Which drone to buy in 2021?

Have you ever wanted to fly a drone? Whether for beginners or experts, here is our comparison of the best drones in 2021 to find out which one to choose.

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Photo credit: Romain Heuillard for Frandroid

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Like the action cameras, the drone market came in after a few years overflew. Despite some attempts by Parrot or Xiaomi, it is DJI that has established itself as the reference of the mainstream drone. And it is clear that the Chinese reigns as an enlightened despot over the category. Not only is the software and hardware design of its products impeccable, but the after-service tracking is to small onions and easy access to spare parts.

Because yes, buying a drone is also taking the risk of damaging it more or less dramatically. DJI offers a guarantee annual DJI Care Refresh offering up to two replacements per year. Its price is relatively small (49 euros per year for a Mini 2) and we strongly recommend that you subscribe to it.

Be careful: since January 1, 2021, the European flight rules have changed. We detail this in the FAQ at the bottom of the article.

A short overview of the best drones of the moment, with enough to satisfy both beginners and enlightened enthusiasts.

DJI Mavic Air 2S: our recommendation

After a very successful Mavic Air 2, we wondered what more DJI could add to its flagship drone. The manufacturer’s answer: a better sensor. The format of the drone itself remains almost identical to the Air 2, so we stay on a folding model light enough to not require a particular permit.

The DJI Air 2S drone//Source: DJI

However, we win a new controller. Bigger and more comfortable than the previous one, it mainly adopts the 3.0 version of OcuSync transmission technology, which pushes the range to 8 km and makes the video stream much stronger. If the mechanics do not change, one loses slightly in autonomy and we gain in passing several modes of automatic piloting that make it easy to perform complex maneuvers.

The last big change is to be found on the video module now built around a 1-inch sensor formerly reserved for the Mavic 2 Pro. The result is a greatly improved overall quality on every point, both in video and in photo. Some regret may be the switch to a fixed aperture at F/2.8 where the previous model was adjustable.

The camera of the DJI Air 2S//Source: DJI

DIJI makes here so a almost without fail and provides a very versatile drone whose video quality is now enough for many professionals. To the point of spreading a nasty blow of old man at the Mavic 2 that clearly no longer has the ascendant in terms of images.

For more information, you can check out our Mavic Air 2S test. Why choose the Mavic Air 2?

  • This is the most versatile drone
  • Exceptional 1″ sensor
  • Obstacle sensors
  • (less than 800 grams, no need for training)

The Mavic Air 2 is available at the recommended price of 849 euros. Find the DJI MaVic Air 2S for 999€ at DJI DJI Mavic 2: the top of the range

At the end of August 2018, DJI introduced its new range of Mavic 2 drones. Regarding the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom , it is equipped with a camera with an optical zoom. It is thus possible to pass from a focal length of 24 mm at a zoom x2 to 48 mm. This new drone also features a 1/2.3 inch sensor and can capture 12-megapixel shots and allows shooting in 4K at 100 Mbps with the H.265 codec.

For the DJI Mavic 2 Pro model, it incorporates a one-inch sensor to capture 20-megapixel shots. It does not offer zoom, but the camera, designed in partnership with Hasselblad, allows you to adjust the focal aperture between f/2.8 and f/11. It also allows you to capture 4K videos with a 10-bit color profile.

Left the Mavic 2 Zoom, on the right the Mavic 2 Pro

The new DJI Mavic 2 offers four driving modes: free, circle, race lock and waypoint. It can be up to a speed of 72 kilometers per hour and integrates eight sensors to analyze the surrounding area and avoid obstacles. On the range side, DJI promises up to 31 minutes of uninterrupted flight. Finally, for photo and video management, the drone offers 8GB internal storage expandable via microSD up to 128GB.

Why are Mavic 2 Pro or Zoom recommended?

  • For its optical zoom (Zoom) or adjustable focal aperture (Pro)
  • For its piloting modes
  • For its autonomy

The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is generally offered at over €1,000 while the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is approximately 1,500 euros. Find the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom on Amazon Find the DJI Mavic 2 Pro on Amazon DJI Mavic Mini 2: the good value for money

One year battery after crashing what was still competing in affordable DJI drones puts a layer of it back with the Mavic Mini 2. Fundamentals remain the same, namely a drone that is simple to use and above all weighing less than 250 grams. Therefore, it does not require online training or registration. These weight constraints make the format not evolving.

Among the changes is the expected adoption of the USB-C, but also a little more powerful engines, which will allow it to hold more firmly in the face of the wind. The transmission system switches to the Ocusync 2.0 used by high-end models. The theoretical range thus goes to 10 km. Above all, we get a much more comfortable remote control. If the sensor itself does not change, we now have the option to record in 4K on the memory card and live on the phone in Full HD.

The Mini 2 is therefore progressing on all levels and is getting closer and closer to its big brothers. The price increases in parallel by 60 euros for the base drone and 100 euros for the Pack “Fly More” that we warmly recommend. An increase justified in our view given the progress made. For a much more comprehensive overview, head to our test of the DJI Mavic Mini 2.

Why choose the DJI Mavic Mini 2?

  • Its excellent price-quality ratio
  • A satisfactory 4K camera
  • Its small size and its featherweight

Find the DJI Mavic Mini 2 for 459€ at Amazon Find the DJI Mavic Mini 2 Fly More Combo for 599€ at Darty DJI FPV: for maximum immersion

The DJI FPV is, as its name suggests, a model designed for first-person navigation. We will therefore wear a virtual reality headset (supplied) to drive, which ensures an unparalleled immersion.

The DJI Takeoff FPV//Source: Thomas Ninet for Android

Unlike most drones of this type, the FPV is endowed with all the refinements that made the brand’s success. It is therefore entitled to an integrated GPS, automatic obstacle avoidance and automatic return to the owner. The transmission technology is particularly impressive since the range is 10 km! It will reach a top speed of 100 km/h and the range is 20 minutes.

But where this model really shines is with its great ease of use and a learning curve facilitated by the presence of many comfort systems such as GPS. DJI even offers a smartphone simulator to train you before you start in person.

The Chinese manufacturer comes to upset the small world of FPV drones with an impressive first drone despite some worries. We recommend reading our DJI test FPV for a much deeper exploration of the machine.

Why opt for the DJI FPV?

  • Immersion
  • The scope
  • All practical features of the brand

Find the DJI FPC Combo for €1519 at Amazon DJI Ryze Tello: a drone to get started

The DJI Ryze Tello is a drone specially dedicated to beginners and young audiences. Indeed, the drone is light (80 grams), it fits in the hand (9.80 x 9.25 x 4.10 cm) and it offers an educational side, it can be programmed with Scratch, a coding system accessible to children.

It has a camera of 5 megapixels, capable of filming in 720p 30 FPS, a battery life of 13 minutes, a maximum speed of 8 meters per second and a range of up to 100 meters. It incorporates a number of features such as take-off and automatic landing and running Figures like flips.

Why choose the DJI Ryze Tello?

  • Take videos with beautiful image quality
  • Flight modes: control with gestures or tracking a target
  • Easy Grip

It is available for about 100 euros. Find the DJI Ryze Tello on Amazon Before buying a drone

What are the prerequisites for flying my drone?

If your drone weighs less than 800 grams, you do not have to take an online test to exercise their passion. Above, drones will have to be registered on the AlphaTango platform and online training will have to be done to fly legally. It is available free of charge on the platform that issues a certificate valid for 5 years to always possess on itself, under penalty of being sanctioned. Know that some drones quite mainstream are affected like the Mavic 2 Pro.

What are the rules to fly his drone?

Since January 1, 2021, a new European regulation governing drones came into force. In addition to a minimum age for the pilot of 14 years, the flight ceiling increases from 150 to 120. The rest of the rules vary depending on the weight of the gear.

  • Less than 250 g, the drone will have to be recorded on Alphatango.
  • 250-900 g, the drone must be recorded and the pilot must complete the training. In addition, the device will need to have a geovigilance system, not exceed 85 dB and have a transponder for authorities to identify the owner remotely.
  • 900 g to 4 kg, at the same constraints as for the lower category, but training will be more complete (which remains to be defined by the DGAC).

Finally, these new instructions are retroactive. The drones so that existing ones will need to be updated so as not to end out of the law. DJI has already committed to updating its existing fleet.

What are the other drone flying prohibitions?

There are a dozen prohibitions or good practices summarized in a guide to good use. Using your drone is generally common sense: a ban on flying over people, keeping safe distances and respecting the privacy of the neighborhood. It is also forbidden to fly at night, even if the drone has light devices. It is also necessary to keep the camera at all times. First Person Piloting (FPV) is possible under certain circumstances, including the presence of a “co-pilot”.

Now that you are comfortable with the legislation in place, you will be able to choose a drone according to your needs and budget. If this is your first drone, do not hesitate not to try a model for beginners to understand the basics of piloting and then invest in a more efficient drone.