We test six of the best budget drone gadgets for readers
With spring on its way and us ready to brave the great outdoors, now is the time to start thinking about investing in a 'multicopter'. But you don't have to spend big, these value for money ones will do the trick.
All the small things
Skeye Nano Camera Drone, £59.99, from www.firebox.com
Big may be beautiful, but this little - and we mean little - gizmo proves tiny is also terrific. Comfortably sitting in the palm of your hand, the Skeye Nano Camera Drone is as light as a feather, will give you 640x480 resolution footage - stored on the 2GB MicroSD card (included) - and the control allows you to do all manner of things, including flips and tumbles. So given its capabilities, what's the catch? There isn't one, well not really. The only slight issue with this is that you get a limited flight time of three to four minutes. However, given it takes just half an hour to fully charge it, this isn't a big deal. A great product that's easy to operate and control.
Hubsan FPV X4 Plus Quadcopter Drone with 720p Camera, £169.99, from www.maplin.co.uk
On first appearances, you might be a little shocked by the size and appearance of the controller that comes alongside this nifty flyer. It has an early Nineties look about it and when you compare it to the size of others, it looks gigantic. However, there's a method amongst the madness. When the drone is up, it sends a live video feed direct to the controller and you can then choose what bits you want to record. The camera itself is a powerful 720p and you'll get nine minutes flying time with a 30-minute charge.
Parrot Airborne cargo drone, £79.99, from store.parrot.com/uk/
This small device may look slight and fragile, but it's actually one of the sturdier budget drones out there. This is a great toy - it even comes with a little space figure to stand atop the drone, however, rather than give you filmed footage of its flight, it just takes photos. That said, you can record the flight itself (film the drone in action rather than footage from the drone) by using the corresponding app. Which brings us onto how it's controlled ... via your smartphone. You'll need a phone with at least Bluetooth 4.0 to be able to send this gadget up into the sky. What this does mean though is that, because it's not restricted to a "traditional" controller, there are loads of capabilities on the app, including great acrobatic moves.
Voyager 6 UFO with camera, £89.99, from www.menkind.co.uk
One for those who love all things sci-fi, this wonderful drone is a real head-turner. What's more, it's powerful - due to its six rotors and three speed modes. The controller is unbelievably easy to use: think it's getting a bit too far away? Click the "Return Home" button and, like a well-heeled dog, your beloved device will come back to you. On top of that, it's got a strong camera - recording in HD 1280 x 720p - video from which can be stored and transferred to the 2GB Micro SD and card reader that come included.
ARCADE Orbit Cam XL Drone, £69, www.currys.co.uk
This is a great all-round option - and we mean that in both senses of the word, given the four circular frames. The camera is of a relatively good quality, you can control it up to 80 metres away and you'll get around seven minutes fly time for every 90 minute charge. If you're using this in your garden, it's strong enough to resist the wind and the controller is simple to use - you'll soon master flips. If your showing off sees you make a few bumpy landings in the process, worry not, this is quite a hardy little device. All this for just £69, not bad. Not bad at all.
HoverTech Battle FX, £20, from www.smythstoys.com
This drone doesn't come with camera capabilities, but it certainly is fun. Made to be a kid's toy, we think it's just as entertaining for grown-ups. The drone hovers above the ground and you have to shoot the targets on it using two blasters and darts (supplied). In single player mode, you'll need to hit the target three times to get it down, and when in battle mode, you'll want to be the first to knock it down by hitting it once. It's strangely addictive. One note of caution: it's meant to hover up to 3ft above desk surface, but when we played with it, it was probably about half that.
App of the week
Flight Pilot Simulator 3D by Fun Games For Free, free, App Store and Google Play
Take to the skies for free with this simulator app. You are sent on various missions and have a choice of planes (though you will need to make in-app purchases for a wide range of aircraft). A good way to while away time on the morning commute.
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