In 2015 the FAA issued 1,000 drone permits. The next year, aviation consulting firm the Teal Group estimated that almost two million consumer drones would be sold during that 12-month period alone. Needless to say, the multipurpose flyers have gone mainstream. Here’s the heads-up on four new models, matched to specific purposes, so you can be sure to land the right one.
One if by Land: Skydio R1
No matter what form your next land-based adventure takes, chronicle the journey with the new Skydio R1 ($1,999). Capable of recording more than 90 minutes in 4K definition or 4.5 hours in 1080p, this space-efficient drone can launch from the palm of your hand and fly up to 25 mph in several modes, supported by advanced AI-driven follow technology that helps it autonomously avoid objects in dense environments.
For the Amateur Auteur: DJI Mavic 2
Consider yourself at the video vanguard? Then the DJI Mavic 2 ($1,499) is the drone for you. Engineered in partnership with Hasselblad—whose cameras recorded the moon landing in 1969—the Mavic 2 features a camera that captures 20-megapixel aerial footage. It’s also equipped with a 10-bit color profile system that can record more than one billion colors and captures in-depth details in dimly or brightly lit spaces.
Micromanager: Parrot Anafi
Ultra-compact, photo-focused drones like Parrot’s Anafi ($699) have relegated selfie sticks to the pop-culture scrapheap alongside Beanie Babies, MySpace, and Pokémon Go. The drone features a 4K HDR camera that can zoom to almost three times magnification without negatively impacting the resolution quality, and a gimbal that can tilt 180 degrees for unique, low-angle perspectives.
Marine Scene: SwellPro Spry
Combine the latest built-in movement algorithms with a buoyant airframe and waterproof casing and you get SwellPro’s new Spry (from $989), a drone purposed for harsh marine elements. The Spry is equipped with specially coated motors and corrosion-resistant materials, and it features a polycarbonate dome that protects the device’s 4K camera, offering transparency without distortion.