Drones are cool, we all get that, but they’re kinda pricey. For example, a decent DJI Phantom 3 drone costs $800 on Amazon. In this article we’re going to walk through a few examples of what you can get for a mere $50!
Let’s be clear, for $50 you’re not going to get great flight control, GPS navigation, return to home control, on board computers or decent flight time. However, with the price tag of these devices they’re great for playing around the local park, or with the current cold weather even mucking about indoors. Think of them as entertaining flying cameras for some weekend or vacation fun. And, coming from someone who has trashed a $600 drone by stacking it into a swimming pool, it’s not going to matter that much is you kill your $50 drone.
The cheapest drone on test here is a mere $17.25! Check them out below.
Creazy X5C 6 Axis Quadcopter
This guy is a good old quadcopter; it’s got 4 channels of movement so it can go up and down, back and forth, rotate right and left and fly sideways. Whilst you only get 7 minutes of flight time, for your $50 you do get a spare battery. This is handy because each battery takes 100 minutes to charge – not something you can do when you’re out.
The remote control operates over 2.4GHz which means you get some good distance (unlike devices that run on wifi). To be honest, you’ll find most of the drones here run on 2.4GHz.
There is an onboard camera of dubious quality, only 0.3 MP, however it is enough to take some pictures and record some fun movies. They’re saved to an internal memory card, which is kinda handy.
On Amazon the device is marked down to $50 from $299, so if you can tolerate the poor camera, this looks like a great deal.
Lookatool Mini RC Drone
Now, this drone looks cool. It has, not four, but six bright orange propellers! It has an on-board camera, but details are a bit thin on the ground; the camera is listed as ‘200W’ which isn’t clear to us what this means. It’s likely though, that you can expect it to be of similar quality to the camera on the Creazy.
Unlike the Creazy, this drone is supplied with only one battery. You get 6-8 minutes of flight time, and whilst the battery charge time is shorter at 60 minutes, this is still not feasible to do whilst you are out.
There’s also no built in memory storage (you need to buy another SD card). This drone looks cool, but apart from its 6 orange props, it is lacking in features.
Shensee Drone with 2MP HD Camera
This drone isn’t as flashy as the Lookatool, however it does have the best spec camera on test with 2MP – significantly more than you’ll get in the Creazy – don’t expect great optics at this price point, but at least the pixel density is a bit better.
It has the standard, 4 prop quadcopter setup and is operated via a 2.4GHz remote control again. Flight time and charge time are similar to the Lookatool, with 8 mins of flight time and 60 mins of charging.
One interesting point is that it is listed as having a return to home feature. On a high end DJI drone this means that, if the drone loses contact with the remote or has a low battery, it will return to the place it took off from. It’s not clear how advanced this feature is within the Shensee, but at least it has something. Of course, if you are flying indoors this is less important.
Cheerson CX-10 Mini
Cheap is the name of the game here. This drone is a mere $17.25 with free shipping, so if you are after a bargain this is it.
The drone itself is tiny (it’ll sit in the palm of your hand!), and you don’t get a camera. This means that your fun is going to come from flying this, rather than taking pictures. Flight time is 4-8 minutes and given the device is really small you wouldn’t want to put this in any kind of wind. This is for indoor flying during the cold winter.
However, given that this is less than the price of a beer and a burger… why not get it?!
Which would we get?
If you are after an absolute steal to play with indoors whilst it’s cold out, get the Cheerson. It really costs hardly anything! If you want something to take to the park, we’d go for the Creazy as for your $50 you are going to get double the flight time with the spare battery.