Best Virtual Reality Drones in 2018 – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

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Virtual-Reality-Drones

We have conducted an extensive research on the 10 best Virtual Reality (VR) drones available in the market and discussed certain important features to look for in a good quality drone, like headless mode, return home feature, First-Person View (FPV) glasses and so on.

A table of comparisons and buyer’s guide has also been included to help you choose the right model for yourself. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at our top-notch VR drones.

Welcome to the next generation of excitement for ardent pilots, expert hobbyists, novice flyers and enthusiastic photographers. In an era where the sky is not the limit anymore, the modern technology has come up with a gift to quench your thirst of flying even with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Yes, you have guessed it right. We are talking about the next hot sensation in the tech world – Virtual Reality drone!

Virtual reality is such an amazing invention that takes a person in a virtual environment and let him/her interact with it. Recently, this technology has emerged into an awe-inspiring and lucrative industry and merging with another revolutionary invention, that is, the drone, this will let you enjoy immersive flying without even lifting one foot from the ground! Drones are remote-control (RC) multi-rotor flying devices that will give you an innovative perspective of looking at the world around you like you have never imagined before.

The new VR drones will let you share your adventures through videos/photos with your friends and family. You can go on an exhilarating joyride and explore the breathtaking aerial view from a pilot’s view. If you have ever dreamed of performing aerial stunts with your fellow flyers or want to go on an air race, then flying a VR drone can give you just the firsthand thrill you are looking for.

It is a terrific experience to fly using FPV goggles. It is essential to purchase the best FPV goggles which are perfect for you. Choosing the wrong ones will make you feel dizzy and sick when you wear them. You may also crash your drone by losing control over it. Bad experiences may lead you to hate it and waste your money. Apart from choosing right goggles, you also need to know about the best VR drones available, important features, comparisons between different models and some considerations before buying your drone.

Holy Stone F181 RC Quadcopter Drone

This revolutionized drone equipped with virtual reality is truly a customer favorite. The mechanical bird flies extremely smoothly and its flip feature is one of its awesome features. It comes with 4 modes, namely 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%, with the first mode specially designed for the newbies and the last one for more advanced flyers. As the name suggests, this device also comes with a key return and a headless security system which works quite well for any level of the flyer to prevent the copter from getting lost.

This drone can take decent, though not outstanding, videos and photos which totally justifies the price range. Not only that, the headlight attached to this black bird will illuminate your path to fly it during the night even when the LEDs are switched off. The Holy Stone drone is everything you can ever wish for right out of a box. The best thing about this is its super durability.

Many happy customers shared their satisfying experience by saying that they even after several crashes, the drone didn’t have a single scratch! The indoor flying was also relatively pleasant. The only drawback you may experience is its low battery run time or you can say ‘less fun time’ (only 7-9 minutes) with charging time of 80 minutes.

UDI 818A – Best VR Drone Under $100

The UDI 818A drone with an upgraded HD+720P camera is a must have new-gen tech that comes with a bonus power bank and a battery for an extended fun time. The HD camera will give you high-quality photos/videos while its lightweight makes it easy to maneuver. You don’t even need to register it in FAA. The drone comes with powerful motors, controller, LED lights, durable plastic frame plus anti-collision safety mechanism, 2 long-life batteries, removable 4GB micro SD card, HD camera, USB data cable and a headless mode (no need to adjust aircraft positioning before the flight).

When you enable the headless mode, the drone will fly towards the right if you direct the throttle to right and will go left if you push left button. It doesn’t matter in which direct the front of the drone is facing when you push the button. This masterpiece is capable of doing 360o flips, stunts, and tricks, providing you with stability, wind resistivity, and easy maneuverability via its 6 Axis Gyro.

Moreover, the low battery alarm also reminds you to charge it when the battery goes low, making your life so much easier. It is a perfect device to have fun and adventure for a novel to expert flyers. The battery life of this drone is same as the previous one; however, its downside is the charging time (90-120 minutes). So, you need to be patient.

Yanni U845 Voyager

This virtual reality drone can help you experience life through its eyes (lens). You can connect your smartphone to this device by sending real-time FPV data via its HD 720P Wi-Fi camera. Any Android or IOS device with Wi-Fi can transmit real-time videos/photos too and can store these in its 4 GB micro SD card. It can do 360 o flips and flies effortlessly in its headless mode.

This drone is technically designed to automatically assign ID and pair frequency by adopting 2.4G radio 2.4G wireless and the data is displayed on its LCD screen. You can enjoy an immersive RC experience with First-Person View (FPV) live photo/video that is transmitted from the HD camera. You can enjoy flying without even lifting one leg from the ground!

The amazing UFO flight experience starts as soon as you download IOS & Android phone control app via its Wi-Fi facility. The most heart-wrenching downside is that it doesn’t come with any SD card and so it can’t record any of your flying experience.

Ehang GHOSTDRONE 2.0 VR

Just take the fully assembled drone out of the box and start flying. The camera, gimbal and the landing gear are all pre-fixed. GHOSTDRONE 2.0 VR takes you on a unique, immersive and an intuitive flying experience by combining the VR Goggles together with EHANG’s Avatar Control.

You can shoot 12 megapixel photos and 4K video with EHANG’s A.I. camera of 93 degree wide angle field-of-view lens and a F/2.8 aperture. The drone also comes with a “no-fault” accident protection warranty program. During the one year warranty period, if your drone damaged, then EHANG will replace/repair your drone to maximum of 3 times free of charge and including the both way shipping charge, regardless of the reason of damage.

Once you download the EHANG Play app in your Android/IOS smartphone and activate the Avatar Control mode, you can maneuver your drone using your cellphone. Not only that, with the help of EHANG’s VR Goggles you can see the world in a completely different way. The VR Goggles receive real-time data from the GHOSTDRONE and so you can enjoy a fully immersive experience along with the Avatar Control.

In case the battery becomes low, the drones return to its launch location automatically and the connection with your cellphone gets lost. The biggest con of this product is its ineligibility for international shipping.

Cheerwing Syma X5SW-V3 Explorers – Best Cheap Virtual Reality Quadcopter

Cheerwing Syma drone has built-in headless/IOC function that enables the pilot to fly the drone in straight line regardless of the direction of the nose. Thus, you can enjoy the flight and learn specific orientation of the quad copter at the same time. The drone is equipped with 6-axis gyro makes sure a fast and stable flight. It can also give you a new immersive perspective to videos/photos from the sky.

Wi-Fi FPV can enable you to watch these photos/videos while flying. The one key 360o roll can perform various wonderful actions. Moreover, the drone provides super long flying time and has long RC distance. The major drawback in this device is it isn’t equipped with any return home facility and so it may get lost when the battery runs out.

Holy Stone HS110

This is yet another hi-tech VR drone with FPV that can pair your smartphone with this RC drone so that you can stream live photo/video while flying. You can maneuver the drone using its app control and can make it hover steadily via its altitude hold function. Also, you can control the drone’s take-off and landing with its one button take off/landing facility and can adjust the speed according to your comfort level.

The drone is also equipped with remote control indicator and LED navigation lights for flying during nights. Since the device has integrated USB power charger port, you can easily charge it without pulling it out. There isn’t any major disadvantage in this drone except you have to be patient enough to wait for 1 hour till it becomes fully charged.

Kolibri U818A Discovery

This military inspired drone is green in color for obvious reasons. The device is equipped with FPV 720p resolution HD camera for which you can stream and record your aerial views in HD quality directly using your smartphones.

The Stop-Tech Motor technology prevents the device from being burned out by shutting down the motor when the motor stops spinning. You can control the drone fully by downloading the control app in your Android or IOS device. Its Li-Po battery powers give you a longer flying time (8 minutes). This drone comes in a fully assembled airframe and contains a low battery alarm that will make a sound and turn on a light indicating power loss during flight. You can live stream videos/photos from any smart device via Wi-Fi and FPV feed and can store these moments in 4GB micro SD card.

Besides FPV, this military drone has headless or autopilot mode to keep it steady in any direction. The cons of this device are poor battery charge, no longevity and no return-home facility for which it may get lost when power runs out.

Force1 U45 Blue Jay

The scandalous U45 has now been upgraded having Wi-Fi FPV functionality and VR compatibility. This drone is one of UDI’s most tricked out models so far. A novice pilot to expert flyers, this drone is perfect for all kinds of flyers due to its lightweight and fly design. Its altitude hold function can make your drone hover steadily in the current position, making it easier for you to take photos/videos while flying. The headless mode can help you fly the drone straight ahead regardless of the position of the drone’s front.

The HD camera can capture high definition aerial photos/videos and you can also view your flight via its Wi-Fi FPV connectivity. The device comes with an extra battery and a power bank which will give you a long flight time. Moreover, this drone is equipped with one button on/off/landing, and thus maneuvering this bird becomes very easy. The drone can entertain the guests performing stunts using its 360o flip technology while stay stable and resist wind using its 6 Axis Gyro.

Not only that, this device is also equipped with Custom Route Mode which will assist you to trace the desired flight route on you mobile app screen and the mechanical bird will fly along that route by itself. Unfortunately, this amazing drone doesn’t come with any return-home function for which it won’t return to its starting location when power runs out.

Force1 U818 Wifi FPV Drone with Altitude Hold

Just when you assumed UDI drones couldn’t become any cooler, they came up with the new and improved U818A Wi-Fi FPV drone with Virtual Reality, Altitude Hold, Headless mode, Wi-Fi FPV, Live video, VR Headset, One button on/off/landing, Customer route mode, HD camera and extra battery with power bank to elongate the fun time! You already know how these features work from the descriptions of the drones enlisted above. This drone is great for beginners because it is lightweight, it has a ready-to-fly design and it is very easy to maneuver too. However, this drone doesn’t come with any return home facility. So, if power runs out then it won’t return to its base.

Parrot Bebop 2 FPV – Our Favorite Virtual Reality Drone

You can now enjoy an immersive and ultra-precise piloting with this Bebop 2 which includes super comfy Parrot Cockpit glasses and the new Parrot Sky controller 2. This drone is customizable, has FPV headset and an extended range controller and these features can make your flying experience one of a kind. It is now possible to capture amazing picture/videos with Bebop 2’s full HD 1080p camera and explore previously unreachable places like you have never before.

This drone is designed to fly both outside and inside. It is the first leisure drone that has a weight of less than 500g with a battery life of 25 minutes. In whatever position the drone flies in, its 3-axis digital stabilization system gives you a clear and smooth footage. You can play with direction, altitudes, and speed getting a guaranteed stability with the anti-stall system. No need to worry because you are in full command of all your adventures!

The drone’s one touch take off/landing button will let you leave on an adventure and be assured that you’ll always reach home safely with the Return Home feature. Just by downloading the Free Flight Pro app, you can save and share all your photos/videos during your immersive flight. However, the drone doesn’t have any headless mode and you already have an idea why this feature is so important in a drone.

The VR Drone Buyer’s Guide

The price of drones can vary from less than $100 to thousands of dollars. However, it does not mean that the most appropriate drone for you has to be the most expensive one. In fact, the best model of drone for you depends on how you want to use it and the level of flying experience you have. As the price of drones goes up, these mechanical birds possess more powerful features that come with extra devices, such as an HD camera or a stabilizing mount. However, the real price difference happens in the brain of a drone, that is, the onboard processor and the flight controller. These things can make your drone more stable and maneuverable, and so you can perform more actions in the air. Drones with built-in cameras can cost a bit more than the usual ones, depending on the quality of the camera.

Drones for beginners

At the entry level, most of the drones are light and small and some are easily maneuverable so that you can fly safely indoors. These drones cost around $50-$200. The basic technology and the size make these drones quite difficult to fly outside, especially in strong winds. Models with built-in camera will capture lower-quality videos/photos than more expensive ones. This is a great way to learn the basics of piloting and experience a professional flight.

Drones for intermediate flyers

The next level drones are for the intermediate flyers which are heavier, larger and specially designed for easier and more stable outdoor flight. These drones of $300 to $1000 are equipped with a good quality built-in camera (at least 720p video) or come with an external action camera. You can fly this type of drones around a park, can go for a cool vacation and take videos, or record a bird’s-eye view of your house.

Drones for advanced pilots

Spend more than $1000 and you can buy drones with 6-8 rotors and additional 4-rotor drones (also called, quad-copters) which will give you extra stability and added lift. The built-in cameras can snap awesome photos and 1080p or better videos. If any drone is not equipped with a built-in camera, then an external action camera can be attached along with a high-quality stabilizing mount to help you take the smoothest image quality possible. The drones which are designed for pro-flyers have GPS and advanced flight controllers plus have feature-packed software and open-source programs. These features let you maneuver the drone practically in any way you can imagine and also allow pre-mapping of your flight paths for complete smooth autonomous flights. For professional photographers, these drones can give cinematic scenes and angles that until a few years ago were only possible from a helicopter or a charter plane.

Important Features of a VR Drone

A virtual reality drone is itself an amazing invention and there are so many different kinds of VR drones available in the market. These drones come with a lot of exciting features that will make your flying experience and aerial views like never before. As you know, good things are expensive and so you should know about some important features that make a drone special.

Ready-to-fly (RTF):This type of drone needs a few to no assembly and is ready to fly when you take it out of the box.

Almost-ready-to-fly (ARTF or ARF): Drones with this feature may need a few simple assembly and additional devices like a radio transmitter (Tx) or a radio controller and receiver (Rx).

Bind-N-Fly (BNF): This drone is particularly RTF drone that comes with a receiver, but not a radio controller. If you want, you can purchase it separately. You can utilize that controller to maneuver other BNF aircraft which will save some money for you if you like to increase your RC aircraft collection.

First-person view (FPV): This feature directly feed the video from a camera on the drone. You can also use this feature to frame your photos or videos when you are flying. Often, pilots wear FPV goggles during drone racing for an immersive flying experience.

Return-to-home (RTH): This is a very important safety feature that makes the drone to fly back to the initial location or base point autonomously.

Gimbal: This is a mechanical camera stabilization system that allows you to get sharp photos and smooth video even in high winds or at fast speed.

Headless mode: This feature is specially designed for novice flyers. Headless mode allows the drone to always fly in the forward, backward, left or right direction by moving your remote control in your desired direction, regardless of the way towards which the front of the drone is pointing.

Follow me: This feature is extremely important as it makes a drone follow an object automatically, usually by releasing a GPS signal from a remote control, a cell phone, or a beacon attached to the object being traced.

Brushless motor: Even though this element is more expensive than their brushed corresponding items, this motor is more last longer, effective, and does its job silently.

Considerations Before Buying

Before splashing lots of cash on these upgraded and hi-tech drones, you should look into some considerations so that you don’t waste your hard-earned money on the wrong product. The points below will give you an insight to help you choosing the right model for you. Let’s take a have a quick look on those considerations:

Cheaper drones are not recommended for beginners

As you see in case of most of the things in life, good things cost a bit more. This is true in case of drones too. The cash you splash, the more features you are more likely to get which will make your flying experience easier and more fun. For instance, consider DJI’s Phantom 3 Standard which cost around $500. You may want to buy it because of its low price and this model is not that bad to begin with.

However, it does not come with sensors which could have assisted you to fly indoors or somewhere with obstacles. It also does not have any GPS lock which is an essential feature and is worth paying more for if you want to have a smooth flight immediately after taking it out of the box, especially for taking videos or photos. GPS is such a feature which you will not find in any toy-grade drone, even though this type of drone can be used to practice your flying. However, novice pilots find these toy drones to be very frustrating to use due to lack of some special features that makes your flight smooth.

Flight times are still relatively short

The biggest unsolved drawback is still the battery life when it comes to drones. The Phantom 4 drone of DJI promises to give 28 minutes of battery life which is relatively long for this technology. In case of drones with camera, the average battery time is approximately 20 minutes or less. Normally, toy drones can give you 5 to 7 minutes of smooth flying time, although some models can push up to 10 to 12 minutes duration. There are some companies, such as Intelligent Energy with its hydrogen fuel cells, who have solutions to prolong the battery life.

The problem with this solution is that a drone maker will have to adopt this technology at first before he or she can make it available to the customers. You should also keep in mind that when the drone manufacturer gives you a battery life or a flight time, it means it has been tested for that duration in a controlled environment under ideal testing conditions. As you keep on increasing your speed during flight, you tend to add on more weight on the drone. This will run out the power quickly. Also, flying in strong winds will drain the battery faster.

The price of the drone is only the first step

You should be ready for spending more on your newly bought drone besides paying the price for it. For what? Well, you cannot find everything you need in your drone. Sometimes you have to settle for something less due to the limitation in your budget.

For instance, you should at least consider purchasing some spare propellers, a couple of extra batteries, some prop guards and may be a fast charger like a power bank so that you do not have to wait for hours till your drone is fully charged to fly again. Moreover, it is very normal to crash your drone for various reasons, even if you are a pro flyer. This can lead you to replace or repair parts or you may even need to be ship it back to the manufacturer for fixing it. In this case, you need to spend a good amount of cash. Some drones companies, like DJI, offers crash insurance for new drones.

A piece of advice would be when you go out for drone shopping, look for replacement parts, extra batteries, power banks and other peripheral accessories and note down the prices. You must be careful when you purchase parts from the third party, particularly chargers and batteries, as these might not be of the same quality as the original ones that came from the manufacturer.

Everyone will mistake you to be invading their privacy

When you take your drone for flying outside in your own backyard or in an open public place, anyone who sees you doing it might mistakenly assume that you are either spying on them or someone else and they might feel scared or threatened. You could be flying your drone no more than 40 feet directly overhead in the middle of a 30-acre field with no one in sight, but you still may end up answering rapid-fire questions and may be accused of being a sneaking snout. This is not unusual. Several drone flyers have been victims of this kind of situation. So, you might want to be prepared for this or know how to deal with it.

Everyone except for you thinks they are dangerous

It does not really matter if you are the most expert drone flyer in the city or that you could cause more damage hitting someone with a football than with your flying drone, but people nearby will always feel threat of getting hurt. This is completely fair to be honest. There is surely nothing safe about plastic blades that are spinning at very high speed and is hovering near you. Even if these are not moving close to you still you cannot be 100% sure that the drones will not encounter any system failure and start to fly at random directions.

You may run but babies and old citizens cannot do so and so they might get hurt. This looks pretty scary for those who are not controlling them, whether the drones are from 500 feet or at eye level. In order to calm this panicking situation, US-based flyers may want to have an Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) membership. The members will receive a whole bunch of advantages from this including a flying site for AMA members only, $2,500,000 comprehensive general liability insurance, $10,000 maximum accidental death coverage, $25,000 accident/medical coverage, and $1,000 theft, vandalism and fire coverage for AMA membership holders.

Finding places to fly can be challenging

It can be very difficult to find suitable and legal places to fly your drone with safe surroundings. For instance, the US national parks and all the state parks in New Jersey are all off limits for drone flying. The municipal parks and different places in the country have different rules and regulations relating to RC aircraft. There are also no-flying zones in most places of New York where flying drones is off-limit and is considered as dangerous for people, cars and buildings nearby.

Before you go shopping for drones, even if the toy ones, that you will fly outside then it will be helpful for you if you at first visit Mapbox or AirMap to check out no-fly zones for areas where you want to fly. In the United States, you can also check your chosen location by downloading the FAA’s B4UFLY app. However, this app does not include state or local regulations and so you will have to check those places manually if you can fly your drone in those places.

Any RC aircraft except toys require an FAA registration

As per the US Federation Aviation Administration (FAA) law, if any one desires to fly an unarmed aerial system (UAS) that has weight from 250 grams (0.55 pounds) to 25 kilograms (55 pounds) just for fun or as hobby then you will have to register with the agency. If you do not register, then you will face civil penalties which may include you to pay up to $27500 or may even have to pay criminal penalties of up to $250000 or, in worst case scenario, have to go to jail for up to 3 years! Most of the sub-$100 UASs remain within this range of weight.

For instance, the weights of all the toy drones fall under that 0.55-pound mark. You can weight your drone using a kitchen or postal scale or you can ask the manufacturer. This is applicable for both homemade and store-bought aircrafts. You can easily do the registration online in a matter of minutes at the cost of only $5. You do not really have to register for each of the drone you own, if there are multiple.

You just t need to register yourself and they will give you a number to put on the drone that you will be flying. In this way, the FAA makes you agree that you have read its safety manuals that include flying more than 5 miles away from airports and 400 feet below. As long as you are not using your drone for any commercial purpose, there is no need of equivalent registration in the Australia or UK. However, this rule may change any time. Note that the information on this page was recorded on the date it was written and should not be used for professional or legal advice.

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