Most common question I get: “I want to buy a drone that comes with a camera. What do you recommend?”
Me: “What’s your budget?”
^^ That was me, until I tried out udiR/C’s Discovery WiFi U818A HD+ FPV Upgrade drone, from USA Toyz. For just $139.99 you get the drone controller, camera, live video and all the other accessories you need.
In other words, udiR/C’s Discovery drone is a great deal for anyone looking to capture some basic aerial video.
First off, I was impressed with the packaging. It’s all quite compact and well organized. I immediately realized that besides AA batteries for the controller, there was nothing else I would need to provide myself.
udiR/C’s Drone was built with attention to detail, providing me with the following:
- The drone itself
- A 2.4Ghz Controller
- 2 sets of 350mAh LiPo Batteries
- A battery charger (it charges through USB)
- A portable power bank to charge on the road
- A Micro SD Card and reader
- A spare set of propellers
- Spare pieces like a screwdriver for the controller
From there, I downloaded the udiR/C app from the App Store so I cold get that first person view — allowing my smartphone to show me a live stream of what the drone’s camera is seeing.
The controller operates just like any other drone, offering yaw, pitch, roll, altitude control, etc. The phone also allows you to save photos directly to your camera roll. Photos and videos are also saved on the drone’s MicroSD card. Though, a smartphone isn’t required. The controller comes with a photo and video button to snap pictures and start and stop recording.
The battery charges through any USB port, so after giving it some juice from my computer, it was time to fly! I also loved that it came with an extra battery for additional flying time.
The drone itself is durable and light. The propellers are guarded, which both protects against having to replace propellers after crashes and to protect walls from being scratched by novice pilots. The drone itself weighs 5 ounces, which means it does not have to be registered with the FAA. It’s also incredibly sturdy — this drone could take a decent beating from a beginner operator and still fly as well as it did on its first flight.It’s easy to set up — connecting via wifi to the smartphone app and getting up in the air within seconds.
Since the drone is so light, it is very susceptible to small movements and wind. It takes much more effort and precision piloting to get it to hover than what a more expensive craft like the Phantom 4 would do. That being said, the udiR/C drone is the perfect drone for learning how to pilot. If you can master this, you could master a Phantom 4 or Yuneec Typhoon immediately.
It’s incredible to me how within a few years of ready to fly drones being on the market, udiR/C has developed a drone that gives you a first person view of what the drone can see in a product that costs about $100.
That being said, the video quality is not amazing — but that’s to be expected for something priced that low. The tweet below shows what the video quality (unedited) looks like, and the unedited photo shows the quality.
Testing out UDI RC’s Quadcopter drone. For about $100 (including camera and controller) this thing is awesome! pic.twitter.com/ehpSXhZmBe
— Sally French (@TheDroneGirl) April 29, 2016
One of the things I loved most was how the photos ended up in my phone’s camera roll immediately. No more waiting to go home and sort through my memory card looking for a photo to upload to Instagram. It’s already there!
This drone was easy to fly and a fun way to get my friends interested in drones. It’s light enough to carry over and bring to a BBQ, and I feel comfortable letting anyone fly it. It’s a great party trick — and it actually shoots photos and videos too!
udiR/C’s copter is set apart though from other drones because of the attention to detail. I love that the designers opted to give bonus accessories like a portable battery charger, meaning I didn’t have to stress about running out of battery.
For someone interested in drones but not ready to commit more than a couple hundred dollars, this is a great introduction. It would make a fun gift for older kids or for someone who wants an aerial view of their life but isn’t ready to commit a lot of money to it. It’s lean, easy to use, and a great introduction to the world of drones.
If your budget is $100 and you want a drone with a camera on it, you won’t see any face palms from me anymore. Just get udiR/C’s drone!