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  1. Syma X5C-1

    The Syma X5C-1 is the upgraded version of the Syma X5C, which had some issues with flying stability even though it was a best selling beginnner quadcopter.  These issues have been addressed in this version and the Syma X5C-1 is now a much easier and fun drone to fly.  (The Syma X5 is still on sale so it is worth checking that you are buying the version you want).

    The flight time of the battery is around 7-8 minutes which is about average for this sized drone.  You can increase this by not running the camera all the time, and just filming once you are at a decent altitude, or leave the camera off altogether to reduce the quadcopter's weight if you just want to concentrate on flying.  Syma X5C-1 spare batteries are readily available and cheap, so it is ideal to buy a few to keep you going.  You can also upgrade to a larger battery to add extra flight time.

    The Syma X5C-1 quadcopter comes with optionally fitted rotor blade protection covers which limits damage to the blades in the event of a crash.  There is also a pack of spare rotor blades provided, and if you use all these then "Crash Packs" of spares are cheap and readily available.  This quadcopter is pretty robust and reliable though and will survive most minor crashes without damage, which makes it great for the beginner pilot to cut their teeth on before moving on to something more expensive.

    The Syma X5C-1 RC transmitter takes 4 x AA batteries which are not included.  The controller has two modes, Slow which is ideal for beginners or indoor flight, and Fast if you want a bit more fun. 

    The quadcopter is very stable and easy to fly, and will actually stand up to light winds if flying outdoors.  However, the range is quite disappointing at only 50m, and this is due to the fact that the antenna on top of the controller is actually a dummy.  With an easy modification to the antenna you can increase this to 80-90m (there are lots of videos on YouTube how to do this).

    The video records to a mini SD Card which is included, and the quality is pretty good if flying in bright light.  There is an SD-USB adaptor included which makes it easy to download the footage onto a laptop with a USB port. For the price we think this an absolutely fantastic quadcopter it would definitely give the quadcopters in the next price range up a run for their money.

    Our Verdict

    Definitely the best cheap drone with a camera that we have seen in this price bracket.  Robust and reliable, it is easy to fly with plenty of readily available spares.  For flying experience, the Aviax F2C probably has the edge, but this drone has a better camera, and overall it is a great drone and fantastic value for money.

    5-stars

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  2. Eachine E52 Cheap Foldable Selfie Drone

    The Eachine E52  can be described as a toy grade copy of the ZeroTech Dobby ; they are a very similar size and shape when folded, and the power button is on the top on both. However, in terms of build quality, the Dobby is infinitely superior, as would be expected in view of the price difference!  

    But the Eachine E52  is a great entry level pocket selfie drone.  It offers smooth and stable flying, and the fact that is it fun and easy to fly makes it great for beginners.  The one key take off and landing features as well as the return to home button means that it virtually flies itself.  It is also durable and very portable, it folds up easily and and is small and very quiet which makes it a very discreet drone.

    The control range is good, up to 70 meters - you wouldn't want to fly it any further than this as the lights aren't very bright and you will lose sight of it being so small.

    The Eachine E52  is shipped pretty much ready to fly.  You will need to unclip the battery from the drone and charge it up with the included battery charger, which takes around 60 mins.  Then clip it back in, unfold the arms, and turn on the drone, followed by the radio controller.  Once the drone has synced to the controller you are ready to go, and the battery will give you around 6-8 mins of flight time.  If you want to use the FPV function, and take video and pictures you will need to download the App and put your mobile phone into the phone holder on top of the controller.

    Unfortunately the camera quality really lets the Eachine E52  down.  It shoots video in 640 x 480 at 15 frames per second, so you really need good lighting conditions to take any passable footage. The video and pictures are recorded directly onto your phone.

    Eachine E52 Spare Batteries  are readily available, as are Eachine E52 Spare Propellers .  The Eachine E52  is shipped with a spare set of propellers and the drone itself is fairly robust and durable so these should last you a while.

    Our Verdict

    This is a great little pocket selfie drone for the price, it is a nice easy machine to fly and is ideal to cut your teeth on before buying something more expensive.  You can have fun with the selfie features but the footage is really only good enough quality for social media and small sized photos.  Makes a great gift too!

    3.5 stars