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Under New Management 0

In this post, we describe the changes that have taken place with DronesEtc.com in the last couple of months.  

We also take a look at what's to come.

  • Keith Pelchat

Beginners Guide to Drones 0

Beginners Guide to Drones

Beginners guide to  dronesLet’s say you’ve heard a whole lot about drones over the past couple of years and have finally decided to own one. How would you go about acquiring a new drone? And which ones are the best in the market? How can they be maintained? These are just a few of the questions you need to answer. Interestingly, you will find solutions in this article. Since you are just getting started with drones, what follows immediately are some of the most important things you need to consider.

DURABILITY

No matter how little your budget may be, never settle for drones made from low quality materials. It is likely that your drone will come crashing to the ground at some point as you begin to learn how to fly. So, strong material like carbon fiber or something equally durable would be a wise investment.

FLIGHT TIME

As a beginner, you need a reasonable amount of flight time to practice. If your drone’s batteries drain in just a few minutes, you will be forced to wait until it recharges. This may not seem to be a problem now, but when you have your drone in hand, and are excited to learn and have fun with it, your patience will be tested!.  So, consider drones with longer battery life, and purchase additional batteries.  These types of drones can be used for longer ranges and higher altitudes too.

SPARE PARTS

It is true that nothing lasts forever.  This also applies to drones. The point is: if you buy a drone that comes with a few extra parts, you will have the ability to maintain your drone as things wear out, and this will improve the life span of the drone. Again, it is better your manufacturer provides you with extra parts as they could sometimes be difficult to find after the fact.

THE DRONE’S FEATURES

There are many quadcopters in the market today, some with very good quality, others, not so much. What differentiates one from the other is quality of workmanship, the range of features it has, as well as the innovation it brings to the consumer. Here are some basic features every good drone should have:

Headless Mode

This feature allows your drone to move in any direction, not just the direction it is facing. This becomes even more relevant when your quad is high in the air and far from your sight. When this happens, simply turn on Headless Mode and any part of the device can serve as a head.

One Key Return

As a beginner, there are times when you would experience some difficulties with aerial maneuvers. To prevent further confusion, simply hit the One Key Return (also known as Return To Home) button. This brings your drone back to where it started. This feature which makes use of an internal GPS will bring your device back to where it started.  Most drones built since 2015 will have this feature.

Auto Taking Off & Landing

As the days go by, gadgets get smarter. At the push of a button, this feature – as you may have correctly guessed – allows your drone to take off, hover for a while in the air, then land safely on the ground. There is practically little or no need for a pilot.

Auto Flight

This functionality is typically available in more expensive drones. Here, you can program your drone to take off at a particular time, navigate through customized positions and distance; then return to its starting point.

IN A NUTSHELL

Go for the most advanced drones if you have the money to buy them. Otherwise, stick to lower budget ones which have the standard features an good drone should have.

 

  • Affirm Support

Autel Robotics New Drone 0

Autel Robotics New Drone

Autel Robotics is a relatively new American technological company known for their budget drones and drone-related accessories. Whether you have heard of them or not, we think you will be interested in the latest addition to their line of drones.

The Autel X-Star Premium drone is the newest drone from Autel Robotics. It is an upgrade of the X-Star drone. The Autel X-Star Premium offers some improved features over the Autel X-Star Basic drone. The X-Star Premium offers users increased range, more accessories and some extra features. In this article, we shall review the Autel X-Star Premium drone and tell you all you need to know about this new drone from Autel Robotics.

Build and design

The Autel X-Star Premium drone looks just like a DJI Phantom. All Autel drones come in orange and white color and this drone is not an exemption.  It has a removable camera and gimbal. This is a great idea as you can upgrade the camera if you wish to. Worthy of note is the impressive lightweight splash resistant rigid case the drone comes in. The carrying case costs $89 normally, but it comes free with the X-Star Premium drone.

Flight performance

The Autel X-Star Premium drone has a maximum flying speed of 35 mph which is okay. Its maximum range of 1.2 miles is adequate for almost any purpose. But it is a little bumpy when taking off and landing. And it responds a bit fast to controls. So, this makes it a little bit harder to control.

Battery life

The Autel X-Star Premium drone has a battery life of about 25 minutes. It comes with a 14.8V LiPo battery and a fast charger. You can use the charger to charge the controller and the drone battery at the same time. The battery takes about one hour to charge fully.

Autonomy

The Autel X-Star Premium drone comes with different modes. The Beginners Mode is perfect for first-time users of drone. This mode comes with a geo-fence limit to limit the drones speed, altitude and range. This mode will help beginners avoid mistakes that could crash the drone. The drone also has a Follow-Me Mode, Orbit Me Mode and a Waypoint Mode.

Camera

The Autel X-Star Premium is equipped with a 4K Ultra HD camera with a 108⁰ field of view. The camera can record videos in 4K resolution and it can capture images in 12 megapixels. It shoots video using an integrated 3-axis gimbal. You can remove the camera and upgrade it if you wish.

Controller

The Autel X-Star Premium drone comes with an RC transmitter. The controller is comfortable and it has a strong grip. It also comes with an additional LCD display at the top that displays important flight data. The controller has different buttons like the takeoff and return to home button which makes it easier for beginners to handle.  The best thing about the controller is a connectivity port that allows you to add a second controller. With this feature, an experienced flyer can help a novice guide the drone without the novice passing his/her own controller to the professional.

Pricing

The best thing about the Autel X-Star Premium is its price. It costs just $799 which is awesome when you compare it to offerings from DJI, Yuneec and other competitors. It is hard for you to find a better drone that comes at this price.

Bottom Line

The Autel X-Star Premium drone is arguably one of the most affordable drones you can get in the market now. It offers you a lot for a budget price. A lot of budget drones do not come with 4k video recording and beginner-friendly features. But the Autel X-Star Premium offers you this and more. We recommend that you check it out.

  • Jason Pedersen

Autel Robotics Review 0

Autel Robotics Logo

Since drones became popular, lots of companies have started manufacturing drones for sale. Now, there are low-end drones which are cheap but don’t have many features. And there are the high-end drones which are quite expensive but have lots of cool features.

Autel Robotics has been classified as a low-end drone simply because it’s not as expensive as others. Some people have said the Autel Robotics is a lookalike of DJI drone models. Right now, Autel Robotics have two drone models: Autel X-Star and Autel X- Star Premium. Despite the many controversies about Autel Robotics, it is an undeniable fact that the drone models are getting more popular. Here are some crucial things you should know about Autel Robotics:

Design

X-Star Premium DroneThe great thing about Autel Robotics is that the drones are well designed. They are fairly compact and tough. The drones can withstand many weather conditions, and even minor brushes against the wall when flying. Autel Robotics models are agile because they are designed like a cube. So if you like that kind of aesthetic design, Autel Robotics drones are a good choice for you.

Camera Quality

We cannot review any drone without talking about the camera quality. The camera quality and knowing that pictures can be taken from impossible angles is what makes people buy a drone. The Autel Robotics drones come with a 4K Ultra HD camera that has up to 108 degrees field view. That means it can take 4K videos and 12-megapixel pictures. The camera quality should be great news for all videographers.

Flight Time

Another thing lots of people want to know about any drone they want to buy is the flight time. Nobody wants to purchase a drone that can fly for only five minutes. Well, we have great news for you. The Autel Robotics drone can last in the air for up to seventeen minutes. Yes, you read that right. The flight time is quite great when compared to other drones. Most drones that can last for that long are more expensive than the Autel Robotics drones.

Distance and Flight Mode

You can control your Autel Robotics drone from a distance of about 1.2 miles. So you don’t have to be in proximity with your drone. There are also some cool flight modes the drones have. They come with a Follow-Me mode which allows your drone to follow you whether you’re running or sailing. Another flight mode is the Orbit Me mode and the Beginner mode. The beginner mode comprises of a geofence to limit the drone’s range and speed. So, whether you’re a beginner or experienced with drones, there’s always something for you.

Extra Accessories

Your drone is prone to developing faults. The propellers can quickly become disengaged. You could use up all the space for video recording and pictures. All these possibilities are what necessitated the manufacturers to include extra accessories. The Autel Robotics drones come with a robust hard case for storing the transport. The hard case also makes carrying the drone easier. The drone also comes with spare propellers and a 64GB microSD card for extra recording. These accessories are not usually included in other drone models with the same features.

In a Nut Shell

The Autel Robotics drones are packed with lots of features. They can just do just about what other drone models can do. The best thing about them is they are very affordable and worth the buy. You have no reason to doubt the Autel Robotics drone anymore. Buy that drone before it’s too late!

  • Adee Bhat

X-Star Premium vs DJI Phantom 4 2

The world is experiencing an avalanche of innovations. It is not any different when you talk about drones. Innovation has led to the rise and fall of various types of types of drones. At every point in time, there are a few models that stand out from the pack in every aspect of flying and continue to dominate the skies. Among these are the DJI Phantom 4 and Autel Robotics X-Star Premium.

We want to make a comparison of these two exceptional quadcopters. They share some similar features but also unique features that are regarding performance. As you will see, they both offer excellent value for money. If you are ready, let’s begin the comparison!

BODY BUILD

X-Star Premium DroneBoth drones have a sleek body design which indicates that a lot of attention was given to the minutest details. The Phantom 4 flies majestically in its white color and flashing light, while the X-Star Premium cruises the skies in its flashy orange color. Their weight however differs. While the Phantom 4 weighs about 3 lbs, the X-Star weighs about 3.1 lbs. The DJI Phantom 4 –unlike the X-Star- has a magnesium skeleton that reduces its overall weight and maintains high level of stiffness to reduce vibrations.

DRONE FLIGHT TIME

They both offer more than 20 minutes of flying time without payloads. The DJI Phantom provides slightly better time flight of 28 minutes than the 25 minutes offered by the X-Star Premium. The flight time decreases if you attach their respective payload. One thing drone users will agree to is that the longer time flight can be helpful while shooting in remote areas.

CAMERA

DJI Phantom 4This is one of the main features drone users look out for. Their aerial video from above is breathtaking, and the images are of high quality. They both feature 12MP camera. The camera on the Phantom 4 has a 1-inch CMOS sensor, mechanical shutter and an aperture which can be adjusted from f/28 to f/11 which an FOV comparable to 24mm lens. The FOV on the X-Star offers a 108-degree FOV. X-Star, however, has an advantage due to its removable camera. As a result of this, you can now equip your UAV with the upgraded version of the two cameras that Autel Robotics is rolling out.

PAYLOAD CAPACITY

The average payload weight that UAVs can carry is about 800 grams (1.76 pounds). The DJI Phantom 4 can carry up to 1.02 pounds whereas the X-Star has its limit at 0.40lb. You must also remember that these quadcopters are not designed to carry custom payload.

OBSTACLE AVOIDANCE

The Phantom 4 is equipped with Vision Positioning System (VPS) which is not available on X-Star. You will need this feature if you intend to fly indoors or areas GPS is hard to get. The reason is that the Phantom 4 has full collision sensors all around. This makes it possible to avoid any obstacle on its path during flight.

FLIGHT RANGE

The DJI Phantom can operate from a range of 3 miles. It by far exceeds the operational range of the X-Star Premium which maxes out at about 1.25 miles.

BATTERY

The battery is another trait that is worth our consideration. The DJI Phantom has a battery capacity of 6000 mAh (approximately 28 minutes) and an average charge time of 1 hour. ON THE OTHER HAND, The X-Star Premium has a battery capacity of 4900mAh (about 25 minutes) and an average charge time of 1 hour, 30 minutes.

CONCLUSION

Both drones are technologically sophisticated in their own ways. But you can judge that the DJI Phantom seems to have some better features than the X-Star Premium. The X-Star, however, has to its credit its removable cameras. This means if there is an upgrade, you can just buy the new cameras unlike the DJI Phantom 4 where you have to buy a new UAV.  

  • Adee Bhat