So, it’s that time of year again. You’re rushing round trying to find presents for everyone you’ve ever met and you’re almost out of time. Luckily for you, the RC Geeks team have compiled this handy list of the absolute best drones of 2017 – starting at as little as £13.99!
Don’t worry if you can’t tell your DJI’s from your Makerfire’s, this blog should have everything you need to make an informed decision. If not, you can send me, or preferably one of my colleagues, an angry email and we’ll do our best to help you out.
Want to throw a spanner in the mix? Click here to jump straight down to my Wildcard picks or, fancy something that drives? Click here to check out our Best Cars 2017 Blog.
Yes, you read that right – £13.99! Measuring in at an impressively compact 4cm² (without propeller guards) this little drone packs a big punch. Its size and weight allow extremely agile and responsive controls as well as built in flips and tricks at the push of a button! It also boasts a fairly impressive speed, for its size, a return to home function and a “headless” mode.
If that isn’t enough, the kit includes a USB charging cable, as well as a separate cable built directly into the controller for on-the-go charging! The kit also includes spare propellers and a propeller guard kit, even better – it all fits inside the controller for the ultimate portable experience.
We have nicknamed this fantastic little drone the “Micro Whoop”, because Tiny Whoop just doesn’t do it justice!
Sizing up at under 6cm², this drone is absolutely packed with features. The controller has a one touch take-off/landing feature, plus 3 different speed modes, a headless mode and even a return to home function! Having said this, I did manage to lose ours on the warehouse roof – but that was much more my fault than it was the drone’s…
Impressively, this drone can also be connected to your smartphone – opening up a whole host of new features. Your phone can be used as an FPV (First Person View) display, providing a live view from the on-board camera, and even allowing you to take videos and photos mid flight! Furthermore, you can forget the controller completely and use your smartphone to fly, with all the features of the controller, the phone also allows you to dynamically draw a path on your screen and the drone will copy that path right in-front of you. Pretty impressive, right?
Check out the XFLY Micro Whoop now!
Fancy a more acrobatic version of the Micro Whoop? Introducing, the Tiny Whoop! A fantastic way into the world of First Person View flying for any skill level. The Makerfire Tiny Whoop is ideal for indoor FPV flight, its rugged nature and propeller guards mean that it can fly away from most bumps and scrapes with walls, doors, humans… Plus, it’s powerful enough to be flown outside in low wind too!
The small profile and incredible speed that you can get from the Tiny Whoop does mean that you generally only achieve around a 4 minute flight time. However, batteries can be swapped out in seconds and a 4 pack of extra batteries costs only £21.99! The Tiny Whoop is a great gift for anyone with a thirst for speed, it’s also a great drone for learning to fly with – due to its robust nature and small form factor. It truly is a thrilling drone to fly; plus, at £54.99 – it’s a fantastic gift, with a wow factor that doesn’t break the bank.
For more information – see our webpage for the Makerfire Tiny Whoop.
This Tiny Whoop bundle comes with the drone, as detailed above, plus a pair of wireless VR goggles so that you can fly your new drone in true FPV style!
The Eachine VR007 goggles that are included in this bundle allow you to wirelessly tune in to the real-time transmission coming from the camera on-board the Tiny Whoop, meaning that you can fly the drone out of your eyeline whilst you’ve got your feet up on the sofa! If you can afford the extra £44 for this combo, the upgrade to VR goggles really does improve the flight experience, and excitement, immensely.
Pick up the Tiny Whoop VR Bundle on our website now!
The sheer power and acrobatic prowess of this drone really puts it above and beyond the Tiny Whoop that we spoke about earlier. It has a larger form factor, but comes with a much needed power and performance boost. Firstly, The Armor 90 is the first of the drones in this list that can be customised. The drone plugs into your computer and allows you to tinker with settings such as arming procedures, flight modes and FPV display telemetry.
To sweeten the pot, we have even converted the Armor 90 into an RTF (Ready To Fly) kit, meaning that everything you need to get your drone up and running is already in the box, you’re welcome. This drone is the perfect gift for a slightly larger budget than the Tiny Whoop, however, it is still a drone that a first time flyer could learn on. Although it is more powerful, its propeller guards and indoor compatibility means that it is a fairly durable craft.
To pick up your Makerfire Armour 90, visit our webpage now!
The Eachine Wizard is an all out, bare-bones FPV racing drone. Lots of power, lots of speed, lots of fun. If you’re planning on buying this as a gift for someone that’s never, ever flown a drone before, then I’d maybe consider a less powerful option first. However, if they’re a drone enthusiast, or even if they’ve just flown a few drones around the house before, they should have the basic skills needed to tame this beast. Measuring in at roughly 19cm², the X220S is the largest of the drones on our list so far, but this certainly comes with a more than noticeable power boost!
The X220S does come as an RTF version, but we recommend plugging it in to your computer and performing a few checks before you take off. However, we do also sell an ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) version (£145) for anyone who already has their own transmitter and receiver.
This drone is the perfect gift for any adrenaline junkies out there that have, ideally, flown a drone before. You can be sure that the first time they take this out to fly, they will be very, very impressed.
Now when it comes to drones – the big name really is DJI. DJI go above and beyond – in every aspect of their products. From the packaging, right down to their fail-safe collision avoidance functions. If you’re looking to make a big splash this Christmas, you should seriously consider the DJI range – with drones starting at £519.
The cheapest and smallest of the DJI range, the Spark, comes in at £519 for the standalone unit, or £699 for the Fly More Combo. Both the standalone and the combo units come in 5 vibrant colours – Alpine White, Lava Red, Sky Blue, Meadow Green and Sunrise Yellow.
The standalone unit contains:
- DJI Spark Aircraft
- 1x Intelligent Flight Battery
- Battery Charger
- Micro USB Cable
- Storage Case
This does not include a controller, however, the Spark can be flown with both the DJI App on your smartphone and with smart gesture control.
On the other hand, the Fly More Combo contains:
- DJI Spark Aircraft
- Remote Controller
- 8x Propellers
- Propeller guard set
- 2x Intelligent Flight Battery
- Battery Charger
- Power Cable
- Battery Charging Hub
- Micro USB Cable
- Storage Case
- Shoulder Bag
The Spark allows up to 16 minutes of flight time, a record for a drone of this size, the Spark also has a maximum control range of 1.2 miles and a top speed, in sport mode, of 50kph! It also features a Full HD camera unit capable of recording 1080p footage and has the ability to take 12MP stills.
The Mavic Pro is a revolutionary, compact and powerful quadcopter by DJI. The Mavic has taken a number of unique features from DJI’s other models and combined them to create an all new, impressive and exciting personal drone. Incorporating the innovative collision detection and avoidance systems from the Phantom 4 Pro, the Mavic Pro contains 5 vision sensors for indoor flying, and has the ability to connect to up to 20 satellites simultaneously, allowing an impeccably accurate GPS hold. The Mavic will fly for up to 27 minutes and has a record breaking 4.3 mile range.
The Mavic has kept up with the Phantom and Inspire with its 4K camera unit, at up to 30fps and 12MP still shots. DJI have designed this camera to be as small and compact as possible, to keep the weight down – but without sacrificing image or video quality. The Mavic also has a Fly More Combo available, boasting an extra 2 batteries, 2 pairs of propellers, an official Mavic shoulder bag, a battery to power bank adapter, a battery charging hub and an in-car charger.
For the Mavic, DJI have really focused on making the craft and its accessories as portable as possible. The new, compact design means the arms can now be folded inwards – vastly reducing the form factor. The entire drone, 3 batteries, a charger, controller and propellers can all fit inside the tiny official Mavic shoulder bag that is included with the Fly More Combo.
Not a fan of grey? DJI have recently released the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum edition (Pictured right). With a longer battery life and quieter motors, pre-order your Mavic Pro Platinum now!
A personal favourite of mine, the Phantom 4 Pro is, in my opinion, way ahead of the competition. This certainly isn’t a toy, or a gimmick drone – it is highly professional and can provide endless fun, as well as exceptionally high quality photos and videos. Featuring an all new, state of the art camera, the Phantom 4 Pro can capture 4K video at up to 60fps and take 20MP stills. The new battery design enables up to 30 minutes of flight time, whilst the all new Lightbridge system enables HD video transmission of up to 4.3 miles! Furthermore, the Phantom 4 Pro boasts five directions of obstacle avoidance. Vision and IR sensors on the front, back, left, right and underside of the drone enable the Phantom 4 Pro to dynamically detect and avoid obstacles, providing a worry-free flight for even the most amateur of pilots.
Featuring 5 intelligent flight modes, as well as beginner and expert modes, the Phantom 4 Pro really brings the wow factor. Plus, it comes with everything you need to fly right out of the box.
Absolutely everything is considered when it comes to the Phantom series. From the packaging, to the ergonomics of the controller, to the smooth gimbal movements, the Phantom is a tremendously high quality drone that is guaranteed to thrill. It is the most expensive drone on our list, but if you can afford to fork out the £1589, it’s certain to turn heads. Besides, whoever you’re buying it for may even let you use it, if you ask nicely.
Here at RC Geeks, we’re always up for offering some more off-the-wall gift ideas. The two products below are both personal favourites of mine and excellent gift ideas, for two very different budgets.
At just £50, The Moskito really is unlike anything else we sell. For the tremendously low price, you actually get a very robust and well made product which is, although simple in concept, hours of fun. The basic premise is that you steer the plane by tilting your smartphone and change the speed and height with a slider on the screen. The app even has a built in flight school to help get you off the ground!
For the other end of the budget, we have the DJI Goggles. Coming in at £499, these are certainly not just another VR gimmick. These high end VR Goggles link directly with DJI drones, allowing you to see footage from your drone in real time during flight. Furthermore, you can even set the camera unit to track your head movements, so as you turn your head, the camera on the drone dynamically mirrors your actions – pretty cool, right? Furthermore, the DJI Goggles can also be plugged in to a whole host of other devices, through the included HDMI cable. Meaning that you can watch your favourite shows or play your favourite games in classic VR style.
DJI boast the goggles to be equivalent to watching a 216 inch home cinema screen from less than 10 feet away. Now if that doesn’t excite you, I honestly don’t know what will.
For more information – check out our DJI Goggles webpage.
Help and Support
Here at RC Geeks, we don’t just sell cars. We thoroughly support all of our models with a range of spares, hop-ups, batteries and accessories. Check out our extensive Spares Finder here! We also provide excellent quality support for you and your product – if you have any pre or post sales inquiries, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our friendly support team!