Ok, most of us have completed our holiday shopping at this point. But some of us haven’t. If there is a photographer, drone-lover or tech enthusiast on your list and your looking to buy them more than a scarf, drones under $500 could be the answer.
Check out these 5 drones for under $500:
1) DJI phantom 3 standard $549.00
This one is just over $500, but it gets great reviews. If your budget is bigger, this could be a good bet.
The DJI Phantom 3 Standard drone can be flown for up to 25 minutes, and streams a live image from up to half a mile away onto your phone or tablet. All you need is the free DJI Go app.
GPS assisted flight helps the drone fly safely, while letting you focus on the image your capturing.
The 2.7K camera can capture video at 30 frames per second, with 3-axis gimbal stabilization.
This drone can also fly in three preset flight patterns, as an interesting extra. It comes with 1 battery and charger, 2 full sets of propellers, radio controller, and an 8GB microSD card.
2) Traxxas ATON Quad-Rotor $434.93
With the Traxxas ATON, you get up to 20 minutes of flight time, and lots of fun. As Tested.com states,“It (the Traxxas ATON) is an aggressive sport quad at heart, yet it can also carry a camera and gimbal. Think of the Aton as a Corvette with a trailer hitch.”
This drone comes with an Air Brakes feature that lets you hover the drone in one spot, as you decide where to fly next.
Its flight controller is a PX4 autopilot based on the open source platform, Dronecode/ArduPilot , and you can replay your flights on Google Earth.
While this one does the job filming video, it can be shaky at times.
With a variety of performance levels all the way up to expert, this is reviewed as a strong sports quadcopter with video capabilities.
- Camera Mount for Go Pro & 3-Cell 3000mAh Battery
- 2.4GHz Radio System
- Traxxas Flight Link Ready
- LED Status Bar
- Brushless Motors
3) Air Hogs Helix Sentinel Drone $279.97
Fly, record videos and capture photos for less, with the Air Hogs helix Sentinel. Reviewed as “great for the whole family!” it’s still recommended for older kids however, rather than younger.
This one has a shorter fly time, and after about 5 minutes you may have to recharge, but as a bonus, it comes with 360 degree view goggles. Secure your smartphone inside the goggles and Live Stream HD video lets you fly the device from the point of view of a pilot.
One reviewer has said: “The price range of this drone is absolutely amazing for what you get…Also like that it is under the weight range to have the drone registered.”
Fly it indoors or outside, and stream up to two devices at once.
- an HD 120-degree wide-angle lens camera
- 720p Wi-Fi streaming video
- 4GB Micro SD card
- HD live streaming on a Smart Device in 2 view modes: Mounted on your controller or inserted in the goggles for pilot view
4) Parrot PF727001 Mambo Drone $139.99
This one is great for beginners, out to have a bit of fun. The Parrot Mambo Drone is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It’s designed more for the fun of flying than for capturing jaw-dropping aerial video footage, but it does come with a built-in 0.3MP, 60fps vertical camera.
Playfully, it also come with a peashooter cannon to point at your friends, and a grabber accessory that allows you to attempt to master picking up small objects, in flight.
This small drone has about 8 minutes of flying time, which isn't too much, but enough to allow you to get a feel for things in the air. It’s said to be an easy drone for beginners to master quickly.
The Parrot Mambo uses Bluetooth to connect with your phone or tablet and is compatible with iOS 7 or Android 4.3 and above.
5) Vista Quadcopter $126.99
The Vista Quadcopter is also a great drone for beginners looking for flying fun. It’s suitable for indoor and outdoor use, and comes with an Auto-Flip feature for flips at the push of a button.
Multiple flight modes allow for different levels of flying experience, and durable construction lets it survive well through crashes.
A reviewer on drones.specout.com states:
“Awesome allrounder and a lot of fun. Great mid rsnge size. Fairly robust, reasonably priced, excellent visibility with great LED's, long flight time a quite good controller. Homing buttom would be great as would an extension connector lead out of the usb charger to battery. Battery connections are a bit fiddly and tight but these last 2 x points are a minor issue.”