5 Best Phone Controlled Drones

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The freedom of flying is something that few people get to experience in their lifetimes. We can take a commercial airliner somewhere but we never get to experience flight properly because we’re not at the controls. The arrival of phone controlled drones is putting you at the controls of your own personal aeroplane- albeit a miniature one. Combined with a VR headset, this is the closest you’ll get to flying without taking your feet off the floor.

Commercial use Drones can in to existence, as with most technology, because of the military. Commercial drones started to hit stores in 2010 and flew off the shelves. Phone controlled drones can be used to help people to pursue their photography dreams, provide hours of fun for the whole family or simply to take a birds-eye view of their local neighborhood.

Whatever their uses, one thing is guaranteed, Drones are one of the most exciting products on the market. Here, we give our run-down of 5 of the best phone controlled drones available in 2017.

Altair AA108

Altair is run and operated out of Lincoln, Nebraska. The US-based brand has a unique customer service line which connects you directly with the founders of the company- this is very much a local brand in a global industry.

The AA108 is super-lightweight coming in at just 29 grams. It’s operated via the Flysee app and can transmit real-time video from up to 50 meters away. The maximum range is 100 meters whilst you can initiate headless mode for 360 degree agility and control.

There’s three separate flight modes from beginner to expert but Altair recommend you practice first indoors. The light-weight nature of this drone means it blows around easily in the wind but, given the excellent price, we can’t complain too much about that.

You can also replace almost all the parts over-time by following Altair’s useful home-made tutorial videos which really adds to the lifespan. Not the best drone on the market, but impressive given the price tag.

Altair Aerial AA108 Tech Specs:

  1. Altitude Hold Function
  2. 1 Touch Take Off and Landing 8-10 Minutes of Flight Time
  3. Heading Hold (Headless) Mode (Great beginner drone function)
  4. 3 Flight Skill Level Switch, 1 – beginner, 2 – Mid Level, 3 – Advanced

App & Extras:

  1. FlyingSee App by UDI RC (apple / android)
  2. Virtual Reality Mode (Use with VR Goggles not included)
  3. Custom Flight Routes
  4. Real-time First Person View video

Controller Extras:

  1. Out of Range Alarm
  2. Low Battery Alarm
  3. Max Range 300 Feet (100 Meters)
  4. Max Video Transmission for FPV 120-150 Feet (40-50 Meters)
  5. Dimensions of Quadcopter – 183mm X 198mm X 43mm Weight = 85 Grams.

phone control drones altair aa108

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Altair 818 HORNET

Altair’s second entry on our list is a high-performer. You can fly for up to 15 minutes on a single charge and take real-time video through the 120 degree wide-angle lens fitted to the front-facing camera. Thanks to its upgraded radio emitter, you can control flight from an astonishing 150 meters away.

Like all Altair products this comes with Headless flight mode, the Flysee direct link video app and access to their superb, direct to owner, customer service. The four combined propellers keep flight stable whilst the 248g weight makes it a truly outdoor performance drone. Learning to fly has never been so easy with the three stage flight modes: beginner, intermediate and expert.

Altair 818 HORNET Tech Specs:

  1. Altitude Hold Function
  2. 1 Touch Take Off and Landing 15 Minutes of Flight Time
  3. Heading Hold (Headless) Mode (Great beginner drone function)
  4. 3 Flight Skill Level Switch, 1 – beginner, 2 – Mid Level, 3 – Advanced

App & Extras:

  1. FlyingSee App by UDI RC (apple / android)
  2. Virtual Reality Mode (Use with VR Goggles not included)
  3. Custom Flight Routes
  4. Real-time First Person View video

Controller Extras:

  1. Out of Range Alarm
  2. Low Battery Alarm
  3. Max Range 500 Feet (150 Meters)
  4. Max Video Transmission for FPV 190 Feet (60 m)
  5. Dimensions of Quadcopter – 335 x 335 x 127 mm Weight =248g.

best controlled drone

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Holy Stone HS160 Shadow

Chinese industry has gone from strength to strength with concerns about low quality manufacture a thing of the past. Today, Chinese products offer some impressive tech with a lower price tag than their equivalent, US made, products. The Holy Stone HS is a sleek looking drone with a quad core propeller system and a game-console like controller.

The Holy Stone is powered by a dual lithium battery which takes just 40 minutes to charge. After that you can fly for around 10 minutes with a range of 70 meters. The Gravity Sensor mode is good fun, plus the foldable wings mean you can fit the whole unit in the palm of your hand.

What really sets this product apart is when you connect the app to a VR headset to experience real life flying. It may not be the highest performer on our list, but the Shadow is a lot of fun with a practical, portable design.

Tech specs

  1. Built-in Gyro: 6 Axis Gyro 4CH 2.4GHz
  2. Quadcopter Weight: 83g / 2.925oz (FAA Registration NOT Required)
  3. Recording Modes: 1280 x 720P
  4. Charging time: 50-70 mins to fully charge batteries
  5. Transmitter Operation Range: 50-70 meters
  6. WiFi Transmission Range: about 30 meters
  7. Battery: 3.7V 500mAh Lipo battery Playing time: 7-9 mins

phone control drones holy stone hs160

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DJI Phantom 3

The Phantom series was designed as a picture taking drone. The 3rd generation model offers a stunning full HD video camera, which live streams to your mobile in flight, as well as 12 mega pixel camera for stills.

In the air, you can fly for up to 25 minutes whilst the GPS navigation system will inform you when it has sufficient charge for the return journey. It uses a standard quad core propeller system but stands out thanks to its striking all-white design.

Tech specs

  1. Remote Control: 2.4GHz Wireless Remote Control
  2. Channel: 7-Channels
  3. Mode: Mode 1 & Mode 2(Left & Right Hand Throttle)
  4. Radio Mode: Mode 1 & Mode 2 (Left & Right-hand Throttle)
  5. Detailed Control Distance: 1000m
  6. Flying Time: 20-25min
  7. Charging Time.: 3.5 hours
  8. Camera Pixels: 12MP

phone control drones dji phantom 3

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Parrot Bebop 2

The Parrot Bebop 2 makes all other leisure drones look like child’s play. It may be slightly more expensive product, but the performance is at an elite level. Three interchangeable batteries power this device with an output of 20 minutes flight time each. You can fly from up to two kilometers away and keep an eye on thing’s via a full HD camera which takes 20 mega-pixel photos.

The Parrot Bebop is run through an app which puts you in the cockpit by connecting your flight camera to a VR headset. It has a healthy 500gram weight, which means you’ll be able to fly in windier conditions and you can speed around over 35 mph. An expensive product, yes, but a premium flying experience from Parrot.

Tech specs

  1. Flight time: 25 minutes per battery (x3)
  2. Distance 2 KM
  3. Hardware Dual core processor with quad-core GPU
  4. 8GB flash storage system
  5. Built-in GPS : GPS + GLONASS Performance
  6. Motor 1280kv Video & Picture
  7. 14 megapixels wide-angle CMOS camera with 3 photo formats : RAW, JPEG, DNG
  8. Full HD 1080p video with unique digital image stabilization

phone control drones parrot bebop 2

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Potensic F181 DH

For a budget copter, the Potensic F181 Dh performs admirably against its competitors. It’s fitted with an HD camera plus a high resolution LCD screen built in to the controller. A particularly nice feature is the hover mode, which allows you to maintain a single position, during flight.

Of course the battery life is a little bit limited as is the range. But given that this is less than $200 it’s hard to make a serious complaint. Overall, this drone is a lot of fun, but you may want to look at some other products if you’re serious about flying.

Tech Specs

  1. Potensic F181DH Quadcopter
  2. 2.4GHz Transmitter (4 x AA batteries NOT INCLUDED)
  3. 5.8GHz FPV LCD Screen with built-in 500mah Li-po Battery
  4. 3.7V 750mAh Li-Po Batteries(1 outside,1 equipped)
  5. 4GB TF Card
  6. USB Card Reader
  7. Battery Charger
  8. 4 Blades
  9. User Manual

phone control drones potensic f181

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Summary about Phone Control Drones

We’ve tried to include something for everyone in our list. The cheaper drones are predominately aimed at recreation whereas some of the more expensive ones are specialized for photography or flight. All of the drones listed here are safe to use, mobile connective and compatible with VR headsets for a real flying experience. Whichever one you choose, rest-assured, that it’s a safe investment and a whole lot of fun.