CHEAPEST 4K DRONES
If you are looking for a 4K camera drone then you have probably already realised that the cost jumps up from the lower priced drones. We take a look at the best options for 4k aerial filming without compromising on quality elsewhere.
The Cheapest 4K Drones – Reviewed
As drone technology progresses so do our expectations. Perhaps you have experienced a lower resolution camera on your drone and are now ready for the plunge in to 4K super high definition video footage and super crisp photography – or perhaps you just want to future proof your drone purchase by going straight in for 4K.
Either way, our comprehensive list showing the best and the cheapest 4K drones will give you an idea of what you are getting for your money when you buy a 4K camera drone.
4K Drones Under £250-£500
At this price point there are very few decent options when it comes to 4K drones. However, that doesn’t mean there are no options and if you can part with just over £200 then the chances are you will be able to dip your toes in to crystal clear 4K waters.
Hubsan Zino – Best 4K Drone Under £500
Hubsan have made quite a name for themselves at the higher end of the budget drone market and with the release of the Zino it could well go on to really challenge the likes of the DJI Mavic series. High end specs that include 30FPS 4K video and battery life of over 20 minutes are just two reasons why the Zino will attract plenty of new drone users who want 4K video without having to spend a small fortune. The low price point (around £330-£370) in the UK means that the Zino has already established itself as one of the best budget 4K drones.
There is no denying that the Zino takes a lot of inspiration from the Mavic Pro and it has even been dubbed ‘the Mavic Pro Killer’ thanks to it having arguably superior video on just its basic settings and of course costing less than half the price of the DJI drone. There are a few omissions from the Hubsan that you should take note of if you are considering buying it so lets get on to those first. The Zino runs over Wi-Fi which could lead to greater lags than the Mavic (although in testing we didn’t feel there was any noticeable lag). The Zino also has no obstacle avoidance sensors like the Mavic has, this means you will have to be extra careful when flying but on the plus side it does mean you can get closer to trees and buildings than the sometimes limiting DJI drones. Finally, the distance between controller and drone is much less on the Zino – with a range of around 1.5KM compared to over 4KM with the Mavic. In reality, you wouldn’t want to fly the Zino much further away anyway.
The real positive when it comes to the Zino is the quality of 4K video – it really does give the Mavic Pro a run for its money and we could argue that in lower light situations it is actually superior. It has a 3 axis mechanical gimbal which allows you to capture some stunningly smooth visuals and the GPS is extremely accurate. Battery life is excellent also at around 23 minutes and the drone is completely foldable which makes it easy to transport. It comes with a controller that again is foldable and very similar to the Mavic controllers and we found the software easy to use.
All in all, if you are looking for a 4K drone at under £500 the Hubsan Zino is by far the top pick.
Yuneec Breeze 4K – Cheapest 4K Drone
The Yuneec Breeze 4K drone is not new to the market but it has recently lowered its prices to bring it almost in to the entry level category. Whilst it is not entry level by any means (packing a hefty 13MP photo and 4K UHD video camera) it is not the easiest to get started with. A host of angry consumers have complained that the drone is dogged by Wi-Fi connection issues and whilst we didn’t have any issues it is hard to ignore the masses that have raised concerns.
We connected the Breeze to an iPhone in less than a minute and was able to get up in the air almost immediately. One thing to note is that the Breeze does not ship with a controller and you do need to use a smartphone to control it. Having said that, the Yuneec app is actually pretty intuitive and has some handy features including an orbit mode, follow me and selfie mode.
The camera can also be tilted manually from the app and footage is beamed direct to your smartphone. There is no SD card for the Yuneec as it has in built storage but can also be downloaded directly to your phone via Wi-Fi – this makes sharing footage (literally on the fly) an absolute breeze – excuse the puns.
The Yuneec cannot really be compared to something like the Mavic Air as it is such a cheaper alternative but you will notice how small it is upon unboxing it – weighing just 385g and measuring less than 20cm in width and length it really is super portable. Battery life is around 12 minutes but extras can be purchased if required.
The Breeze does rely on electronic image stabilisation which is a shame as if it had a true gimbal it would be a must buy at this price. It does fair pretty well despite this obvious omission and we would recommend it for anyone seeking a first foray in to 4K aerial video but is on a shoestring budget.
ZEROTECH Dobby Pocket Selfie Drone – Best Portable 4K Drone
The Zerotech Dobby Selfie drone is by far and away the best portable 4K drone we have come across. It does have its flaws but to get a 4K drone for under £250 is not easy – and Zerotech have packed plenty in to this pint sized UAV.
First things first, lets clear up the 4K issue. Technically speaking, the video footage is 1080p but if you are using this drone for photographs then you are going to get 4K quality.
Like most drones at this price point in this category, there is no controller to speak of so you are left to use the smartphone app to control your quadcopter – but again, the software is very well designed and other than a few initial connection issues we found the drone very easy to use. There are voice commands for those who wish to use them, although we stuck to the standard controls. There are motion controls too although these are not the easiest to use.
The battery life if a disappointing 6 minutes but what you lose in juice you certainly save in pocket space. There is a popular saying amongst photographers that the best camera is the one you have with you – well the Dobby is certainly easy to carry around and if you find yourself needing a quick aerial shot you can be up in the air in seconds to take that shot. Of course, extra batteries are available to purchase so you can extend the battery life if needed.
When it comes to the camera there are a range of options including follow me and facial tracking for those perfect selfies. There is not much in the way of collision avoidance sensors so you will need to ensure your filming location is obstacle free, but the drone does have a great take off/landing system and is well protected with its propeller guards.
The camera is movable but you have to do this manually – still it allows you to get some great shots and is one of the best cheap 4K drones.
FAITHPRO ZEROTECH Hesper Foldable Drone – Second Best Budget 4K Drone
Another offering from Zerotech and this time it is the cooly named Hesper that gets a run out. Coming in at the top of this price bracket it has plenty to prove if it is to compete with our lower priced offerings and it does so with ease.
Featuring a SnapDragon processor under the hood, this foldable drone comes complete with a foldable controller and although it is not as portable as our first two UAV’s, it features some tech not seen in those. If you do need the Hesper to be more portable then you can control it with just a smartphone and the custom built Zerotech Hesper app.
There is no getting away from the design of the Hesper looking very much like that of a DJI Mavic and whilst this cheaper alternative doesn’t pack quite as much tech under the hood, it can certainly hold its own. The biggest disappointment with the Hesper is that it only sports a 1 axis gimbal – this does mean that under testing conditions the Hesper can’t compete in terms of stability with any of the Mavic series but in calm conditions it does perform well.
The camera is a Sony IMX and is capable of 13MP stills at a 4208 x 3120 resolution and video at 1920 x 1080. It also has electronic image stabilisation as standard.
The battery life is one area where the Hesper really excels and you can typically expect to get 16-18 minutes of usage out of a single charge.
The software of the app combined with hardware of the drone itself allow for some handy features and the follow me and facial tracking works excellently. One touch sharing of video and photos allows you to share your snaps quickly and with 16GB of internal storage there is plenty of space for those film clips.
If you are looking for a 4K drone with plenty of features and a good battery life for less than £500 then the Hesper (we love the name) could well be for you.
4K Drones Under £1000
DJI Mavic Air – Best Drone in Class
When it comes to 4K drones there are not many who do it better than DJI. If you are looking for the best sub-£1000 4K quadcopter then the 2018 launched Mavic Air has to be a top contender. At less than £750 for the drone itself or under £1000 with the ‘Fly More Combo’, the Mavic Air was hotly awaited before its launch earlier this year.
There was little to disappoint with it sporting a top 4K camera and 3 axis gimbal, the video footage that has been produced by the professionals and amateurs alike has already demonstrated the outstanding quality of this hardware. The software the complements it is also pretty impressive with HDR algorithms that create perfect exposures dependant on the lighting conditions. In short, if you are looking for top quality semi-automated video or photography then the Mavic Air should be high up on your list.
The camera takes 12MP stills (although there is more to this than just megapixels) and it hosts an f/2.8 lens that is equivalent to 24mm focal length allowing for super high definition stills to be captured.
Both the drone and the controller are foldable and whilst we wouldn’t label it as the most portable drone on this list it is a pretty close second or third. The Mavic Air excels when it comes to its shot types and subject tracking features with Active Track and Smart Capture being our favourites – the latter allowing for gesture controlled photographs and videos.
When it comes to battery life, the Mavic Air is hard to beat – with an impressively long 21 minutes of flight time you can probably get away with a single battery – but grab the Fly More Combo for 2 extra batteries and the charging hub (along with a few other extras).
If you like the idea of being able to customise your drone then this is available in three trims, white, red or black – sporty red being our favourite.
If you want top quality 4K footage without spending a lot of money then the Mavic Air is for you.
Best 4K Drones Over £1000
DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 – Best for Image Quality
If you have around £1500 to spend then you have probably skipped straight to this section. Whilst the Mavic Air is mightily impressive at its price point, the newly launched Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 is in a class of its own. A whopping 30 minutes of flying time is just the tip of the iceberg, but is a serious game changer for those longer and more adventurous flights.
The major difference here is the camera – and unless you are going in to the Inspire 2 commercial drone territory then you are not going to get much better than this. The improved Pro V2.0 gets a 1 inch 20MP Exmoor R CMOS sensor which is capable of stunning 60FPS 4K video unlike anything else at this price range. The addition of a mechanical shutter (the first DJI drone to feature this) means that capturing images at high speed are so much cleaner, crisper and easier.
If you opt for the 1080p controller version then you are getting arguably the best drone controller on the market and will still enjoy 7km flight range.
With no less than 5 collision avoidance sensors you will be hard pushed to break or crash this drone and the 6 camera navigation system will help assure you that your number one gadget is not going to be money wasted.
To call the Pro V2.0 a gadget is actually an insult as you can take industry standard video and photography with it and if you sync it with the DJI Goggles you are in for the treat of your life.
They don’t come any better than this at the £1500 mark and if you want something that won’t be outdated for a couple of years at least then this is the drone for you.