8 Drones Compared: Complete Buyers Guide for Beginner or Upgrading Your Drone
There, where I managed to lose one drone handmade amazing use of my trusty backup drone, the DJI mini one. So after a year of using so many different models, I thought a quick video on the various pros and cons of each model to help you work out. What might be the best drone for you, but, of course this is the biggest issue isnt it. There is no simple answer to which is the best drone, its more a case of which model suits your budget and intended use. Theyve all got different features havent. They theyre different sizes, battery life, flight range picture and video quality and, of course, price. So when somebody asks me which drone they should get, I asked them a couple of key questions: what is their approximate budget and why are you flying uh? Will it be for fun or for professional use? Will it be generally for travels and Scenic stuff or surveying or flying in towns and cities, because its all about what you will be doing with the pictures and the video you get and crucially, where youll be flying straight off in the Drone World size really does Matter and in more ways than one, these small sub, 250 gram models and theyve got way more freedom to fly, especially in Europe and the UK. You can fly in towns and cities right over uninvolved people, its all permitted with these very small drones, but the size of the sensor on the camera is pretty crucial if youre trying to take top end still pictures or shooting in low light.
So look I dont want to get too bogged down today, Im going to focus on the main features, and hopefully you will be able to work out whats important to you and go from there first off price. This is pretty much the primary focus when choosing anything to buy. I guess, but even if you can afford to go for one of the more expensive models, it doesnt necessarily mean that you should be going straight for them. Uh here is the mini one or the mini SE, its easily uh, the cheapest uh in the lineup. Today, uh 269 pounds or 299 dollars way cheaper, second hand and its easy to put this in the beginner drone slot and glance over it. But that would be plain wrong when the mini one first came out. It was the first uh folding sub 250 gram, drone in its class, making full use of the vast freedoms that these smaller drones get under the regulations on weight and how you can fly and when it came out, we all went absolutely nuts over it. Shooting 12 megapixel Stills 2.7 K, video and flying for well over 20 minutes in the real world, and it was the mini one. That was my backup drone that I ended up using when I damaged my Mini 3 up in Iceland. The mini one came to the rescue up there up on that volcano. It flew out and took some absolutely incredible footage of the lava fields that, frankly, I couldnt have been happier with the results, so do not be under any illusion here.
The mini one or the mini SC is an absolutely brilliant bit of kit, its two biggest issues. I think would be its signal range which can start to drop out at around six to eight hundred meters and its ability to fly in very strong wind. It also only saves pictures in jpeg, not raw, but these should not necessarily be deal breakers, because I think it is easily the best value for money that you can buy of any of the drones here today, as long as theyre, not flying in a storm youre Going to be really happy with the results, but look its bigger brother, the mini two sorted out a lot of these issues that we actually had with the mini one. It up the video resolution to 4K. It allowed still photos to be saved as raw as well as JPEG. It greatly increased the wind resistance to be the same as some of the bigger models and, crucially, it adopted the same occusync transmission system between it and the remote control, giving it a specked range of well over five miles as well as more intelligent flight modes. Like panoramas and spheres and in truth, the mini 2 is the sub 250 gram model. That gives you the most value and the most features for your money, its uh 419 pounds 450 dollars everything you need to take great video and stills and still keeping the freedom to fly being under 250 grams, but has no obstacle avoidance and no follow me and Thats, where the long awaited Mini 3 Pro came in earlier this year, still managing to remain under 250 grams.
For that all important freedom to fly almost anywhere, but the mini 3 upped the sensor with a much larger sensor and, crucially, larger individual pixels. Actually, being the same size pixels as its bigger brother, the a2s, the Mini 3 Pro brought in uh forward and reverse collision avoidance sensors, as well as a few other intelligent features, Master shots for automatic mini movies, as well as follow me or Focus tracks. They call it and also djis a pass system to intelligently fly around obstacles automatically, but for me, one of the biggest improvements was the addition of the RC remote control with its built in screen. Yes, this adds around 150 or 200 to the price, but you get a dedicated remote that no longer needs you to attach your phone, and this really was, I thought, a huge Improvement for those of us that havent already splashed out the I dont know 500 pounds Or so on, the existing smart controller or the eye wateringly expensive, RC Pro, which is over 800 pounds. So, yes, Mini 3 brought with it. Many of the features and specs found on the larger models like the a2s and yet somehow it managed to keep that way under 250 grams. So, for me, its not surprising that the price kind of bumped up a bit and it is actually exactly double what the mini 2 was. If you get the RC package – and I really do recommend that you do and the Mini 3 comes in at 860 pounds or 900, so to me the question youve got to ask is: are those extras worth it well look my feelings are that in general you Should be flying high above objects and obstacles um, so is the collision avoidance system really that useful and a lot of people in truth go nuts over, follow me or Focus track, but in truth I have only ever used it when making videos for YouTube.
I dont know: maybe if I had a mountain bike um it would be different, but for me the single biggest Improvement was the biggest sensor with the bigger pixels and the crucially the new style remote with the screen built in. So I have these three to me. Theres, no doubt that the Mini 3 is easily the best to use it offers the best quality Stills its got additional intelligent flight modes and obstacle avoidance. And if you get the higher capacity Plus Battery youre gon na get over 40 minutes of real flight time. And, as I said, I really do love the RC remote and how fast it is to get everything just up and running and Ready To Fly is all of that worth it being twice the price of the mini two or three times the price of the mini. One or SC: well, I guess its your call, I guess, but at least now you know the differences and you know what youre getting for your money. But remember: whichever of these three you choose, you are benefiting from the far greater freedom to fly because of their sub 250 gram weight the incredibly useful function to recharge via USB when youre on the go, meaning you can take a chunky old power bank with you On your day, trip and recharge without needing Mains electricity, and that can be really useful when youre out camping or out for a few days. So that does lead me on to the bigger models.
Now. These are all over 250 grams, so youre relegated to only flying these away from congested areas. So you cant fly these in towns, but as long as there arent crowds, you can fly these pretty much in any anywhere anywhere that hasnt got airspace. Restrictions in obviously including, I think, most places in the open Countryside and beaches um. In truth, before the mini three came out, the a2s was my absolute favorite model, uh its small, its light great in strong wind uh, brilliant signal, huge great big one inch sensor, giving you a fantastic 20 megapixel Stills and great 4K video even allowed uh 5.4 K. Video in low light, full Suite of intelligent flight modes and absolutely amazing obstacle avoidance for uh up down uh forwards and back, had follow me. It had a pass obstacle maneuvering. It was faster with a top speed of 19 meters per second thats about 42 miles per hour thats, compared with the slightly slower Mini 3 at 16 meters per second or 36 miles per hour. This model was truly a step up again, but theres. Also, a few things to keep in mind whilst youre going to get truly amazing. Stills uh, with the beautiful big sense of the downsides, are the larger size and weight, keeping you out of any congested areas or towns. As I said, and you cant recharge on the go youre going to need Maines power and, of course, theres the price as well.
This basic model is 900 pounds or a thousand dollars and thats with the standard remote that you still need to attach your phone to. It also does come theres an option with the smart controller, but not only is that an extra 400 pounds or 450 dollars its all something so pretty much always out of stock. So does this make the a2s the best model to go for uh? Well, look before I get onto that lets quickly cover some of these larger models as well. At the very top end, we have the mighty mavic 3.. This was released late last year. Um, it does boast the very best specs of pretty much any of djis folding drones, a huge four thirds sensor, still giving 20 megapixel steals, but with each pixel being larger than any other model, those Stills are genuinely going to be the best you can get 5.1 K, video and, of course, that additional zoom camera that has a much smaller sensor but does give you the equivalent of seven times optical zoom over the main camera. Now, at the time of release uh, it came with the longest flight time 46 minutes, giving you 40 minutes in in real world. But with all of this came, I thought a pretty extraordinary price tag: 1700 pounds two thousand and fifty dollars. It also came um in an Ultra Premium and Ultra expensive version: uh the cine premium combo with a new RC Pro Controller extra batteries and the ability to Output in apple Pro res, along with one terabyte of internal storage.
But for that you paid the frankly insane price of 4 200 pounds or five thousand dollars, and I say insane Because the actual cine unit is exactly the same as the standard. Mavic. 3 same specs same camera, just the ability to Output in apple Pro res and that one terabyte of internal memory. So I think you can pretty much tell my feelings on the mavic 3.. Yes, its the true top end, but it is expensive, its huge heavy and cannot be flown in congested areas, even though the mavic 3 is djis first model to finally be granted the new numeric C Class ratings just the other month. It only applies in Europe, not in the UK, so like the a2s, you are relegated to Flying an open Countryside or the coast, which is why to me this is actually a model youre only going to go to if youre a top end professional. But even then I would genuinely question the actual true advantage, or the advantage is if you like, that you get in this model over the other models that Im going through today. And lastly, we have this big Orange monster, the auto Evo 2 Pro when this model was launched in April 2020. It matched pretty much the existing mavic 2 Pro. In almost every aspect. Now the hotel have got a real loyal following Ive found, but for me the autels only genuine selling point is the lack of Geo fencing, which is where the drones flight is restricted, depending on, where youre actually flying based on a database of restricted flight areas.
This is a feature that actually really does infuriate a lot of people that fly DJI drones, because the restrictions are often not actually aligned with the actual genuine air restrictions in place, so having a model without that feature gives the extra freedom to fly, although in truth, I genuinely wonder how long Alltel are going to be able to sell products without geofencing in place. As far as its actual flights experience goes, I found the autel pretty poor in comparison person. The obstacle avoidance cannot handle direct sunlight, bringing it to a crashing hole even when it was high up in mid air with no obstacles and its wind resistance was the worst out of any of these, and when I tested the smaller autel Nano plus earlier this year, I found nothing had changed, still endless false stops due to the obstacle avoidance and very, very poor performance in just a moderate wind. So for me the autels are not for me, but there we go and moving on to these little beasts. At the end, a lot of you will know the Ive got the DJI fpv and the more recently released Avatar, but look to be honest. These are dedicated fpv style models, they have a completely different flight experience, far shorter battery life and in the UK at least you need youve got this painful requirement to have a spotter alongside you watching over you. These are not the same market for General camera drones and, if youre into fpv, I dont think youd be watching a video like this on General camera drone.
So look for now, Im going to say the bigger fpv is utterly insane. Uh reaches speeds of 90 miles. An hour its incredibly loud incredibly heavy, and it will break the first time you crash it. The smaller Avatar is much slower, much lighter, but still over 250 grams and its still incredibly noisy theyre specialist base with their own specialist features um. But for me not for this comparison today, which to me brings us back to the fundamental question which of the is the best one to get which one will suit you, the best look hopefully Ive. Given you a good summary of the main pros and cons of each type, as, of course, there is no one single answer: if you are in the market for the very best money can buy to produce the absolute top quality Stills, then you have your mavic 3.. Despite its price and its flight limitations, if portability and flying in towns is important, then you have your choice of the three minis, with the Mini 3 Pro uh easily being the clear winner, but not necessarily in terms of value for money, and so that kind of Leaves us with the hardest Choice, uh and its actually, the question I do get asked the most. Should I get the mini 3 Pro, or should I get the a2s and in truth, its surprisingly close, because the many three genuinely is an amazing bit of equipment and it can literally boil down to just one or two points if you are flying, for instance, in Very very windy conditions, uh mountains or coastal areas and cliffs, then maybe go for the air 2s.
But even then I look back to the time when I had the Mini 3 Pro flying out over beachy head, which had insanely strong winds and all I can say, is it handled those winds? Absolutely fine. If youre after tops not still photos, then again, maybe the a2s is the better choice, but again only just yes, of course, its got this huge one inch 20 million pixel sensor, but the mini 3 Pros 12 megapixel sensor has got the individual pixel cells that are Exactly the same size as you find on the air 2s so again, its actually a very, very close call. In Truth. For me, the portability, the rechargeability uh, the larger pixels on a decent sensor, its a beautiful remote control with built in screen and, crucially, the freedom to fly almost anywhere. This to me is what puts the Mini 3 just past the post to win as a perfect. All rounder, especially given its price, sneaking in just under the a2s Mini 3 Pro still produces incredible results, and it real really to me, boils down to the very true saying the best camera is the one that is with you when you need it, and for me, The Mini 3 is that camera its so easy to slip into a couple of pouches like um. These little things and theyll just be in your backpack. The Mini 3 Pro is going to always be there when you need to fly and youll probably be able to fly it wherever you are so look there.
You go pros and cons of a huge range of drones, but hopefully you can take these features, whether good or bad, and apply them to what your intentions are and work out from there. What is the actual best model uh for you? Thank you little Teds getting a little bit bored now as ever. Look we need to keep an eye on whats around the corner. I think um mavic 3s, maybe the new Air 3s. It may not be far away, but look again to me the freedom you get with the sub 250 gram models. I can only see these smaller models as being the way to go for some time, but look, hopefully you found this uh. Probably a marathon guide useful. If you have give me a little thumbs up, always helps the video along uh heading into Autumn. Now, after such a long Crazy Summer, here in the UK, but theres still plenty of flying opportunities out there.