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The 6 Best Drones For 2016: All Budgets. All Styles

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The 6 Best Drones For 2016 – One of the hottest gifts this holiday season will be drones. No, not the hunter killer type used by the military, but the consumer contraptions aimed at hobbyists. In the consumer drone sector there are primarily two types of drones: those made for photography and those made for play.

Photography drones are the usually more advanced of the two–they’re also costlier. That’s because they usually have more advanced mechanics, such a gimbals to help stabilize the drone itself or the camera in the drone. Of course it’s the camera that separates these drones from their cheaper cousins made for play. Camera drones include impressive cameras which can take both high definition pictures and video. Some camera drones even record in 4K now. These are drones for people who want to record landscapes from unique angles or survey large areas.

Drones made for play, or toy drones, are the other big consumer category of drones. These type of drones are typically cheaper than camera drones because they eschew the high end optical components found in the more advanced camera drones. That’s not to say toy drones don’t have cameras–some do–they just aren’t as advanced.  Toy drones are really made for people who want a remote control aircraft they can fly around in the sky. These are the remote control cars of the 21st century.

Here are the three best drones in each category.

The Best Photography Drones For 2016

DJI Phantom 3 Pro Professional

The DJI Phantom 3 Professional is one of the most popular photography drones of all time. Yes, the DJI Phantom 4 is now out, but for bang for your buck, the 3 is now a great deal. It features a 4K UHD camera and a 3-axis gimbal system to keep the drone and camera level during flight. The same camera also captures still images at 12 megapixels each. With a 25 minute flight time and the ability to program pre-mapped routes, the DJI Phantom 3 Professional is one of the best photography drones ever.

Yuneec Typhoon H

The Typhoon H is one badass looking drone. It features 6 rotors and a retractable landing gear that makes for a truly awesome sight in the sky. A built-in 360 degree gimbal will always make sure the drone is level so you can record perfect 4K UHD 30fps or 1080p HD 120fps video. The same camera also takes still photos at 12 megapixels each. The Typhoon H also features a front-facing ultrasonic proximity sensor that aids it in avoiding collisions with large obstacles No Fly Zones. Speaking of No Fly Zones, the drone has a No Fly Zone preset that locks the Typhoon H’s flight ceiling at 400′ above ground level at the takeoff point and also offers geofencing to keep it out of restricted areas.

Parrot Bebop

The Bebop is meant to sit in the space between toy drones and photography drones. It features a 14 megapixel fisheye camera that takes video and pictures of the world in a 180 degree field. That same camera also records video in 1080p HD and will even live stream video right from the drone to your smartphone or tablet. The Bebop also includes built-in GPS with a Return Home that function brings the Bebop Drone back to its takeoff point easily. With a range of 300 meters and up to a 22 minute flight time, the Bebop is an excellent choice of photography drone at the lower cost end of the spectrum.

The Best Toy Drones For 2016

Hubsan X4 Micro Quadcopter

The Hubsan X4 Micro is an excellent choice for kids and beginners. It’s smaller size makes it easy to control while airborne. But what’s great about this toy drone is it has a built in camera for still photography and video recorded. Admittedly, that camera has a pretty low sensor at only 0.3 MP, but it will at least allow you to get some aerial snaps off. The drone also has a Micro SDHC card slot that make recording and retrieving your photos and videos easy. Another nice feature of a drone this size is that it’s small enough to use indoors.

LaTrax Alias Quadcopter

This is a great drone for beginners because not only does it have three flight modes–Easy, Fast and Expert–it also features a new flight control system was developed that provides unmatched 6-axis stability that works in the background without impacting performance and speed. This means that the drone will fly level at all times, making it easier for newbies to keep it in the air. The built-in LED lights make it easy to see at night and its 650mAh Flight Battery lets it stay airborne 50% longer than most other toy drones.

Millennium Falcon Quadcopter

You can’t have a list of the best toy drones without mentioning this one. The Air Hogs Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens Remote Control Ultimate Millennium Falcon Quadcopter is perhaps the coolest drone on this list. It’s a replica of the Millennium Falcon that allows you to finally control the most iconic spacecraft of all time. It also features built-in lights and sounds that allow you to mimic hyperspace jumps. What more could you ask for in a toy drone?

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