Get a camera drone with GPS for less than $100 or fly an app-controlled paper airplane for $35.
- Joshua Goldman | CNET
While a lot of the excitement around drones may have died back compared to the last two holiday seasons, that doesn't mean they've gone away. Far from it, actually.
As is the case with most consumer tech, the longer something's been around, the more advanced features you can get at lower prices. Whether you're looking for a toy to fly around your backyard or living room or a full-on camera drone to travel the world with, you'll get more for your money right now.
Keep in mind:
Deals and prices have been verified as of Thursday, Nov. 22 at 8 a.m. ET.We linked to the current listing at the retailer's website when one was available, but of course some pricing might not be available until the respective sales begin.
IDRA Drone Insurance, Memberships, & Store (20% OFF)
The International Drone Racing Association (IDRA)'s worldwide drone insurance, pilot memberships, drone cages, and other store items are 20% OFF this Black Friday to Cyber Monday.
Parrot Mambo FPV Kit for $130 ($50 off)
One of my favorite kits for beginners who want simple indoor and outdoor flying. You can record video and photos with the add-on 720p-resolution camera, but it's also a great way to learn how to fly by first-person view using the included FPV headset. Just slide in an iPhone or Android phone with Parrot's flying app and use the bundled Bluetooth controller to pilot the drone.
Air Hogs Supernova Orb for $30 ($10 off)
More of a flying toy than what's typically considered a drone, the Supernova is surrounded with IR sensors, letting you use your hands to control it. It definitely takes some practice, but once you've got the hand gestures down, it's a blast to play with alone or a partner.
PowerUp Dart app-controlled paper airplane 30 percent off
Rather fly an RC plane than a quadcopter? The PowerUp Dart lets you do just that with very little investment. It's a powered paper airplane that does flips and rolls that you control with an app on your phone. An onscreen slider controls the throttle, while tilting your phone left or right handles steering. It takes some practice, but it's a blast once you get the hang of it. Prices start at $50, but you can get 30 percent off right now for Black Friday, bringing the basic kit down to $35.
Ryze Tello bundle for $99
Built in collaboration with drone market leader DJI and Intel, the Tello is way smarter than your average phone-controlled camera drone. The app has several preprogrammed flight patterns designed to get cool-looking selfie shots or you can just fly it with onscreen controls. A Bluetooth controller is available for it, too, if you'd rather have physical controls.
The Tello is available at Best Buy, Amazon and elsewhere for $79 ($20 off its normal price) or you can pick it up from DJI's site with three batteries and a charging hub for $99.
Sky Viper Fury Stunt Drone for $25 ($25 off), Journey GPS Video Drone for $97
It's amazing that you can get a camera drone with GPS for less than $100 let alone a good one. While the Journey won't be putting DJI out of business, it's a good entry-level quadcopter that can hold its position and hover using GPS and has return to home, a Follow Me mode and waypoint navigation. The Fury ($25 at Walmart) is just a simple drone that's quick and can do a variety of flips with buttons on the controller.
DJI Mavic Air for $700 ($100 off)
The Air might not have the camera or performance of the Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom models, but it's still my go-to camera drone recommendation for most people.
Parrot Anafi for $550 ($150 off)
You get a lot for your money with the Anafi. The 4K-resolution camera drone folds up to the size of a compact umbrella and weighs next to nothing. That's at least part of the reason it gets up to 25 minutes of flight time. While it lacks obstacle avoidance like the Mavic Air, it has a whole bag of shooting tricks for photos and video.
Skydio R1 with free second battery and Skydio backpack
I'm throwing this in for the big spenders who care more about getting a great shot than flying a drone. The R1 is a remarkable camera drone because it flies itself while it tracks you or another subject. That includes piloting itself around obstacles on all sides. (Watch this video to see it in action.) It is, however, $2,000, but through Cyber Monday (Nov. 26), Skydio will throw in a second battery and a backpack.
Original article at CNET, here.
IDRA Membership & Insurance
For more information about the International Drone Racing Association (IDRA) and how to become a member, please visit our website or find us on all social media platforms. As the world's largest association for recreational and commercial pilots, IDRA is the premier provider of primary liability insurance with worldwide coverage. This is a great and affordable service that we provide IDRA Members around the world.
If you need applicable and affordable insurance for your drone event (training, education, demos, exhibits, races, etc.) please contact us as well.
As always, stay safe, have fun, and we'll see you at the next race!