There are thousands of different drones available. It can be extremely difficult to know which drone will suit your needs. Below I will go over some common and not so common features as well as some things to keep in mind when buying a drone.
This is super important. Bigger drones look better and are more impressive. However contrary to popular belief bigger does not mean better. If you where to inspect the electronic components in many larger drones you will find that they are most often exactly the same as whats found in much smaller drones (smaller then 160mm) I have tested hundreds of different drones and at the end of the day drones small enough to not need gearboxes are much stronger and more suited to beginners. They also fly much faster and are more stable then drones with gearboxes.
Size also influences what weather conditions you can fly in. Bigger drones cannot handle the wind as well as smaller drones. They have so much area that the wind just blows them all over the place making them nearly impossible to control. A skilled pilot can fly a GoDrone NANO in up to 30KM/h winds
Cameras and camera type
There are 2 main reasons to have a camera on a drone. The first is to simply record video to an onboard sd memory card. Many drones such as our GoDrone BaseCam can do this. The other use for a camera is to send live FPV (first person view) video back to a set of goggles or smartphone that lets you pilot the drone without even being in the same room. It is a lot of fun. We dont currently sell any drones with this built in as it can make the drone quite fragile. However we sell a kitset that can be mounted onto just about any drone that provides a live video feed straight to your smartphone. If you want a drone with a camera I personally recommend the GoDrone BaseCam in the $100-160 price range
Battery type and flight time
Whatever drone you buy make sure that it has a LIPO battery. Anything else and you will likely be disappointed by its performance. Lipos provide the highest capacity and discharge rating for the weight. All the drones on our store use LIPOs. As for flight time it completely depends on your flying style and the kind of drone you purchase. On my spec class racing drone I can hover for 12 minutes but when racing I struggle to get more then 3 minutes. Overall I would shoot for around 6-8 mins flight time. Make sure you buy something that makes it easy to swap the battery so you can have 2 battery’s and fly one as the other charges. Anything with a flight time more then about 9 minutes will likely be quite slow and underpowered due to carrying an unnecessarily large battery. (unless of course it is a photography drone where the goal is long flight time)
This is the biggest thing that people misunderstand. You may have noticed that there are no drones for sale on this site between $120 and $400. There is a very good reason for this. I have tested hundreds and hundreds of drones. Drones in the $150 to $300 price range tend to use the same tech as much much cheaper drones with little improvement. Some feature WIFI to send the live video to your phone. Using wifi adds about a second of lag to the video and control signals making them painful to fly. (imagine how one second could affect you at 40KM/h. Other drones in this price range have features like altitude hold (using a barometer) However it is unreliable and often results in flyaways. There is honestly nothing I can recommend between a GoDrone BASECAM and a full brushless drone.
Drones I personally recommend
The main drone that I recommend is the $65 GoDrone NANO. It is perfect because it is so durable and easy to fly. It is the drone that I recommend for anyone as a first drone. It is perfect for kids and teenagers.
If you want a slightly more advanced drone I recommend the $120 BASECAM. Just as easy to fly but has a camera and a bit more flight time. It can shoot 720p video which is not too bad for the price. It is nice and stable perfect for indoors and outdoors. It is also perfect for learning to fly bigger drones as it flies almost exactly the same.
Once you have mastered flying and want something portable that is a blast to fly I recommend the $75 GoDrone Acro+ as it is capable of over 40KM/h and can do some crazy stunts including flying upside down. It is super durable and a lot of fun.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me on 022 189 3757 or email paul@GoDrone.co.nz