Why would you want to fly your consumer drone far from its controller? Well, there are some huge advantages with flying the Best High Altitude Drones further and further in First Person View or FPV. This allows drone pilots to see things and go to places they would not otherwise see or visit. That’s pretty cool when you think about it. This guide looks at some for the Best high altitude drones that you can buy right now.
Best High Altitude Drones List
DJI Air 2S
The beautiful Air 2S combines the best features of our two previous favorite DJI drones, the Mavic Air 2 and Mavic 2 Pro. You get the compact, foldable design of the former, plus the 20MP 1-Inch sensor found in the latter. The combination is a brilliant one, making the Air 2S our top choice for hobbyists and also professionals who need a small drone they can take anywhere. While the Mavic Air 2 remains a good choice for those on a tighter budget, the Air 2S does offer some handy advantages over its predecessor.
The ability to record 5.4K video at 30 fps gives you some extra creative flexibility, and supports a handy digital zoom option (even though we recommend using it only at 2x zoom). Add to that the ability to shoot 1080p at 120 fps and impressive ISO performance, and you have an excellent all-around flying machine that rises above its mid-range rivals. Overall, this is one of the best high altitude drones right now.
DJI Mavic Air 2
The Mavic Air 2, formerly our number one drone, has been ousted from the spotlight by the arrival of the DJI Air 2S (see above). But you shouldn’t necessarily rule it out as an option – it’s more affordable than the Air 2S and may just suit you better, if you don’t need the new model’s larger 1-inch sensor.
It still shoots 4K/60p videos, has an impressive 34-minute flight time and a similar range of up to 10 km. You also get the same subject-tracking goodness as the Air 2S, a slightly longer 34-minute flight time, and that convenient, compact folding design. While we’d prefer the Air 2S, due to its larger sensor and convenient digital zoom, the Mavic Air 2 remains an economical option well worth considering. Overall, this is one of the best high altitude drones right now.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
There is no doubt that the DJI Air 2S eclipses the older Mavic 2 Pro in many ways, especially when it comes to portability. And there are now rumors that the Mavic 2 Pro could be going out of business soon. But there’s one reason you might consider it over its newer cousin: adjustable aperture. The Mavic 2 Pro’s addition of this feature is a bonus for those who like to control their exposure manually, as it largely removes the need to use ND filters. Instead, you can simply change the aperture value on the fly.
Otherwise, the Mavic 2 Pro remains an absolute pleasure to fly and offers Air 2S image quality, thanks to its 20MP 1-inch sensor. With raw support on board, you can trust it to deliver professional-level images alongside its impressive 4K/30p videos. The Air 2S now offers more value for money in a smaller package, but if you really need that adjustable aperture (which lets you switch between f/2.8 and f/11), it could still be the better choice for you. Overall, this is one of the best high altitude drones right now.
DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is largely identical to the Mavic 2 Pro, except for one crucial difference – the camera system. While both drones are incredibly portable, share the same lightweight folding design, and offer a range of high-spec features, the Zoom pairs a smaller 12MP sensor with a 24-48mm optical zoom lens. That means you can take close-up shots of subjects such as people, while still maintaining the safe and legal distance of 50m.
Due to the smaller sensor, the image quality isn’t quite the same as the Mavic 2 Pro and the aperture of f/2.8 is fixed, but photos and videos are still more than good enough for professional use. The real advantage is the zoom lens, which unlocks a world of creative shooting possibilities. The range is good, distortion is minimal, and operation is intuitive via the partner app.
Plus, you get all the intelligent flight modes you’d expect from a DJI drone, including Active Track and Hyperlapse, and a decent 30-minute flight time. If you want a drone with zoom, this is one of the best high altitude drones for you.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
DJI’s Phantom series was the one that really took its drones to new heights – and while the Phantom 4 Pro V.20 is not the latest model on this list, it remains a great option for professionals who need something sturdy and reliable for windy conditions. Launched in 2018, the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 was a major upgrade over the Phantom 4, bringing vastly improved obstacle avoidance and intelligent flight modes like ActiveTrack. Its 20MP 1-inch sensor can also shoot impressive raw photos and 4K/60p videos at 100Mbps in the D-log color profile.
Of course, the size of the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 (it weighs 1,375g) means it’s not as handy as the foldable Mavic 2 Pro, which also has a 20Mp 1-inch sensor. But it also has a mechanical shutter (to prevent rolling shutter) and has a higher 4K frame rate than its smaller brother. With excellent handling and a 30-minute flight time, this device is definitely worth considering if you want to take high-quality aerial photos and videos in challenging weather conditions that might be too much for the Mavic 2 Pro. Overall, this is one of the best high altitude drones right now.
PowerVision PowerEgg X
Ignore the culinary name: the PowerEgg X is a kite, not a fryer. And in a market dominated by drones that don’t like water, PowerVision’s aerial globe stands out for its ability to fly in the rain and land on lakes (with the Wizard bundle). Image quality is affected by the plastic waterproof housing, but the ability to work in – and float on – the wet stuff opens up a range of creative possibilities.
So does its versatile modular design. The PowerEgg X can also be used as a handheld gimbal camera and as an autonomous AI camera, which can be mounted on a tripod and controlled with hand gestures. The downside of the adaptable setup is that it is slower to use. It may be lightweight, but removing the protective housing from the body, adding the propeller arms and setting up the controller takes a few minutes.
The image quality is also not industry-leading. The PowerEgg X does produce decent, detailed 4K images in bright conditions, but its fixed-aperture, fixed-focus 12MP 1/2.8-inch CMOS sensor can’t compete with DJI’s Mavic drones. It is also not currently possible to shoot in Raw video formats. Overall, this is one of the best high altitude drones right now.
The DJI FPV is a unique drone that is a great introduction to first-person view flying. As a combination of a fast racing drone and DJI’s Mavic series, it’s a huge amount of fun to fly thanks to its impressive video headset, which gives you the thrill of soaring like an eagle. But it also comes with a few more limitations than DJI’s other drones.
One of the main drawbacks is the legislation around flying FPV drones – although this varies depending on what country you’re in, most regions require you to have a ‘spotter’ companion standing next to you while you fly, as the DJI Goggles V2 means the pilot won’t have a direct line of sight with the drone.
However, if you don’t plan to fly solo, and don’t mind this limitation, the DJI FPV is a great option for newcomers. It’s faster and more maneuverable than any other DJI drone, with a top speed of 87 mph, but also has three different flight modes (Normal, Sport and Manual) to help it appeal to different types of pilots.
Unlike most FPV drones, it is also capable of recording very impressive 4K video. The gimbal is just a single-axis thing (rather than the three-axis kind you get on the DJI Mavic Air 2), but electronic image stabilization steps in to make sure the footage is smooth, and you can also shoot 1080p in a slo-mo frame rate of 120fps. Overall, this is one of the best high altitude drones right now.
DJI Inspire 2
Bumping its predecessor out of this list with flying colors is the very impressive Inspire 2. With a sleek metal composite body upgrade, it’s a much more attractive piece of kit. Plus, thanks to advanced object avoidance technology, you won’t have to worry about scratching that beautiful body by accidentally hitting a tree.
The dual battery has a flight time of more than 25 minutes and the ability to swap camera lenses means professional photographers and videographers have complete control over their images and 5K video. The fully featured smartphone app and dedicated remote make this drone incredibly easy to operate, but make no mistake, this is a professional piece of kit. Overall, this is one of the best high altitude drones right now.