We live in the future, and it is amazing. It seems only a few short years ago that remote control cars were the latest craze, or RC boat races along the lake. The sky was reserved for kites and Frisbee. Now we’re flying radio-controlled quadcopter drones for fun.
Drones come in a wide range of possibilities, from tiny toy drones for the kids to large aerial videographer dreams come true. They can have GPS functionality or simply do fun tricks and flips around the house. Not all drones are major investments meant only for the experienced flyer. Many varieties are great for kids and beginners, but these are still a ton of fun to fly. One of these varieties is the Nano or pocket size Drone.
WHAT IS A POCKET DRONE?
The term “Pocket or Nano Drone” specifically refers to drones that fit in the palm of your hand. If you want to get real technical, most experts agree that such drones are those which measure 80-100 mm when stretching a ruler between diagonally opposite motors (such as from the left front to the right back motor)
Basically, they are the Hot Wheels of the drone world. Small, simple (at least the toy versions), and packed full of fun. These come in a variety of shapes and colors; some even come with simple cameras. You don’t have the full functionality of the more advanced drones— e.g., no Return to Home or Follow Me features— but they are fun to fly around, can perform stunts, and are small enough to maneuver through hallways.
Most drones are best used indoors, though many are coming out with indoor and outdoor functionality. As technology continues to advance, we will continually see more functionality hitting the market in smaller packages.
These are the easiest drones with which to learn. Small, portable, and easy to use, these drones work well as learning tools or as a fun hobby. You can whiz around the house, office, or even your yard and just enjoy. Most drones offer a flight time of 8-10 minutes. Charging can take anywhere from 5-15 depending on the model and method. Many drones manufacturers will mention the best way to charge your drone for the most efficient charge, whether that be plugged into a computer or a wall.
It may not offer autonomous flight and high-definition videos, but they can do some killer stunts and maneuver in tight spaces that their larger cousins could only take a wistful picture of. Most have the capability to flip, barrel roll, and pitch. Some even perform well in obstacle courses. You can fly them in narrow hallways and a round corners. They even had LED lights for fun flying in dark rooms.
While various mini drones may have some features or controls in common, there are enough differences that you need to read the manual before you get started. Some drones calibrate differently, while others have more or less controls. Some have audio alerts, while others rely on lights to let you know how your drone is doing. You always want to calibrate your drone before a flight. Flying without calibration can be a very frustrating experience, as your controller and drone won’t communicate well or lag in response time.
Such pocket size drones have two batteries for you to track: built-in rechargeable batteries on the actual drone and disposable batteries in the handheld controller. The built-in rechargeable models typically come with a USB charge cable. Lights or sounds on the drone will alert you to low batteries when the drone is disconnected or full charge when it is connected. Never leave your drone unsupervised when it is charging— you want to unplug the cable as soon as the drone is ready. The disposable batteries are a little simpler. Simply pop in whatever type of battery you need, play with the drone until the controller stops working, replace the batteries, and dispose of the old ones in the appropriate fashion.
One major factor to be aware of is that most drones do not have blade protectors. This means that the propellers often have a high chance of entangling in hair and lint. Entanglement will prevent the motor from rotating properly. If your propeller gets twisted up with a string or piece of hair, stop the drone to minimize the wrapping. You’ll need to trouble shoot with your manual, as different drones can be disentangled in different ways. Some drones, you can pop off the propeller blade to slide the hair off, but you need to take exact note of how the propeller was situated and return it in the same position.
THE COST FACTOR
Perhaps the best thing about such Drones is their price. While larger, more complicated drones can easily range in the thousands of dollars, but mini size drones typically run from $5-$20. They are made with simple, sturdy materials, easy to replace components, and small batteries. Some of the more expensive drones have cameras, but they aren’t high quality.
In the simplest of terms, these are toys. Cheaper parts, less expensive devices, but still a ton of fun. If you are just getting into the drone hobby, small size Drones are a great place to start. They help you learn how to control and navigate a drone without the large price tag, so you don’t need to have a minor panic attack if you crash land in a bush. Once you’ve gotten more used to the way drones fly, you can start upgrading to the more expensive models.
LET’S GO FLYING
Warning: Drones can be an addicting hobby. Obstacle courses, races, and more await the beginning pilot. Drones are mountains of fun for the whole family— though nano size drones should be used with caution around small children. They have some little components that could present a choking hazard.
The sky is no longer a limit when it comes to good, old-fashioned fun. So get out there, rev up your drone, and get flying.