It makes a lot of sense for drone novices to look for the best drone for under $200. This article will try to help you do that. We’ll review four drones available today. What’s more fun to own than your own drone? Answer: your own drone with a camera. So we won’t simply be looking for the best inexpensive UAV, we’ll also be looking for the best drone with camera under $200.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Drones With Camera Under $200 Comparison
- 2 Potensic Premium Best Drone With Camera Under $200 Review
- 3 Could the DBPower UDI be the best drone for under $200?
- 4 Potensic F183DH Review
- 5 Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Review
- 6 So which one is the best drone under $200 ?
- 7 Best Cheap Quadcopter With Camera Under $200
- 8 Several important points in conclusion.
- 9 Wrapping things up.
Best Drones With Camera Under $200 Comparison
It all started with the military
Best drones under $200 have been used by the military for more than a decade. Their use has been both dramatic and, for some, controversial. Above all, however, it has apparently been effective. In recent years the US military has actually been training more UAV pilots than traditional ones. The numbers flip isn’t just in personnel either; There are now more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in active use by the military than there are piloted planes.
Governmental, commercial, and recreational applications seem almost limitless.
Given the success of their use in military applications, excitement about their potential use elsewhere is not surprising. Weather forecasting could benefit from the use of drones. Search and rescue missions seem to be a natural fit; especially in remote areas where searchers’ safety is at risk. Commercial possibilities are numerous. Amazon recently announced plans to make deliveries by drone. UAV sales to hobbyists promise to become increasingly popular. One specific function many drones have which excites everyone is aerial photography.
Now you really can have a ‘bird’s eye’ view.
Best Drones with camera under $200 can be used for many different purposes. Planes and satellites have been taking aerial photos for years. Now anyone with a camera equipped drone can do the same thing. That’s why we want to look for the best drone with camera under $200.
Potensic Premium Best Drone With Camera Under $200 Review
The first of the four drones we’ll examine has many useful features. It takes only a passing glance at descriptions of this UAV to realize it’s case to be called the best drone below $200. is a strong one. It does come equipped with a 2 megapixel camera. There’s one thing it doesn’t have that really makes it a good choice for someone who is just ‘dipping his or her toes in the ocean of drone hobbying. There’s no FAA registration required.
Be sure you know what you need to know.
Before you buy a drone for any purpose make sure you understand the laws and regulations that govern their use. This means having more than a passing understanding of the sweeping regulations the FAA passed just this past August. It also means familiarizing yourself with your state and municipalities’ views on drones and their use. The rules seem reasonable, the penalties for disregarding them stern. Further, the FAA regulations, at least, are readily available on the internet. Just a word to the wise.
Drones used for recreational purposes and falling outside certain weight parameters do not require registration with the FAA. So let’s take a look at some of the key specifications and features of the Potensic Premium quadcopter. First we’ll turn our attention to the Quadcopter itself and the features which affect its flying capabilities. Next we’ll consider the camera. Finally we’ll fill in the blanks with useful information pertaining to both, or neither the quadcopter itself or it’s camera.
Let’s look at what’s in the carrying case.
This Potensic Premium JJRC H8D Quadcopter drone with camera under $200 comes in a convenient carrying case. The case The case measures approximately 18 x 14 x 6 inches. The listed weight of the case and all components (including the drone) is just over six pounds. That is not the weight of the drone itself, which weighs under half a pound and, so, falls under the .55# standard above which FAA registration is required.
Inside the case you will find the Quadcopter, a 2 megapixel camera, 2.4 gHZ transmitter and a 5.8gHZ monitor screen. Potensic also includes extra motors and batteries: recreational drones use a lot of energy and the manufacturer wisely pre counters protests about this by the inclusion of extra parts. Purchase also includes a promise of high quality and readily accessible customer support.
What’s up with the drone?
This Potensic Premium drone or UAV is, as mentioned, a Quadcopter. This simply means it has four separate sets of rotating blades which keep it airborne and moving. This is pretty standard design for drones of this size. One important consideration when trying to find the best drone for under $200 is how well it flys. You can get a good idea of that by looking at the number of Axis and the number of Accelerometers. This particular remotely controlled recreational drone has three of each. An Axis is a plane on which the drone can move. So, with two axis you could move your drone up and down as well as forward and backward. You wouldn’t be able to move it side to side. The number of Axis is important because it speaks to the maneuverability of the craft. The accelerometers measure speed in a specific direction and are a key component in keeping control of the craft.
Now you’ll be able to see what the birds see.
The Potensic Premium’s transmitter is used to control the quadcopter. It comes with a 5.8 gHZ monitoring screen so you can tell what your drone is doing. There is a second screen that allows you to see what the drone is seeing in real time. This is called a First Person View (FPV) and any price qualifying UAV with decent quality first person view capabilities must be included in the candidates for best drone with camera under $200. The camera provides views at resolutions of 1280 x 720 and at 30 frames per second.
Could the DBPower UDI be the best drone for under $200?
The second drone reviewed here is from DBPower. Although it comes with a 2.4gHZ controller and the requisite 2.3v 700m-AH LiPo batteries, there is an alternative way to fly it. An App is available for certain mobile phones that allows you to control the drone via WiFi with your phone. iPhones 6, 6a and 7 and Samsung 6 and 7 are recommended for this. It’s also recommended that every other app be shut down while you’re using your device to fly the drone.
Beyond first person view.
Using the phone app option sets the stage for seeing the world as the birds and butterflies do. A virtual reality headset (sold separately) used in conjunction with the phone app allows you to see what the drone sees and feel as though you’re actually in the air yourself. For many this alone might be enough for them to think this is the best drone with camera under $200. Photographs and videos are taken with a 720 pixel high definition camera. Extra batteries are included for the camera and a convenient low voltage warning alarm is a thoughtful addition to this drone
Wait, there’s more in the package.
DB Power didn’t stop at supplying extra batteries and letting you know when they needed replaced. A battery charger is also included with the DB Power UDI drone. There is also a 4 GB micro SD card to connect the monitor to the camera. A 4 GB TF (thin film) card and a TF reader help assure the images you see are of superb quality. An owners manual is included too so you can get started having fun the right way right away.
Okay, so how does it fly?
This Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has a range of up to 80 meters and is meant to be used by individuals 14 years or older. The camera range is about 30 meters. It operates on a 6 axis gyroscope which maximizes control and maneuverability. This drone is capable of doing complete 360 degree flips. When you use your mobile device as a controller the drone can be placed in headless mode. This simply means that the direction you point your phone will be the direction the drone flies It also has a ‘return home’ feature. As the name implies the drone comes straight back to the operator upon activation of the appropriate control. Just be sure to follow the manual’s recommendations for learning how to operate this and other functions of this drone.
Potensic F183DH Review
Now we will turn our attention to another Potensic Drone. The F183 DH is a remote control (RC) ready to fly (RTF) drone. The feature which helps it stand out is the ability to hover. This function is enabled, at least in part by the use of a barometer. Apparently there is a connection between air pressure and altitude. The gist of it is this. Potensic has figured out a way to incorporate that connection into a function that keeps their drone at one level. What this means for you is that your photographs and videos will be better. If good still shots are important to you maybe you’ll think this is the best drone with camera under $200.
The camera on the F183 DH is a 2 megapixel image capturing and recording device. It sends those images to the 5.8gHZ monitor’s LCD screen. The drone’s operator can enjoy the FPV (first person view) experience. A 4gb thin film resolution card and a USB card reader assure high quality images and a way to see them.
Simplicity can be good for beginners.
One feature of this Potensic UAV can potentially be of great benefit to novice drone fliers; especially those with minimal experience in things technical of any kind. Landing and taking off are operated by the same control mechanism. A 2.4gHZ transmitter is included along with 2 batteries, a battery charger and four extra propeller blades.
This drone has 3 accelerometers and operates on 3 axis planes.
Don’t blame Potensic if you can’t follow instructions.
A manual is also included and should be read carefully. One caution considered important enough to include in marketing material was the need to properly sync the drone to the transmitter on level ground. Failure to do so could result in the crash and ruin of your drone.
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Review
Our search for the best drone under two hundred continues, and ends with a look at the Parrot AR 2.0 elite edition quadcopter. This drone comes with a 720 pixel high definition video camera which is to be connected to a smart phone or tablet. This drone is actually controlled with a phone or tablet. It does not come with a controller of any kind. The one lithium battery it needs to operate comes with the purchase of this drone.
FAA registration appears to be required.
Although it is not directly stated it looks like this drone does need to be registered. First of all, it weighs five pounds; placing it in the .55 to 55 pound parameters within which FAA registration is required. Second informational material on Amazon includes the statement that it “easily updates to meet FAA requirements.” Exactly how it does that is not explained.
The potential to enjoy this drone seems promising in light of the videos that can be streamed to the phone. However the fact is about a third of people who purchased and reviewed this drone had a negative experience with it. Admittedly the number of reviews was quite small so it’s probably fair to say the jury’s still out. However it’s also a stretch to call it the best drone for under $200 with a straight face.
There were reports of poor camera quality and that also removes it from consideration for the designation of best drone with camera under $200.
So which one is the best drone under $200 ?
In this reviewer’s opinion the Potensic Premium JJRC H8D RTF (the first one reviewed.) is the best product considered here.
Best Cheap Quadcopter With Camera Under $200
The DBPOWER UDI U818A is probably the best cheap product of those we’ve looked at.
Several important points in conclusion.
I’ve expressed my opinion. Perhaps in your mind another UAV should be considered the best drone for under $200. Coming to a consensus on which UAV is the best may be even more difficult. Presumably everyone wants pretty much the same thing in the drone itself. You want it to fly according to the input you put into its controls and to respond to how you use them. The better it responds and the easier it is to master the controls the more you’ll like it. Quality, durability, and the reliability of the manufacturer to back the product are also important.
Picking the best drone for its camera is more difficult because different people want different things from their camera experience. Some just want to have high quality videos. Others might like to be able to get remarkable stills of views they wouldn’t be able to see were it not for their drone. Still others might put a premium on the virtual reality experience.
Wrapping things up.
Whatever drone you end up buying, regardless of what function is most important to you in it’s camera keep these points in mind:
1. Without exception at least some reviewers –by no means a majority but not an insignificant number either — reported receiving damaged products, drones without promised components and similar problems. These are the perils of buying online. It can be done certainly but proceed with caution.
2. Many negative reviews, again for all the drones, reported problems that related to cautions specifically pointed out by the manufacturer. It’s hard not to wonder if people read their manuals. Whether they did or not, don’t you make that silly mistake.
3. Take the requirement for FAA registration seriously. Even if your drone does not require registration. If it does penalties for non compliance are severe.
Even if you don’t have to register your drone you should be familiar with the FAA regulations. Read and understand them, not just a synopsis of them. This way you’ll know first hand if you need to register your drone. Perhaps even more important you’ll be aware of some of the issues that prompted the FAA to adopt rules in the first place. Remember, that many of these rules will apply to you and your drone whether or not its registration is required. For example, you can still annoy your neighbor and invade his privacy. You can also get too close to an airport. Lots of people get freaked out about the idea of the best drones under $200 flying overhead. The idea of a camera flying overhead is especially discomfiting to many. Drone enthusiasts should determine collectively and individually to adopt courteous flying practices and try to avoid the need for further regulations or, worse bans in some areas.