Drones are these magical flying devices that will tingle your kids’ imagination and create memories for years to come. They’re simple to use, are past the first-gen phase which was plagued with safety issues, and are finally ready to make their way into every household in America.
Yep, Holiday season is right around the corner, and if you’ve missed Black Friday drone deals, I’m afraid drones for Christmas shopping is still on your to-do list. Don’t despair, even though Black Friday had record-breaking drone sales, Amazon still hosts a plethora of good deals. Whether we’re talking about drones for kids or drones for adults, you won’t have any issues buying drones this Christmas.
If you want to be extra sure you’re buying the best drone for your money, our list of the best Christmas 2019 drones ought to help you out. It’s divided into two parts – four models for kids and beginners, and four models for adult kids.
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4. Altair AA108
Miniature drones packing great features and decent specs, ones that won’t make a massive dent in your wallet, are really hard to find these days. In fact, Altair AA108 might be among the only ones. It’s really good when it comes to flight stability, has a solid camera that can serve as an entry point to the world of aerial photography, and costs ridiculously cheap. Want to know more about it? Well, keep on reading…
Camera and Features
Even though it’s not the highest-end model, AA108 is Altair’s most successful one. And there are two reasons behind this. First, Altair AA108 is a cheap drone, swinging in at just over $100. Second, it comes with a handful of useful features and even packs an onboard camera that does a somewhat decent job.
The features are as follows – VR headset support, 720p FPV downlink, headless mode, and 3-speed modes. Most importantly, Altair AA108 sports altitude hold. It’s not GPS-based but still works like a charm, allowing users a much easier flying experience.
As for the specs, Altair AA108 will not disappoint you. You’re looking at roughly 100 meters of range and 10 minutes of battery life. However, the latter will slightly vary based on whether or not you’re using FPV and which particular speed mode you’re flying in. And finally, you’ll be happy to know you’ll be getting close to 20 minutes of flight time since this package features two batteries.
3. Ruko F11
Here we have a much more capable drone. Ruko F11 will set you back for around $300 but delivers impressive performance in terms of specifications and features. Thanks to the latter, Ruko F11 is simple and intuitive to fly. This makes it the ideal kid and beginner-friendly drone on the cheap!
Camera and Features
As far as the camera goes, Ruko F11 can boast with a 4K sensor. There’s still some image stabilization issues, given as this isn’t a hardware-stabilized camera, but it’s still pretty sharp and one of the best ones at this price point.
Ruko F11 makes up for a great present this Christmas season thanks to its brilliant set of features. Not only does it have onboard GPS, a very accurate module too, but also a whole bunch of extra features that’ll make your life easier. For instance, it has long-range FPV (up to 500 meters), as well as failsafe, returns to home, tap fly, and the beginners’ favorite – one key takeoff and landing.
Specs-wise, Ruko F11 is a pretty stellar drone. The provided 2500mAh battery can go as long as 30ish minutes (25+ most of the time, though), but you’re getting two of them in the package, meaning you’re getting close to a full hour of flight time right out of the box. The operating range is excellent too, going above the 1-kilometer mark. If you want a very capable drone with a solid 4K camera, then Ruko F11 seems like a great budget-friendly choice when it comes to beginner-friendly drones for Christmas 2019.
2. Hubsan Zino
Hubsan Zino offers a very reliable package for as little as $400. That’s what the Pro version goes for, and realistically speaking, it’s the only Hubsan Zino version you should be interested in. So, without further adue, let’s see what’s so special about the newest Hubsan drone and hat exactly makes it among the ideal Christmas 2019 drones to buy via Amazon!
Camera and Features
Zino’s most valuable asset is its amazing 4K camera. From the looks of things, it features both hardware and software stabilization, bringing forth buttery footage and crystal-clear image quality. Hubsan ZIno’s camera is so good that you can theoretically use it for professional use too. Also, keep in mind that the Pro version comes with ND filters which will further up the cinematic experience of your footage. The features department is packed too. Hubsan Zino sports everything from GPS, failsafe, and return to home, all the way to image tracking, precision hovering, and long-range FPV.
The specs of this thing are sort of what you’d expect at this price point. We’re talking roughly 20ish minutes of flight time, perhaps even a bit more if you’re not pushing it too hard. The range caps out at around 4 kilometers, which is roughly the same as its biggest direct competitor, DJI Mavic Mini.
In fact, DJI’s budget-friendly foldable option has a slightly better battery life, which is something many people prefer. However, it can’t shoot in 4K which is a big no-no for some folks. In the end, it all comes down to a matter of personal preference and nothing else…
1. DJI Mavic Mini
We’ve taken a closer look at the newest Hubsan model and it seems to be a very capable little bugger. However, the folks over at DJI haven’t been slacking either. DJI’s newest model, the infamous Mavic Mini, has already taken control of the mid-tier market thanks to its excellent feature set as well as great hardware and performance all across the board. So, let’s cut to the chase and check it out!
Camera and Features
First off, it’s important t note DJI Mavic Mini doesn’t have a 4K camera. Personally, I don’t think of it as such a big deal, and even though I’m a huge tech nerd, I honestly can barely tell the difference between a great 2.7K footage, which is what DJI Mavic offers, and 4K. FHD vs 4K is a different story, but 2.7K vs 4K is just nuances, is all.
We’ve all come to expect brilliant features from DJI models, and Mavic Mini doesn’t fail to deliver. This bugger is absolutely packed, featuring a ton of autonomous flying features, as well as failsafe, and special DJI selfie enhances. DJI Mavic Mini is a surprisingly smooth flyer considering the form factor
Specs-wise, DJI Mavic Mini can go toe to toe with its big brother, DJI Mavic Air. We’re talking about roughly the same range, cca 4 kilometers, which is more than enough for such a miniature drone. Battery life is even better than that of DJI Mavic Air, featuring close to 10 extra minutes. Yep, DJI Mavic Mini’s battery can handle roughly 30 minutes of flight time. Last but not least, DJI Mavic Mini is so lightweight that you don’t even have to register it with the FAA!
4. DJI Mavic Air
Yep, we’re starting off with one of the hottest DJI drones of 2018! DJI Mavic Air came after the original foldable DJI drone, the Mavic Pro. It came at a much lower price tag, especially for the base model, but featured an exceptional camera and an all-around great feature set. Let’s talk about it!
Camera and Features
DJI Mavic Air can brag with a bunch of smart flying features as well as the famous DJI Quickshots. My favorite, asteroid, is here and gives a unique twist on short autonomous video creation. You’ll love others too, such as rocket, dronie, and so on.
Generally speaking, the flight stability is on point and the 4K footage this thing supports is as smooth as they come. It shoots HDR, panorama, and can even take RAW images, great for post-processing and creating the ultimate cinematic photobook. If you want to go all-in with your DJI Mavic Air, you can also buy ND filters off Amazon and further increase the quality of your aerial footage.
DJI Mavic Air’s specs sheet will not sweep you away. It’s sort of the usual stuff we’ve come to expect from drones in this price range. In fact, I’ll even go out on a limb here and state that I was kind of disappointed with the battery duration. Roughly 20ish minutes is what you can expect from it. On the bright side, you do get two additional batteries in the Fly More package, but I’d still like to see a few more minutes squeezed in with some ESC optimization and more power-efficient propellers. As for the range, it cuts out at around 4 kilometers, just like DJI Mavic Mini and Hubsan Zino.
3. Parrot Anafi
If there’s one thing Parrot is good at, it’s creating special drones with unique features, that end up having no direct competitors on the market. That’s basically the best way of describing their all-new Anafi model. This classy drone comes at a relatively affordable price tag, but sports brilliant hardware and is well-versed across numerous industrial use scenarios. So, whether you’re buying a present or a business machine, Parrot Anafi surely tops the list of affordable options!
Camera and Features
Let’s address the elephant in the room first! Parrot Anafi sports a 4K HDR camera with 2.8X lossless zoom and the ability to rotate 180 degrees vertically. That’s the unique feature we mentioned above, giving Anafi an interesting twist and making it extremely viable for both cinematic and professional use.
Parrot armed their newest drone with a bunch of useful features too. Anafi is foldable, features super quiet motors, as well as an extra layer of safety in the form of geofencing, smart return to home, and find my drone options. Additionally, it also boasts with numerous cinematic options AKA SmartDronies which are a simple (but great) way of upping your selfie game.
Parrot Anafi is quite a nimble flyer, too. It is built like an insect and its design allows for smooth, silent flight and exceptional wind resistance. Anafi’s specs aren’t half bad either. We’re talking roughly 4 kilometers of range, and 20 minutes of flight time. Just enough to get your selfie game on, right?
2. Autel Robotics EVO
Autel Robotics is the second-best adult drone you can get this Christmas! It’s gorgeous, fast, and sports a large number of handy features you’ll find yourself using all the time. Best of all, even though it comes for slightly above $1000, there’s a bunch of stuff bundled in the package that’ll greatly up your overall flying experience.
Camera and Features
First things first, the EVO is a foldable drone featuring a proper 3-axis gimbal plus 4K 60 FPS camera combination. This drone features absolutely no shakiness and that nasty jello effect. All you’ll get with it is buttery smooth footage just like that you’re seeing on music videos, influencers’ posts, Tik Tok and whatnot.
There’s a bunch of stuff on the software side of the deal, too. For example, the controller comes with a 3.3-inch OLED display, and the drone itself packs a number of advanced flight options such as dynamic tracking, viewpoints, orbiting, VR support and mission planning. Autel Robotics EVO really offers a robust and well-versed business package, that’s for sure!
As stated above, that “slightly above $1000” package comes with a whole heap of things. For $1050, you’re getting three batteries, five pairs of propellers, a landing pad, carrying case, the actual drone, its dedicated controller, charger and all the cabling. Yep, this thing comes with three batteries, meaning you’ll be getting close to 90 minutes of flying with everything charged up. Add to that approximately 7 kilometers of range and you’ll understand why Autel Robotics EVO is equally well suited for both casual and commercial use.
1. DJI Mavic 2 Pro
No matter which way you look at it, DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the number one commercial drone currently available on the market. It’s fast, sports state of the art hardware, and has a professional-grade camera, with one version even capable of optical zooming. With all that in mind, it’s no wonder DJI Mavic 2 Pro is one of the best drones you can buy for adult kids. It’s pricey, though, but it really is the best of what the drone market has to offer at the moment.
Camera and Features
This particular drone sports a beefy 1-inch 4K 20-megapixel sensor. It’s a Hasselblad camera, and we all know what a giant the Swedish camera manufacturer is. That said, it’s not surprising to find out DJI Mavic 2 Pro has one of the best aerial cameras known to mankind. Not counting DSLR gear those heavy lifting drones can hover around with.
When talking about smart, autonomous drones, DJI Mavic 2 Pro has to be the first one that pops to mind. This thing is packed with obstacle avoidance sensors too, meaning you won’t have to worry about flying it into stuff. On top of that, it possesses a wide array of smart flight modes and is by far the most stable drone you’ve ever seen. Whether you like to admit it or not, DJI Mavic 2 Pro is one beast of a drone.
Specs-wise, DJI Mavic 2 Pro offers unparalleled numbers. There are no other foldable drones that even come close to DJI Mavic 2 Pro’s specifications. This thing can reach up to 8 kilometers, and fly around for almost 30 minutes. Overall, you’re looking at the bread and butter of the drone industry. DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the ultimate device for both casual and industrial use, and I’d go absolutely batshit crazy if I’d wake up to this thing being underneath my Christmas three in a few days…
What Makes Christmas 2019 The Perfect Time to Buy a Drone?
Even though Black Friday drone deals are done and dusted, there’s still time to save money and get your Christmas shopping done early. Why, though? Well, I can think of two reasons right off the bat:
Drones for Kids are Getting Better
Tech innovation in the drone industry is a common occurrence. New generations of drones bring juicy improvements, lowering the price for tech that costs more than double just a year before. This paved the way for extremely affordable GPS drones, starting slightly above $100, with frequent sales and great buying options throughout the year.
On top of that, toy drones for kids became more affordable too. Many drone makers started including extra batteries in the bundles, as well as spare propellers and more durable prop guards. The industry is going toe to toe with tech innovation and it’s doing a world of good for the consumers.
Prices are Generally Cheaper Than Usual
Let’s face it – Winter is coming. Yep, another reference right there. Anyways, winter is coming and we all know flying drones isn’t that fun when you’re freezing to death outside. Flying in the spring or summer, however, is a whole different story. While cold and snowy weather serves well for cinematics, most people fly their drones during warmer months.
The same goes for sales – most people buy drones in spring and summer, meaning the rest of the year, especially winter, experiences low sales. And companies, in order to compensate, lower the prices during the offseason. It’s the good old law of supply and demand, and this time it works in the consumers’ favor… so make sure to get the best out of it!
Best Drones for Christmas 2019 [FAQ Section]
What makes the best kid-friendly drones this Christmas?
Right off the bat, ease of use makes the best drone gifts this Holiday season. If we’re talking about drones for kids, of course. If we’re talking about big boy drones, then I’d say a proper camera makes all the difference. Don’t forget the specs either. Boys love length… and having a longer range drone than their neighbor will make their day, guaranteed!
Are these drones snow proof?
A small bit of snow won’t destroy your brand new drone right off the bat, but if you slam it too hard in the drippy white mess, the internals might get damaged. In case something like this happens, the best practice is to plug out the battery and leave everything to dry for a few hours. Charge up the battery once the contacts are all dry and hope for the best when you try to boot it up next time.
Should kids fly expensive, powerful, high-end models?
While many kids ought to be able to handle powerful drones like Autel Robotics EVO and DJI Mavic 2 Pro, I’m still firmly against them using such powerful devices. Yeah, I know, these high-end drones have a ton of obstacle avoidance sensors to stop potential crashes. However, I wouldn’t trust them to outsmart a 10-year-old with a wicked idea. Besides, having your kids operate insanely expensive drones isn’t the best idea finance-wise. That should be the primary concern here… unless you’re rich af, of course.