CNET: Best drones for gift-giving



Whether you want to literally take your photography to new heights or just have a little air race around your living room, there’s a flying machine here to meet your gift-giving needs.

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DJI Phantom 4

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/dji-phantom-4/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

The good: The DJI Phantom 4 is a very polished drone compared to its competition, and for those who’ve flown a quad before, you’ll have no trouble getting started with this one. The new Sport mode lets you get to your location faster or just have some fun. Its Obstacle Sensing System can help avoid head-on collisions as well as track subjects. Slow-motion video is a nice addition to an already excellent camera.

The bad: The Obstacle Sensing System only sees things in front of the drone. You still need a tablet or phone ready to go along with the controller and drone battery. Extra batteries are expensive. Landing gear and camera are fixed to the body, so you can’t collapse it entirely for travel and if you break or want to upgrade the camera, that’s not an option.

The cost: $1,133.54 to $1,199.99

The bottom line: Yep, it’s not cheap, but DJI has made one of the smartest drones available with the Phantom 4.

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DJI Mavic Pro

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/dji-mavic-pro/review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The DJI Mavic Pro’s compact foldable design makes it more travel friendly than any other camera drone with similar capabilities. Its gaming-style controller is equally compact, but still has all the controls you need to fly and control the camera and it can be piloted with only an iOS or Android device. Battery life is very good for a small quadcopter.

The bad: The phone mount is a little awkward to use. Not user repairable. Camera lens is a little narrow for landscapes.

The cost: $999.00 to $999.95

The bottom line: If you’ve been looking for a discreet, but powerful travel-friendly camera drone, look no further than the DJI Mavic Pro.

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Syma X5C Explorers

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/syma-x5c-explorers/review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The Syma X5C Explorers is extremely affordable for what you’re getting, including a 720p HD camera. It’s durable, but all of its parts are available for repairs when you need them. Stable enough to fly indoors or outside.

The bad: Flight time is about 7 to 10 minutes with a 90-minute charge time.

The cost: $39.99 to $51.99

The bottom line: For aerial photography on the cheap, the Syma X5C is a toy drone quadcopter that’s better than its price suggests.

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Pocket Drone by Odyssey Toys

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/odyssey-pocket-drone/review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: About the size of a smartphone, the Pocket Drone’s arms fold into its frame for easy travel. It has an HD-resolution camera and auto takeoff and land, auto return and a headless mode. It can also automatically hold altitude.

The bad: The camera can’t be tilted. Battery life is the typical 6 to 8 minutes. The plastic frame feels a bit flimsy.

The cost: $93.99

The bottom line: For quick stable flights indoors or outside, the Pocket Drone by Odyssey Toys is an excellent option for its features and cool, collapsible design.

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The following CNET staff contributed to this story: Senior Editor Joshua Goldman and Senior Editor Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, please visit www.cnet.com.


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