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2017 – Best Drones Under $150



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Table of Contents Drones Under $150 FAQ Best Drones Under $150 #1 Altair Aerial AA108 Force1 U45W Blue Jay Force1 Headless 360 Flip Mode FPV Drone UDI U818A Wifi FPV Drone DROCON Blue Bugs 3 Holy Stone F181W Conclusion about Drones Under 150

Quick Review: Click here to Jump to Top 3 List

There’s never been a better time to get into drones. Not long ago, unmanned aerial vehicles were prohibitively expensive, requiring thousands of dollars and an FAA registration just to get started. But then the market exploded, making consumer-affordable quadcopters widely available. Now all you need to learn how to fly is $150 and some spare time.

Many beginners try to jump into the deep end before they know how to swim, purchasing something like the DJI Phantom 4 because they read online that it’s the best consumer drone on the market. I mean, it probably is – lord knows we can’t stop singing its praises on this website. But it’s also a giant, unwieldy piece of complex machinery that will crash almost immediately in inexperienced hands. Next thing you know, you’ve just paid a thousand dollars for an ugly paperweight. Better to start with something lightweight and durable – and, preferably, cheap, just in case something does go wrong.

Maybe you’re looking for the perfect gift as we approach the 2017 holiday season. Or maybe you’ve always been interested in drones but never knew how to get started. In any case, this list is for you. Dronethusiast has tested every vehicle on this list and can vouch for the quality of the product and – at least in most cases – the manufacturers. So keep reading, soon-to-be dronethusiast, and learn everything you need to know about buying drones for under $150.

Drones Under $150 FAQ

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What are drones?

A drone is simply an unmanned aerial vehicle. The most common drones are quadcopters, which simply means that they have four propellers. Drones are usually controlled with a radio transmitter (just like an RC car), but more recently may also be controlled with a mobvile device via WiFi.

Are cheap drones any good?

Absolutely! Once upon a time, any drone worth its salt would run you at least $1,000, but that’s no longer the case. The drone market has exploded in recent years with lots of great options at every price range. That’s why we had to narrow this list down to the six best!

Can I get a professional drone for $150?

Not really. The drones in this article are best for first-time fliers and hobbyists who are interested in using drones mostly for recreational purposes. If you’re looking for something that you can use for professional photography/videography, or something with more than 15 or so minutes of battery life, you’ll have to be prepared to spend a lot more. If that’s what you want, we wrote an article here that will help you get started.

Do I need to register my drone?

It depends. If you’re in England, yes. In America (as of 2017) you only have to register your drone if you’re using it commercially – that is, if you’re using it in some capacity that makes money. If you’re selling the pictures, for example. This rule varies in some states. In short, it’s worth doing some research to find out what the law is where you live and to make sure you’re flying in accordance with all local regulations.

Best Drones Under $150

If you’re looking to get into quadcopters but you’re really just a hobbyist, the $150 price point is pretty much the perfect place to start. You’ll get a wide array of features to keep you interested, and you can even find some solid camera drones if you’re interested in amateur photography. Plus, all these drones make great gifts for the upcoming holidays – no matter the recipients’ level of experience.

#1 – Altair Aerial AA108

Click Here To Read Reviews & Shop For the Altair AA108!
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See it on Amazon USA or Canada, UK, Australia & Other International Shoppers click here, see their International Shipping rates here.

You can read our full review of the AA108 here, but the bottom line is that this is a great drone for beginners and more advanced fliers alike. If you’ve never flown before, there’s a wide array of features like headless mode and one-touch takeoff that make it easy to control, and it’s durable enough to take a few hits. If you’re an experienced pilot, this drone has a fast yaw and can really let loose at the higher speed settings. Plus, it has a high definition camera perfect for aerial photography and videography.

Tech Specs: Altitude Hold Function – saves so many crashes and makes it easy to fly! 1 Touch Take Off and Landing 8 Minute Flight Time 300 ft range Uses a 6-axis gyro stability for maneuverability and ultimate wind resistance 720p HD camera that takes video and photos Heading Hold (Headless) Mode (Great beginner drone function) 3 speed levels – beginner, medium, and advanced

Altair also prides itself on providing good customer service – you can call them day or night and you’ll get a real human being, not a phone tree. This makes this drone especially good for those who are looking for a low-stress hobby – unlike some of the other entries on this list, it’s really easy to get replacement parts or after-sale service if something goes wrong.

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Visit the Altair Aerial Website.

#2 – Force1 U45W Blue Jay

Click Here To Read Reviews & Shop For the Force1 U45W Blue Jay!
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The Force1 U45W Blue Jay is an excellent choice if you’re a hobbyist looking to get involved with aerial photography – the bird name refers to the fact that it promises “a bionic bird’s-eye view.” It has a very long battery life for the price range and comes with an extra battery and a power pack, which makes it perfect for longer shoots, and it comes with a built-in 720p HD camera that works in VR and specializes in 360 degree shots.

Tech Specs: 2 3.7 500 mAh batteries 1 Touch Take Off and Landing 360 degree flip Can be flown with an app that streams a 720p live feed and works in VR Headless and altitude hold modes Power bank for longer battery life

Fair warning – this drone is a little less beginner-friendly than the AA108. It doesn’t have quite as many stability features and it may crack easily if it crashes. However, this is still an easy-to-use and exceptional drone for any user, and the gorgeous images it produces speak for themselves.

Click To Shop or Read Reviews #2 – Force1 U45W Blue Jay

Click Here To Read Reviews & Shop For the Force1 Headless 360 Flip Mode FPV Drone!
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This drone – also produced by Force1 – is similar to the Blue Jay in terms of its specs and in that it’s a photography-focused camera drone. But for a little extra cash, it comes with a lot of features that make it a great starting point for amateur videographers. For one thing, you no longer need a smart phone – there’s a live video feed built right into the controller, complete with adjustable screen brightness settings. It also comes with an SD card and a reader right out of the box, which most camera drones don’t provide. All you have to do is open the box and you’re all set to take beautiful photos and video.

Tech Specs: 2 3.7 500 mAh batteries Live video feed built into the controller 1-touch landing 360 degree flip 720p wide-angle HD camera Headless Mode Extra durable body with LED lights for nighttime flight

The Flip Mode FPV also comes with a much more durable body – those prop guards may look a little silly, but they do a great job of protecting delicate parts during a crash. And as the name implies, it’s great for stunts – it can flip 360 degrees in 3D, which looks really cool when you’re taking video! All in all, an excellent $150 drone.

Click To Shop or Read Reviews #4 – UDI U818A Wifi FPV Drone

Click Here To Read Reviews & Shop For the UDI U818A!
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The UDI U818A is a staple of intermediate drone ownership, and it’s not hard to see why. It takes videos in 1080×720 HD and professional color and white balancing and still has four times the battery life of the AA108 thanks to its new batteries and power pack. It also has many of the beginner-friendly settings shared by other drones on this list, including Headless mode.

Tech Specs: 2 3.7 500 mAh batteries and power pack 7-9 minutes of flight time per battery Requires the free UDIRc app for Android or iOS 1-touch landing 360 degree flip Video taken in 1080x720p HD at 30 FPS Headless Mode Comes with a 4GB Micro SD card (but no card reader)

Though it’s got some incredibly features, this is another drone that’s ideal for those at a non-beginner level of experience. The drone’s reasonably durable but the prop guards are made of a light plastic, and it doesn’t control as smoothly as the AA108. It can also be difficult to take photos since that involves taking your hands off the controls and pushing a button on your smartphone. But if you’ve got what it takes, this drone has the best camera available for under $150.

Click To Shop or Read Reviews #5 – DROCON Blue Bugs 3

Click Here To Read Reviews & Shop For the DROCON Blue Bugs 3!
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All right, enough of the cameras. If you just want to fly, look no further than the DROCON Blue Bugs 3. This handsome devil has a seriously impressive range of 500 m and a battery that can last up to 20 minutes in the right conditions thanks to its brushless metal motors. It’s two-way signal also means that it controls extremely well with no lag.

Tech Specs: Brushless metal motors that don’t melt, ensuring a longer flight time 15-20 minutes of flight time per battery Action camera mount Super bright LED light 300-500m control range Two-way communication between drone and remote

It doesn’t have a lot of fancy features – if you want to take photos or video you actually have to buy a GoPro seperately and mount it to the frame. But at this price, it’s hard to beat the Bugs 3 for a long-lasting, stable flight that remains steady even at ridiculously long range.

Click To Shop or Read Reviews #6 – Holy Stone F181W

Click Here To Read Reviews & Shop For the Holy Stone F181W!
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The F181W should look pretty familiar by now – it has all the functions you’d expect, like altitude hold and headless mode, one-touch takeoff, and the ability to flip a full 360 degrees. But Holy Stone has a great reputation for customer service, and the F181W is a great drone for beginners or intermediate users. It flies well, it’s easy to use, and it’s very durable. Plus, we found the app a lot easier to use than some of its competition – you can actually take photos without moving your hands completely off the controller.

Tech Specs: Altitude hold function and headless mode function 120° FOV HD Wifi CAMERA 6-axis gyro flight control 7-10 minute flight time 50-100 m flight range One-touch takeoff and landing 3D flips

This drone’s not necessarily going to set the world on fire, but for a mere $120 you get a very high-quality product from a company you can reasonably trust. And it doesn’t get much better than that!

Click To Shop or Read Reviews Conclusion about Drones Under 150

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Amazing Drone Video Shows Mega Colonies of Penguins!



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Drones have helped scientists find mega colonies of penguins – over 750,000 pairs – in protected areas in the Antarctic Peninsula.

The journal Nature reports that a “multi-modal survey” including ground counts and computer automated counts of drone imagery, showed huge populations of Adélie penguins in the Danger Islands off of the norther tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The survey served to demonstrate the results of using satellite and drone imagery for environmental surveys.

“Despite concerted international effort to track and interpret shifts in the abundance and distribution of Adélie penguins, large populations continue to be identified,” says the article.  “Here we report on a major hotspot of Adélie penguin abundance identified in the Danger Islands off the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula (AP). We present the first complete census of Pygoscelis spp. penguins in the Danger Islands, estimated from a multi-modal survey consisting of direct ground counts and computer-automated counts of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery.”

“Our survey reveals that the Danger Islands host 751,527 pairs of Adélie penguins, more than the rest of AP region combined, and include the third and fourth largest Adélie penguin colonies in the world. Our results validate the use of Landsat medium-resolution satellite imagery for the detection of new or unknown penguin colonies and highlight the utility of combining satellite imagery with ground and UAV surveys.”

Scientists say that the Danger Islands “appear to have avoided recent declines” which have been documented on the Western Antarctic Pensinsula and “deserve special consideration in the negotiation and design of Marine Protected Areas in the region.”

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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Amazing Drone Video Shows Mega Colonies of Penguins! was originally posted at by Miriam McNabb


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Drone Racing is Racing for Good: IDRA Claims Miracle Flights as Official Charitable Partner




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Drones are well suited for saving lives and performing miracles – and the drone industry has been generous in charitable endeavors.  Drone racing is not to be left behind.  The International Drone Racing Association (IDRA) has announced that Miracle Flights, the nation’s leading health and welfare flight organization, is the official charitable partner for the 2018 Drone Racing Series and 2018 Challengers Cup.

The following is from the joint press release by the two organizations:

Established in 1985, Miracle Flights provides free commercial air transportation to critically ill children in need of medical care far from home.

The newly announced partnership fits perfectly into IDRA’s mission to grow the motorsport and international drone community. Our community’s youth are not only the future of the hobby, but also the platform for which the drone market and technologies will continue to develop. With Miracle Flights as the official charitable partner of IDRA, we can use professional and semi-professional drone races as a new medium to promote this organization’s endeavors and raise donations from sponsors and the drone community to help more children receive life-changing medical treatment.

“Miracle Flights is an amazing nonprofit organization that provides thousands of flights to children from all over the world,” said Justin Haggerty, President and CEO of IDRA. “It is our pleasure at IDRA to work with Miracle Flights as our official charitable partner. I hope the partnership bares many fruits and gives our drone community the chance to help a child in need.”

Now in its 33rd year, Miracle Flights has provided more than 114,000 free flights to help children with rare and life-threatening conditions gain access to specialized medical care out of state.

“IDRA has engaged an incredible community of individuals across the country and around the world,” said Miracle Flights CEO Mark E. Brown. “To have them partner with us in our mission to improve access to healthcare for seriously ill children is a true honor. We look forward to everything we can accomplish—and the lives we can change—together.”



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Lighting Up the Skies with Lume Cube



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Lume Cube Lighting Kits give drone pilots the chance to pilot a spotlight in the sky. We took the Mavic Pro Lighting Kit for a spin to see what all the fuss is about. 

Lume Cube market their product as the world’s most versatile light. And they may have a point. These lights can be used with smartphones, GoPros and DSLRs. They can be mounted, sat down or simply handheld. They can be set to varying degrees of brightness or just strobe at whatever speed you feel like. And you can control all of those features through an app.

They can also be attached to your drone, which is where we come in. We’ve been testing out the Lume Cube lights and the company’s mounts for the Mavic Pro. Both are needed if you want to try your hand at flying a spotlight in the sky.

What is a Lume Cube?

So let’s start with the obvious question: What is a Lume Cube? Simply, it’s a portable light.

But it’s no ordinary light. This light is encased inside a rugged, mountable cube and can be connected to your smartphone. It’s also waterproof. So what’s the benefit of all that? Well, if you’re a GoPro user, a keen outdoor photographer or even a drone pilot, using a Lume Cube gives you more control over the light conditions in your shots.

You can illuminate a scene for night photography or light up a dimly lit area with the touch of a button. You can sync the flash to go just before you hit record or take a photograph. You can also get really creative with light when it’s in the palm of your hand, particularly when you mount a Lume Cube or two onto a drone.

Which is where Lume Cube’s Mavic Mounts come in. Not only does the Lume Cube Lighting Kit for the Mavic Pro help illuminate your drone in dark conditions. It also gives you a new tool to help you explore your aerial creativity.

The Lighting Kit comes with two mounts and two Lume Cubes, one for each side of the drone.

Each Cube has 10 manual brightness settings that change in increments of 150 lumens. The brightest setting maxes out at 1500 lumens. We don’t know much about lumens, but we do know that the highest setting on these cubes is ridiculously bright. If you’re shooting at night for whatever reason, they are more than powerful enough to illuminate natural features like trees or rocks.

The Lume Cubes clip onto the wings of the Mavic Pro with a lightweight mount. And it has to be. Because each Cube weighs 3.5 ounces. Despite our reservations, the Mavic Pro didn’t have any problem lifting them off the ground and flying comfortably.

The biggest issue we faced was attaching the mount in the dark in cold weather. It’s fair to say that the plastic mounts aren’t as rugged as the Cubes themselves. Impatient hands and low visibility actually led to us breaking the mounts before take-off while trying to clip them on, but we were still able to attach them and take the Lume Cubes for a spin.

Read more: Hands On Review With DJI’s CrystalSky Monitor

The extra weight took a few minutes off the battery life as you might expect, and the Mavic certainly wasn’t as nimble as it would be without them, but those are minor compared to the benefits of flying your very own spotlight.

The Lume Cube Lighting Kit

Each Lume Cube can be charged up with a standard USB cable. The battery life sits can last for more than 2 hours, depending on how bright your settings are.

Read more: Hands On With PolarPro’s Elektra Cinematic Color Presets

The Cubes and the free Lume Cube application are compatible with both Apple and Android. Through the app, you can control flash, duration and brightness of multiple cubes all at the same time.

Lume Cube Price and Compatibility

Now, you’re probably wondering two things at this point. First, how much is one of these Lighting Kits going to set you back? And second, what drones are Lume Cube Lighting Kits compatible with?

The Lighting Kits cost $179. These include two Cubes, the mounts for your drone and all the cables you need to keep them charged.

In terms of compatibility, the Lume Cube team has done its best to make sure there are kits available for all of the most popular drones on the market. That means you can buy dedicated Lighting Kits for the Mavic Pro, the Phantom range, the Inspire range and even for the now-defunct GoPro Karma, Autel’s X-Star and the Yuneec Typhoon H.

Looking for a lighting rig for your Mavic Air or Spark? We wouldn’t count on this happening anytime soon. Those tiny drones probably aren’t going to be strong or stable enough to carry two of these Cubes.

Final Thoughts

Lume Cubes offer a great way to add some creativity and versatility to your photography. At $179 a Lighting Kit isn’t cheap, but in reality, these lights are going to last you years and can be used in so many different scenarios. If you do decide to upgrade your drone, new mounts alone are only a small fraction of that price.

Rather than using Lume Cubes to light your drone’s way, we recommend getting behind a DSLR and using your drone to guide a spotlight into place over an interesting scene.

The posts below from the Lume Cube community are good examples of that. We did try to recreate a couple, but we’re going to need some more practice before they are worthy of publication…

Malek Murison is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for tech trends and innovation. He handles product reviews, major releases and keeps an eye on the enthusiast market for DroneLife.
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Lighting Up the Skies with Lume Cube was originally posted at by Malek Murison


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