9 Drones of Distinction


Someday, we'll look back at 2018 and remember it as part of the Golden Age of consumer drones, a time when advanced, affordable UAVs were everywhere. In fact, our biggest gripe might be that there were too many quality options available. To help you sort through the over-abundance of aerial excellence, we've put together a list of nine distinctive drones that manage to separate themselves from the flock.

As a company, DJI is noteworthy if for no other reason than it is the preëminent consumer drone maker operating in the world today. But beyond that distinction, DJI really stood out in 2018, thanks to the release of three extraordinary flyers: the DJI Mavic Air, the Mavic 2 Pro, and the Mavic 2 Zoom.

DJI Mavic Air

The first of these releases was the Mavic Air, which holds the distinction of being, arguably, the greatest adventure drone ever built. So far. Combining the pocket-portable design of the DJI Spark, the prosumer-grade specs of the Mavic Pro, and featuring incredibly sophisticated target-tracking tech, the Mavic Air emphatically checks the boxes on any adventurer’s list, and then some.

DJI’s other big 2018 release was the Mavic 2, which comes in two different variants, the Pro and the Zoom. We had the chance to test both of the drones in Iceland, and what we discovered is that they own the distinction of being two of the best consumer drones ever released—especially the Pro variant, which features a 20MP Hasselblad camera and supports 10-bit Dlog-M and HLG HDR. The Zoom, meanwhile, deserves credit for being an overall incredible drone and one of the first of its class to offer an optical zoom feature. You can read our full review of both for a more detailed look at what makes these drones stand out.

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

In many ways, the Parrot Anafi is outstanding because of how unique it looks and operates. For one, its design is incredibly light—at 320g, the Anafi weighs less than the Mavic Air. Like the Air, it has a foldable body to make it more travel friendly, but instead of collapsing into a phone-shaped package, the Anafi transforms into a remote-control-like rectangle that fits perfectly in a messenger bag. Its camera is also kind of odd, too—in the best possible sense. On the one hand, it’s a powerful 4K shooter but, weirdly, it can tilt 180 degrees, which is just something you don’t see in most drones. We took the Anafi to Coney Island for a test flight, and what we discovered was that the Anafi is one of the weirdest, most surprising drones of 2018, and definitely one of our favorites.

Parrot Anafi 4K Portable Drone

Walkera is no stranger to lists. Google "best racing drones" and you'll start to see its name pop up just about everywhere. Keeping that tradition alive, the Walkera F210 3D earned a spot on the list for being our favorite Ready-to-Fly FPV racer. As any serious drone racer will tell you: the best racers are built, not bought—but the F210 casts some doubt on that platitude. A rugged, built-for-speed design, lightning-quick 5 ms response time, and high-def night-vision camera are just a few reasons the F210 3D is one of our favorite racers. Plus, for those pilots who want to customize their craft, the F210’s modular design and flight control system can be tailored to fit your needs.

Walkera F210 3D Edition Racing Drone

The final spot on our list goes to the beloved Blade Inductrix. The drone that launched the career of so many racers and led to the creation of the legendary Tiny Whoop, the Inductrix’s hall-of-fame status is a lock. Graded on specs and performance alone, it’s an excellent beginner-level drone that teaches pilots the ins and outs of flying and racing. Durable design, 8-minute flight time, and SAFE flight system are all reasons the Inductrix is such a distinguished flyer. Plus, because it’s so easy to upgrade, the sky is both literally and figuratively the limit.

BLADE Inductrix RTF Quadcopter with SAFE Technology

There you have it: nine distinct drones that stand out for all the right reasons. What do you think of our list? Any unique UAVs we missed? Let us know in the Comments section, and be sure to check out all of the great drones available at B&H Photo.


I'm surprised neither the Phantom nor the Inspire made this list, specially the Phantom, which pretty much introduced drones to the masses, whether for good or bad.