An FPV Quadcopter is a remote control unmanned aerial vehicle that has four propellers and a camera which livestreams, offering the first-person-view experience (FPV). A transmitter, also known as a controller, is used by a pilot to send a signal to the aircraft, directing it where to go. A FPV Quadcopter is now a commercialized product, utilized (mainly because of its camera) for both recreational and professional purposes. By most accounts, these are called drones and have both remote control and autonomous components.
A quadcopter FPV is the go-to vehicle for beginners who want to become drone pilots. Quads certainly are the norm when it comes to the standard build of drones in the market place. The FPV quad has both four propellers and a camera that livestreams, and can be small, durable, and affordable – all while offering the owner the full experience of drone piloting. It’s not like riding a bike with training wheels; it’s just smart to start with a small, inexpensive FPV quad to learn the dynamic of flying drones, and then upgrade as you improve your skills.
Quadcopter FPVs are sold in different sizes and qualities, from tiny little nano drones that can sit comfortably in the palm of your hand, to full-sized unmanned aerial vehicles that come equipped with heavy duty cameras. The FPV quadcopter is quite an impressive advancement in drone technology. Not only did it disrupt the market, but because it became useful across the spectrum of recreational and professional utilities. Most of that has to do with the camera.
Now, people go out and buy the best FPV quadcopter for their needs. Drone racing has become a neat sport. So if they want to enjoy that hobby, then they’ll go out and buy a quick, agile drone meant for racing. But if they want to use their FPV quadcopter professionally, then they’ll look for the best FPV quadcopter to sustain the desired payload or service (mapping, search, transport, aerial photography, and so forth).
What a FPV quad has is maneuverability, stamina, and size. Since the quad is definitely a lot smaller than a hexacopter or octocopter, the machine doesn’t use as much battery life and thus can have a longer flight time. But the hexacopter and the octocopter beat out the quad in stability, payload sustainability, and failsafe systems.
I’ll explain. If a quadcopter loses an engine, more often than not it’s going to have a crash or a hard landing. For the design to work properly, all rotors have to be working to keep it in flight. Now, a hexacopter or an octocopters can afford to lose one or more rotors and remain in the air. Also, the extra two or four rotors, gives these drones more power (speed) and more stability.
Curious about drones? Want to see what all the hype is about and fly a drone yourself? Quadcopters with livestreaming cameras are the way to go when starting out, especially with the smaller, more affordable models so that if you crash you won’t have to worry too much about the damage. In addition, most quadcopter FPVs come RTF, or ready-to-fly right out of the box.
An FPV quadcopter offers the full drone experience. If you pair an FPV quadcopter with a set of VR goggles, it’s a fully immersive experience. Initially, the camera was the vehicle that increased drone popularity and spurred growth of the market, but the FPV feature really made things interesting. Rather than just an unmanned aerial vehicle that could fly around as a hobbyist’s toy, the camera made the machine a practical utility for aerial photography. Add the livestreaming first-person-view capabilities of drones of today, and the modern consumer product was created: an aerial vehicle that could not only capture aerial footage, but one that could offer to the pilot the perspective of the drone itself. Think of the industrial applications for consumer drones (search and rescue, surveillance, agricultural mapping, scientific research, delivering products). These feats would hardly be possible if not for the ability to see what the drone is seeing in real time. In the recreational aspect, it’s created an entirely new experience (viewing images in real time that would otherwise not be possible, drone racing, etc.).
When purchasing your first FPV quadcopter, there are quite a few things to consider. Since FPV livestreaming is now offered across the full range of drones, it’s up to you to decide where you want to start. Do you want a professional machine that can not only capture industry standard footage, but also livestream FPV? Do you want a mini drone that offers FPV just to have some fun with and see what all the fuss is about? Or are you curious about drone racing and want a high-quality FPV system on a fast, agile machine? It’s all up to you. But to feed the thought process, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best FPV quadcopters available across all price ranges.
the Phantom series pioneered by DJI is just about the most esteemed line of consumer drones. The Phantom 4 Pro sits at the top of that lineage of drones, and for a good reason. By all means, this is a professional machine and probably shouldn’t be your first drone (although some say its engineering and autonomy make it a perfect choice for first-time pilots). However, for intermediate and expert pilots it’s one of the most impressively engineered drones for its size and price. It comes with everything you need to fly, shoots in true 4k, livestreams FPV in HD, and is full of that DJI-intelligent technology you’ll hear all about within the drone community. It comes with 360 degree sensors that autonomously avoid obstacles, and the DJI application/controller is both easy to use and reliable. It can track a moving target without the target wearing a GPS device. It can return home automatically, position lock, follow waypoints, and more. If you’re looking for a drone created for excellent flight performance and optimal aerial photography, the Phantom 4 Pro is your machine.
this mini FPV quadcopter is new to the market, but for the price it certainly offers a lot more than expected. It runs around $70, and it comes ready-to-fly right out of the box. It has propeller guards, which is important for these tiny drones as the propellers are susceptible to damage. It comes with a raw edition of the EF 01 FPV camera/VTX combo, which can livestream the FPV directly to your tablet or phone. This beginner drone is a great introduction into the drone space as it is proven to fly well and offers the fully-immersive drone dynamic by livestreaming FPV.
Rise VUSION 250 FPV Racing Drone
this is a racing drone in the mid-price range, well, lower mid-price (around $300) that is both ready to fly, and first-person-view compatible (as goes with all racing drones). We’re starting to see a lot more racing drones that are RTF right out of the box, but even a few years ago racing drones were more often built, customized, and flown specifically by extreme hobby enthusiasts. This drone comes with everything you need for the immersive experience: FPV equipment, VR goggles, and an LCD video monitor control that sports a 5.8GHz frequency. The modular build of the Vusion 250 makes the chassis resistant to crashes, and easy to repair if damaged. By all means, this is a simplified racing drone that is built for ‘beginners’. The reason for the quotation marks is that true beginners should probably not start with racing drones, as they’re notoriously the fastest and hardest to control. There’s also a built in micro SD card which removes easily. If you’re curious about the full immersion of racing drones, this is a fantastic machine.
this micro quadcopter makes it to the top of every list in its criteria, and is one of the most esteemed machines for its size and price. Listed at $120, this drone is said to be the pioneer of the micro FPV drone push –which has really taken off. The latest version comes completely RTF out of the box, including an FPV monitor which will display the livestream. For the smaller-grade drone range, Blade has truly taken a step in the right direction. Their drones are well-engineered, affordable, and simple (in a good way). The Inductrix, once fully charged, has a flight time of around 5 minutes. If you’re looking for a simple, highly-recommended little drone to introduce yourself to FPV quadcopters, then the Blade Inductrix will not disappoint you. In fact, you’ll probably become addicted to the FPV experience like most who purchase the drone, and you’ll find yourself wanting an upgrade.
another DJI machine, it has recently been competing with the popularity of the Phantom series. It’s a compelling because it’s a professional drone in the same grade as the Phantom 4 Pro, but it’s only half the size. The Mavic Pro can fold into the size of a water bottle and despite its portability, can shoot in true 4k, fly for nearly thirty minutes and to speeds of 40mph, livestream FPV in HD with Lightbridge technology, and still has all the autonomous tech guts found in the Phantom machines (active track, position lock, return home, tap fly, follow me) and more. It’s equipped with the same 360 degree sensor system as the Phantom 4 pro (except for the fact that the Phantom 4 Pro can fly faster with obstacle avoidance and comes with several flight modes, depending on the type of photography precision desired. It doesn’t have the same quality camera as the Phantom 4 Pro, but can sustain in most categories. It’s ready to fly right out of the box and comes with a DJI warranty. This is by no means a drone meant explicitly for experts, but it’s certainly a professional machine, and another demonstration of DJI excellence.
this racing drone looks like it flew to us from a futuristic battleground. It performs like that too, once assembled (it isn’t RTF). The chassis is extremely well made and durable, with a light base and a low center of gravity battery. It comes equipped with LED lights on the back which can change color (this is especially beneficial when racing, as it helps differentiate your drone from the others). You’ll need a transmitter and receiver, but at only $200 and with the complexity/dynamism of the product, that’s to be expected. This is certainly not a beginner’s drone, but once constructed and the proper equipment is purchased, this is regarded as one of the best racing drones for its price. Also, the FPV is set in the horizontal view, allowing for a large field of vision.
for the price of this drone, it’s certainly a steal. It sits perfectly at the threshold of mid-grade drones, and offers qualities from both segments of the market. First, as with all the drones we’ve listed, it offers FPV livestreaming in high-definition (720p). The dual battery system allows the drone to fly up to 30 minutes at a time, and you can control the camera through an application linked to either a smart phone or a tablet. This is a drone that works as a perfect introduction to the all-inclusive drone dynamic. It only costs $250 and is ready to fly right out of the box; the Micro SD card is easily removable and can transfer videos and pictures right into your computer. The propellers have blade guards on them, and the control range is around 50m (not bad for a machine that can livestream FPV, fly for thirty minutes, and carry out an assortment of aerial maneuvers). Parrot is a trusted and well-regarded drone manufacturer. After the BeBop, the AR 2.0 comes with our full recommendation, and should be a drone used for beginners to improve their piloting skills, and for newbies to experience the immersion of FPV.
we’ve added this drone because it’s a whole lot of fun. It’s said to be one of the fastest consumer drones on the market and certainly lives up to that statement by reaching speeds up to 85mph. To clarify, this is NOT a beginner/intermediate machine, rather it’s meant for professionals who want to make full use their piloting skills and capture footage in the process. This drone is in the same price range as some of the phantom models and what it lacks in the aerial photography realm, it makes up for with design, agility, and speed. Yet, that’s not to say its camera is inefficient or even sup-par; it records in 4k at 24fps, and transmits FPV livestream in high-definition at 720p. It has a range of around a mile and can sustain winds up to 40mph. For those who don’t care so much about the highest quality aerial photography or all the autonomous components found in the DJI machines, but prefer a drone that not only has a professional grade camera, but more impotently, can tear the skies apart, the Teal is your stud. This drone was engineered for speed, agility, and a clear field of vision.
WLtoys released an assortment of impressive new models last year. One of them was this tiny Q212G that comes ready-to-fly right out of the box and offers a livestream FPV for under $150. Like most drones its size, it has an integrated 6-axis gyroscopic flight system which helps stabilize and optimize flight control. Even at that cost, it implements some autonomous features like 1 key takeoff and return home. It has full 360 flip functionality and offers headless mode (flying without orientation – greatly beneficial for beginners). It’s got an HD camera on board so you can shoot footage in 780p, and it’s ready-to-fly right out of the box. If those other introductory options (drones below mid-grade) were a bit too pricy for you, yet you still don’t want to buy just a toy drone, this is a perfect compromise.
First person view is full-immersion. It’s the element that has allowed for drone racing and promoted the application of drones in multiple industries. Without it, drones are more like to be hobby aircraft rather than service utilities. It’s a truly remarkable measurement of industry growth that in four years, there are consumer drones priced under $100 that can livestream FPV directly to your tablet, phone, or VR goggles. Only a half-decade ago, that technology existed, but was ludicrously expensive. We’re excited to watch the drone industry evolve, and we’re even more excited to embrace the onslaught of new, higher-technology products that are coming out in 2017.