Having a way to take their videography aerially and capture amazing footage from a comfortable location earned the drone the trust and best friend status of videographers.
That was a time when all that was needed was to have a way to explore previously untouched space, the aerial territory to capture stunning footages. But with more power and versatility of premium drones, videographers wanted something more; they needed something compact!
Today, the demand of the market has got its supply! Foldable drones have surfaced, and in droves, more manufacturers are coming up with even more powerful, yet reliable and affordable compact drones for the market.
Now, drones have been designed and manufactured to fit into tiny places without any risk of damage or lose any of its parts. The backpack is too big for some, as we do have drones that can fit into your working jacket ready to hit the aerial space to do its work and return to your pocket.
Like in the past, the foldable drone has become the focus of competition for manufacturers to outdo one another. Leading the pack is the renowned drone maker, DJI with its Mavis collection of best portable drones.
For a good reason, foldable drones are the trend in aerial videography. For drone enthusiasts, this is a good thing happening, but you need to be guided to have your hand on the best foldable drone to enjoy your cause.
We must provide the narrative and show you the best portable drone money can buy. Our review of the foldable drone will cover the vital areas and list out the pros and cons. we are using our knowledge and experience of drones for the growth of the industry.
With a clear comparison, we believe you should be set to make an informed decision when purchasing your next drone, whether you are a veteran or it’s your first time!
The Best Foldable Drones Comparison Table
DJI Mavic Pro
Holy Stone HS160
GDU – BYRD
DJI Mavic Air
CMOS 12MP 4K
21MP 4K HDR
17 x 19 x 3.5 inches
7.09 x 7.09 x 1.18 inches
10.7 x 8.8 x 4.2 inches
6.5 x 7 x 2.5 inches
6.9 x 9.4 x 2.56 inches
*Scroll right on mobile device to see every item
The Best Portable Drone Reviews
This, no doubt, is one of the leading names on the lips of drone enthusiasts. DJI Mavis Pro needs no introduction to the drone veteran and wannabe! Its range of drones is a masterpiece in their categories. They represent the best thing that can happen to anyone who is into a drone.
Admittedly, its range of drones don’t come cheap, and you know why! DJI Mavis Pro is to drone followers, what Bentley is to car lovers and Louis Vuitton is to fashionista!
It is the flagship of drone culture! Mavis Pro features an impressive industry standard with too much detail to everything they do. Every piece of its drone is exceptional in quality and performance. And to add to its laurel, the foldable drone made its debut! If you thirst for DJI Phantom 4 model, as we were, its lack of foldable feature makes it less the bride today.
While we celebrate foldable feature in a drone, we can’t be unmindful of its intended purpose. Capturing high-quality photos from aerial vantage position is the object, and the reason drones are such a darling of videographers. The quality of image Mavis Pro delivers is exceptionally exquisite!
It delivers a true 4k video quality; it does this with premium quality and exceptional graphics, making it a darling of the industry. Mavis Pro produce clear and smooth professional quality footage. Features like the TapFly, the Active Track, 3-axis gimbal add to its capturing power making it so enchanting!
With a flight speed of 40kmp and a 27 minute flight time delivering an impeccable range of 7km, and built-in GPS system and GLONASS image enhancing features, the Mavis Pro tops the lot! This capability gives the video-capturing monster, the power of a thousand laser-sharp cameras; be it indoor or outdoor.
Its flight power is further attested to by its ascent and descent speed. It soars at a maximum speed of 5 m/s up and 3 m/s down.
The design is incredible; the machine has a sturdy built which enhances its safety. Thus, the part is not easily broken and can tolerate extreme temperature.
Price? We don’t expect a machine this good to come cheap, but it is a good buy; worth the investment!
- It’s portable and foldable
- Has exceptional, top camera quality (4k video)
- Soars at fast speed and range
- Features smart satellite positioning with GPS/GLONASS
- Usable indoor and outdoor
- It’s not water resistant
- Not the best audio quality
- Limited charging time – 50 minutes
- Has only 60 Mb/s bitrate
We are not in the drone world for the price but for the quality and something that offers value for money; this drone amazes us! Fine, we can't rank it with high price drones, but we found certain qualities some costly drones struggle to make right. Hence, our decision to feature it in this review.
Compactness at its best, the Holy Stone HS160 Shadow is foldable even to the size of a cellphone! For people who want to test out their new found hobby in drones, this is a place to start. It can travel comfortably in your pocket and go anywhere with it.
For its price, you can have excellent video footage and enjoy your passion. See where your leg cannot take you and take photos and show friends the serene surrounding of your getaway location. Of course, the camera isn’t a 4k spec, but it has a 720p quality you can take good video with.
You can connect the HS160 to your smartphone to see what it sees as it soars above. The catch in this drone is that first, you need a remote control to go with it. Second, you have to be within 30 meters of active internet connection anytime you are flying.
Well, the flying time is not cheering at 7 to 9 minutes. But given its price and reputation of the manufacturer, it’s a good start.
The not too cheering news is that, while the price best fits a newbie’s budget, flying the drone requires the veteran experience. For the newbie drone pilot, you might find it hard to control. It needs a built-in GPS sensor to stabilize it. You have to be exceptionally good to maneuver it.
Well, for beginners, we were once there, you need to start in tutorial mode and gain mastery of flying. There are four-speed modes for the drone, begin gradually and grow.
- It offers excellent price at below $100 price tag
- It’s super portable, best for foldable drone
- Nice 720p video quality
- Smartphone control enabled
- Has four-speed mode for flight perfection
- Short flight time defeat the fun
- Can be tough to fly for a beginner
The GDU-BYRD Premium 1.0 is an excellent buy and here is why. The size is adjustable – thus, you can make it fit into a minimal space or take it with you anywhere you go. This black drone can stay in flight for up to 29 minutes – ample time to get all your shots taken. The camera records 4K video resolutions at 30 fps, although you may lower the resolutions to 720, 960, or even 1080p. You will get more fps at lower resolutions, and this is great for recording videos when the drone is on high speed.
With a 1,000-meter maximum range, you have more than enough range for selfie purposes. The micro-SD has a capacity of 64GB, ample storage space to keep all your pictures and footage. Other smart features are responsible for the effective functioning of this drone. First is the follow-me feature which fixates the drone on you, hence following you everywhere. You can shoot selfie-type footage automatically instead of using the manual controls. Thus, you can easily create a befitting setting for your pictures.
The important specs of the GDU-BYRD Premium 1.0 are listed below;
- Weight: 4.2 pounds
- Battery: Lithium metal
- Charging Time: 120-180 minutes
- Control range: 1,000 meters
- Flight time: 29 minutes
Conclusively, you have an impressive and cheap selfie drone in the GDU-BYRD Premium 1.0. Portable enough for mobility, this drone packs an excellent camera with multiple resolution options and secured by a 3-axis gimbal; and intelligent flight features that help you to capture photos of excellent qualities.
- Crisp video capture with 4K resolution camera
- Portable and impressive battery life
- Several original flight features
Let’s talk about another DJI line of foldable drone, the Mavic Air. If I call this the minimalist featured drone, well I won’t be missing it? This is because it has some limitations compared to its sibling, Mavic Pro!
However, this cute machine packs amazing video capturing power. It captures up to 100 Mb/s, much better than its brother who does it at 60/ Mb/s. For the high-quality video enthusiasts, this machine won’t disappoint your expectation! It does have 4k video quality as well, but not with the vibrancy of Mavic Pro.
It has a balanced aerial power with a fantastic speed of 65kph and holding ability. This is enabled by its three-axis gimbal units to penetrate windy speed of over 16mph. This feature gives this machine a place in our review of foldable drones you should consider buying.
The construction is superb with the camera well protected by a frame and not fragile part to risk breaking. While you shouldn't worry about breaking any of its parts, the drone is amazingly compact. So cute that it can fit into your smartphone holder and carry without risk of damage. I think travel bloggers and journalist will find this a great companion.
As mentioned earlier, Mavic Air lacks in some areas that DJI needs to go back to the drawing table to fix. For DJI credibility and industry excellence, having a powerful drone with 15 minutes flight time isn’t acceptable. Although the advertised flight time was 21 minutes, real-time flight test has only 15 minutes!
Talk of the range for Mavic Air, it leaves much to be desired. The radio signal quality is low. Controlling the machine requires you to connect your mobile phone with Smart Hand Gestures.
Overall, we think this is a fantastic foldable drone, despite some improvement calls.
- Very portable, as small as a smartphone
- Amazing flight stability and speed
- Powerful video bitrate of 100 MB/s
- Damage free, robust
- Poor range
- Short flight time and battery life
- Clumsy video cropping
Parrot isn’t a backbencher in the drone market, and DJI better sit up as this contestant mean business! Anafi drone, the 2018 edition is excellent. It’s a foldable drone, so we need to talk about it here.
If you want a compact drone with amazing ruggedness, think Anafi! It shipped with cool accessories like carrying case, Sky Controller 3, chargers, manual, and propeller blades. It also has a 16 GB Micro SD card for your recording, plus its so light with just 11oz!
The video quality is impressive sporting a 4k HDR camera, a better deal compared to Mavic Air by DJI. The HDR feature offers more as the landscape is clear and bright for a cool photo shoot and video recording.
Its three axis gimbal for the camera gives it a 180-degree tilt area coverage possibility to see more. The drone carries a 27000mAh high-density lithium battery which offers between 21 to 25 minutes flying time.
Piloting it is cool and not difficult at all. Its sky controller 3 gives you total control with ease. While its GPS and GLONASS sensors offer extra stability, Anafi is designed to cruise in windy condition without panic. The 2.5-mile range and top speed of 50km/h make the drone a good prospect for drone experts who want power and compact.
Parrot is a young company compared to DJI, but this is not about size or age, it is about having the technology! With a lower price, compare to Mavic Air, Anafi is worth your attention.
- Quality video with a 4K HDR and with 21-MP still images possibility
- Ease of flying and control with Sky Controller
- Additional GPS & GLONASS sensors for stability
- Excellent range of 2.5 miles
- Amazing speed of max 50 km/h
- Edit videos and photos on the smartphone app
- Smartphone app does crash
- Sometimes the drone moves on hover mode
- Frequent connection interruption
The Benefits of a Foldable Drone
Drone is becoming an essential product in our lives. One area, the foldable drones are making a significant impact is in selfies drones. This is the category with the most drones as people love to take their own photos.
Drone technology makes it possible for the machine to fly away, turn and recognize your face and gesture to take your photo. The technology involves software and works with the smartphone with installed appropriate application to communicate and control the drone to perform a task.
Foldable drone technology is a nifty idea, but its selfies are in vogue because of people and their closeness to smartphones. Even in the era of the goofy-baggy cargo pants (me too), I don’t think anyone would stuff their pockets with a flying ninja star. Ditto for a bag. Not to mention, your gangly, star fishing drone will probably snap things while being flung around during your jaunt.
There are two main rewards of the foldable drones; one, it is practical to keep with you. This is the reason selfie drones are a must. Likewise, foldable bigger drones are folded and kept in your backpack, pocket or wherever is convenient to carry around. The second gain is the safety issue. You can take a compact drone without the fear of breaking it.
Drawbacks of Foldable Drones
It sounds good having a drone to keep in your traveling bag or stay right in your pocket. But the truth is, anytime we look for something we trade something for it and drone is not an exception. The good old inflexible drones have their inflexibility as a shortcoming, but now that we take that away, we have inadvertently given up other good things that go with them.
Let’s think a bit, having the inflexible drone fold means more points have been folded which were not before. These foldable points will for sure have their shortcomings and may become the breaking points of the drone.
It means we have traded off something to have what we want. These things we gave up may become the albatross of the foldable drone. The physics of depreciation is imminent each time we fold and unfold, and eventually, it may break!
Who is foldable drones best for?
I am not saying it’s not for everyone, but if the rocket is sold for the price of a motorbike will you buy? Of course, not! Now to the main point. If you are thinking of a drone and torn between the regular and foldable, which one would you buy? Am not sure what you do, but I think the following people are best suited to have a foldable drone.
They are detailed oriented and tech enthusiast nowadays, no wonder they invest in foldable drones. It gives them the capability to capture awesome moments during training and other events. They can practically sniff around unnoticed during great moments of their activities. While foldable drone is perfect for them, other professions too can benefit.
Consider AirDog ADII for instance. It is a fantastic travel buddy and gives people who travel a lot, the companionship they need. Good camera means perfect aerial photo shoot. Its waterproof and hands-free features make it take command in the water. Think of what this can do for your profession or lifestyle.
I am sure we can all resonate with these people because we have been there on occasions. Having a foldable drone gives the power to shoot great photos and cover your surrounding areas when you travel. If any group should not confuse their need for the foldable drone, it is the travelers! You need it more than even your clothes.
There are options for you with foldable drones as you do have with their older siblings. It is a world of endless possibilities determined by your wallet. You can go for the low-end or high-end depending on your purchasing power. But remember, foldable drones are the gadget you don’t want to do without if you travel a lot.
You may look down on student at your own risk, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Thinking they are poor? No, they are not. But I admit they are not so rich as well! Students have a great opportunity in foldable drone, especially the high-end ones. With many of them into different amazing ideas, having the aerial power to take cool photos can become a cool income stream for many who do have the money to invest.
For students with mischief intentions; sneaking on girls’ dorm late in the night or doing other stuff could find the foldable drone a good buddy. There are more you could do with a powerful foldable drone, but I leave the rest to your imagination.
Foldable Drone FAQs
Are pocket drone and foldable drones the same?
A drone going into a pocket not necessarily makes it a foldable. So, these are two different things altogether!
Are there benefits for having a foldable drone?
Clearly, their compact form comes with great benefits. They are mobile and versatile. The foldable drones have extended the acceptance and reach of drones beyond where they were before now. It gives users the freedom to choose and offers an endless photographic possibility. Consider the DJI with exact dimension, when folded, to be 83mm x 83mm x 198mm and weighs only 1.64 lbs. (0.74 kg). Now think of more benefits.
However, while they pack such amazing benefits, they are not without their shortcoming; one of their drawbacks is poor stability. They also lask hovering power in the air. Think of their size and weight and see why it’s difficult to maintain a good hovering power midair. If your drone can’t hover, how do you achieve the purpose of taking a picture?
The efforts of DJI Mavic Pro to achieve success in hovering isn’t what other foldable manufacturers have been able to accomplish. It is even an arduous task for DJI to battle the strong wind.
Are foldable drones durable?
The ability to reduce a drone to pocket size phone is a great feat achieved by the manufacturers. It is not about having a contraption that is small in size; it is about durability as well. But when we talk about the functionality of micromechanical part of a product, one wonders if these will not be their risk point.
In any case, let’s admit one thing, the parts of these drones are robust. I am not saying all foldable drones will pass the robustness test, but for the established ones, they will! By right, we will not compare a 1000 dollars drone with that of $100. That $900 difference speaks volume regarding the versatility, robustness and long-lasting.
What is the quality of the camera on foldable drones, are they reliable?
The straight answer is perfect, depending on the model. Of course, you will not expect a car that costs $1000 to give you the comfort of a $100,000. The price is the determent of what you will get.
A 4k DHR camera will provide exceptional quality picture than a 720p camera would. The camera on your drone is what the price can get and it’s the best thing for it.
The rule of the thumb is to check the spec and check your pocket. You want a better sharp image, see it in the spec and buy.
How long does a foldable drone last in flight?
The make, model and price will determine the flight time. The cheaper, the lesser! You can have as long as an hour flight time if you want it.
Do foldable drones have features?
Every product do have the features they offer so are foldable drones. You will find a variety of functions according to the size, model, and price of the drone you buy.
Would foldable drones be the future of commercial drones?
Hmm, fascinating question! Foldable drones are definitely in their infancy with lots of future ahead of them. We expect they will continue to improve and more areas of application will emerge. Yes, the future is bright for them, and I will not be surprised to see longer flight time and carriage power like their older siblings.
The autonomous delivery system covers the entire USA, having foldable drone play that part is not an impossibility. Every day, the ability of space technology improves. Before it was the moon, now attention is shifting to other planetary places. Who can say what the future has for foldable drones? We can only imagine and expect things to happen.
Improvement in foldable drone and as with all drones is progressing, cracking the puzzle of longer flight time, luggage bearing and other functionalities of the commercial drone are unfolding. Let’s wait and see!
The drone industry is in an exciting stage of its development, and the foldable drone is at the center of it. Having a reduction in the size of drone and an increase in performance is the future that awaits us.
For now, get yourself a befitting foldable drone and catch your fun with your aerial dream!
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