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The best drones under $200 of 2018

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

The Potensic T25 is my favorite drone. For under $200, this drone has just about anything you could ask for: stability, GPS, 1080p camera, and more. This is a variable speed drone, meaning it can fly slowly for precision flying or fast if you have a lot of ground to cover. The batteries can be easily changed, too. Not only do they slide into the drone with a satisfying snap, you don't even have to remove them to charge it, as there's a microUSB port on the drone's outside.

Go Ahead, Fly a Tiny Drone. The Man Doesn't Have to Know


The wild west days of drone flight came to end earlier this year when the FAA began requiring that pilots register their aircraft with the agency. If you want to use your Unmanned Aircraft System (as the FAA calls them) for anything remotely commercial, you'll need to go a step further and pass a test. The registration is not particularly onerous, though there is a processing fee. The whole thing starts to feel a bit Kafkaesque when you get to the end and realize that you can "display" your registration number by writing it on the battery and then tucking that inside the aircraft. WAT? It's also unclear how often the regulations are going to be updated, or how the rules of flight are going to be enforced.

DJI Phantom 4 Pro Plus Review


It's easy to get lost in the great pantheon of consumer drones. Even just looking at industry leader DJI's options, there are enough choices to set your head spinning faster than a quadcopter blade. Coming in at a cool $1,800, this marks the top end of what could be considered DJI's consumer line, with the next level up being the $3,000 pro-level Inspire 2. Nice controller with a bright screen comes bundled. Some of the autonomous flight modes are still lacking. The tablet controller isn't as powerful as your phone, and the app experience while streaming video is glitchier too.

Your Drone Can Give Cops a Surprising Amount of Your Data


If you're a nefarious sort, you might use a commercial drone to smuggle drugs, carry explosives, or to just spy on your neighbors. Drones are appealing to criminals in part because they seem fairly anonymous, flitting through the sky with an invisible digital tether to its owner. But anonymity is no longer a safe bet. In the hands of crime investigators, a drone can reveal a range of personal and financial information about its owner. Most of these details are stored in memory chips inside the drone's circuit board.