Incredibly premium, aerial and useful – drones have now become a passionate videographer’s trusty best friend. While all of the aforementioned adjectives aptly describe a drone and its qualities, compact never fit into the mix – at least for a long time. With the wide wingspans that came in these flying machines, the problem of them not being portable became a pressing issue. Thankfully, the idea of ‘foldable drones’ was introduced and before long, drones that could be folded into a compact shape and fit into your backpack or even your jacket pocket without the danger of breaking a wing or two were launched by various manufacturers.
Ever since foldable drones entered the industry, many renowned companies have followed suit and DJI is the one leading the roster right now with it’s Mavic line up of best portable drones. Now, folding drones are probably one of the most hit categories in the drone market and for good reason!
Here we’ll discuss some of the best foldable drones out there right now. We’ve listed all the pros and cons of each device and constructed a comparison table so your next (or first!) drone purchase is mindful.
|Drones||Camera||Flight Time||Range||Max. Speed||Price|
|DJI Mavic Pro||4K video quality at 30 fps||27 min.||4.3 miles||40 mph|
|DJI Mavic Air||4K video quality at 30 fps||21 min.||2.4 miles||42.5 mph|
|Holy Stone HS160 Shadow||720p video quality||7-9 min.||50-79 mts.||17 mph|
|7 Hawk4k||4K video quality at 15 fps||8-10 min.||100 mts.||17 mph|
|ZEROTECH Dobby||1080p video quality at 15 fps||9 min.||100 mts.||17 mph|
|Eachine E50||720p video quality||8 min.||40 mts.||11.8 mph|
|Parrot Anafi||4K video quality at 24 fps||25 min.||2-2.5 miles||34.2 mph|
|Kingtoys Pocket Selfie Drone||720p HD video quality||8-10 min.||80-100 mts.||17 mph|
|Wingsland S6||4K video quality at 30 fps||10 min.||100 mts.||17 mph|
|Hover Camera Passport||4K video quality at 30 fps||10 min.||20 mts.||17 mph|
The Best Foldable Drones – Reviewed!
A name not unheard of by drone enthusiasts is the DJI Mavic Pro. This powerful machine sits comfortably at the high end price range. It’s the kind of branded drone you could brag about and carry as your prized possession; something similar to Louis Vuitton for the fashion-obsessed or a Bentley for the automobile fanatic.
Mavic Pro delivers excellence in pretty much all areas and its features are seriously impressive. The amount of detail put into constructing this masterpiece is exemplary and the best part is that it’s foldable! This is something the DJI Phantom 4 model lacks but is comparable to the Mavic Pro in terms of other features.
Let’s talk about footage quality now. The singular aim of a drone device is to capture exquisite photos in high quality – the DJI Mavic Pro goes an extra mile to do this. Mavic Pro offers true 4K video quality with professional results and polished graphics. The footage captured on this drone is clear and smooth and something only professionals can achieve. With the added benefit of features such as the TapFly, 3-axis gimbal and the Active Track, capturing quality footage on the DJI Mavic Pro is a walk in the park.
The DJI Mavic Pro offers an impeccable range of 4.3 miles or 7 km. The device can fly at speeds of 40 mph and can last for a good 27 minute flight time. The positioning of the image is further enhanced by the built-in GPS system and GLONASS. This helps you take photos and capture videos both outdoors and indoors. The DJI Mavic Pro can also soar at great heights with a maximum ascent speed of 5 m/s and a maximum descent speed of 3 m/s.
The built of this drone machine is a work of art itself. It’s sturdy and solid with safety kept as a priority. It can operate on a wide scale of temperature range from 0 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees.
All in all, the DJI Mavic Pro might be an expensive purchase but the money is worth it.
One of the more recent additions to the family of the drone giant DJI is the Mavic Air. This model is for the more casual consumer. While it enjoys most of the same features as the Mavic Pro does, it does so with some limitations.
When it comes to video quality, the Mavic Air surpasses our expectations with a camera that can capture videos up to 100 Mb/s. This is much greater than the Mavic Pro that can record at only 60 Mb/s. The higher bitrate of the Mavic Air results in an outstanding video recording experience. The video quality itself is 4K as well but the awkward video crop in the Mavic Air doesn’t give a great impression when compared to the Mavic Pro.
The Mavic Air can also take on fast speeds despite its compact size. In the sports mode, the DJI Mavic Air can reach speed of 65 kph with an incredible hold at stability. The three-axis gimbal built in the Mavic Air mechanics allows for it to cut through windy speeds of over 16mph as well.
The build quality of the DJI Mavic Pro is also pretty decent. The camera frame is well protected by a frame and there are no fragile ends that are vulnerable to breaking. The gimbal lock has also significantly improved from the previous models. But the best part is that the Mavic Air is a seriously compact drone. It can be folded to the size of a smartphone and practically carried around with you just about anywhere; it’s the perfect traveling companion.
While there are a lot of upsides to this new model, there are areas where the DJI Mavic Air lacks. Take for example the battery life. The machine can last only 15 minutes of flight time despite being advertised otherwise of a flight time of 21 minutes.
The range DJI Mavic Air offers is also less than we expected. Without the OcuSync and Lightbridge radio link technology incorporated into the Mavic Air, the range and the radio signal quality is below par. You will also need to connect to your mobile device to control the Mavic Air with smart hand gestures.
At the incredibly economical price Holy Stone HS160 Shadow comes in, we wouldn’t have expected it to make a solid impression. But the HS160 Shadow model definitely surpasses our expectations and delivers the very best at the price it sells for. Sure, its features aren’t comparable to the $1K+ drones, but this one at less than $100 has its own set of qualities that we simply cannot overlook.
Starting off with its portability, the Holy Stone HS160 Shadow can fold to the size of a cellphone and fit comfortably in your pocket. This makes it a great choice to take with you when you travel.
The camera on this model might not have 4K video quality or even a 1080p high definition quality, but the 720p quality is good enough for beginners and its price. The HS160 also connects with your smartphone for you to see what the drone sees. There’s a catch though – well, two of them. Firstly, you’ll need to have a remote control with it. Secondly, you’ll need to be connected to an active internet connection within 30 meters at all times when you’re flying your drone.
Speaking of flying, the the drone has a flight time of 7 to 9 minutes which isn’t the best. Plus, people who aren’t experts at flying drones will find the HS160 Shadow a little hard to control. Without the built-in GPS sensors, stabilizing the drone can be a feat. Maneuvering this model in windy conditions especially can be a thing of the legends.
The Holy Stone HS160 Shadow sports four different speed modes to get you accustomed to your drone experience. For beginners, the tutorial mode is perhaps the best. As you turn to other higher level speed modes, you’ll notice a dramatic increase in the movement and speed of your drone. The Expert Mode tests your skill and expertise in flying the drone which can be a fun, challenging experience.
Although price-wise it seems like a beginner drone, navigating it in the air needs some amount of expertise.
The Hawk4K is another foldable drone that deserves a spot on our list. In fact, it was one of the world’s first foldable drones ever so we really can’t leave out mentioning it. The Hawk4k costs half the price the DJI Mavic Pro does but it still delivers some great features that make it a formidable competitor in the list of foldable drones.
As its name indicates, the 7 Hawk4k drone incorporate 4K video quality and an excellent, clear video footage and picture quality. It also comes with its own dedicated smartwatch controller in red zip-up bag which is quite the pleasant surprise for people who purchase it.
This drone model has its own dedicated application on the Google Play Store and iTunes as well so users can control the Hawk4K with their smartphone. Added into the mechanics of this drone is also the 2D/3D axis gimbal that allows for optimal stability and better control over the drone’s movement.
When it comes to speed and range, the Hawk4K isn’t the best but it’s not half bad either. Other cool functions of the drone make up for all the areas it lacks in. Take for example the automated “Follow Me” function. This function will guide the drone wherever you go and follow your movements so that you can concentrate on what you are doing instead of guiding it manually.
The Hawk4K comes with a user manual that might not be the easiest to understand since it is translated to English from another language. And while the smartwatch controller is a unique addition to the package, we’ve found that controlling your drone’s movement and flight isn’t very smooth through the watch. The controls can lag and the response can be a little slow at times.
Advertised originally as a selfie drone, the ZEROTECH Dobby Mini Selfie drone is much more than just a drone you can take pictures with. This compact drone can become the size of a small book and fit just about anywhere so you can pull it out whenever you need an aerial-view selfie.
Let’s talk about the specs now. The ZEROTECH Dobby produces a high definition 1080p video footage with a decent 30fps bitrate and a 13-megapixel camera for still images. It has a built in Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and the Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) that significantly improves the video quality. With the GPS and optical sensors, this selfie drone has optimal stabilization as well.
The flight quality of the foldable drone isn’t the greatest though and beginners will take time getting used to the controls. While the drone is controlled completely by a smartphone app dedicated to it, the controls can tend to get jittery. Once you get the hang of them though, we promise you this is the kind of drone purchase you won’t be disappointed of. Flight time is short; however, the charging takes less than 45 minutes.
The app that controls this selfie drone is user-friendly as well and is available for both Android and iOS users. All in all, the ZEROTECH Dobby has a good value for money and generates good footage and adequate flight modes and tracking features.
Known for its incredible lightweight and compactness, the Eachine E50 has managed to make a statement amongst drone lovers. This is one of those entry level drones that you’ll love even when you’ve upgraded to heavier models like the DJI Mavic Pro. While the folding drone doesn’t produce the same quality of video footage or the same flight control as the high end drones, it has an impressive price to performance ratio. If you’re a selfie expert, the Eachine E50 is a drone you need to have around you. This drone can fold up to the size of your pocket so you can bring it with you on your photography adventures without carrying it around like extra baggage.
The video quality the drone delivers is clear 720p quality which is good enough for the price tag it comes with. This drone is ideal to shoot short videos with because still images (particularly selfies) are what the E50 does best.
It comes with a built-in brushed motor that allows for a flight time of 8 to 15 minutes and a charging time of about 45 minutes. This, we believe, are pretty awesome specs for a drone its size, weight and price.
You can also connect your Eachine E50 with the WiFi real-time transmission FPV system and control it through your mobile screen. The barometer incorporated into the physics of the drone also allows for a stable flight but nothing that can be compared to the GPS sensors that are unfortunately missing in this model of drone.
Despite this, it still deserves a spot on our list because at the price it sells for it comes with an awful lot of colorful features. The 3D rollover camera, gravity sense control, headless mode, one key automatic return and more all make flying a wonderful experience with the Eachine E50.
One of the recent contestants in the drone universe is Parrot and, boy, is it giving some tough competition to the likes of DJI already! Their newest 2018 release is the Parrot Anafi Drone – a foldable machine designed to deliver excellent results along with being super portable.
The Anafi model comes with a carrying case, Sky Controller 3, chargers, manual, propeller blades and even a 16 GB Micro SD card. With a weight of only 11oz, the drone is one of the strongest lightweight drones in the industry at the moment.
Equipped with a 4K HDR camera, the Parrot Anafi Drone takes things up a notch than the DJI Mavic Air. While the footage quality is essentially the same in both drones, it’s the added HDR in the Anafi drone that makes it stand out. The HDR option adds more substance to your landscapes which is undeniably the most important part of drone photography.
The camera is also able to tilt 180 degrees thanks to the mounted three-axis gimbal. It’s a great feature to capture photos from both high angles and low angles. Plus, the 21-MP still images picture quality is definitely impressive. You can also edit your videos and photos right there and then on the smartphone app to share them immediately with your friends.
The drone is also quite similar to the Mavic Air in many aspects including the battery life and flight time. We found that this drone can spend around 21 to 25 minutes of flight time before it needs to charge up again. The battery on this model is also adequate – 2700mAh high-density lithium battery.
Piloting the Parrot Anafi Drone is a breezy experience. The Sky Controller 3 lets you fly your drone without a problem. The added GPS and GLONASS sensors also give it an extra boost of stability so that the drone can fly pretty well even in windy conditions.
The range of the drone is also great with around 2.5 mile range and a maximum speed of 50km/h. Parrot Anafi Drone, in other words, is a promising purchase. Despite being a young company, it still manages to make a mark. There are a lot of elements in it that are similar to the Mavic Air but it still costs around $90 less than the latter!
Kingtoys incorporate a plethora of features in its pocket drone despite its small size and light weight. Intriguingly flexible and equipped with smart control features, the Kingtoys Pocket Selfie Drone is a must-have in your pocket if you’re a selfie fanatic. Take this compact little machine anywhere and use it to capture some spectacular aerial selfies without a hassle.
The Kingtoys Pocket Selfie Drone comes in two distinct colors of black and red with a 500mAh battery. The battery isn’t as impressive as the other models in the list but at the size and price this comes in, we’re pretty happy about it. The charging time (60 to 70 minutes), can however improve greatly.
This selfie drone captures videos in 720p quality and still images at 2MP. Not the best, we admit; but it gets the job done. The drone is a remote-controlled gadget that facilitates FPV real-time transmission and a foldable structure design. It also adds in a 6-axis flight control system that allows the drone to perform 3D flip roll and one-key return. The LED light built into the body of the selfie drone also makes flying at night a unique adventure.
Other features that we believe are worth mentioning are the Altitude Hold function and the incredible gravity control. The brain behind the Altitude Hold function is the built-in barometer – an advanced tool that allows the machine to hover at great heights and remain stable all the while. With a flight time of about 10 minutes and a range of 80 to 100 meters, the Kingtoys Pocket Selfie Drone is a great option to consider if you’re looking for more affordable, entry-level drones.
If there was one selfie drone that we had to pick as our favorite, it’s probably the Wingsland S6. This beautifully structured compact drone is not only easy on the wallet but it is also equipped with a terrific camera that makes all the difference. We don’t see a lot of dedicated selfie drones in the market with 4K video quality features but the Wingsland S6 does it.
Equipped with a 4K camera, this little machine can be controlled with ease through a WiFi connected smartphone app. The photo quality for capturing selfies and still images is 13 MP which is pretty impressive. You can also shift between other video quality option in the drone – 4K, 1080p or 720p depending on what you require.
Plus, this foldable drone also obeys smart control features like gesture control and automated options like the obstacle avoidance making it one formidable competitor in our list of the best foldable drones.
Wingsland S6 weighs a meager 1 pound and comes in three different color varieties – blue, yellow and a unique camouflage tone. The key specs of this drone are also pretty decent with a flight time of approximately 10 minutes and controller operating range of about 100 meters. The four brushless motors added into its mechanics also allow the drone to take on speeds of 28 km/h or 8 m/s and provides the option of shifting between four different flying modes. According to your level of expertise, you can choose the flight mode as you please.
The drone incorporates within it a 1400mAh battery which is massive for a drone its size and shape. This Lithium Polymer battery allows for a total charging time of about two hours. A number of other features in the Wingsland S6 make it more functionally versatile namely the high precision barometer for supreme stability and a smooth flight, return to home feature so that your drone never gets lost, a follow-me mode and added GPS & GLONASS sensors again for optimal stability.
The bottom line is that Wingsland S6 quadcopter is a powerful selfie machine that should be on your wish list if you’re a selfie enthusiast. Not only is its flight and piloting feature spectacular, it also has a strong body with added LED lights for a night time drone adventure and rubberized pads for an unbreakable flight.
This is not your average looking drone; this is the Hover Camera Passport named aptly because of its passport-like size and shape. When you think of a drone, you probably imagine a quadcopter with blades propelling it into mid-air. The Hover Camera Passport breaks this stereotype and puts a spin to the classic drone design all the while keeping the same features stronger than most models.
Made up of pure carbon fibre with a weight of only 8.5 ounces, Hover Camera Passport is the true portable and foldable drone that shrinks to the size of a book or better yet, a passport.
The drone connects to a dedicated smartphone app that lets you control the machine. The app is available for both Android and iOS users. You can also control the drone by gesture control once you set it up into owner mode.
The camera on this machine is 4K-quality with a 30 fps bitrate and at 13-MP still images quality. This is seriously praise-worthy considering how small the drone is. Also in the features list of this tiny drone is the electronic image stabilization that works up to 1080p quality.
The flight time of camera drone isn’t as amazing as we would have hoped as it is only 10 minutes. But there’s a silver lining: the drone comes with not one but two batteries. The flight speed is also pretty average – 17 mph and could be improved.
Two unique features added into the Hover Camera Passport drone is a superbly accurate facial recognition feature and a 360 degrees spin option that is ideal for capturing spectacular panoramic shots.
Our Verdict – The Best Foldable Drones
There’s little doubt that foldable drones make flying a spectacularly convenient experience. Without the extra baggage and weight bringing you down and the constant fear of breaking a propeller or two in drones that cannot fold, this list of portable drones definitely makes a solid impression.
While every foldable drone listed in our article has its share of pros and cons, there are some that exceeded our expectations. When you’re looking to spend plenty on a drone, the DJI Mavic Pro should be the way to go. Sure it’s become a major status symbol amongst drone enthusiast but it actually produces excellent results and facilitates some amazing features. Its sturdy build, cutting-edge speed, incredible range and a vast operating range all make it a desirable high-end drone to have. Worth mentioning here is the Parrot Anafi Drone that is not so far behind the Mavic Pro in features and much better in price wise.
On the other hand, if you plan to purchase an entry-level drone, then the Wingsland S6 can become your best companion and your selfie expert. It has all the pro features like a 4K-capable camera and all the stabilizing sensors while keeping the price in an economical range.