-use drones. Its big seller the TYPHOON Q500 is the world’s first to come out of the box quadcopter drone. Also, it’s Typhoon H which is the newest discovery and much more consumer-friendly and can be paired with a second controller.
1) Typhoon Q500
This is a 4k quadcopter that battles the Phantom series of DJI in the market. Weighing 2.2pounds, it has a removable camera that is noticeably larger than the Phantom 3 cameras that aid slow motion videoing at 12megapixels. Its flight allows for three modes; Smart, Angle, and Home.
The Smart mode is built to let beginners easily operate the copter by moving the drone in the direction the control is aimed at not minding which direction its nose is facing. The Angle mode is for professionals and the direction is oriented with respect to the movement of the drone’s nose. The Home mode on the other hand as its name implies, brings the Q500 back toward the remote control, making landing more effortless and much easier.
This drone also includes a Follow Me button on the controller that by tapping the subject on the screen it follows the subject up till 1200ft distance away from the remote control. This is also similar to the Active Track present in the DJI models. Its speed at 18mph is when GPS enabled, but while turned off it poses a speed of 60mph although the video quality suffers as you move at such top speed.
2) Typhoon H
Unlike Q500, it is a hexacopter (having 6rotors) that can still function with 5rotors in the event of a damage to one in the air and still perform its functions efficiently without crashing. It bundles a nice 4K camera featuring 12megapixels and 1080p resolution. It can also be paired with 2 controllers giving room for two pilots to operate the drones, something other drones in the market may not have achieved just yet.
It has retractable landing gear activated with the touch of a button, leaving the camera to rotate 3600without any obstruction in the frame. It has 5 modes:
- Journey mode that automatically takes off and fires off a selfie
- Angle mode wherein it travels at 45mph
- Orbit Me mode that tracks the controller and orbits it in a wide circle
- Point Of Interest mode orbits the subject you’re interested in.
- Team mode that allows you connect to another smaller controller called Wizard. This controller involves the control of the drone flight, while the main controller is free to just control the camera.
Though it may seem difficult to control at first, it is one of the most sophisticated drones in the market. Spend time to master its features and you’d never go back to quadcopters again. With Intel’s investment in Yuneec, the drone brands have added great features that includeIntel’s Realsense technology for collision avoidance and easier flight. Now you see why Phantom is getting a run for their money.
3) Latest Yuneec Model
This is none other than the Yuneec Breeze which is an improvement in camera clarity (13megapixels) with a breathtaking 4K Ultra high definition skill. It has a built-in Indoor Positioning System that allows it to function both indoors and outdoors. The propeller protectors prevent them from coming in contact with other objects. It has similar automated modes as the previous models: Orbit Me, Journey, Pilot, Selfie and Follow Me modes.
This is a French Company that initially specialized in voice recognition and signal processing but gradually transitioned into the drone market. They have started to generate impact at faster rates than expected. It exceeds in global awareness in the drone industry. Its Bebop series is one of the most popular camera drones currently being sold today largely due to its affordability. Its AR Drone 2 which succeeded its AR model has an integrated FPV system controlled by a smartphone app.
1) Parrot Bebop Drone
It poses as one of the very few ultra-lightweight drones(400g). It comes with an Emergency mode that will land the drone if something goes wrong. The built-in GPS system also allows for the Return Home Button to safely automatically return the drone to its take-off point (if you remember, other drones discussed earlier return the drone either to where you want it to land or where the controller is located).
Its camera offers 1800of view field with 14MP(a rarity when it comes to drones) and uses digital stabilization technology to shoot crystal clear photos and videos from the air.It delivers a performance 8 times better than even the AR model. Its parts can be easily removed and assembled for transport. The beauty of the operation of the App is its direct synchronization with the smartphone, allowing the operator share shots on social network sites depending on the chosen pic. It gets up to top speed in 14seconds and resists headwinds up to 37.28mph.
2) Parrot AR Drone 2 Quadricopter
It is a mid-range model that allows you to control the aircraft through your smartphone. You can also share high-quality in-flight videos and pictures on YouTube and other social networking apps as Facebook, Twitter, amongst others. It comes in three different colors with a video pic of 720p. It is entirely almost the same in specs to the Bebop, with a low latency streaming and JPEG photo capture. The Parrot AR.2 is built with the same advanced technology as other Parrot models It is a pleasure indeed to fly this drone.
The majority of drones produced these days are all limited by their flight time which largely is due to the introduction of more rotors to increase their height of flight. The DJI drones are on the average more expensive yet their products have taken a larger share of the consumer market. Other drone brands struggling to gain relevance in the market include Hubsan models, notable for their camera quality and affordability; Blade series drones that are Safer and easy to operate; and Syma toys that produce X5C Explorer that has a WiFi FPV camera.