There is a new tool in the Earth Vagabonds travel kit. To capture even better photos and videos of the amazing places we live and visit, we now have a drone.
Cheap drone with camera: Cost
Before we left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for Bali we picked up a super small, DJI Tello. Total price, including two extra batteries with charger and a hard shell protective case (crucial for travel), was about $140 – same as in the USA.
Incidentally, Malaysia is a great place to purchase technology for westerners. Keyboards, packaging, and customer service are sure to be in English. The same can’t be said if you are buying in places like Thailand, Vietnam, or China.
The Tello is currently one of the highest rated drones of its size and class. It averages over four out of five possible stars from hundreds of buyers on Amazon, Best Buy, and Trusted Reviews. It also gets accolades from drone enthusiast websites and publications. Everyone seems to agree it is an excellent piece of technology at a fabulous price — especially for a beginner. And that is me!
I did have another drone. It was even smaller and cheaper than the Tello. But it was basically useless for our purposes. It was a micro-sized, child’s toy with a crappy camera meant for indoor flights only. Further, it was so difficult to control, I couldn’t even learn how to fly from it.
Thus, I am now learning how to pilot a drone with my $100+ Tello.
Cheap drone with camera: Performance
There have been many crashes as you can see in the attached video clip. Thankfully, in addition to taking nice looking still photos and video recordings, the Tello is durable.
The Tello uses an app on our iPhone and WiFi signal as its ‘controller’. The control interface is basic and well designed — and similar to today’s popular video game controllers. But for better or worse, I haven’t played video games since high school. I need a lot more practice before I’ll feel confident using this drone at any public or tourist site. Still, I hope to soon be able to add some aerial and overhead photos to our travel blog posts.
The best news: even to a complete novice, the Tello can be flown, and practiced, easily and immediately. It comes with flight features like push-button take-off and landing and automatic hovering that are really helpful for a beginner. I’ve enjoyed the flying/training I have done with the Tello so far and I’m already improving.
The Tello is fun – even when I crash it. And it shows no ill effects after at least 10 crack-ups so far. I would certainly recommend this cheap drone with camera if someone is thinking about getting their first drone, and the Tello is an especially good buy for budget travelers like us.
-small size (2.8 ounces – about 3.5 inches square)
-batteries last 10-12 minutes each
-5mp photos and 720p HD video
-built-in automatic flight features
-not designed for any wind
-10 meter height maximum
-range is less than the advertised 100 meters
-fixed camera captures lots of sky – no gimbal or tilt
Finally, there are more features like: hand gesture control, throw & go takeoff, 360 degree flips, and ‘programmable’ modes that I can explore after I get a better feel for the basics. Provided of course, that I don’t break the drone with continuing crashes.
As always, happy trails and more beer. Life is now.
Reminder: we are an independent blog. We get nothing in return for any praises sung, unlike many other travel bloggers and websites.
Find more information on this cheap drone with camera, visit the company here. However, you could probably find a better price elsewhere.
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