We are witnesses that the drone technology is evolving at a rapid pace and that the most influential manufacturers have realized that allowing the drones to be controlled with a smartphone is the Next Thing. Thus, more and more drone models have that exact feature – They can be controlled with a smartphone and the commands are pretty straightforward and so user-friendly that even the kids can be drone pilots nowadays.
Now, some drone models are hybrids, meaning that you can use both the smartphone and the traditional RC controller, while some newer models, for example the selfie drones (the latest craze in the world of drones and selfie lovers) use smartphones exclusively.
For those who are still not clear why they would choose one piloting method over the other, we will explain it a bit. It is obvious that smartphones are newer technology and that they offer much more than the traditional RC controllers, but the good old “Sticks and Antennas” still win when it comes to control distance range. But still, smartphones have more advantages and that is why most people choose to go down that new path. And, if you are and Android platform user and interested in finding out more about drones models that are designed to be controlled by an Android app, you might want to check out this article on My Drone Lab.
The benefits of flying with a smartphone
The benefits that come with smartphone apps include the following:
- Better GPS control → A smartphone app allows you to have a better GPS control over your drone and to know the precise position of your bird all the time. Furthermore, it also gives you the opportunity to create a waypoint route for your drone to autonomously follow, while you can relax, enjoy the ride, and just work on the camera movements.
- FPV → Drone apps give you a chance to be right in the pilot’s cockpit and see what your drone sees, in real time. This is called First Person View or simply FPV. This makes the orientation and flying much easier, plus, if you are into aerial filming, this will allow you to position your drone perfectly and find that WOW camera angle you never could before. Also, the feeling of flying in FPV is the closest you will get to real piloting experience, minus the G-force (which is a good thing if you ask us).
- Instant Diagnostics → Your smartphone will not only serve you as a FPV display, it will also allow you to have an instant insight into your drone’s most important parameters like altitude, speed, battery level, signal strength, and so on. All this information will help you with flying safer and keeping your drone in one piece because the app will inform you when it’s time to land the drone due to low battery levels, or will do that on its own.
Since there are two mainstream Smartphone platforms at the moment, most of the drone manufacturers have apps for both Android and iPhones, so don’t worry, no matter which platform you use, there’s an app for it.
However, you should also know that some slight user interface variations between the Android and iPhone are common, as these are completely different platforms and the apps had to be designed to suit them. This means that they might look different to a certain degree, but all the features will be available in both versions.
Most wanted drone models with the Smartphone control ability
Now it’s time to see which drone models are the best in this field. We decided to start with the most wanted and most high performing one – The DJI Phantom 3 Pro.
DJI Phantom 3 Pro
Even though there are three newer models that came from the house of DJI, the Phantom 3 Pro is still one of their flagship models and there are so many good reasons for that. It comes with a flawless 3-axis stabilization gimbal, a camera that can shoot in 4K at 30fps and make crystal clear 12MP stills.
Furthermore, everything the drone sees, it streams live on your smartphone (in HD), plus, you get tons of really useful features like Follow, POI (Point Of Interest), Orbit, Cable, and you can set GPS points that the drone will follow on its own while you focus on controlling the camera movement and even change the camera settings through the app. This is a perfect tool for those who plan on using this drone model for professional aerial filmography or commercial purposes.
Parrot Bebop 2
Another example of using your Smartphone to control one amazing drone model, is the Bebop 2 from the house of Parrot. It can be controlled with both IOS or Android based phones or tablets. Parrot became one of the leading drone manufacturers in the last few years, and all their models are quite impressive, both features and design wise.
Now, most of their models are sold without a controller in the basic package. This means that all of them support Smartphone control, but likewise, they are all hybrids, meaning that you can control them with an RC controller as well, but you have to buy it additionally.
When it comes to their flagship model, the Bebop 2, you should know that it uses the FreeFlight 3 – one of the best smartphone apps on the market, allowing you to do all the flight parameters configuration through the app, use it for FPV flying, as well as for controlling the drone.
With the app, the Bebop 2 offers some pretty impressive autonomous flight modes, as well as really useful camera settings. However, you need to know that, in order to unlock advanced features of the app, you will have to pay additional money, as the basic package includes only basic modes and control features.
If you really want to unlock the full potential of this model, you can opt for the SkyController, a dedicated RC controller that works together with the app to give you more features and extend both the FPV and drone control range significantly. Also, you can even choose the FPV goggles and SkyController combo, for that ultimate immersive experience.
Parrot Mini Rolling Spider
Not only does the Parrot design great full size aerial filming models, but they also make some of the best mini drones, which can also be controlled through a Smartphone app. “Of course, you can’t expect it to be as high-tech as the Bebop 2, but for zooming around the house and spying on your family through FPV, it doesn’t get any better than this. .. It is also known to have a follow me feature, so it is a drone that follows you.
What makes this drone’s design unique is a pair of two big, plastic wheels that allow the drone to “Crawl” on the ceiling, the walls, or simply protect the props if you hit something while flying indoors.
The part where it gets really interesting is when you use the drone’s small camera, to either fly in FPV with live camera feed stream on your smartphone, record cool footage, or do both at the same time. Connecting the app with the Spider is a piece of cake as the manual that comes with the drone is quite straightforward and simple to understand.
Hubsan X4 H501S Pro
Hubsan’s X4 H501S Pro drone model is likewise on the list of the most wanted models that can be controlled through a Smartphone app. However, when we say controlled through an app, we mean that it comes with an RC controller that is using the Android platform, and it also includes a built-in FPV display.
The screen itself allows you to have access to numerous drone control settings, as well as settings for the camera. On the other hand, if you wish to use your Smartphone and not the controller, that option is also available and you can choose to buy just the drone, since it is Smartphone compatible.
If you do choose to use your own Smartphone, the app can be downloaded from the app store, and with the use of the instructions from the manual, connecting your phone with the drone is a breeze.
Wrapping It Up!
This is it for now when it comes to the Most Wanted Smartphone App Drones. As the technology evolves, so will both the drones and the Smartphones, and who knows what awaits us in the next few years.
But, for now, we are happy to say that, thanks to the rising popularity of drone smartphone control, there are new drone models coming out literally every other day. However, not all of them are that good and you really need to be careful when choosing the model you want to buy. Most of the cheap ones will have connectivity issues and you will end up with a bird that will just collect dust on your shelf. Therefore, read the model reviews we provided in this article again, as these models have been praised by numerous satisfied customers and are the best in their class.
At the end, we would only like to say that if you want to share some of your experience with these models, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section. We are always more than happy to hear your thoughts!
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