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There are so many uses for a drone — whether for filming, photography, land surveillance, or just for fun. Drones can be prohibitively expensive though, which is all well and good if you’re looking to use it for professional purposes. But maybe you just want to play around with a drone for fun. In that case, you’re going to want a budget drone.
Thankfully, there are plenty of less expensive options out there. Here are some of our favorite budget drones.
One of the best budget drones is Parrot’s Cargo Mini Drone. This drone can be flown with an app and includes small compartments for holding cargo. Important things to know: The battery only allows for around nine minutes of flight, it takes about 25 minutes to recharge, and the charger is not included — you have to buy it separately. The embedded VGA camera makes this drone best-suited for the novice who wants to try out a drone before committing to a more expensive model.
This kid-friendly model doesn’t have a camera, but offers some similar entertainment value to flying a remote control model plane. It has a one-key return feature, which will call the drone back to the location of the remote control. It’s incredibly simple, and really just ideal for those who want to play around flying a drone, not accomplishing much else with it.
Small enough to fit inside your pocket, this drone comes in four colors and includes a WiFi-enabled camera to capture flight video. It is capable of doing 360-degree stunts, and also includes a one-key return feature.
For more serious drone pilots, the Sharper Image DX-5 offers flight simulation features within the app used to operate the drone. It includes a training mode that can limit speeds and height restrictions. It also captures flight video.
Geared toward the novice looking for a high-end drone experience, this DJI drone offers HD video and is powered by Intel technology. This model is beginner-friendly and operates for around 13 minutes per charge. It also comes with software that teaches users about coding for and flying drones.
The Ryze Tello Edu Drone is another DJI budget drone intended to educate users about coding for and flying the devices. The small drone can be coded with Swift, Scratch, or Python and includes multiple flight modes.
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Brooke Sjoberg is an editorial intern for the Daily Dot studying journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also the Daily Texan's Life and Arts Editor and an editorial intern for Texas Connect magazine.