If you’re interested in camera or racing drones, flying by first-person view (FPV) — i.e., by looking through a camera mounted on the drone — is a skill you need. That said, it’s better to practice with something like the UTO U960 than a drone costing hundreds.
The hexacopter costs about $90 (around £60 or AU$125) and includes a Wi-Fi-enabled video camera attached to its belly. Download an iOS or Android app to your smartphone and connect to the wireless network created by the camera. Open the app and you’ll have a view from the camera on your screen.
The video downlink range isn’t great, however, and there’s a bit too much lag between the drone and what’s on screen to reliably guide yourself around obstacles. Still if you’re in an open area, it’s a good way to practice piloting by looking at just the screen. The app also lets you snap photos and capture video to your phone (the camera has no microSD card slot or internal storage) and you can switch to a 3D mode that will create side-by-side video to view in a VR headset.
The U960 is also sold as the MJX X600 for about half the price, but without the camera. I mention this because the ‘copter is pretty good on its own. It has a headless mode, for example, which means you don’t need to worry about what direction the drone is facing as it will always move in the direction you move the stick relative to your position. Plus, in this mode, you can press a controller button to get the U960 to return to you automatically. You can also do flips and rolls easily enough and, for new or experienced pilots, you can set speed and throttle limits.
Battery life is average for a drone this size at about 7 to 9 minutes depending on how hard you fly it, wind if you’re outside and if you have the prop guards and camera attached. It uses a 7.4-volt 700mAh battery that you can find on Amazon for $15, or less if you buy multiples.
The UTO X960 Drone is a good hexacopter that’s also an inexpensive way to test out first-person-view flying. Treat the FPV like a bonus, though, and not the main reason to buy.