We often associate the word cheap with tacky or substandard. I would have agreed with this a generation ago. But today get a lot more for much less money than we ever did. This is due to consumer demands and advances in technology. Drones are no different. This guide looks at the most affordable and capable of the cheap drones available.

The products here are not cheap as in second-rate. A better word to describe them would be affordable or inexpensive. This is a broad statement, though, and the next section looks at what it all means.

Budget
best-budget-cheap-drones
Force1 U49C Camera quad
4.5/5.0
Camera: 720P HD
Flight time: 15 minutes
Has an HD camera with 120-degree wide angle lens.
Check Amazon
Best Value
best-value-cheap-drones
DJI Spark Quadcopter Fly More
4.4/5.0
Camera: 1080P HD
Flight time: 15 minutes
Reliable, easy to fly, and has gimbal stabilization.
Check Amazon
Top Pick
top-value-cheap-drones
F100 Ghost Quad
4.7/5.0
Camera: 1080P HD action
Flight time: 15 minutes
Has a high landing gear to protect cameras.
Check Amazon

Items by price:

About this Affordable Drone Guide

I’ve taken the thoughts and opinions of other industry experts and real user feedback into consideration. The result is an good list of the most popular drones at the best prices. In other words, great value products that won’t break the bank.

I’ve also put them into three price categories for your convenience. They start with the cheapest drones at the top and next to each product is an Editor’s star rating.

The table below lists the affordable drones in the order they appear in this cheap drone guide:

Cheap Drones Comparison Table

Make and ModelCameraFlight TimePrice Check
Force1 U49C Camera quadcopter720P HD15 minutesCheck Price
Force1 X5UW Camera quad720P HD8 minutesCheck Price
SYMA X5C-1 RC Quad2MP high-degree7 minutesCheck Price
F100 Ghost Quad1080P HD action15 minutesCheck Price
Holy Stone F181W720P HD9 minutesCheck Price
Force 1 U49W Drone720P HD15 minutesCheck Price
Contixo F18 Camera Drone1080P HD16 minutesCheck Price
Traxxas Aton Action QuadMount only25 minutesCheck Price
DJI Spark Quad Fly More Combo1080P HD15 minutesCheck Price
Hubsan H501S X4 Quadcopter1080P HD20 minutesCheck Price

Cheap Drones Under $100

I’ve put three cheap drones in the less than 100 bucks category. These are not toy drones but they are toy-like in their construction. They are also the perfect choice for kids and anyone else who wants to dip their toe into the world of consumer drones for the first time.

1. Force1 U49C Red Heron Camera Quad

Force1 U49C Red Heron Camera QuadView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.9/5

The U49C Red Heron is a worthy little craft and an Amazon’s Choice product at the time of writing.

  • Best feature 1: HD camera with 120-degree wide angle lens
  • Best feature 2: Long flight time (battery life) for a drone in its class
  • Plus points: Excellent beginner quad, simple to operate, bonus battery and extra motors
  • Minus points: Not good outside on windy days, low-average camera

There are not many flying camera drones that offer so much for such little outlay. The Force1 U49C looks good, flies well outdoors (on windless days), and is easy to operate. The 720P HD camera won’t win any quality awards but the images are perfectly okay and provide a great intro to aerial filming.

Flying the Red Heron by Force1

The flight time is 15-minutes on a single charge which is good. The bonus battery extends your flying fun to around 30 minutes which is even better. And you can fly this puppy to around 650 ft. from the controller on a clear day. The beginner experience couldn’t be easier thanks to the simple controller.

User-friendly features include one-key takeoff and landing, altitude hold, and headless mode. The headless mode removes the problem of drone orientation that often confuses younger pilots. There are even three speed modes to help the novice ease their way in as they build flying skills and confidence.

The Conclusion

The Red Heron camera drone has everything for an entry-level craft and at less than 100 bucks. It’s easy to fly at any age, it’s versatile, and comes with a bonus battery to double your flying fun.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 2.8 lbs. (1270g)
Drone category: Beginner
Maximum flight time: 15 minutes
Maximum flight range: 198m (650 ft.)
Charging time: Not specified
Camera: 720P HD with rubber damping
Controller type: 2.4Ghz Xbox-style Remote Controller (RC)
The Pros
Affordable little quadcopter
Amazing value
Easy to fly at any level
Beginner friendly flight modes
HD camera
Stable in calm skies
Durable (can take a few knocks)
Bonus battery and extra motors
The Cons
Slow flyer even at speed 3
Lacks thrust
Not stable in windy weather

2. Force1 X5UW Thunderbolt Camera

Force1 X5UW Thunderbolt CameraView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

Next up is the Force1 X5UW quadcopter. It’s another cheap RTF camera drone worthy of a place here.

  • Best feature 1: Custom Flight Path
  • Best feature 2: Feature packed for a drone in its class (see below)
  • Plus points: Two bonus batteries, 720P HD camera, FPV, flies using smartphone tilts
  • Minus points: Two bonus batteries, 720P HD camera, FPV, flies using smartphone tilts

This little drone might not look much at first glance but it packs a lot of bang in for your buck. Many of the features found on the X5UW Camera Quad are similar to those found on much costlier crafts. The quality is average compared to more expensive quadcopters but then it’s a fraction of the price.

Flying the Thunderbolt FPV RTF Camera Quad

Flying the Thunderbolt in First Person View (FPV) is a breeze. The 1-key takeoff and landing is a great selling point but it’s in the air where this baby comes into its own. To fly the craft simply tilt your Android or iOS smartphone for full control. You can perform impressive stunts like 360° flips with one button touches. The flights are smooth and stable thanks to the Altitude Hold and 6-axis gyro.

The Headless Mode means pilots don’t have to worry which way the craft faces to fly it. This lets you concentrate more on flying and filming without worrying about orientation. The 720p HD camera is more than adequate for optics in this class. The videos and stills are clear enough to enjoy and share with others. The maximum flight time is just 8-minutes but this quad comes with three batteries—nice!

The Conclusion

The Thunderbolt is an affordable little quadcopter and a perfect choice for first-time pilots. It comes with lots of smart features, a transmitter, smartphone control, and an FPV experience. And the little camera provides a great introduction to capturing aerial stills and video.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 1.6 lbs. (726g)
Drone category: Beginner
Maximum flight time: 8 minutes
Maximum flight range: Not specified
Charging time: Not specified
Camera: 720P HD
Controller type: RC and smartphone
The Pros
Affordable price tag
Popular beginner drone, great user feedback and ratings
Easy to fly, stable in normal conditions
Two extra batteries (3 total)
First Person View (FPV) capable
Fly using smartphone movements
Feature packed: Gravity Induction, Altitude Hold, Headless Mode, and Custom Routes
The Cons
Short flight time but does have two bonus batteries
Range and charging time not specified on public specs
Not good in the wind

3. SYMA X5C-1 Explorers RC Quad

SYMA X5C-1 Explorers RC Quad View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

At less than 60 bucks the SYMA X5C-1 Explorers is the cheapest drone here but it’s still a good deal.

  • Best feature 1: Newest 6-axis flight control systems
  • Best feature 2: Two bonus batteries (3 in total)
  • Plus points: Stable, flexible flyer, modular design, blade protectors, LED lights
  • Minus points: Instructions should be clearer for beginners, short flight time

Despite its low price the Explorers comes equipped with a 2MP high degree camera. If you’ve never flown a camera drone before—but want to try—add the X5C-1 to your shortlist. It’s a simple quad to operate at the beginner level. It even comes with some bright flashing LEDs so that you can see it clearly against a cloudy sky or fly it in the dark. It’s also easy to assemble and maintain thanks to the modular design. Best of all is that this cheap little drone comes with a bunch of extras.

Flying the SYMA X5C-1 Explorers Quadcopter

The drone is small, light, and safe to fly indoors and out. It’s a great choice for younger first-time pilots but anyone will enjoy it. The craft is fairly wind-resistant and stable despite its specs. The integrated 6-axis gyro stabilization helps with this. The maximum flight time is just 7-8 minutes. That doesn’t sound much but it’s fairly average for a quad at this price. There’s also a bonus battery to extend the fun.

The 90-minute charging time is also average. The flight range is around 154 ft. Again, this is normal for a tiny flying camera quad. The 2.4GHz remote controller or RC uses something called spectrum technology. This latest technology enhances flight range, power-consumption, and anti-interference.

The Conclusion

The SYMA X5C-1 Explorers doesn’t have it all but it certainly has plenty for the price. It flies well, is easy to use, has an inbuilt camera, and is a perfect introduction to aerial photography and filming. You get an extra battery, extra blades, blade protectors, a transmitter, and a 4G MicroSD Card to boot.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 0.2 lbs. (103 g)
Drone category: Beginner
Maximum flight time: 7 minutes
Maximum flight range: 50 m (164 ft.)
Charging time: 90 minutes (1.5 hr.)
Camera: 2MP high degree camera w/ video capability
Controller type: Fast 2.4GHz RC w/ spread spectrum technology
The Pros
Excellent value for money
Bonus batteries
Great beginner drone
Two flight speed modes
Fun to fly
Decent range
Crash resistant
Inbuilt camera
The Cons
Short flight time
Instructions could be clearer
No headless mode

Cheap Drones Under $200

My top drones for less than 200 bucks are a step up from the cheaper UAVs above. They have similar features to the much costlier drones but their quality is average rather than exceptional. They are still capable crafts in their own right and ideal for entry-level pilots on a $200 budget.

4. F100 Ghost Quadcopter

F100 Ghost QuadcopterView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

The F100 Ghost is an Amazon’s Choice product (at the time of writing) and takes entry-level drones up to the next level. This model even comes with its own FORCE1 HD action camera.

  • Best feature 1: Quiet brushless motors
  • Best feature 2: High landing gear to protect cameras
  • Plus points: Amazon’s Choice, GoPro compatible mount, 1080P camera, easy to fly
  • Minus points: RC buttons not clear, not water resistant, flimsy propellers (spares included)

The F100 Ghost is a nice looking capable quadcopter that you can customize using various shells.

The 1080P HD drone camera is a step up from the earlier picks. Being a removable action camera means it can fly without the payload to increase the flight time. Sometimes it’s just fun to fly. And if you want an even better camera you can use a custom mount to hold a GoPro HERO Session.

Flying the F100 Ghost Camera Quad

This is a great entry-level quad with two speed modes for different experience levels. The Ghost sports powerful and quiet brushless motors. These provide smoother flying with reduced vibration and less audio distortion. Performing stunts is fun and easy too. And the remote controller fits nicely in the hands but the layout and markings are not as good or as clear as they could be.

The 15-minute flight time is on the low side of average. The good news is that the Ghost comes with a bonus battery effectively doubling its flight time to a half-hour. Always remember to allow a few minutes cool down time between new launches though. The other good news is the fast 60-minute charging time. The 500m (1640 ft.) range is also impressive.

Final Thoughts

The F100 Ghost detachable action camera drone is a quality quadcopter suitable for teens and adults. You can swap over to a GoPro mount if you have the camera and want to capture even better footage. The quad is stable, has quiet brushless motors, and comes with two batteries to extend the flying fun.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 1 lb. (445g)
Drone category: HD camera drone
Maximum flight time: 15 minutes
Maximum flight range: 500m (1640 ft.)
Charging time: 60 minutes (1 hr.)
The Pros
Amazon’s Choice product
Bonus battery
Detachable action camera
GoPro mount for HERO4/5
Decent range
Extra shells (black and white)
The Cons
No return home function (RTF)
Not water resistant
RC buttons not clearly marked

5. Holy Stone F181W Drone

Holy Stone F181W DroneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

Holy Stone sell a lot of affordable consumer drones. The company has a good reputation for providing feature-packed quadcopters that are fun and easy to fly. Their F181W WiFi FPV Drone is no exception.

  • Best feature 1: HD WiFi Camera w/ 120° Field of View (FOV)
  • Best feature 2: Powerful motors
  • Plus points: Altitude hold, 1-key return, headless mode, LED lights, bonus battery
  • Minus points: Short flight time, restrictive phone mount, hard to see warning light

The Holy Stone F181W drone has a 720P HD WiFi camera with a 120° wide-angle lens. The video and stills are more than acceptable for a cheap drone but they won’t win any prizes for quality. The built-in WiFi feature is cool and provides pilots with First person View (FPV) Real-time Transmission. In other words, you can see exactly what the flying camera sees on your smartphone screen.

Operating the Holy Stone F181W

Flying the Holy Stone F181W is easy to grasp and great fun. The Headless Mode means the quad flies forward or back as you use the controller. It doesn’t matter what direction its nose points. This one thing alone makes flying much easier but it’s not something all drones have—yet. The quads 6-axis gyro system helps to keep the craft steady in flight so it has a real benefit for filming.

Every drone pilot loves to perform a few fancy moves and the F181W has you covered. One-key 3D flips and rolls make complicated moves easy to do yet impressive to watch. This capable little quad even comes with a one-key Return-To-Home function despite its low price tag. The flight time is only 9-minutes but you do get a bonus battery. The charging time is an average 1.5 hours.

Final Thoughts

You can’t really go wrong with the popular Holy Stone affordable drones and that includes the F181W. You’ve got a camera for video, stills, and WiFi First Person View capability. There are also functions like Altitude Hold, Gravity Sensor, Speed Controls, and others, that make it a great first drone for all ages.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 0.3 lb. (140g)
Drone category: 0.3 lb. (140g)
Maximum flight time: 9 minutes
Maximum flight range: 120m (394 ft.)
Charging time: 90 minutes (1.5 hrs.)
The Pros
Best seller, high ratings
Easy and safe beginner craft
Protection frames
Bonus battery
Multiple speed control
The Cons
Short-ish flight time
Smartphone mount won’t accommodate larger phones and phablets
Low warning light difficult to see in daylight

6. Force 1 U49W Drone

Force 1 U49W DroneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

This is another Amazon’s Choice flying camera drone from Force1. The U49W Blue Heron looks similar to the Red Heron above (#1) but it costs around 50 bucks more. Let’s find out why.

  • Best feature 1: Mobile app controlled
  • Best feature 2: Intelligent flight modes
  • Plus points: Amazon’s Choice product, bonus battery, beginner-friendly, popular craft
  • Minus points: Average camera, long charging

Many of the U49W BLUE Heron specs are inline to the U49C RED Heron. The reason for the price difference is because of the Blue Heron’s First Person View (FPV) capability. You can enjoy FPV on a smartphone screen with the free Android or iOS app. The Blue Heron controller also has a clamp to accommodate most popular smartphones. The HD camera quality is on the high side of acceptable.

This consumer drone is a fantastic little flying camera quad for any experience level. It has flight-stabilizing technology but it’s a far cry from a mechanical gimbal. Even so, it does a pretty good job at steadying the craft which is important for shake-free footage. Drone stabilization is not something that all cheaper camera quads offer.

Flying the Force1 U49W Blue Heron

Flying this quad is easy and enjoyable thanks to the Headless Mode for trouble-free orientation. The Custom Route Mode, Altitude Hold function, and 1-key Lift & Land also check the ‘easy to fly’ boxes.

The flight time is 15 minutes or 30 minutes if you include the bonus battery. It’s always wise to let this drone cool down for 20 minutes after a battery change. The battery charging time is a disappointing 120 minutes or 2+ hours. Overall, though, there’s very little to complain about.

Final Thoughts

For around $150 you get a great entry-level WiFi FPV camera quadcopter. It has plenty of beginner and failsafe features which make it suitable for younger first-time pilots in particular. Both the RED and BLUE Heron come with large effective fixed blade guards. These do a pretty good job at keeping the propellers out of harm’s way.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 2.91 lbs. (1320g)
Drone category: FPV camera drone
Maximum flight time: 15 minutes
Maximum flight range: 198m (650 ft.)
Charging time: 120 minutes (2 hrs.)
Camera: 720P HD Aerial camera
Controller type: 2.4Ghz RC and smartphone/app control
The Pros
Great looking quad, easy to fly
Headless mode
Bonus battery doubles flight time
WiFi First Person View (FPV)
Custom route mode
Altitude hold
1-key takeoff/landing
Rubber-damping helps to stabilize camera during flight
The Cons
Average camera quality
Average range
Long charging time

Cheap Drones Over $200

My final picks range from over 200 bucks but don’t exceed $600. What we have here are cheaper drones in the mid-tier range. There are many products available in this category. The ones below are the best quadcopters I could find in this class during my extensive research.

7. Contixo F18 Camera Drone

Contixo F18 Camera DroneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

The Contixo F18 costs around 100 bucks more than the previous pick but is it worth the extra?

  • Best feature 1: Advanced GPS system
  • Best feature 2: HD 1080P live 5G Band WiFi FPV
  • Plus points: Smart features, brushless motors, nice backpack, good range, 4 speed modes
  • Minus points: Long 4-hour charging, pixelated footage at higher speeds

The F18 is a good-looking FPV GPS WiFi video camera quadcopter. It even comes with its own smart carry case made specifically to house the drone and its accessories. The craft is so cute it’s almost like a flying pet once you get used to all the impressive features and functions. And you can view what the drone’s built-in camera sees on a smartphone screen with the HD FPV camera.

Flying the Contixo F18 Camera Drone

The mobile flight app is easy to understand and available for both Android and iOS devices. You can take to the skies and be in complete control of both flying and filming within a few minutes. The brushless motors ensure minimal friction on the running engines and thus help to reduce overheating. Even so, it’s always a good practice to allow engines to cool down between flights for any drone.

New pilots can take advantage of the four throttle control modes. These are useful while you get accustomed to the craft and work at developing your skills. The bright LED lights help with orientation and instill confidence when flying at night. There’s no chance of losing this puppy either thanks to the Advanced GPS Mode. Here are the four ways the craft can respond when you need to get it back:

  • Auto Return to Home
  • Smart Return to Home
  • Failsafe Return to Home
  • Low Voltage Return to Home

Major Dislikes for the Contixo F18

Being happy with any consumer drone depends on individual wants and expectations. However, all pilots share a few demands in common. The usual gripes are with brief flight times (battery life), long charging time, and short range. At 1.2 miles the Contixo F18 has an impressive range. The shortish 16 minutes flight time and even less impressive 4 hr. charging time are its biggest letdowns.

Final Thoughts

If you can look past the battery life (flight time) and long charging time there’s not much else to fault. This really is a nice looking, capable, feature-packed, RC quadcopter for around 300 bucks.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 0.73 lb. (334g) excl. battery
Drone category: FPV camera drone
Maximum flight time: 16 minutes
Maximum flight range: 2km (1.2 miles)
Charging time: 240 minutes (4 hrs.)
Camera: 1080p 5G Band Wi-Fi FPV
Controller type: New generation two-way 2.4 GHz RC/Smartphone + app
The Pros
Great value all-in-one drone kit
Lightweight & robust
Easy to fly quadcopter
Intuitive CONTIXO F18 App
Decent flight time
FPV Capability
Full high definition 1080p camera
Advanced GPS assisted hovering
Auto + Smart + Failsafe + Low Voltage Return to Home features
Four throttle control modes
The Cons
Long charging time
Footage can become slightly pixelated when flying too fast

8. Traxxas Aton Action Camera Quad

Traxxas Aton Action Camera QuadView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

If you want an aerobatic, fast, and fun quadcopter, the Traxxas Aton could be right up your alley.

  • Best feature 1: Long flight time (see review)
  • Best feature 2: Customizable design
  • Plus points: Fixed action camera mount, stunt aerobatics, fast, dual-mode GPS, air brakes
  • Minus points: toy-like (appearance only), doesn’t have FPV, camera not included

The Benefits of a Camera Drone without a Camera

There’s no camera included with the Aton but it does come with a gimbal to mount an action camera like GoPro. A lot of people like the idea of being able to choose their own camera. It gives you more flexibility in filming and quality options. And when you want to just fly for fun you can remove the camera to lighten the payload.

Flexible Flying Choices

The Traxxas Aton has an impressive top speed of 50 mph in Sport Mode though speed is not a priority for most drone pilots. Those who need it tend to compete in races or fly long distances. But this is more than just a fast craft with athletic flying ability. There are different modes that allow you to focus on other things like filming. There’s also an Expert Mode that really puts the operator in full control.

This is a decent UAV for any skill level. Experienced pilots can take to the skies and unleash their flying potential to the full. Likewise, novice pilots can also enjoy this drone thanks to its beginner-friendly features. There’s the Return to Home control, dual-mode GPS, and effective air brakes. The Ultra-bright LEDs also come in handy for night flying as well as look great.

The flight time is an impressive 25 minutes on a single charge. The 90-minute recharge time is average so you may want to invest in at least one spare battery. The flight range isn’t the most impressive at just 500 ft. but then this is a drone you really want to keep in the line of sight (LOS).

Final Thoughts

The Traxxas Aton performs a lot better than its toy-like appearance would have you believe. It has an incredibly strong composite frame, long flight time, and lots of impressive features to explore. It’s a racer, a stable camera drone, and an acrobatic pilot’s dream craft. It’s not for everyone, but those who choose it are happy campers going by its high star rating and glowing reviews.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 1.9 lbs. (860g)
Drone category: Camera/racing UAV
Maximum flight time: 25 minutes
Maximum flight range: 152m (500 ft.)
Charging time: 90 minutes (1.5 hrs.)
Camera: Not included but has stable action camera mount
Controller type: 2.4GHz Aton RC
The Pros
Great quad for any level
Sleek design and customizable
Easy for beginners to fly
Three flight modes
Fast 50mph in Sport Mode
Air brakes
Long flight time (battery life)
Various safety features
Return to home
LED lighting
Easily accessible spares
The Cons
Looks toy-like
No camera included
No FPV capability

9. DJI Spark Quad Fly More Combo

DJI Spark Quad Fly More ComboView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

My last pick of the best cheap drones is the popular DJI Spark. The review here is for the affordable Fly More Combo which offers a convenient package presented as an impressive bundle.

  • Best feature 1: Hand gesture control (more than just a novelty)
  • Best feature 2: Intelligent flight modes
  • Plus points: Reliable, easy to fly, gimbal stabilization, powerful propulsion speed, GPS
  • Minus points: No 4k version, short flight time for a drone in its class, buggy with Android

If you’re searching for a quality quadcopter that’s small, luggable, and easy to fly, then search no more. Thanks to the Spark’s Gesture Mode you don’t even need a smartphone or remote controller (RC) to fly it. You can if you want to, and controllers increase potential, but you don’t have to. The Fly More Combo comes with a DJI RC so it’s there when you need to fly further and expand options.

Flying the DJI Spark

This is the fun part. Gesture control is practical as well as being a novel feature. You can take amazing aerial photos and close–range video simply by using hand gestures. How cool is that? You can also launch it from the palm of your hand which is another neat feature. The FaceAware technology recognizes your mug and hovers in front of your eyes just moments after powering the craft on.

The DJI Spark has a bunch of intuitive controls and intelligent flight modes. Using simple tap controls on a mobile device will create wonderful cinematic aerial footage that’s guaranteed to impress.

The Perfect Drone — for Some

This sounds like the perfect traveling UAV and it is for a lot of people. Yet the popular DJI Spark—like all drones—has a few minus points that will sway some people’s decision making.

The three most bothersome downsides to the DJI Spark include:

  • DJI GO 4 app buggy with some Android devices
  • Short flight time (battery life) for a drone in this price range
  • No 4K option available (at the time of writing)

The first and second points are the most troublesome. There’s no 4K video available—yet. Despite this, you won’t find many complaints about the 1080P video quality or 12MP stills. The short flight time is more of an issue not least because the DJI Spark only uses DJI batteries. They are good, but extra DJI batteries are also expensive. The good news is that the Fly More Combo includes an extra battery.

The reports that some Android devices don’t work well with this craft is more of a serious issue. It would be wise to check the current updates if you own an Android device while considering this drone.

Final Thoughts

The DJI Spark has a lot going for it. The Fly More Combo puts everything together so that you don’t have to. It includes the drone, remote controller, an extra battery, and propeller guards. There’s also a battery charging hub that accommodates three batteries for faster charging than USB.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 0.6 lb. (300 g)
Drone category: Foldable flying camera
Maximum flight time: 15 minutes
Maximum flight range: 500m (1640 ft.)
Charging time: 80 minutes (1:20 min)
Camera: Built-in 12MP stills / 1080P
Controller type: DJI Controller, hand gestures
The Pros
Easy foldable design, lightweight easy to travel with
The perfect selfie drone
Smart flight modes, simple for beginners
Hand gesture controls, mobile or DJI transmitter
Camera gimbal stabilized
Obstacle avoidance (only forward facing)
Return To Home feature
Dual-band GPS
The Cons
Not working well with some Android mobile devices
No 4K option
Shot flight time for a drone in this price category

10. Hubsan H501S X4 Quadcopter

Hubsan H501S X4 QuadcopterView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

My seventh pick in this cheap drone guide is the Hubsan H501S X4. This is an attractive HD camera quadcopter that has a lot to offer for a drone at around $200.

  • Best feature 1: 5.8G real-time FPV capability
  • Best feature 2: GPS Altitude Mode
  • Plus points: 1080P HD camera, intelligent battery, decent flight time, hover function
  • Minus points: Potentially spotty FPV transmission, noisy for brushless motors

The Hubsan H501S X4 is a feature-packed selfie drone with some impressive features. You get real-time video transmission with this complete FPV package. You don’t even need a mobile device. The drone transmits live video feed directly to the built-in monitor on the 4-channel remote controller (RC). The 1080P HD camera captures pretty good video and still shots which it saves to a Micro-SD card.

Flying the Hubsan H501S X4 Camera Quadcopter

The brushless motors are more durable and powerful than the brushed ones found on a lot of cheaper drones. Keeping control of the quad is easy thanks to the controller’s built-in monitor aka on-screen display or OSD. The display lets you know the quads position, speed, altitude, battery level, and a few other things. All the drone’s features empower pilots and include:

  • GPS in both the drone and RC
  • Follow Me mode
  • Headless Mode
  • Barometer Altitude Hold
  • OSD Live data
  • One-Key Return Landing

There’s a lot going on with this craft and flying it can be as simple or as complex as you like. There’s the impressive 20-minute maximum flight time but a less impressive 2.5 hrs. charging time. You may want to invest in at least one extra battery. The distance range is a good average at 984 ft. or 30m.

Final Thoughts

The Hubsan H501S X4 is the most feature-packed drone in this guide so far. For around 200 bucks you get a 4-channel GPS, FPV, Ready-to-Fly (RTF) camera quadcopter. If you want even more than what this drone offers then keep reading. I’m now about to review three drones over $200.

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Tech Specs
Weight: 1 lb. (410g)
Drone category: 1080P FPV UAV
Maximum flight time: 20 minutes
Maximum flight range: 300m (984 ft.)
Charging time: 150 minutes (2.5 hrs.)
Camera: 1080P HD
Controller type: Standard FPV2 RC
The Pros
Smart & affordable camera drone
Well-built, durable quadcopter
Easy-to-fly at any level
Follow Me feature
Headless mode
Accurate return to home feature
FPV capability
Brushless motors
Decent flight time
The Cons
Long charging time
Quite noisy
Some reports of spotty FPV transmission
4/52 ratings