You don’t need to spend a fortune to have fun over the festive season with a drone. Here are five models under £100 which you can take down your local park to perform tricks, take pictures and film footage from above. Many even offer High Definition video playback! Chris Price reports
1. Husban X4 H107D RC quadcopter – £75
A small but very efficient flying drone, the Husban boasts an exceptional range of of 100m. It’s also extremely durable. On board this palm sized quadcopter is a video camera which feeds real time footage directly to the transmitter’s built-in 3.4in LCD screen via wifi. Alternatively you can record to an SD card and view the footage on the transmitter screen. Thanks to the ultra stable 6-axis flight control system with adjustable gyro sensitivity, the Husban is suitable for both indoor and outdoor flights. What’s more this is a drone that allows users to add a number of accessories, unlike some of its rivals. Another benefit is that it responds outstandingly well to movements of the remote control, making it particularly easy to fly.
Available from House of Fraser, this black and yellow quadcopter from RED5 looks like a giant wasp! Featuring six-axis technology for a smooth and stable flight, the Sky Drone Pro V2 incorporates a HD (720p) camera which connects to your Android/iPhone smartphone via the free smartphone app. Just clip your phone to the large remote (as shown in the picture) and either you can watch a live feed of what the drone is capturing via wifi, or view the footage later (all of it can be stored on a micro SD card). The optional headless flying function makes it easy to fly while the return to home button is a handy option if you are struggling, as it sends the drone straight back to you. Full review of this model to follow after Xmas.
Recently upgraded to improve handling, the Syma X5SC is one of the most popular and reasonably priced entry-level drones on the market. The lightweight drone is now quite stable at speeds of up to about 10 miles per hour but we wouldn’t recommend it for use in stronger winds. Propeller guards provide enhanced durability (an extra set are included in the packaging) and users are able to view either photographs or video which is recorded to an SD card. However, there isn’t any wifi on board to view live footage. The average flight time is between 6-9 minutes but upgraded batteries can be bought to increase flight time. Changing the batteries is very straight forward, taking less than a minute. The Syma X5C is available in three colours: white, black and, our favourite, the red version.
Here’s something a little different – a stunt drone for younger children who are interested in flying quads. Made of foam it poses no threat to its users or passers by. Featuring a 2.4GHz radio control, gyro stabilization, and 4-ducted fans, the Helix X4 Stunt is both very manoeuvrable and incredibly fast. Perform three incredible stunts with the push of a button as you backflip, barrel roll and 180 flip. Crash-resistant materials protect the rotors and ensure excellent durability. The Air Hogs Helix X4 stunt has a range of about 300ft (90m).
5. DCH-330 Quadcopter drone with built-in HD video camera
For those that have never owned or flown a drone before, the brightly coloured DCH-330 Quadcopter drone is a good, low budget choice. Very lightweight, it features plastic protectors for its blades so can easily bounce off walls while being flown indoors. A built-in camera allows you to take great photos (up to 2 Megapixels) as well as HD (720p) videos from up above via the remote control, and the gyro function gives it stability making it easy to use. It’s great fun too with up, down, forwards and backwards controls and a 360 degree flip function so you can watch it twist and turn in the sky. The two-speed option means you can fly fast or slow depending on how daring you feel and it has a range of approximately 30 metres. Pictures and videos can be downloaded to PC via USB. The remote is powered by four AA batteries (batteries not included) with battery life up to about ten minutes.