A micro quadcopter is the same thing as a nano quadcopter: a remote controlled drone that can fit in the palm of your hand. In the spectrum of public drones, these are the ultra-toys and because of their functionality and size, these are most certainly the cheapest. Most would say the best micro quadcopter is one that has a camera, which many now do; the catch is, these are more expensive.
Think of the micro quadcopter as the only drone which is truly a toy. They’re not big enough to sustain an even moderately sized payload, and due to their size, many cannot sustain the camera systems of larger quadcopters which makes them less fit for commercial use. They are best flown indoors so they won’t have to deal with external forces (wind, heat, cold. etc.) If you’re looking to see what drones are about, a micro quadcopter is a great place to start. Most are RTF, or ready-to-fly right out of the box. However, if you’re ready to take the drone hobby seriously and really learn piloting, the majority of the drone community recommends that you start with a mini drone and not a micro quadcopter; a mini drone allows a more extensive flight experience, with the same physics and dynamics as the larger drones, yet won’t shatter your soul if it’s to crash.
Micro quadcopters are inexpensive, fun, and great teasers for what the drone hobby can be. That’s not to say that micro quadcopters are not quickly evolving into drones with better flight capabilities and features. Some hobbyists even build their own micro quadcopters which can compete with mini drones.
When purchasing a micro quadcopter, you need to know what you are getting into. By all means, micro quadcopters are toys. Perhaps in the future we’ll see the smaller-for-less phenomenon (that we see in all technology). But at this point micro drones are basically tiny little aerial vehicles that are meant to be flown around indoors, like an office space or a house. There are a variety of models on the market, but they won’t be capable of the type of flight seen in other drones (outdoor, autonomous, aerial photography, and so forth). However, if you’re just looking for a fun toy to fly around and impress your friends with, they’re a perfect choice. Also, note that for micro drones, nine out of ten times everything you need is sold in one package (except for controller batteries which are usually AA. Actually, some micro quadcopters can livestream FPV now, which adds to the drone experience, as well as to the price. Take a look at a few of the best micro drones in the market right now:
Micro (Nano) Quadcopter
This micro drone is under $50. The reviews will tell you that it blows most drones of its class out of the water with its flight performance. The built- in 6-axis gyroscopic flight system helps with flight stabilization and allows you to accomplish complex aerial maneuvers. It allows for the inverted flight feature which is rarely seen in drones of this size and it contains a removable battery (another anomaly) and powerful motors. It has headless flight mode – a mode of flying which allows you to fly despite where the ‘front’ of the drone is facing, something incredibly helpful for beginners. It also contains three separate flight power modes that help control the speed of the machine for the beginner. This is a great drone to play around with indoors, and comes with features not often seen in machines of its price or size.
This drone is literally $15 and is a great drone for indoor fun. You’ll have to buy a little transmitter to be able to pilot it, but that won’t cost much. It’s about an inch in diameter and comes with a spare set of rotors. It transmits over 100 feet but you won’t want to fly it that far because it’ll quickly become hard to see because of its size. It can flip, roll, and dive. It’s pretty much ready-to-fly right out of the box and can do exactly what you want from a drone of its size. There is no headless mode, so you have to fly knowing where the front of the machine is, and that will help you become a better pilot. It’s inexpensive, performs well for what it is, and is guaranteed to be fun.
Estes Proto X Nano Quadcopter
This thing is tiny and compact, yet for $30 it can perform like a bigger, more developed machine. It is sleek aesthetically for a micro drone and even comes equipped with an LED light (nice for night flying, and helpful in determining the orientation of the drone). There are no real perks to this drone, but perhaps that’s what makes it such an easy sell; it’s a drone that performs for fun, can maneuver the way drones do in its category, and it’s affordable. It takes about thirty minutes to charge, which is pretty short for most drones, it flies for 8-10 minutes, and it comes with a 4 channel transmitter. You’ll only need to buy two AA batteries for the controller to make it ready-to-fly right out of the box. It’s perfect for indoors and it’s designed for simplicity and fun.
The Syma X12 is a fantastic micro drone that comes equipped with a 6-axis flight stabilization system. It can perform all the aerial stunts you want (everything from flips, to perpetual 360 barrel roles, and dives – although be careful with that last one). It comes with both a beginner and advanced mode which dictates the machine’s speed, and has a button on the controller that initiates flips. Its 4 LED lights give it a futuristic style and allow you to fly at night or in the dark. The Syma X12 takes about half an hour to charge and flies for around 8 minutes. It comes with a transmitter but needs four AA batteries. It comes with an extra pair of rotors and a charger. This drone is essentially ready-to-fly right out of the box, and ready to be a whole lot of fun too.
This micro drone is affordable, durable, and easy to use. It comes with propeller guards which will control the damage in case of a crash (which happens a lot with micro drones, since they don’t usually have autonomous components). The remote has a snazzy little button that helps with sensitivity control. All you do tap it and you can control how sensitively your drone will respond to your directional commands. It also contains a button that initiates flips for you. The Nc5 takes about twenty minutes to charge (pretty fast for these drones) and flies for about 5-7 minutes. You’ll need two AA batteries to power up the controller. It’s fun, decently fast, and comes in just under $50.
This nano drone actually supports a 2mp camera. It’s a newly designed quadcopter that flies faster which produces more stabilized flight. It’s best used indoors, but this nano drone can be used outside under good conditions. It can capture both pictures and videos and stores them all on a micro SD (secure digital) card. It contains headless mode, a feature not often seen in micro drones (you can direct its flight regardless of orientation: despite where the ‘front’ of your drone is facing, the control will direct it in the way you want, which makes learning to pilot a lot easier). When you want to learn how to be a more precise pilot, you can switch off the feature and fly via orientation. It takes about an hour to charge and flies for five minutes. It comes with everything you need to fly and clocks in at $45. That’s twenty dollars more than most of these models, but you can capture aerial photography with this micro drone. The X52 is dynamic, affordable, and innovative.
This micro quadcopter has a 6-axis gyroscopic flight stabilization system and can support inverted flight. It has two different flight modes (to assist with speed when beginners are first learning to pilot). It looks sexy and performs with class. It’s powerful enough to be flown outdoors if the weather is clear and there is no wind. However, it’s mostly an indoor quadcopter that can perform all the aerial maneuvers you want from flips, to 360 barrel rolls. If you want to upgrade, the next level is the X11C which contains a camera. The X11 takes about forty minutes to charge and flies for five to seven minutes. It’s a bit on the bigger end, measuring 5.9 x 5.9 inches. You’ll need four AA batteries for the controller to power on.
This little ready-to-fly micro drone is definitely a bang for your buck. It comes in at just over $30 and sports a 6-axis gyroscopic flight system and two high-powered LED lights. The 2.4GHz four channel transmitter takes the drone to 100 feet, but needs AA batteries that are sold separately. It charges for 45 minutes and flies for around 7 minutes, which is pretty standard for micro drones. It can perform all the general aerial maneuvers desired from these little toys, from flips to 360 barrel rolls, and even nose dives if you’re feeling confident. The propeller guards work to keep your rotors from being damaged in an accident. Worry not though, as the package comes with an extra propeller set. This drone is affordable and performs well in the right conditions. It’s a really fun little thing to fly around in office spaces, as it is nimble and responsive.
As one of the tiniest drones in the market, you’d think this pocket-design wouldn’t be able to fare well in speed. Wrong! Its miniature design comes compact with intelligent 6-axis technology that not only stabilizes its flight, but also provides serious power for its rotors. The controller manages a distance of about 50 feet, but the 2.4GHz frequency comes with an adjustable frequency wave, which pretty much eliminates interference. This little toy is also among the most inexpensive drones listed here, as you can pick one up for under $20. It’s also compatible with an assortment of better, WLtoy transmitters, if you want an upgrade in your remote control. It contains LED lights making night flying a possibility, and its multicolored rotors assist with orientation. It can also be thrown to take off and holds its position in the air well. The charge time of the V272 is around 30 minutes, with 5 minutes of flight capability. This little machine performs well for its price range, and is guaranteed to be a blast when used correctly. As with most micro drones, it’s certainly a toy.
Tec Bean X902 Black Spider
This micro drone was actually designed to look like a spider, and with its beady little “eyes”, it does. Compared to other drones of its size, it definitely has the most unique aesthetic. Instead of the propellers resting atop the drone (like most quadcopters) they’ve been positioned beneath it to really make it a ‘spider in flight’. The spider legs, well they’re not really legs but they look like them, are actually the propellers protective covers and work to prevent the rotators from being damaged in case of an accident. As with most of these micro drones, it features a 6-axis gyroscopic stabilization system that allows for balanced, powerful flight. It’s flown with a 2.4GHz controller that experiences little interruption and contains auto-connection technology for easier transmission. The integrated gravity control modes allow the performance of a multitude of different aerial maneuvers. Two different flight modes help when learning to pilot and ‘little spidey’ flies for about seven minutes. If you want a unique looking micro drone that flies well and is easy to use and maintain, the X902 Spider fits the bill.
This drone is a great beginner drone that comes equipped with a 2MB high-definition camera. Hubsan is a leader in these types of drones, which are often recommended to those who want to spend a small amount of money and still manage to experience the dynamic drone experience. The drone comes equipped with propeller guards and 6 LED lights which are bright enough for lowlight flying and can be activated or deactivated via the controller. If you are a real newbie to drone flying, Hubsan conveniently offers a crash package that ensures you’ll have the extra replacement parts in the case of severe damages. At only $40, this drone flies extremely well, can perform all the desired aerial maneuvers, and uses a 6-axis gyroscopic intelligent flight system to stabilize itself during flight. It takes about 30-45 minutes to charge and flies for around 7 minutes. It comes with everything you need to get it up and flying, except the AA batteries required to power on the controller (true for most drones this size). Fly this little drone around your home or office and take aerial footage while doing it. It’s the fun you experience with other drones of its size, and yet has the element of aerial photography. For beginner or tinkerer, this drone comes highly recommended.
Most micro quadcopters are not going to be anything but a toy. In the future, we anticipate that we’ll see full-functional indoor micro drones that can livestream a high-definition FPV. There are already a few that can achieve some of this functionality, but at this point, it’s safer to say that micro drones are the ‘toys’ of the drone world.