Most of the population is aware of the traditional technology in iPhones, all-in-one media boxes, and video game systems. But what many remain naive about is the questionable, but fascinating, achievement of the 21st century: Drones!

WLV262Quadcopter4Channel6Axis2

WL V262 Quadcopter 4 Channel 6 Axis

This first drone, or quadcopter, which seems to be the name of choice in the consumer drone industry, is perfect for someone who wants to see what all the hype is about, but doesn’t actually want to drop a big wad of cash just for curiosity’s sake. Amazon has this model on sale right now for $109.99, which is still real money. But this model also comes with two batteries for double the flight time, and is made out of durable, but forgiving, plastics. It has a remote control radius of 100-150 meters, so you can get a good deal of adventure out of this thing for a little over a hundred bucks.

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Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Quadricopter

This quadcopter is the first on this list that has a camera on it, so this would be the one someone who’s wanting to get into the recording side of using these things could start with. This is a discontinued model, but Amazon still has some in stock, and there are newer models around the Internet, so it’s still relatively easy to find. The camera that comes onboard the quadcopter records in 720p, which isn’t the highest resolution, but it’s more than enough to capture videos of local things. Also, apparently this one is controlled by an iPhone, iPad or Android app, and that stuff never seems to work well enough to bother with. And it’s $259.99 (once again, on Amazon.) This one seems like a bit of a risk.

DJIPhantomGoPro

DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter for GoPro

This is the first of these things that seems like something you’d actually use to canvas a location. It doesn’t come with a GoPro, but it has a pre made slot for it on the bottom of its chassis, so it was definitely made with the use of one in mind. It has a range of 300 meters too, so it’s not like this thing can only go around the block. It has its own remote, and the company boasts its ease of use, even including the start-up in the product’s specifications. Also, this one looks cool. All white never hurt anything, but at $479 it might sting.

DJIPhantomCamcorder

DJI Phantom 2 Vision Quadcopter with Integrated FPV Camcorder

This is another DJI product, and at $899 this model is only for serious hobbyists. It comes with a 14MP, 1080p recording camera on board, and has the same range as the previous product. It still looks sleek, but also looks more durable, which might simply come from a more rugged design. It also uses an app, not for actual flight control, but to stream the camera’s view to your iPhone while the phone is mounted on the remote control transmitter. All in all, even though it’s expensive, if you were actually going to use these things for any kind of real documentation of nature, or you just want to see something fly really high up in the air and beam what it sees back to you, this is what you want.