Some of the hottest gift items this holiday season are drones, those unmanned devices equipped with cameras and which seem to become more affordable as each year goes by. It was a mere five years ago that a reliable drone with a good camera would have set you back at least N$50 000. However, with mass production and increasing competition, drones are now available in the local market for as little as N$300 and it seems that new technology is making these items ever more attractive. Of course spending N$300 will get you exactly what you paid for as these lower level drones are the basic models that mostly don’t include a camera or any other special features.
“We have drones that start at a selling price of N$495 while the more advanced models can go for as much as N$28 000,” said Paul Joubert, Manager at Sam’s Hobbies and Toys. Joubert explained that the cheaper drones can fly for about 100 metres while the top of the range models can fly for up to five kilometres radius around the operator.
“Our least expensive model right now is N$1 800. But this includes flight planning, linking it to your phone, a hover function at height and radios of 50 metres,” said Lerma Groeneveldt from R&R Importers in Windhoek. He added that their top of the range drone, the Phantom, currently retails for N$68 000 but includes a high definition camera and an operating distance of three to five kilometres.
Experts have advised those wishing to buy a drone this festive season to consider a number of factors before finalising the buy. One of the most important factors to consider is flight time. The current industry standard drones come with a flight time of approximately 20 minutes, which is considered good. Depending on the size of the battery, drones have a wide range of flight times but 20 minutes is a good standard to go by.
Consumers should also consider the size and weight. Drones come in variable sizes and shapes, from nano drones to big drones, mini drones and portable drones.
Generally, most drones come equipped with a camera. However, some drones come with an option to attach a compatible camera of your choice like a GoPro. Also, experts advise that customers make sure to take note of all the features the drone offers, from way point function and GPS range to battery life and orbital function as these functions can completely change the experience when it comes to drones.