Last week we asked you: "Are there any drones on your holiday shopping list? Which models would make the best gifts for beginners, or for experienced pilots?"
David Young from DroneLaunchAcademy.com, which offers an online prep course for the Part 107 FAA Remote Pilot Exam, had this detailed answer:
"We typically recommend that people get started with something like the Syma X5C. It is lightweight, durable, cheap, and a ton of fun. I still fly mine around to this day. You can pick on up on Amazon for about $50. Comes with an onboard 720p camera.
"If you've graduated past the beginner phase, we typically recommend that you move to something like the DJI Phantom 3 Standard. These typically go for about $475-500. The Phantom 3 Standard gives you some of the features that are found on the higher end drones (like the return to home function, live GPS tracking and integrated GPS flight mode, and the gimbal-stabilized camera). What you don't get is the extended range (the higher end DJI models go about 3 miles. P3 Standard only goes about 0.5 miles) or the 4K resolution camera. But in our opinion, most of the filming or pictures you'll ever take will be within 0.5 miles (hard to see the drone beyond that anyhow) and the 2.7k resolution camera still produces beautiful video (over twice the resolution of 1080p). The Phantom 3 Standard is about half the cost of the next level up. It's the best bang for your buck, in our opinion."
Andy P wrote a full Christmas buy guide on LinkedIn, which he was good enough to share with us. The article covers everything from inexpensive toy drones that he expects to last you a month, to top-end models like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro.
"When spending less than $200 dollars, you can get a drone this is good for flying & racing at home, the office, or at close range outdoors," he advises. "Above $200 you are gifting a specialized camera, not a drone. There are many cool camera gadgets on the market including 360 cameras, light field cameras, and of course, flying cameras, aka drones. In the end, these are all just cameras. Remember this when evaluating the options below because for over $200 the only question you need to answer is: will this drone allow me to capture photos/video at my desired quality?"