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How to choose an affordable drone with the features you want

As 2017 begins, the market for consumer drone technology is bigger than ever. Remote-controlled drones may resemble toys, but they serve other purposes. Any profession or hobby that requires working with large spaces, tremendous heights or any kind of mobility could be enhanced through of a state-of-the-art drone’s flying capabilities.

Not all drones have to break the bank, though. Some are designed for simple and fun flying, while others provide you with decent camera footage and even livestream feeds. These are some of the top drones to buy on a budget or if you’re just curious about seeing what drones are all about.

Sky Viper 2016 s1700 Stunt Drone

For a great first drone look no further than the Sky Viper 2016 s1700 Stunt Drone, which isn’t much more than a simple toy. There is no camera, so all you can do is fly it around and have some fun. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the money. Drones of this size and build quality are often difficult to launch and land, but the Sky Viper includes auto launching, hovering and landing.

For the price, you’ll get something that’s easy to fly in low-wind areas and can pull off exciting stunts such as barrel rolls and flips at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.

Air Hogs Helix Video Drone

The next step up is the Air Hogs Helix Video Drone. Air Hogs is a brand you can trust, as it has been building remote-control planes and helicopters for years. With this drone, you’ll get something more resilient than the relatively flimsy Sky Viper, along with the ability to record 60 frames-per-second video. It won’t stream live footage, so you have to fly it and then watch the video from the included microSD card. Instead of focusing on aerial stunts, you should consider the Air Hogs Helix more as an information-gathering drone with the style of a modern toy.

Alta Wi-Fi Quadcopter Drone

Finally, there’s the Alta Wi-Fi Quadcopter Drone. This is the most well-rounded budget drone, as it offers a much sturdier build than the others. It can perform stunts, and it has a fully featured livestreaming first-person view camera that sends the video feed directly to your smartphone over WiFi. With a travel distance of up to 300 feet, the Alta Wi-Fi Quadcopter packs a lot of features for the price.

Now is the best time yet to take up an interest in drones, as the market is poised to see tremendous growth and innovation in 2017. One of these budget options would make a great introduction before buying into a more advanced device.