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Drones have risen in popularity over the past few years, with advances in technology and competition between providers meaning more and more high-level UAV’s are becoming increasingly affordable to everyday users. Below are the best drones you can buy on the market for under or around the 500 mark. These devices are moving toward the top end of quadcopter capabilities and you can expect them to deliver fantastic performances for stable flight and photography

DJI Phantom 3 Standard

DJI-Phantom-3-standardThe Phantom 3 Standard drone combines ease of use with excellent performance. You can fly for up to 25 minutes on a single charge, with DJI’s own curved electromagnets driving the propeller motors. This increases durability and creates a smooth path of motion, making the unit easy to control even for less experienced users.
The Phantom 3 Standard leads the way when it comes DJI-Phantom-3-standard-camerato easy flying. The model’s ‘auto-hover’ feature makes flying easy and limits the chances of losing control or crashing. After taking off the drone hovers in place, ready to receive instructions. You can then control the unit intuitively, creating a smooth path of motion by flicking your fingers or thumbs in any direction. When you stop controlling, the drone simply pauses and hovers, waiting for the next move.


DJI-Phantom-3-standard-controllerThe Phantom 3 is as difficult to lose as it is easy to fly. Its built-in GPS system tracks its coordinates throughout the flight, and can return the unit to its point of take-off with the click of a single button (or if the signal from your smartphone or tablet is ever lost).
You can also set limits to how far away the UAV can fly – if it reaches the boundaries of the pre-set area it will simply hover in place. On top of this, you will never struggle to see where it is flying – bright LED lights on the bottom help you to keep track of the flight path and see which direction it is travelling in.
To make things even more convenient you will also find this information live streamed to your smartphone or other device. As well as allowing you to control the unit itself, the app sends you flight coordinates along with battery alerts that warn you when it is time to return to the ground.




Parrot Bebop

Parrot bebop droneThe Parrot Bebop boasts impressive engineering and state-of-the-art technology both inside and out. On the outside, the unit is as robust as it is stylish. The chasis weighs just 400g and is reinforced with ABS polymers.

Furthermore, to prevent damage the propellers stop automatically in the event of a collision.
The standards are equally high on the inside – the on-board navigation computer powered by a dual-core CPU, with a quad-core GPU and 8GB of flash memory to store your images and videos. parrot-bebop-drone-redAll of the internal components are protected by electromagnetic shielding and are secured to a magnesium shelf that prevents overheating. On top of the drone you will also find two WI-Fi antennae – these create a unique Wi-FI network allowing you to connect to and control the unit through your smartphone, tablet or other device.
The Parrot Bebop is easy to fly and keep stable. The unit’s on-board computer constantly analyses data from an accelerometer, gyroscope and several other sensors to maintain stability without affecting manouvreability.

There is also a built-in ‘return home’ feature, which uses GPS technology to return the quadcopter to the exact location it took off from automatically. And in the event of an emergency, the press of a button will land the drone immediately.

Despite all this, one of the model’s standout features is the quality of image it produces. The drone’s fisheye camera records pictures and videos in a 180 degree field, with a lens that can be moved independently of the unit itself. An image stabiliser and splash and dust proof lens also allow for pictures that are crisp and clear even during motion.




Parrot Bebop 2

Parrot Bebop Drone 2

The Parrot Bebop 2 boasts particularly impressive flight performance for a drone in this price range.The unit is one of the fastest on the market – it can travel at up to 18 metres per second horizontally and 13 metres per second vertically within a 984 foot signal range. It has durability to match its speed too – the Bebop 2 is the first drone within the 500g category to offer an uninterrupted flight time of 25 minutes, thanks to a powerful 2700 mAh battery.

Despite its light weight, the Bebop 2 has a sturdy and durable chassis. The UAV’s four single arms are reinforced for extra strength, and each flexible propeller locks upon contact with other objects for optimum safety.

Much like its predecessor, the Bebop 2’s camera is arguably its stand-out feature. You will find a 14 megapixel camera capturing high definition photos and full 1080p video at 30 frames per second. The unit’s ‘brighter lens’ produces high quality images even in low light, making it equally effective while flying at night. Furthermore, the camera can be pointed vertically for excellent bird’s eye view images without any loss of quality.

Overall, this drone could be ideal for users who are serious about capturing quality images but would also appreciate the extra manouvreability made possible by its high-speed, lightweight design.