2018 has been a great year for drones. Companies big and small featured a number of releases that not only sold well to the public, but also took the game up a notch. Some drones focused on elite camera and flight capabilities. Others offered user-friendly features, while even some more catered to the younger members of the drone community. Some drones even offered something a little different from the rest.
With the year coming to a close, let us take a look back at all the amazing drones released in 2018.
The Top Drones of 2018
What makes a drone great? Why would someone even buy a drone? For newer users and veteran drone enthusiasts alike, a drone can do many things.
For aerial photographers, a drone can give you a vantage point unlike anything you can see from the ground. Yes, while we have made advances in technology to the point where our cameras can take footage at crisp 4k resolution, the view is still the same. We are on the ground, looking at the same things at the same angle for so long. A drone gives you a bird’s eye view, providing fresh perspective to the world around us.
For casual users, having a drone with a long battery life can mean the difference between a fun afternoon and one spent recharging it without any action. Those who want the freedom of flight (and even getting to see it in first person view) want a drone that can fly longer. This can also mean that charging times must be shorter, to cut the waiting time.
Kids and newer users in general want a more simple-use for their drones. This means either that the drone can autonomously land or return home when not needed. Controls also must be simpler than average. This can come in either the form of the controller itself or programs featured in it.
We begin our list with the obvious contenders for top drone of all time. The sequel to DJI’s already fabulous Mavic series ups the ante with the release of their twin Mavic 2’s. The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom both have top-tier builds, taking out the competition from the get go. With their elite combination of portability, camera quality, battery life, and overall design, few can compete with these beasts. The main difference between the two is the camera.
The Mavic 2 Pro has a Hassleblad Camera that offers supreme footage even under bad lighting. The camera saw usage in extreme conditions such as deep underwater, and even as far as the moon’s surface itself. The Mavic 2 Zoom, as the name implies, specializes in its zoom capabilities. It has a camera that can replicate a 96mm telephoto lens, competing with top-end professional cameras in the film industry itself.
Another great camera drone is the Hover 2. It offers amazing footage on the go, with the Hover 2 having a body that can fold when not in use. This means it has a more portable composition than other drones, who are known to get bulky when packed. The Hover 2 folds itself in the shape of a small book, giving travelers who need lightweight packing a great camera drone to have.
Not everyone wants to be like birds in the sky. Sure, soaring through the clouds may be great, but some prefer exploring the deep seas. The waters of the planet are filled with amazing creatures and secrets that can be unveiled. For those with the rush of sea exploration, the Gladius is the drone for you. Not only is it completely waterproof, it can take highly detailed shots even in dark conditions. Under the sea, when light may be difficult to pass through, the Gladius can use its LED lights to provide better illumination. Best of all, the Gladius has over 2 hours of battery life, giving you plenty of opportunity to explore the ocean.
Fans of LEGO building blocks are in for a treat. This drone is extremely unique, in that it gives you a toy and a drone at the same time. The Building Block Drone offers the creativity and freedom of a toy, with the flight capabilities of a drone. This is a perfect gift for kids wanting to learn the basics of drones. The Building Block Drone gives them an opportunity not only to learn how to fly one, but they can build one as well. This improves their creativity, their passion, and adds more playtime to the mix. While it may not be for some, the nostalgia of block toys gives this a definite plus.
High-end drones do not need to be expensive. For those wanting a great drone but have a tight budget, the Parrot Anafi is for you. It has great 4k camera capabilities and a flight time of 25 minutes. It is a stealthy drone that is $100 cheaper than the competition. It can fly at 33 miles per hour, giving you a fast-paced drone for a decent price. It has great support and a controller to boot – giving you the full experience of a top-tier drone for a great value.
Another creation from the minds at DJI, and with the name you are sure to get a quality drone. The Mavic Air offers an amazing drone that is cheaper than Air’s cousins that are far more expensive: the Mavic 2 Zoom and Pro. The Mavic Air costs around $800 (cheaper in sales) which is half of what the Mavic 2 Pro costs. The Air has a 12-megapixel camera and 21 minutes of flight, providing you with an excellent drone to play with. Those who cannot (or do not want to) pay for the high end Mavic 2 series, may consider getting the Mavic Air. Alas, the Mavic 2’s offer extremely professional gear, so for those simply wanting a good recreational drone, the Mavic Air may be the choice.