The Top 7 High-End Drones of 2021
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Drones are no longer just a fancy piece of tech that you can have fun with. Over the years, we have seen that drones, especially high-end drones, have become an essential tool for professional and commercial uses.
From photography and content creation to industrial applications like aerial mapping and inspections, drones have proved their usefulness in multiple areas. And with the growing demand for drones, manufacturers have also stepped up their game, so you can find several various models in the market with some awe-inspiring features and specifications.
But the search for high-end drones can often get time-consuming, as there are so many options out there. On top of that, you need to be selective with the features to make sure you buy the most suitable one for your needs. Of course, your budget will always play an important role, so you need to find the best drone you can afford.
There’s no denying that you’ll have to do a fair amount of research when buying a high-end drone. Still, we can make things fairly easy for you as we have reviewed a wide range of drones with advanced features such as superior camera quality, long-range transmissions, and some impressive automated functions.
So take a break from browsing through an ocean of products and jump straight into our carefully selected list of the best high-end drones.
1. DJI Phantom 4 Pro (V 2.0)
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is one of the most advanced drones from DJI that excels in camera quality and battery life. The built-in 20 MP camera can record 4k videos at 60 fps and is equipped with a mechanical shutter, ensuring that even moving objects are captured with fantastic clarity. It’s mounted on an advanced gimbal system, so the camera remains perfectly stable when the drone is in flight.
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro also has some pretty excellent flight modes. ActiveTrack can detect and follow moving objects and people, while the TapFly lets you navigate the drone to a specific location by simply tapping on the controller screen. With the Draw Mode, you can draw a path on the screen, and the drone will follow the path automatically, so capturing cinematic shots becomes super easy. And for the love of selfies, there’s the Gesture Mode – raise one hand to focus the drone on you and raise both hands to start a selfie countdown.
One of the most impressive features of the Phantom 4 Pro is its omnidirectional obstacle sensor, which can detect obstacles from not just one or two but five different directions. All these features are matched with an equally impressive battery life of a maximum of 30 minutes.
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro V 2.0 is available on Amazon for $1,599.
2. Yuneec Typhoon H Plus
Yuneec offers a selection of few but powerful drones, and the Typhoon H Plus is one of their best high-end drones. Sporting a hexacopter configuration with 6 rotors, Typhoon H plus packs a whole bunch of excellent features. Much like the Phantom 4 Pro, this one also comes with a 20 MP camera capable of taking amazing pictures and 4K videos, along with a 3-axis gimbal for perfect stability.
The Typhoon H Plus is simply one of the best high-end drones for professional photography and videography because it comes with convenient automated flight modes. We have to appreciate the Team Mode feature, which allows two separate operators to control the drone – one person to control the flight and the other to control the camera. So you can imagine just how useful this feature is if you want to capture some breath-taking aerial shots.
Then there’s the Orbit Me and Follow Me modes, which puts the focus of the drone on a single person or object while it does the flying on its own. Its Curved Cam feature is also handy, allowing you to set the drone on the automatic flight along a preset path while controlling the camera and focusing on the visual aspect only. And you can always call the drone back to you with the Return to Home (RTH) feature. The Typhoon H Plus can reach maximum speeds up to 30 mph and offers a maximum battery life of 28 minutes.
You can buy the Typhoon H Plus on Amazon for $1,899.
3. FreeFly Alta 8
FreeFly Alta 8 is nothing like your average recreational drone. This is a beast designed for highly experienced professionals, especially in the field of cinematography or industrial inspections. If the ‘8’ in its name wasn’t enough to give you a hint, it is equipped with 8 propellers in an octa-rotor configuration. And here’s the best part – it can carry 20 pounds of payload, which is ridiculously impressive for a drone! With the Alta 8, you can easily put a high production filmmaking camera into the sky.
It even has a top mount so that you can fix an additional camera on top of the drone, so it’s perfect for inspection purposes when surveying surfaces underneath structures like bridges and overpasses. Despite being larger and heavier than your average drone, Alta 8 offers a smooth flight experience with the SYNAPSE Flight Controller technology. It is also equipped with velocity clamps, barometers, accelerometers, and a precise GPS, all of which feed accurate readings into the controller screen.
Another superior feature of Alta 8 is that it’s highly durable, the airframes and propellers made from carbon fiber, and the body enclosed in a weather-proof plastic housing. Whether it’s dust, wind, or rain, this beast of a drone is built to last. FreeFly Alta 8 also comes with a massive price tag, more than 10 times what DJI Phantom 4 Pro will cost. But then again, we’ve made it clear that this drone is for seriously professional filmmaking and commercial use, so its price makes sense given its features and applications.
FreeFly Alta 8 can be purchased from the FreeFly store for $17,495.
4. Skydio 2
Who says that a high-end drone always has to be super expensive? Drone manufacturer Skydio proves that high-end drones don’t come with a hefty price tag all the time, as their Skydio 2 starter kit is available for just one dollar short of the $1000 mark. They have also taken quite a unique approach as Skydio 2 comes in three more configurations – Sports kit, Pro kit, and Cinema kit – which are equipped with more features and accessories and increasingly pricier than the Starter Kit. So you have the freedom to choose the best kit based on your budget.
Now taking a look at its features, the first thing we’d like to highlight is its stylish, futuristic look. You can’t help but feel like it’s some fancy gadget straight out of a sci-fi Hollywood flick. It’s compact, portable, and lightweight, so the likes of travel bloggers and videographers can nicely tuck it in their bags. It comes with a 12 MP camera that’s perfectly capable of recording 4K/60 fps videos and capturing static and dynamic images with equal precision and clarity.
The Skydio 2 also features a 45 MP 360o obstacle avoiding sensor, which, combined with its autonomous flight mode, allows the drone to follow you around on its own while smartly maneuvering its way around objects and obstacles. The starter kit is controlled by the Skydio 2 app, but you can also get the Skydio Beacon for which offers a greater range (up to 1.5km) and can even be used as a wand – just point it in any direction, and the drone will follow. And if you purchase the Skydio Controller, too, then you get full manual control over the drone’s flight.
The Beacon comes included in the Sports kit, whereas the Cinema and Pro Kit include both the Beacon and the Controller. Starter Kit doesn’t come with both of these accessories but can be purchased separately for $149 each.
With up to 23 minutes of battery life and up to 36 mph maximum speed, all four kits of Skydio 2 can be purchased from the Skydio store, ranging from $999 to $2,499.
5. DJI Inspire 2
Smart, autonomous, and capable of recording world-class images and videos, the DJI Inspire 2 is like a dream come true for cinematographers. This is a drone that promises premium quality aerial shots with 4k/60 fps and 5.2k/30 fps video resolution, thanks to its CineCore 2.0 image processing technology. Apart from the primary camera, there’s another dual-axis FPV camera that gives you far-sighted vision from the air while the main camera is recording.
As with most high-end DJI drones, this one also comes with Active Track, TapFly, Point of Interest, WayPoint, and RTH modes. These intelligent and autonomous flight modes are further supported by multiple obstacles avoiding sensors – the forward-facing sensor detects obstacles up to 30 meters, the upward-facing sensor has a detection range of up to 5 meters above the drone, and finally, the downward sensor detects the terrain for smart hovering and landing system.
The Inspire 2 is a lot faster than average drones, achieving maximum speeds up to 58mph and able to accelerate from total rest to 50 mph in just 5 seconds. There aren’t many other drones that can be used for fast-paced recordings as you can with Inspire 2, while live-streaming the video feed in 1080p resolution. Even with all these powerful features, the DJI Inspire 2 can stay in the air for a maximum of 23 to 27 minutes.
You can buy the DJI Inspire 2 from the DJI store for $3,299.
6. Yuneec H520E
Stepping aside from cinematographic drones, Yuneec has launched a highly advanced commercial drone for industrial purposes in the form of a Yuneec H520E hexacopter drone. It’s one of the best high-end drones for agriculture, construction, disaster control, search and rescue, inspection, and survey.
Its 20 MP, 4k resolution camera can move freely with 360o rotation, and the retractable landing gear ensures that the camera remains unobstructed during flight. Capable of 8x digital zoom and video transmission range of up to 3km, the powerful camera gives you extremely reliable eyes in the air, which is a must for industrial and commercial purposes. Equipped with the DataPilot software, the H520E can create accurate 3D scans, orthomaps, and data imagery of large sites.
You’ll also appreciate that Yuneec values your privacy, as H520E doesn’t transmit data to the company’s remote servers as long as you don’t permit it. It is incredibly sturdy and can fly efficiently even while facing winds up to 45mph. Usual flight modes like RTH, Team mode, and Orbit Me are also programmed into this model, which is common with high-end Yuneec drones. Able to fly at speeds up to 38mph with a maximum flight time of 28 minutes, Yuneec H520E is a powerful and reasonably priced commercial and industrial drone.
Yuneec H520E is available in the Yuneec store for $2,399.
7. DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual
Another industrial drone on our list, the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, is a small and compact drone best suited for inspection, search and rescue. Its 4k gimbal camera is also accompanied by a thermal sensor that can accurately display temperature and heat maps, making it perfect for rescue teams, disaster management teams, and firefighters.
It also features a smart obstacle avoiding system with multiple omnidirectional sensors guiding the drone during automated flights. The DJI AirSense technology is another fantastic feature of Mavic Enterprise, which alerts you about the position of other aircraft near the drone so you can fly safely without interfering with other manned aircraft. While it is already compact, it’s also foldable, so rescue workers can easily sneak into a bag, pouch, or belt package for quick access.
There are three handy additional accessories that you can opt for if you want to customize the Mavic Enterprise Dual further. Firstly, the M2E Spotlight gives you greater visibility in low light conditions and helps to detect lost or trapped persons effectively. Then there’s the M2E Speaker, which lets you communicate with your team right from the air. And the M2E Beacon keeps track of the drone even when it’s not immediately visible in your range of sight. Small, portable, smart, and autonomous, the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual has an impressive flight time of up to 31 minutes and maximum flight speed up to 44mph.
If you want to know the price to purchase the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise, you’ll have to place an order at the DJI store.
If you’re looking for a high-end drone, then you probably plan to use it for professional purposes and not just fly it in your backyard. So unlike average, recreational, and hobbyist drones, you need to be more selective and have a bigger budget in hand when buying high-end drones.
That’s why we have put up a diverse list of highly advanced drones, covering various applications from filmmaking and videography to industrial and surveillance uses. We are sure this list will help you find the best high-end drone that will perfectly suit your needs and budget.