Modern day manufacturers have been caught up with the urge to come up with the trendy foldable drones. DJI Mavic and GoPro Karma are the two mighty beasts that weigh 900 pounds and are considered top of the line collapsible selfie drones.
It was the fall of 2016 when both DJI and GoPro decided to launch their individual versions of foldable selfie drones. GoPro took the lead by introducing their sport foldable machine which was essentially an action camera that could be carried along for outdoor excursions. DJI came to compete with GoPro in just a week as they transformed their phenomenal DJI Phantom 4 into a compact collapsible model. As of now, DJI Mavic has been the outright winner and GoPro Karma has come up as a hands down failure.
The Karma had to be called back by the developers just a few weeks after its launch since reports emerged of the drone losing power midflight and ending up getting crashed.
Fortunately for us all, the line of foldable drones is yet to see an end as several such drones have been released in the market. Now, you can get a foldable selfie drone for just $50 which is absolutely bewildering. Continue reading if you are interested in knowing more…
Foldable Selfie Drone
Let’s start of by discussing what distinguishes these drones from the rest of the pack. The best thing about these drones is that they are compact in size and very light in weight which enables the user to transport them with incredible ease by either stuffing them in a backpack or even putting them into one’s trouser pockets. This is attained by making the arms containing the rotors to fold inside the machine’s frame.
The other distinguishing feature is their nature of flight and mode of control. These drones can be controlled via an app installed in your smartphone or even with a dedicated radio controller. The use of smartphone or tablet to maneuver the drone ensures that even the novices who are not familiar with the art of flying can concentrate on taking selfies without having to ponder about the thrust and yaw rates.
In addition, these drones are integrated with intelligent flight features and are able to fly in pre-programmed flight templates. For instance, you can configure a drone to follow you or capture you from the front or sideways or even carryout flyby around you; while you are constantly on the move. The whole concept behind this all is to enable the use to program the device to follow him or her and then do whatever they want. Pretty cool, huh?
So, let’s not waste any more time and see the top foldable selfie drones.
1 – DJI Mavic
Ranked at the top is the mighty DJI Mavic which has been able to garner plenty of popularity among drone pilots and consumers all across the world. DJI have been on a quest to make their machines as user friendly as possible but what really makes this drone so special?
DJI Mavic is by no means the smallest drone on the planet. The world of drones is littered with mini and micro drones. Before the introduction of the DJI Mavic, the reduction is size of a gizmo meant that a compromise had to be made with regard to its features and camera quality.
The Mavic has been able to bring about a massive shift in this belief though. Despite its small size that is portable, the Mavic is equipped with top notch camera features, reliable battery and high quality smart flight features. It’s the same feeling as using a laptop and comparing it to a threadbare desktop PC.
DJI have integrated lots of intelligent features in this tiny beast and of course it boasts a foldable design. As a matter of fact, it is the first drone that can be flown without a dedicated radio controller.
In this mode of flight, the WiFi mode is triggered and the drone is connected to the user’s smartphone or tablet. This does tend to strip the pilot of the fine control that one can exercise via a dedicated controller, but it is a handy feature for a rookie who is not acquainted with how to fly a drone.
The third option that you get with this fabulous machine is that it lets you utilize a combination of your smartphone and controller. The Mavic’s controller comes with a specially designated holder for the smartphone. It is equipped with a wire to which the phone is connected whereby the user gets to view the real time video streaming being transmitted from the drone’s camera and has an access to advanced autonomous modes of flight. The radio controller on the other hand offers precise control to the user.
The external appearance of the DJI Mavic is extremely different from the other drones assembled by DJI but the underlying technology including the hardware and the software is inherently the same. Firstly, they come with downward facing sensors that enable the machine to stay stable and hover in the air even in gusty winds. This also enables the gizmo to hold its position indoors in the absence of a GPS signal.
The camera specifications and gimbal are pretty much similar to the ones found in DJI Phantom 4 except that they are in a miniaturized shape. The cameras able to capture stunning aerial videos at 4K UHD and marvelous still images at 12MP. However, the Mavic’s camera is not as wide angle as the Phantom 4’s.
The DJI Mavic also comes with sensors at its front end that enable it to detect hindrances in front of it and avoid them. In addition to the camera, the sensors are also used for gesture control. The user simply has to wave one’s arms at the drone and it will the lock the user along with his arms in the frame to capture the still image.
It is the first consumer drone produced by DJI and so the logic integrated in its camera is slightly different from its predecessors. All DJI cameras are equipped with autofocus that makes it easy for the pilot to focus on flying but with the Mavic, the user has to first lock the camera onto the subject as the Mavic has been engineered more as a selfie drone than a conventional one. So the user has to let the drone know who the celebrity is and then the machine will do its job.
In addition to having some benefits, the small size has its drawbacks as well. Firstly, owing to its tiny legs, the drone has very little clearance from the ground. It may not be an all-terrain 4×4 beast but the little ground clearance means that the aircraft’s rotors can get caught up in tall grass which is never an issue for the conventional DJI machines. Moreover, in contrast to the mighty Phantom 4, the Mavic may not be able to withstand the rigours of strong winds.
On the whole, however, DJI’s first consumer drone is a formidable one. Of course, while the conventional drones may turn out to be swifter, more rugged and equipped with a better camera in this price range, but considering the audience for which the Mavic has been designed, it seems to be a perfectly engineered contraption. As far as the price is concerned, it seems fine when taking into account its features but when one compares it to other selfie drones, it is probably placed at the higher end of the price spectrum with a price of $999.
So, it may not be for an average consumer but for a professional pilot who intends to purchase a low cost drone for to quality aerial cinematography rather than having to buy the more expensive DJI Phantom 4.
- Compact sized, portable and collapsible design
- Equipped with a top notch camera that is great for capturing videos and images
- Boasts all the exquisite features found in its predecessor the DJI Phantom 4
- Priced marginally at the higher end of spectrum considering its target audience
- It becomes harder to land on soft surfaces and legs due to minimal ground clearance
- Harder to fly in gusty conditions due to smaller frame and motors
2 – ZeroTech Dobby Selfie Drone
The ZeroTech Dobby Selfie Drone is the first drone to have been introduced in the market for sale purposes. A first glimpse of the Dobby Selfie drone makes you feel as if you were part of a sensational Sci-fi Hollywood flick with a gizmo having small legs and collapsible design. The drones seems like a pill when in folded shape and weighs less than half a pound. As a matter of fact, you may even stuff it in your pocket without any hassle. This certainly is not the smallest drone to have been developed but in contrast to the other micro drones out there, it is not a toy.
Considering its price, the Dobby Selfie drone is loaded with a wide array of state of the art features such as the HD camera that is capable of capturing stunning aerial images at 13MP and high quality videos at 4K UHD. The images and videos may not be of the same quality as those captured with the DJI Mavic but they are a lot better than the ones that are taken using your front facing smartphone cameras. Powered by a 2.3 GHz quad core Snapdragon 801 Chipset with 2GB RAM, the ZeroTech Dobby Selfie Drone is a way better option than many drones available.
Maneuvering the Dobby Selfie Drone is nothing but a piece of cake for even the newbies. An app can be installed on your smartphone or you can even control the gadget with the help of hand gestures. Launching the drone is such a sublime experience as it can be launched either with 3 taps or via your voice command. It will make you feel as though you are an alien gifted with incredible powers.
An interesting feature in this drone is that it prevents the pilot from flying it indoors for the initial few flights. Actually, initially the novice mode is locked and so is the GPS signal which prevents indoor flight adventures. After a flight of 20 minutes, the advanced indoor flight mode is kicked off which allows the gizmo to land on your palm or be maneuvered with voice commands.
The low price notwithstanding, the Dobby drone is equipped with an inbuilt GPS that lets you map a trajectory on your smartphone with the app and instructs the drone to follow that route while capturing your videos and images. The downward facing sensors let the gadget hold its place and hover while taking the requisite shot.
The drone offers a flight duration of 9 minutes which is pretty good considering the type of this drone. You can get your hands on an additional battery to get more flight duration.
The manufacturer has recently come up with over the air firmware updates that integrate advanced features in the Dobby drone that were not part of it initially at the time of its launch. It is loaded with face tracking and target tracking as well.
One of the drawbacks associated with the Dobby Selfie Drone is the absence of a gimbal and so the only control that a pilot gets to exercise over the camera is in the shape of four pre-configured positions which need to be set up pre-flight since the camera cannot be controlled. Moreover, there is no physical stabilization and the only kind of stabilization you get is the electronic image stabilization similar to the one we see in smartphone cameras.
The Dobby Selfie Drone also lacks a collision detection system. So, when in object tracking mode, the drone can crash into an obstacle so you need to take due caution in this regard.
The ZeroTech Dobby Selfie drone promises plenty of fun. Its frame is solid enough to sustain a few crashes. While the user manual is not in English, thankfully, the smartphone app is and the controls are intuitive. The advantage you get is in the form of the technical support and regular updates you get via the firmware updates. Not often do the Chinese drone manufacturers offer authentic customer support.
Overall this is a phenomenal drone to own.
- Compact sized and easily portable
- Intuitive controls alongside features designed to cater to the requirements of both rookies as well as seasoned pilots
- Reasonably priced with regard to the features and specifications
- Video footage is jerky due to the absence of gimbal
- No collision detection system
3 – Hover Camera Passport
The Hover Camera Passport is another crowd favorite Selfie Drone that boasts an incredibly unique design. The arms are collapsible while the entire frame can be folded in half similar to a passport.
Another commendable feature of this drone is that the rotors are encapsulated within the drone’s frame making it safe to fly the gizmo letting you grab the device mid air without hurting your fingers. This allows the drone to sustain crashes and a few bruises.
In addition, this drone does not come with a dedicated controller since it has been designed for primarily for people who have no prior knowledge of how to fly a drone. Similar to the Dobbie Selfie Drone, it can be maneuvered via an app installed in the user’s smartphone.
Now let’s discuss some technical stuff. The Hover Passport Drone is equipped with features similar to the ones found in the Dobbie Selfie Drone. They are both integrated with a 13MP camera that can capture 4K UHD video footages. Having said that, the camera in the Hover Passport Drone is dedicated to taking selfies and close up shots owing to its low control range of 60 feet. Both the drones are equipped with the Snapdragon chipset that enables them to carry out plenty of high level processing required for the high end features.
In contrast to the Dobbie Selfie Drone, however, the Hover Passport Camera drone is loaded with an obstacle avoidance system bases on inbuilt sonars which prevents the gizmo from crashing into the nearby hindrances. The downward facing camera takes 100 frames per second and enables the drone to hover precisely at the required spot even during indoor flight excursions in the absence of GPS signal.
The drone is loaded with a beginner level mon-axis gimbal along with an inbuilt flash which is probably a first for the drone.
The drone is also loaded with advanced modes of flight such as follow me, 360 degrees spin and orbit mode. When the follow me mode is triggered, the drones shows a yellow square over the person in view. Once double tapped, the yellow color morphs into green thereby showing that the drone has locked onto the target person and will follow him or her around. Fast runs and abrupt changes in movement does tend to make life complicated for the drone but it is good enough. In the orbit mode, the drone revolves around the target object while it is in motion.
- The compact design is safe to manage
- Highly user friendly
- Decent camera
- Low control range
- Low quality image stabilizer
4 – JJRC H37 Selfie Pocket Fold Drone Foldable
As has been discussed above, the Dobby Selfie Drone is a neat little piece of innovation. It is compact in size, easy to transport and has the ability to capture stunning selfies. However, the one thing that can be deemed a bit of a turn-off is the price factor. It comes for $400 and if one is looking for a tiny little toy that can capture selfies, the Dobby can be an expensive proposition. This is where the JJRC H37 Selfie Pocket Drone comes to our rescue.
The JJRC H37 Selfie Pocket Drone costa $50 and is a brilliant copy of the Dobby Selfie Drone. It is obvious that at such a low price, the drone is likely not to have the advanced features of the higher end drones. The JJRC H37 Selfie Pocket Drone or Elfie drone does not have an adjustable camera or a gimbal or even GPS. As a matter of fact, it uses brushed motors and so the drone manufacturers have been able to cut down on cost.
In contrast to the Dobby Selfie drone, the JJRC H37 Selfie Pocket Drone has a camera that does not capture videos at 4K UHD and is only restricted to a resolution of 0.3MP.
Does that mean that it is such a poor quality drone?
Not really to be candid!
All the drawbacks associated with the drone, notwithstanding, the drone does have plenty of attractive features. It can be maneuvered with the help of a smartphone or tablet and boasts the headless mode which is a great mode to have given that the JJRC H37 Selfie Pocket Drone has been designed for the beginner level drone pilots. Like all other selfie drones, it can hover in the air to capture incredible selfies.
It is also equipped with the more sophisticated G-sensor mode which is essentially the Follow Me mode that utilizes simpler technology to follow the object around rather than using facial and image recognition features employed in the higher end selfie drones.
The JJRC H37 Selfie Pocket Drone is controlled via a smartphone over WiFi. Its flight duration is round about 10 minutes which is a conventional feature for selfie drones and gets recharged completely in 45 minutes or so.
On the whole, the JJRC H37 Selfie Pocket Drone is a low cost drone that offers quite a lot to the users.
- Low cost, light weight, portable and collapsible
- User friendly. The G-sensor mode along with headless mode is fun to fly
- Offer tilting camera features while the camera be directed to the target object using the headless mode to capture selfies
- The JJRC H37 Selfie Pocket Drone comes with very few instructions and boasts intuitive controls
- Low resolution camera
- The drone does not come with a SD card slot and instead the video is recorded to the smartphone over WiFi which is marred by latency
- The official JJRC app is not really helpful with this drone. Some features such as the G sensor do not work with the app. However, WiFi UFO app is compatible with the app and can be downloaded from Google Play and iTunes Store
5 – 7 Hawk4K Foldable Drone
7 Senses have come up with this new drone which follows the same fundamental concept as those followed by the drones enlisted here except for the JJRC H37 Selfie Pocket Drone. It comes with collapsible arms, compact in size, portable and a 4K UHD camera that is attached via a 3D brushless gimbal; thereby allowing the pilot to capture amazing videos and images. The 7 hawk4K selfie drone comes with the amazing Follow Me mode so you should be acquainted with what you will be getting with this gizmo.
The versatile aspect of this machine is the fact that it comes bundled with a watch that can be used to maneuver the drone. The concept of a watch seems super cool as the pilot feels as if he or she were part of some spy agency while controlling the drone with his or her watch. Having said that, things tend to get a tad different in real circumstances. The watch comes with 11 buttons in total some of which are used to control double functions while the small size of the buttons renders them slightly less responsive than they ought to be which essentially destroys the whole fun of flying.
- Decent camera attached to a 3D gimbal
- Equipped with all the requisite modes of flight
- He wristband controller is so flimsy that it becomes rather frustrating to use
6 – AirDog – The Smart Action Sport Drone
Now let’s move back to the veteran fellows. The AirDog is a collapsible action sport selfie drone and comes bundled with 5 dedicated modes of flight relevant to a specific action sport such as surfing, bicycle riding, wind surfing etc.
The AirDog is loaded with a AirLeash that resembles the smart watch that accompanies the 7 Hawk4K Selfie Drone. The AirLeash alongside the precise calculations carried out by the drone enable it to forecast your actions to some extent and to stick to the predetermined trajectory.
In addition to having many of the features included in the machines discussed so far, the AirDog comes with the typical collapsible design and Follow Me mode. However, thorough analysis of the gizmo depicts that the AirDog is an entirely different beast in contrast to all the other drones mentioned in our post except for perhaps the DJI Mavic. Firstly, it does not incorporate an inbuilt camera so you will have to mount one of yours while it cannot be maneuvered via a smartphone and only takes instructions from its tracking device. It is larger in size and quite bulky to boot. In addition, its price reflects its professional grade features.
- Formidable build
- Equipped with sophisticated action sport oriented modes of flight
- Intelligent and autonomous flight features
- Limited collision detection features
- Not equipped with a camera or a controller
The Wrap Up
All the drones enlisted here are the best in their own realms so it is not easy to pick out the best machine from amongst this lot.
Beginning with the DJI Mavic drone, it is certainly one of its kind and has the ability to compete with a larger beast such as the mighty DJI Phantom 4 despite its compact size. So, if you can invest some money, this is definitely the one you should put your hands on.
Next up is the ZeroTech Dobby Foldable Selfie Drone which is another one that we love. This drone is almost priced half to the Mavic and boasts almost similar features. It is a brilliant mid level drone.
The Hover Camera Passport seems a better choice than the ZeroTech Dobby but it limited control range makes it less appealing while the pricing is also not acceptable.
The JJRC H37 Elfie Foldable drone is another of our favorite drones that may not incorporate the advanced features of the higher end gizmos but with a price tag of $50, it is a decent bargain.
As far as the specifications are concerned, the 7 Hawk4K Selfie Drone seems a decent choice but the flimsy wristband controller gives it a massive thumbs down.
AirDog is a huge and costly drone that is not meant for the newbies.
So these are the best foldable selfie drones currently.
Now, do not hesitate to inform us whether there is some other drone that you think we missed out or these are the best out there.