Spending $500 to $1,000 on a camera drone, especially if you’re just looking to have a good time flying around your yard, is a lot to swallow. That’s what makes the Syma X5C pretty awesome. At around $50 (AU$70 or £40) you get an easy flying quadcopter with simple controls and enough power to handle light wind — and it has a 720p HD camera. It even comes with a 4GB microSD card for storage.
At that price, you’re obviously not getting the same powerful features as a DJI Phantom and it definitely feels every bit of its low price. It is, however, fairly durable, so if you’re new to flying a quadcopter it can take quite a lot of punishment.
If you do break something or a motor burns out, Syma has made every part available for replacement and the included print manual has a diagram for how to break it down. You can also buy an updated camera with Wi-Fi to give you a first-person view (FPV) from the camera to an iOS or Android device.
To take a photo or record video, you simply push up or down on a switch next to the left stick. The results aren’t great and there is no stabilization, which makes for some shaky results. They’re fine for viewing on a mobile device and considering the whole thing costs less than $50, I’m not really complaining.
The drone’s 3.7-volt 500mAh battery pack will get about 7 minutes of flight, though removing the prop guards and landing gear and detaching the camera will keep you in the air a few minutes longer. Recharging takes roughly 90 minutes, but extra batteries are readily available and inexpensive.
The Syma X5C is an incredible deal if you’re looking to get in the air and start grabbing aerial photos and videos.