Best drones under 200 : Updated April 2017
U45 Blue Jay
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As of now, we think that the drones under 200 are designed okay, but not spectacular. Unlike semi professional or professional drones, many of the quads are designed pretty much the same way one way or the other, so you’ll have a hard time finding something that stands out. That being said, some manufacturers have managed to design some pretty good quads for the price and we’ve listed them here.
Don’t expect extreme high quality build with any of the drones under 200 and its components. Please try not to use them TOO rashly or in harsh weather. You’ll quickly be disillusioned if you do. That being said, again, we’ve tried to distill down to the ones that are most sturdy and capable of taking a beating.
For drones under 200, expect to be able to fly indoors perfectly well. When it comes to outdoor flying, however, don’t expect them to fly in extreme winds/conditions. The quads will most likely be able to take mild to moderate winds but that’s about it.
As far as functionalities go, most come with headless mode, which should make flying easier for newbies. Some of them come with RTH (return to home) and FPV capabilities. While FPV may not be the best (most of them lag and are not really ‘FPV flyable’) and so can be overlooked, RTH is a handy feature and we suggest getting a quad that comes with it. Especially if you aren’t really good at flying quads, getting your craft to come back to you is REALLY useful in case of emergencies. Note that the “RTH” function in these crafts do not function with a GPS like in “real” drones. Rather, they should be called "One-key" return. With this feature, they simply fly backwards. If you are not flying in headless mode, this can cause a fly away.
Most drones under 200 come with cameras that are capable of taking some decent pictures and video. However, please note that this is NOT your go to price range, if you are a professional photographer. One of the best ones we came across has an 8 megapixel HD camera (Syma X8G) and we’ve listed it below. If your goal is purchase a cheap drone to practice some aerial photography before purchasing a professional photography drone, the Syma X8G is your best bet.
Most drones under 200 are not offered by giants like DJI or Parrot. Rather, they are shipped by companies like Syma, UDI and DBPower. The customer service may not be on par with the giants, but most of them respond well in case of a damaged product. Regardless of the quad you buy, make sure you buy from the vendors directly (in case of websites like Amazon). Do not go for cheap knock offs.
We also recommend you get an extended accidental protection plan for anything RC related. It may cost additional bucks, but better be safe than sorry! Canopy provides a decent plan but there are also others. (Make sure you select the appropriate price setting)
Most drones in this article are at a price range from $129 – $159. We’ve handpicked what we think are best drones under $200.
The crafts mentioned in this best drones under 200 list are reviewed for different characteristics – the overall design and build, ease and flexibility of control, flight characteristics and camera quality. At the end of each model’s review, we have listed what is awesome and what is not so awesome for each model for you to be able to quickly glance over the pros and cons.
Best durability in the best drones under 200 list, fast battery charging
We think that this "drone" is the #1 for being well-built and durable in the best drones under 200 range. It weighs heavier than models like the U818A and this may make it land faster, but that doesn't matter because it is pretty well built for hard landings.
The design is pretty much the same as many other quads in its price range but the color combination is pretty unique, making it stand out. Overall, it is a very nicely done quadcopter - definitely deserves a place in the best drones under 200 list.
This "drone" can be controlled with the standard controller or an app. The gravity induction mode will allow you to control the drone with the simple tilt of the camera angle via the app. The craft flies really well even under moderately windy conditions, making it a decent indoor and outdoor flyer. The flight range is pretty decent for its class and so is the battery life. It also comes with headless mode. Overall, a great flyer.
The camera is decent for the price. You can take some pleasant video and pictures with it. However, don't expect something along DJI level. The live video feed may likewise be not be that magnificent either.
Lightweight and durable characteristics give it a spot under our best drones under 200.
The U818A Wi-Fi FPV is built pretty well too. Though it might feel lighter and "cheaper" than the DBPower, it is pretty durable and strong, for the price. This craft can come out undamaged, even after rough usage and some moderately insane crashes. The propellers are safe guarded with pretty solid guards that comes into the rescue during dire situations.
The design is nothing magnificent but it is not bad either. It is essentially a circular body in the middle to which the propeller guards are attached to, directly. The motors and propellers are attached to this main circular body via a thinner plastic.
The U818A is a very flyable drone. Like the DBPOWER, you can control it via the app in the phone that is placed on the transmitter or the transmitter itself, directly.
Even though the FPV may lag and not exactly be great for direct FPV flying, it may be useful for positioning the drone at certain positions to get a nice live view from that location.
Like most others in the best drones under 200 list, it comes with a headless mode, which ignores the direction of the nose and considers the ‘front’ part of the quad as whatever direction the transmitter is facing. RTH (Return to home) function is included too, which is just plain awesome for the price!
The camera, although not spectacular, is decent enough for the price. You can take some nice video and pictures with it but again, don’t expect it to be DJI level. The live video feed may also not be that marvelous either, but it does the job. Overall, we reckon this quad definitely makes the list for the best drones under 200.
Possibly one of the most stable flyers out there in wind due to it size. This one definitely deserves to be in the list of our best drones under 200
The Potensic F183DH is one of the bigger drones (though certainly not the biggest) in the market, in this price segment. The design is pretty standard but it stands out nevertheless, especially due to the LED lights placement all over it which gives it a cool look while they are turned on.
The prop guards, camera and landing gear can all be removed even though it is not recommended, giving it additional flight time. Overall, it is a decently built drone that can take some beating but we recommend not to take it too far (goes for most drones in this price range).
The controller also comes with a built-in LCD screen that runs on 5.8Ghz (not WiFi, unlike many of the drones out there), giving it an edge when it comes to FPV experience. The controller design is also pretty standard, but can be used without any issues by people with both large and small hands.
Being a larger drone, the Potensic F183DH has a decent thrust power (most probably the best in this list of drones under 200). It can take on medium winds well, especially if you have it on maximum rate (100%) settings on it. And if you have max rate settings on, this quad flies extremely fast and snappy.
The size of the drone isn’t the most conducive for indoor flight. If you are looking for a drone that can perform some indoor action, look at something like the Focus FPV drone or the U2W8 drone.
Overall, the drone comes with every other setting you’ll need for flight and control especially if you are a beginner looking for some easy flight. This includes headless mode (orientation of the drone will be in relation to you), altitude hold and return home.
The barometer of this drone is excellent in comparison to other drones out there. It can hold it’s altitude pretty well even if you pitch it a bit more than you normally would.
The Potensic F183DH drone comes with a 720p camera and an FPV screen built-in on the controller (5.8 Ghz, making it less laggy than many WiFi FPV drones out there). Most drones in this price range do not come with a built-in screen on the controller. The camera position is fixed and tilted slightly downward.
Overall, the it can take some OK pictures and video but don’t expect anything jaw dropping and/or anything even near HD level quality. However, it is the case with any other drone in its price range as of now.
Good durability, VR compatibility, Sleek design and excellent flight characteristics, definitely worth being under our list of best drones under 200 USD.
The U45 Blue Jay is a lightweight, hollow body quadcopter with a pretty solid, durable build. The design pretty much looks like the Syma X-8G that we have listed down below. We think that the black and blue color combination is excellent and this small factor actually makes it look better than many similarly designed drones in the same price range.
The controller looks like any other controller that you get in this price range, but what we liked about the one you get with the U45 Blue Jay is that the different “modes” and settings are marked.
Another thing we liked about the U45 is that like the DBPOWER predator, the battery can be replaced quickly, without having to worry about using a screw driver. Perfect if you want to purchase a couple of extra batteries to boost flight times!
The U45 blue jay is a perfect example of small little design considerations that make a huge impact overall.
The U45 blue Jay is a pretty smooth flyer and can handle up to moderate wind conditions pretty well. It can be controlled via the controller or via an app that can be downloaded onto your Android or iOS phone.
The drone comes with altitude hold, one touch take off and landing, headless mode and custom route mode (fly the craft unassisted by tracing the path on the mobile map). Overall, very good flight and control system for the price.
The camera quality is like most other drones in this price range. Expect to take some OK pictures and video, but nothing magnificent or jaw dropping.
Small, agile flyer – great for both indoors and outdoors. Great design, VR compatibility. If the Blue Jay makes the list of best drones under 200, this one does too!
Don’t be fooled by the picture! The U28W drone is a rather small craft that can pretty much fit on your palm. This is a great bonus because it means you can fly it indoors with minimal obstruction if you take the necessary precautions.
The camera is placed in the front of the drone, giving it a rather unique look in comparison to most others.
The flight characteristics of this drone is simply amazing. It has got to be the #1 in this list in that aspect. It is quick, snappy and agile. Like the U45 blue Jay, the U28W can also handle moderate wind conditions pretty well. However, due to it being smaller in size, expect less stability in winds.
Other than that, it offers one touch take off and landing, coustom route mode, headless mode and altitude hold functions.
Again, nothing magnificent here. Decent for it’s price but nothing magnificent. You can take some OK still pictures and video with this drone. The camera angle is pretty good and better than the other drones listed here, though.
Comes with a 4'' LCD screen
The U28-1 by UDI does seem like a copy-cat of the Parrot Bebop 2. Even the controller and screen attached to it might remind you of the SkyController that comes with the Bebop2. However, it doesn't take away from the fact that it is one of the most uniquely designed drone in the price range. It looks good, period.
The build quality is sturdy and can take a beating too. Just like any other quads here, don't use it too rashly. Especially since the camera is placed at the front, it is recommended that you watch ought for nose-in crashes because it can damage the camera pretty easily!
The U28-1 is pretty decent at flying indoors as well as outdoors in moderately windy conditions. It can do some basic aerobatics but that's something almost all quads in this price range can pull off. It comes with a 4'' screen for FPV, but then again, expect it to lag. Note that it doesn't come with an RTH feature!
Pretty much the same as DBPower UDI U842. It can take some decent pictures and video but nothing absolutely magnificent or stunning.
Best camera for photography and videography in the price range, making it one of the best drones under 200 with camera.
No FPV and RTH.
The Syma X8G is built like a DJI phantom model. Essentially, it is like the Phantom’s younger, cuter (yet less capable) cousin. Although the build quality does not even come close to the DJI Phantom, the body and propellers are pretty sturdy and durable . This craft can definitely hold its own during crashes and last long even with moderately rough usage.
Overall, it is very well designed. The color usually comes in silver, with black propellers and propeller guards. The craft doesn’t look bad at all - definitely worthy of making the list for the best drones under 200.
The Syma X8G does not have an FPV so the only way to fly it is to keep it in sight. This might not a big downside, considering that the drones that DO have FPV in this price range cannot be piloted in the FPV mode either, due to mediocre camera and lag.
Overall this has craft is very stable even in windy conditions and boasts headless mode, which will come handy for beginners. It does not have RTH either, so heads up on that!
The video quality is the best you can get in this price range as of now so if you are okay with trading features like FPV and RTH for the increase in video quality, you should go ahead and get this model.
Also, expect to be disappointed with the flight times and long charge times. We recommend you buy an additional battery to go along with it.
Decide what you want – durability/features like FPV and RTH vs excellent camera. If it is the former, pick the UDI or the DB Power Predator. If you want a decent camera, pick the Syma model. Be warned though - you cannot expect these to perform as well as something like the DJI’s phantom. In this price range, you are still working with semi-toy grade quadcopters.
That's all folks! We hope you loved this buying guide for the best drones under 200. Let us know what you think down in the comments below 🙂