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Consumer drones have become mainstream over recent years. And these combined efforts have reduced the price of entry dramatically. Yet, improvements in technology have continued to progress. And that’s good news if you’re looking for a capable but affordable option.
What is FPV?
Even more progress has occurred in the First Person View (FPV) space in recent years, taking flying to the next level. Big-name companies have boiled down what used to be a very time-consuming and skill-based hobby into something now accessible by everybody. Even if you’re a complete beginner, there are plenty of easy-to-use and ready-to-fly options available.
What are the types of FPV drones?
The FPV arena, as it stands, consists of two segments, competitive drone racing, and drone piloting. Your specific needs will determine whether a racing drone is the best option. But, if you don’t plan on racing and aren’t interested in aerial acrobatics, other excellent FPV options exist that provide a far more diverse feature set. The caveat, they don’t offer the same speeds and aerial agility.
Not everyone wants or needs an FPV flight experience. But for those looking to push the bounds and surpass the typical Line of Sight (LOS) restrictions, this is one way to do that. Flying by LOS has several limits. Most notably, our vision determines our line of sight, and if we don’t have good prescriptions, it’s not great. Secondly, we can’t see behind or through obscured objects. And thus, FPV allows us to see what the drone sees, far surpassing our natural vision. Now, the most immersive way to experience an FPV flight is through dedicated flight goggles. Otherwise, nothing else comes close. It’s hard to describe the exhilaration that you’ll experience from flying in FPV. But, it’s the closest any of us will get to flying like a bird, that’s for sure.
Now that you know some more about FPV, let’s cover the best drones available to date that deliver exceptional FPV experiences.
7 – ARRIS X-Speed 250B
The ARRIS X-Speed 250B is a racing quadcopter that skips the fancy design and focuses strictly on its execution. It comes pre-assembled, tuned, and tested for maximum performance. While design and handsome looks are nice, they’re not an essential feature for racing quads. Instead, this quad focuses on speed, agility, thrust, and ease of use.
It’s a budget-friendly racer that’s tough and robust to take on the heaviest midair collisions. It uses a 5.8 GHz video transition via the AT9 transmitter and pairs with the optional Fat Shark Dominator goggles. It’s ready-to-fly out of the box and provides a maximum flight time of 10 minutes. Connect the battery, and then you’re ready to go. Overall, it’s a good choice for those with flying experience. And it’s also a strong choice for enthusiasts looking for an affordable and adaptable platform.
6 – ARRIS X220 V2
The X220 V2 is a high-speed racing drone that’s a slight alternative to the X-Speed 250B. Both drones inherit much of the core capabilities, but this offers some notable updates to make it the superior option of the two.
Like the 250B, it’s an FPV capable drone that comes pre-assembled for out of the box flying. It’s a drone geared for speed and ease of use. And it also features a durable pure carbon fiber frame for excellent durability, along with a full suite of replacement parts in case of a mishap. However, it now includes the AT9S controller, ensuring more precise control and a greater range than the standard AT9 controller. Plus, it has an updated antenna, further increasing range, as well as a maximum flight time of 12 minutes instead of 10. Otherwise, it remains equally compatible with most 5.8 GHz goggles, in this case, the ARRIS EV800’s. Overall, it’s an excellent choice for freestyle flying and seasoned pilots. But one that isn’t too complicated that it’ll overwhelm beginners.
5 – Walkera F210
Walkera’s F210 is a professional racing drone that offers a strong feature set for the price. And it represents a significant improvement and evolution over previous models in engineering and technology.
With this drone, you’ll receive the more advanced F3 flight systems and an integrated night vision to boast. Like rivals, it features a robust carbon fiber and aluminum build for excellent impact resistance. And Walkera also provides an abundant selection of spare replacement parts in the event of a crash. The drone uses the DEVO 7 controller and Goggle2 FPV system, which offers an excellent range of over 200m and a flight time of 9 minutes. Its camera also provides an adjustable angle of 120º for added versatility, and photosensitive sensors to automatically adjust the display according to brightness. Overall, the F210 delivers wildly fast speeds and excellent durability. Walkera has developed the drone to be modular and makes it simple to replace all components without soldering. And it’s a straightforward system that provides a ready to use platform tuned for extreme speeds.
4 – Vortex 285
ImmersionRC’s Vortex 285 is an impressive action-packed release from the company. With this quad, ImmersionRC has fully surpassed their previous releases, with a unique and exceptionally built platform.
They package and ship the drone with all the essentials. However, this drone does require a few minutes to assemble. But, the setup process is relatively straightforward and takes only a few minutes. The drone itself features a compact foldable design for easy handling and storage. This design also reduces the likelihood of damage, even after the worst cringe-worthy crashes. Unlike rivals, it supports the installation of HD cams, including GoPro and Mobius cameras, which it powers during use. And the cameras protected against damage through a vibration-dampened carbon fiber plate. For the headset, it supports a variety of FatShark goggles. Though, its flight time does vary based on the battery installed, however. Thankfully, you can expect over 6 minutes when used with a 1300mAh battery and a whopping 70 MPH top speed. ImmersionRC has also integrated the flight controller with the drone, making it future proof. And the drone is pre-programmed with CleanFlight, a 3-axis accelerometer, and a 3-axis gyro for better flight performance control. Overall, the Vortex is a powerful machine, indeed. It provides incredible high speeds, excellent durability, and a unique feature set at an attractive price. This FPV quad is quite the star and a favorite amongst the drone crowd. And the perfect fit for both intermediate and professional flyers alike.
3 – UVify Draco
UVify’s Draco is an award-winning drone and officially the fastest production racing drone in the world.
At its core, it’s a simple, ready-to-fly racing drone built to be tough and modular. It features a full carbon fiber frame to endure the most rigorous flights. Plus, a modular design to make repairs or modifications easy. The design is entirely wire and solder-free, making swapping components extraordinarily easy. UVify also designed Draco with the future in mind. Users have immense flexibility to transform the drone into other vehicles, be it the 4X4 arm kit, X-class, or the ground vehicle module. So not only is it durable, but it’s also highly versatile. It also provides an integrated charger and balance, simplifying the process of charging the drone. Plus, it offers swappable analog to HD video feed, for a crystal-clear view, and full OSD integration, for intuitive flight control. UVify rates the drone for 7 minutes of flight and they provide a dedicated FPV goggle set. Overall, it’s an excellent choice for those wanting minimal fuss and maximum ease of use. And it’s a strong choice for the casual flyer wanting the thrills of high-speed FPV.
2 – Parrot Anafi
Parrot’s Anafi is the first real challenger to face DJI’s fleet of premium consumer drones. It provides a similar feature set as the previously released Mavic Air, at a fraction of its price.
Like the Mavic Air, it’s a collapsible drone that offers superb portability, without reducing rigidity. Weighing 110g less, it’s a more compact and lightweight option. Unlike the competition, it provides a variable zoom lens that helps get closer to subjects without danger. And that camera also flips 90º upwards for a unique perspective unmatched by most of the market. The drone also delivers an excellent battery life that supplies 25 minutes of flying and a range of 4000m. Plus, it’s significantly quieter than the competition yet still manages to deliver a top speed of 31 MPH.
Sure, it’s not a drone designed for acrobatics and racing FPV. However, paired with its Cockpit glasses and the FreeFlight app, it provides an excellent flying experience. It’s a particularly strong choice considering its features, performance, and price point that’s great for newcomers and seasoned fliers.
1 – DJI Mavic Pro
DJI is a well-known force in the consumer drone space, and the company’s previous flagship is a strong contender in the FPV arena.
It’s a small RTF drone offering a robust feature set in a small, highly portable design. Sure, it’s not as fast as the racing quad competition, but it makes for speed in several key areas. Firstly, it provides a higher-quality camera, producing stellar videos and aerial photographs. And it remains one of the smallest 4K equipped drones on the market to date. And when paired with the DJI goggles, it delivers the best viewing experience around. Secondly, it provides a superior selection of intelligent flying modes, such as Follow Me, Point of Interest, and even Obstacle avoidance. Thirdly, it provides the longest flight time in its class at 27-minutes per charge, leaving plenty of time to explore. Plus, it offers a 4.3-mile range, doubling that of its nearest rival, and a 40 MPH top speed.
Sure, it’s not oriented towards racing, flips and acrobatics like the competition. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent choice for both beginners and enthusiasts, looking for maximum ease of use and an intuitive feature set to match. It provides many of the advanced features found on more expensive drones without any sacrifices, along with an excellent FPV flying experience.
What are the best accessories for these drones?
We’ve put together a list of the best FPV drones, for both beginners and seasoned fliers looking to take their next flight to the next level.