Best Drones under $500: Photography + Racing Drones (2017 Edition)

Personal quadcopters have earned a particular popularity these days. And with each passing day, the manufacturers have something new to introduce to the drone arena that tickles the hobbyists down the spine. Flight stability, battery backup, long range remote control and weather resistance are some salient features that sell this product.

Best Drones under 500

The drone that I have added to my list are under $500, and while we talk about them, let me categorize them into two broad categories;

  1. Videography/photography Drones
  2. Racing Drones

Photography/Videography Drones

3DR Solo Drone Quadcopter

3DR Solo Drone Quadcopter

Not everyone has deep pockets to make expensive purchases. The 3DR Solo Drone Quadcopter is manufactured while keeping the former statement in mind. Highly cost effective, this drone can go up to 40mph speed in a matter of seconds and has a built-in GPS.

Features and Specifications:
  • 18 minutes flight time
  • Streams videos/images directly to smartphone
  • HD camera
  • 700m flight range
  • High speed
  • Follow me function
Pros
  • Cost effective
  • Beautiful design and gaming control
  • Dedicated smart app
  • Smart shot capability
Cons
  • Availability issues in markets
  • Customer service issues
  • Technical glitches
DJI Phantom 3 Standard

DJI Phantom 3 Standard
This one doesn’t need any introduction; the name says it all. DJI Phantom 3 Standard has a well-earned reputation with specifications and features drone flyers dream about.

Features and Specifications:
  • 20-25 minutes flight time
  • 4800 mAh Li-on Battery
  • Up to 2.7K HD Video
  • 1km flight control range
  • Dedicated mobile app
  • GPS
Pros
  • Stable flight system
  • Easy to control
  • HD video quality
  • Faster travel than many
  • Decent flight time
  • SD card slot
Cons
  • Not compact.
  • Difficult portability
  • Less attractive design than many
  • Propellers come in video recording sometimes
  • Low battery charging speed
  • App has no flight control
  • FAA registration required
Parrot Bebop 2

Parrot Bebop 2
The upgraded successor of Bebop has improved features and specifications. With longer battery backup than many drones, great flight, RTH function and a dedicated smartphone app have placed this hardware on top shelves.

Features and Specifications:
  • 20 minutes flight time
  • 2700 mAh battery
  • 14 MP, 1080p camera
  • Dedicated smartphone app
  • Built-in RTH function
Pros
  • Responsive and easy flight control
  • Excellent control range
  • Good battery backup
  • Fast travel speed
  • Easy to use app interface
  • Ideal for indoor flying
  • Elegant design
Cons
  • Low video quality than drones like Phantom 3, etc.
  • No SD card slot
  • Less stable in windy conditions
  • FAA registration required
Walkera F210 FPVRacing Drones

Walkera F210 FPVRacing Drones

Powerful, fast and durable are what define the Walkera F210 FPV. This racing drone has made its name in a league of one of the toughest drones. With a handful of mouthwatering features, what sets it apart is its powerful motor and SP racing flight control.

Features and Specifications:
  • Dimensions: 182 x 182 x 130mm
  • A night sight camera (HD)
  • SP Racing F3 flight control
  • Metallic casing
  • 1300 mAh, 14.8V battery
  • 8-10 minutes flight time
  • Weight: 370g
Pros
  • IR capability
  • Very stable for racing
  • Tough and durable
  • Extremely fast speed
  • A mushroom antenna for images and telemetry purposes.
Cons
  • Camera does not record, just captures and displays
  • Hefty, compared to many others
  • FAA registration required
Eachine Racer 250 FPV

Eachine Racer 250 FPV
While Walkera is a good one, some people may say that Eachine Racer is an equivalent. Having an amazingly powerful set of features and durable body, the Eachine Racer 250 FPV is a beauty beyond briefing.

Features and Specifications:
  • Weight: 400g (without battery)
  • 10 minutes flight time
  • 300m control range
  • HD camera with night sight
  • Easy assemble and disassemble
  • Very fast speed
  • High range, long distance, sensitive remote control
  • 1500 mAh battery
Pros
  • Easy assemble and disassemble
  • Cost effective
  • Easy to configure and program
  • HD camera with night vision
  • Excellent range
  • Wind resistant
Cons
  • Lags during tilting
  • Limited spare parts, difficult to come by
  • Poor packing
  • FAA registration required

So, here we are with a handful of information to start shopping for a drone that is under $500. And while you are planning to buy one, think carefully why you need one, photography or racing because each has its expertise and thus, lags in the other field.

 

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