9 Drones of Distinction


Someday, we'll look back at 2017 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 (First-Person-View problems, amiright?). 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.

PROPEL’s Star Wars drones are noteworthy for reasons beyond their incredible design—although that’s certainly a big draw. These hobby-sized replicas let you choose between a TIE Fighter, X-Wing, or Speeder Bike, and pilot missions for either the Rebel Alliance or the Dark Side. In addition to being hand-detailed, movie-authentic clones of the originals, each drone can hit speeds of up to 35mph, perform 360-degree tricks and flips, and feature light-wave “weapon” systems that let you battle your friends. Better yet: each Star Wars drone comes in a collectible display case that features a light-up base and plays authentic songs and sound bites from the movies.

PROPEL Star Wars TIE Advanced X1 Quadcopter

We’ve written pretty extensively about the DJI Spark on this site. Its list of bona fides are long and well-documented: 2-axis stabilized gimbal, HD video camera, 31 mph top speed, ultra-compact design for anywhere flying, and so on, and so on. But what makes the Spark truly unique is its use of Follow Me technology. While other drones rely on some type of signal tethering to follow you around, the Spark uses specialized recognition technology to “see” and film its target. This allows for some incredible use cases, especially when shooting action footage. The fun doesn't stop there, because the Spark comes loaded with a bevy of modes and features that take advantage of its unique Follow Me tech for a one-of-a-kind experience.

DJI Spark Quadcopter

The fact that the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is “merely” a refinement of the original might lead some to doubt its distinctiveness, but trust us when we say the new Mavic Pro is a drone apart. Already using the same innovative Follow-Me tech that makes the Spark so special, the larger, more-capable Mavic Pro Platinum also features a sleek new finish, extended battery life, and 60% aircraft-noise reduction. Basically, DJI took one of the most popular consumer drones on the market and made it a whole lot better—assuming better means sleeker, quieter, and longer flight times.

DJI Mavic Pro Platinum Fly More Combo

With the exception of its predecessor, the AirDog II might be the only drone on the market specifically designed for extreme athletes. From its travel-friendly, wind-resistant design to its sport-specific, high-speed flight modes, everything about the AirDog II screams outdoor adventure. Adding to its innovation, the AirDog II comes with a wearable wrist tracker-slash-transmitter called the AirLeash. The AirLeash is what the drone locks onto so it can follow you around and capture all your exploits, whether it’s skateboarding, surfing, rock-climbing, or any adventure in between.

AirDog II Action Sports Drone

Not too many drones feature a mechanical grabber arm and a 6-shot plastic cannon—which is exactly why the Parrot Mambo Mission made our list. A quality flyer on its own, the Mambo's add-on modular design really makes it stand out. The included Grabber lets pilots play aerial transporter, while the Cannon outfits the craft with a toy howitzer capable of shooting 6mm plastic balls. Because the Mambo's a mini-drone meant for hobbyists, both accessories have little application beyond being fun and wildly entertaining, but then again, what's wrong with that?

Parrot Mambo Mission with Cannon and Grabber Accessories

The phoenix-like return of GoPro’s Karma is enough to warrant distinction alone, but more than a feel-good comeback story, the Karma delivers enough unique performance and flight features to earn a well-deserved spot on our list. Designed by GoPro, the Karma is fully optimized for a HERO5 or HERO6 Black. Opting for the HERO6 bundle means you get one of the few action drones on the market capable of shooting 4K 60fps video. Another noteworthy distinction: the Karma has benefited significantly from recent GoPro software upgrades, suggesting that the company is invested not just in tweaking bugs, but in bolstering the overall Karma experience. This kind of company care and attention is always a positive sign and worth considering when picking out your next drone.

GoPro Karma Quadcopter with HERO6 Black

Featuring the most unique design on the list, the PowerEgg is a Faberge-looking flyer that collapses into a seamless egg shape when not in use. Centerpiece-worthy design aside, the PowerEgg could turn heads with its spec sheet alone: 4K video camera with 3-axis gimbal, control range up to 3.1 miles, GPS-based navigation, optical positioning, and 23-minute flight time. Thanks to a deep list of flight modes and autopilot features, the PowerEgg performs as well as it looks, and that’s saying a lot.

Power Vision PowerEgg 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.