Although next year is definitely going to be filled with more drones, I did get a pretty good taste of the RC life in 2016. We’re still working on more in-depth drone coverage and got quite a few in to test already.
Here are a few of the RC toys we got to play with so far in 2016…
Tracer Racers Remote Control Police Chase Set ($119.99)
Skullduggery has been a family-owned toy business since the 1980s, and you may remember them from their second-season episode of The Profit in which one of the owners insulted NASCAR.
Despite losing Lemonis, the company still makes toys, and the Max Traxxx Tracer Racers set is one of their latest. Featuring several iterations of the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, we got to play with the Police Chase set, which turned out to be an awesome time at night.
Including a built-in jump and expansions allowing loops and more, Tracer Racers light up the room and make for one of the more enjoyable tech testing experiences we had this month.
Of course, once you get a taste for RC, you’ll want to start flying.
Aerix Vidius HD FPV Nanodrone ($65.00)
The Aerix Vidius HD is the world’s smallest FPV nanodrone and was my first experience in FPV drone controls. It also led us down a path of further reviewing nandrones and drones in general.
Featuring a 720p camera, FPV goggles, controller, and much better controls than I originally gave it credit for, Vidius HD lets you use your camera for real-time monitoring with minimal delay.
Unfortunately such a tiny package comes with a short-lived battery life, and you’ll only get a few minutes of flight at a time. Still, if you’re looking for a cool spy gadget or toy, Vidius HD is top-of-the-line.
Sky Viper m500 Nanodrone ($39.99)
Another great starter nanodrone, the Sky Viper m500 has been redesigned for 2016 and includes some nifty auto features. You don’t get the FPV experience like you do with Vidius HD, but you do get a little more flight time out of it because of that.
Having crashed several nanodrones throughout the past few weeks, Sky Viper definitely held up well. The engines are still running, although we did have to switch up the rotors a little from how it comes.
From the factory, the blades are lined up with green in the front and black in the back, but we had to alternate them to get the auto flight to work without it attacking people.
Hubsan X4 Brushless FPV Pro ($299.99)
Taking a giant leap up from the nanodrones, Hubsan’s X4 Brushless FPV is a great drone that I’m just barely getting my chops wet with. Smaller and lighter than a DJI Phantom, it still produces great 1080P HD video and a lot of flight features that makes it the perfect entry-level drone for my needs.
Auto-follow, auto-land, and GPS in both the drone and controller make this drone infamous as the “selfie drone.”
Hubsan’s controller is proprietary, so you’ll need a spare receiver or two if you want to use it on other homebrew RC projects, but they’re easy enough to find for $15 or less. The controller itself is a beauty though, and SD slots in both the drone and controller make it handy RC and drone gear to have.
Holybro Shuriken 250 ($250)
Moving a step further into FPV racing, we have the Holybro Shuriken 250, one of the most coveted and sought-after racing drones on the market.
We got one with a FrSky receiver in earlier this month and have our drone pilot working on the unboxing and flight footage that’ll be posted soon. Larger than its brother, the Shuriken 180, the Shuriken 250 maintains the same clean design and tight controls.
If you’re looking to move to the top of the drone FPV rankings, the Holybro Shuriken 250 is the way to go.