Getting a drone seems to be the new bucket list. This is easy to understand given all the cool things you can do with them – from shooting videos, pranking your neighbours to manning your compound. A drone is also a good excused for adults to play games and be kids again and not have others frowning in disapproval. Drones are a bit of testosterone charged fun… Or can be if you choose the right one Call them what you may – quadcopter, quadcopter, spy plane etc- they come in all manner of specs, shapes and sizes. Choosing the right drone for you boils down to your personal preferences and what you want to use it for. Here are a few guidelines to help you make up your mind:-
Purpose for getting one Drones have many uses and the more the functionality the higher the price (and in some cases the bigger they get.) If you want something to rule the skies for the sheer fun of it as you once did with a kite, the most basic of drones will do just fine. For photography and videos it would be wiser to invest more in a drone with a capable camera or one that can easily be mounted with aftermarket ones. Or maybe you want to give your clients a unique experience via a drone delivery service, range and good by-laws in your locality are factors to consider.
Flight capabilities. There are several classes in flying a drone – typical first class, business and economy classes. Then there is the suite class which locks you in your own heaven in the sky and then we have the stowaways hanging on the landing gear. Drones have different capabilities which can make your flights fun or painful. Its best to go for a drone with advanced on-board flight processors. These determine what your drone can do whether it gliding or hovering about a spot. Superior processors also mean more stable flying otherwise you will have to keep shifting your fingers on the joystick.
Flight Duration. This boils down to the battery life but average is between 10 and 20 minutes. Go for a drone that gives you the longest battery life and probably one with swappable batteries.
Aerial views, Photos and Videos. There are two things to consider here; the camera and signal transmitter. Most stock cameras are basic and will not give you very good images. Higher resolution cameras may mean investing more money. For videos get a camera with a minimum of 720p. Stock cameras also have limited viewing angles thus attaching wide angle (fish eye) lenses may be necessary or getting a GoPro to substitute the on-board camera. The signal transmitter affects the first-person view. This is the image relayed on the console as the drone is in flight. There are digital antenna and Wi-Fi signals. Footage from digital antennas is less dependable, has a shorter range, poor image quality and is prone to static and freezing. Wi-Fi transmitters have better image resolution, real time feed relays and longer range. They are thus recommended. Most aftermarket cameras use Wi-Fi plus phone apps to relay image feed.
Parts and Safety. Drones need regular maintenance and replacement of parts. Choose a drone whose accessories are within your budget and easy to get. The first parts you should buy are prop guards -crashing and bumping into trees and pigeons are a given. A case for your parts and accessories is also recommended. Some drones can fly in rain and others will come down like hail so choose wisely which to buy and when to fly.