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  1.  syma x8sc

    The Syma X8SC  is a beginner friendly drone from Syma's X8 series.  It is a large (50cm x 50cm x 19cm) quadcopter with a 6-axis gyro which keeps it very stable during flight, and its size gives it good wind resistance.  It has its own controller rather than being controlled by an app on a smartphone, so it does not have FPV (first person view), but it does have Altitude Hold Mode, Auto Take off and Landing and a new higher capacity battery. 

    The Syma 1MP HD camera is good quality, and you control the camera via the drone's newly designed controller. You can start or stop recording, and take stills during flight, and due to the fact that it has a fixed mount rather than a gimbal, the still images are better quality than the video footage. 

    The Altitude Hold Mode is a great feature which works well on this model considering it does not have GPS, and it allows you to lock the height of the drone so that it maintains a consistent altitude.  This makes it easier to keep the drone stable and to take better quality film footage.

    The flight time of the Syma X8SC 's battery is around 9-10 minutes minutes, depending on weather conditions and flying style, and the charge time is approx. 150 minutes.  The control distance range is quoted as 70 metres, but it will fly further than this, up to around 100 metres.   The controller has a new look from the preview designs, and takes 4 x AA batteries which are not included.   The build quality of this drone is excellent and it flies very well, it will also perform a 360 degree flip at the press of a button, however performing this manoeuvre with a heavy action camera attached can cause it to plunge dramatically so make sure you have enough altitude or it is easy to crash.   Alternatively you can remove the camera and landing gear and the Syma X8SC  will fly with much more agility.

    The Syma X8SC  is shipped almost Ready To Fly.  You just need to install the landing skids (they easily slot in), the camera, the rotors (follow the instructions as the A and B Rotors are different) and snap on the drone battery and insert the controller batteries.  Syma X8SW Spare Batteries and spare parts are readily available including replacement motors which plug in without needing to be soldered. 

    Our Verdict

    All in all the Syma X8SC  is a really great drone, with excellent build quality and a great camera.  It is fun and easy to fly with some cool features like the Altitude Hold mode and auto take off, and its stability in the air means it takes smooth video footage.  Spare batteries and parts are also readily available, and easy to install.  It is a cheap alternative to the DJI and is a good model to practice your flying abilities before moving on to a more expensive drone.




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  2. best selfie drone dji mavic pro

    Said to be a cut above all other drones, the DJI Mavic Pro is the most popular selling drone on the market at the moment.  It has tonnes of technology packed into a tiny 83mm x 83mm x 198mm drone, including a 4k video camera, a 4.3 mile flight range and a 27 minute flight time.  Don't let its size fool you into thinking that DJI have compromised on features and abilities because this could not be further from the truth.  It also has a 3-axis mechanical gimbal at the back for ultra high video stabilisation, a 21 sensor GPS and folding arms and propellers for ultra portability. mavic pro folded

    The DJI Mavic Pro comes with a clever little controller which attaches to your Apple or Android smart phone, turning both units into a fully fledged controller with joysticks, gimbal controls and an onboard LCD screen displaying the battery indicator and aircraft data, plus the video screen of your phone.  The drone can be flown using either Remote Control (greater range) or WiFi and you switch between the two by flicking a switch on the side of the aircraft.mavic pro controller

    The DJI Mavic Pro has a top flight speed of 40mph, and it can identify and track a vehicle if you want to film yourself riding a motorcycle for example.  The video quality is outstanding in both 4k and 1080p, with the 4K filming at 30fps and the 1080p filming at 96fps.  The 4K footage is more detailed but the 1080p is smoother.  The 12MP stills are also incredible quality, however the camera does not perform as well in poor light.

    In addition to the main camera there are four other cameras on board to aid in flight stability and crash prevention.  Two downward facing cameras help keep the drone stable in areas of poor GPS coverage, whilst two others face forward and stop the drone crashing into obstacles.  There are no cameras on the sides though so beware the drone can still crash if travelling sideways!  The Obstacle Avoidance also stops working if the drone is travelling at more than 22mph.

    The quoted flying time per battery charge of 27 mins is pretty accurate unless you are in Sport Mode which requires more battery power.  A battery charge takes 1 hour and DJI Mavic Pro Spare Batteries are readily available if a little pricey.

    In terms of flight performance the DJI Mavic Pro is precise, stable and easy to control.  In Sports Mode it will hit an impressive 40mph whilst still remaining responsive and agile, and it ascends and descends at 6.6ft/s and 3.3ft/s respectively, thus not draining battery power whilst it reaches your preferred aerial filming height.  It is resistant to winds of up to 24mph, and has all the flight features of the DJI Phantom plus a few fabulous extras.  You can set the Mavic to orbit around a set point with Point of Interest Mode, follow your own movements with Follow Me mode, and have it take a selfie of you with Gesture Mode.

    Build quality is excellent, the DJI Mavic Pro is sturdy and tough and has withstood some pretty rough crashes (albeit onto grass rather than concrete).  If you do manage to damage it then DJI Mavic Pro Propellers can be purchased fairly cheaply.  More serious repairs however are difficult and expensive as the drone needs to be returned to DJI. 

    Our Verdict

    Whilst probably not the ideal beginners drone due to its cost and features, the DJI Mavic Pro is a spectacularly impressive drone and outshines the Phantom 4 with its extra features, longer range and super portability.  Absolutely the best drone on the market for its price right now.


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