The budget end of the drone market is heating up. A great thing for us customers as more features are being packed into each unit, with easy to use controls. One such unit is the DROCON Ninja foldable drone. Loads of features aimed at the beginner, obviously foldable, and at a reasonable price.
The drone features a front-facing camera for capturing footage. All the things here line up to be a good choice for the beginner drone pilot, so let’s see what’s in the package.
The DROCON Ninja comes in a nice foldable design, with a choice of some funky colors. Unfold the drone, add in the propeller protector guards, and you’re good to go. The whole unit is built from polyamide plastic which should be able to withstand a few bumps and knocks from initial flights.
The drone is quite small being only 4.3 x 4.3 inches and weighing just 14.4 ounces. Owning a drone this small does have its pros and cons. It’s small enough to be easily carried around and flown at a moments notice, but it needs ideal weather conditions, i.e. no strong winds.
As for flight features, it’s aimed at the beginner so everything is very straightforward to get initial liftoff. Most of these features are now commonplace in the drone world, but always worth mentioning.
- One key takeoff and landing
- Six-axis gyro stabilization system
- Altitude hold functions
- Gravity Sensor Mode
- Headless Mode
- Automatic flight features
Gravity Sensor Mode enables you to move the drone as you would move the smartphone, making flying much easier. Headless Mode orients the drone to the controller. Lots of options mean lots of control.
No matter how fast the drone can fly at top speed, beginners always need to take it steady. In this way, three speed levels are provided, with the slowest for the initial learner. There are also a few more automatic features, such as 3D flips and rolls and an automatic way for the drone to land when the batteries run low.
Affordable camera drones can’t be expected to capture the highest quality images in the world, but the camera is adequate for this price point. If you can shoot well composed footage with the DROCON Ninja, you should be safe with a more expensive unit.
The camera featured here captures FPV (first-person view) HD footage at 720p/30fps. A boon for the beginner to see exactly what the drone sees. As for accessing the first person view video, a smartphone has to be attached to the controller via an app. An easy and painless setup.
Still images are captured at 2MP, which isn’t great, but at least the video is reasonable enough quality and the camera can be adjusted by 90 degrees. The camera itself has a 120-degree angle of view, with decent image stabilization for smooth footage.
The controller itself is quite simple and straightforward with just enough features to not overwhelm the beginner. Trim buttons for fine-tuning the controls, a large power button, and access to the automated features are all very easy to use. The smartphone app can also be used to control everything on the drone.
As for flight time, the batteries provide five to seven minutes of flight with around 60 minutes of charge time. This is roughly the standard for this price point of drone and it’s advisable to buy a few extra batteries for the most enjoyment. The drone has an 80m range which is adequate for a unit this size.
The DROCON Ninja in Use
First of all, this drone is extremely fun to fly. The automatic features get you up and flying very quickly and offer lots of initial confidence. At first, the diminutive size seems like a disadvantage, but as long as you don’t go out in very strong winds, you should be fine.
As for the camera footage, it’s stable and good enough quality for short, candid video clips. The still images are too low quality to be justified, but at least there is an included camera.
Once you get the hang of the automatic controls and how the drone reacts, there are plenty of features for moving into more advanced flight. More than you would initially expect from something at this price.
It can also take a good few bumps, at least on grass, helped a lot by the propeller guards. In other words, for the rank beginner or those who want a cost-effective drone for practicing video compositions, the DROCON Ninja definitely has a lot of ability.
How Does It Compare?
At this end of the price spectrum, we are lucky as there are quite a few drones on the market with similar features at roughly the same cost.
The Amcrest A4-W Skyview is a similar type of drone, a bit larger than the DROCON, with the same types of automatic flight features. I’d say the camera is better in this unit, but it doesn’t fold down. It has a 90 minute charge time and includes the same sort of propeller guards to keep everything intact.
A VR headset can be used with the Amcrest A4-W, but this is typically used for more advanced flyers. Both drone units are very capable and great for the beginner to intermediate pilot.
The Amcrest A4-W, being that little bit bigger, can cope with slightly windier conditions. Then again, if you don’t mind parting with about $30 more, you could buy a unit with far more flight time and slightly better facilities all-round.
|DROCON Ninja||Amcrest A4-W Skyview|
|Flight Time||5-7 mins.||7 mins.|
|Weight||14.4 ounces||8 ounces|
The DROCON Ninja drone is perfect for anybody new to the drone experience and wants to perfect their flying techniques. Automatic features and a short learning curve add to the enjoyment, providing many benefits to the beginner and intermediate pilot.
The build quality is great, it’s reliable and easily packed away. In conclusion, you can’t really go wrong with the DROCON Ninja for the price and included functionality.