5 great drones that are surprisingly affordable

These are the drones you’re looking for

Drones are these nice-to-have devices that cost way too much money, despite the fact that they're slowly going mainstream and even Martha Stewart loves them.

But drones don’t seem to be a wise investment for most people, given the price tag. When it comes to higher-range brands like DJI, you get what you pay for. But can you afford to pay that much? 

Luckily, there are many lower-priced options on the market. Drones let users take some breathtaking photographs, so you naturally want to see if they live up to the hype. Here are some of the most affordable options to help you get started.

Cheerson CX–10WD-TX

First released in 2014, this minidrone is only 4.5cm by 4.5cm by 2.2cm. It’s so small, it sounds like a swarm of mosquitos when it’s in flight. Its controller uses AAA batteries and the drone itself supports USB charging. A full charge will let you fly for 5 minutes. Control of the drone is 4 channel, meaning you can move up or down, forward or backwards, turn left or right, and spin. There is a flip mode that allows you to do single flips and reviewers have reported that they feel good and tight.

The Cheerson CX–10WD-TX improves on previous versions of this model with the introduction of a camera and altitude hold. Cheerson amazingly found room for a 0.3MP camera that also lets you take photos or record video (pushed straight to your smartphone). The altitude hold will stop you from having to fiddle with the throttle.

The price (S$53 on Lazada) and the size makes it ideal for a kid’s first drone. It comes in 4 colours: red, pink, blue and green.

Source: Ali Express 

JXD 512V

This drone has a camera for taking pictures and recording video. But with only 0.3MP, we wouldn’t do anything too fancy with it. It’s a good candidate for your first drone, though.

The JXD 512V is small, light and cheap. The drone itself weighs only 20 grams, and takes up less space than a sandwich. The drone has two features that beginners might be interested in. One, “headless mode” helps the person controlling it to avoid orientation problems. Two, one-key return gets the drone to automatically return to the controller at the push of a single button.

Buy one from Shopee for S$38. Comes in blue or orange.


Syma X5C–1

One of the top-selling drones in Malaysia, the SYMA X5C–1 is an upgraded version of the X5C. While reviewers reported stability issues with the previous version, those issues seem to have been fixed with the X5C–1.

The model comes with a 2MP camera, and the photos or video can be pushed to your smartphone or they can be stored on a microSD card.

The 4-channel controller lets you move up or down, forward or back, left or right, and do sick flips. Syma says the battery allows for “about 7 minutes” of flight time on a full charge (for the sake of comparison, the battery in the DJI Phantom 3 Standard allows for 25 minutes of flight time). Comes in only one colour: white.

Lazada reports that the Syma X5C–1 is the drone with the highest customer satisfaction. Alternatively, first-time buyers can also try the Syma X5HW.

Buy the Syma X5C–1 from Lazada.