Features to consider when choosing a drone
The best drones under .55 pounds for beginners should be within reasonable budget, easy to control, made with durable materials to withstand impact and capable of producing high-quality footage.
Dimensions and weight
The size and weight of your model matters for maneuverability although you don’t have to worry about this with drones under .55 pounds since they are designed to be lightweight and compact. For instance, SIMREX X300C has dimensions of 3.9 x 2 x 1.2 inches and weight of 221g.
Majority of the best drones under .55 pounds for beginners are X-shaped quadcopters with 4 propellers.
Professional drones under 250 grams capture videos with 4K resolution while decent budget models record at 720p.
Some drones allow you to add an additional camera, and others are capable of FPV, which lets you stream the footage on your phone.
Another camera feature that will make your experience worthwhile include stabilization systems that adjust the camera angle by panning and tilting it, and steady the lens to reduce vibrations from the drone’s motion. They are integrated into the device to improve image quality.
Premium drones may have cameras that detect obstacles along the flight path and allow users to create custom navigation routes via GPS for future reference.
Sensor and lens
They are either integrated into the device or added as an accessory to enhance quality. Large lenses and sensors will generate superior resolution because they can capture more light even in dim conditions. However, the sensor size does not correlate to pixels, which determine the actual resolution. More pixels translate to sharper images with more details.
Consider products that have 360-degree adjustable viewing angle so you can position the camera wherever you like.
Since all drones have specified flight time, which is limited in budget drones, high speed is beneficial because you can extend coverage and record more footage in a short time.
Maximum flight time
Confirm the maximum flight time of the drone to ensure it is sufficient to produce substantial footage. Starter drones can last up to 10 minutes while advanced ones such as DJI Mini 2 can fly for a maximum of 31 minutes.
Flight time differs according to the size of the drone and the battery capacity. As well as the maximum flight time, consider the period it takes to charge the battery fully. To reduce interruptions, some brands provide two batteries that can be swapped to charge.
All the drones under .55 pounds we have reviewed indicate the range of distance that allows for a stable signal. You can control Holy Stone HS120D and SIMREX X300C within a maximum range of 300 m and 45 m respectively. The drone loses signal when you exceed the range, resulting in blurry or shaky images since it cannot read your commands.
The remote controls of drones come with two joysticks that are similar to the ones used in game controllers. The sticks control the altitude, including pitch and roll, and rotation and throttle. It should fit comfortably in your hand and responsive with intuitive controls that are easy to use. The featured drones under .55 pounds are easy to use because they use a single key for takeoff and landing.
You will also find hands-free drones that support gesture and voice control as well as some that let you attach your phone as a viewing screen, and others controlled via downloadable apps, which we will discuss next.
The professional drones under 250 grams that can be controlled via proprietary apps on iOS and Android platforms support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The apps show real-time videos and feature several flight modes that are programmable for custom use. They indicate location, track the drone, return it when the battery is depleted or the signal lost, and remember saved routes and previous settings. Some will mirror the controls on your remote controller online. These apps come with integrated GPS systems to identify locations accurately.
Ryze Tech Tello is compatible with Tello app. When you update the app, you can program commands for the drone with Scratch, make your phone a recording device and capture images instantly with EZ shots. Another drone that uses an app with several user modes is Holy Stone HS120D. They include Headless mode, which assists in drone orientation, Custom Path for saved routes, Follow Me and Object Trace for tracing and returning your device, and Altitude mode to maintain flying height.
Spare parts: Fortunately, all the models we have recommended come with bonus propellers and protective guards to reduce impact damage. Established brands like DJI will also have spare parts and related accessories at the ready for separate purchase. These could be carrying cases, lens filters to reduce glare, batteries, chargers, and landing gears.
Phone attachment: It is not available in all drones, so confirm that your gadget has room for that if you want first person view in real time.
Memory card: To increase storage capacity, look for drones under .55 pounds that support memory cards.
LED light: Apart from improving visibility at night, the light also indicates the status of your calibration.