Initially, drones were controlled by their own bulky controllers, much like a PlayStation or Xbox and their controllers. However, with the modern-day advances we’ve seen in the past decade or so, drones can now be controlled directly from a smartphone, usually via an app.
With so many smartphones on the market these days, it can be difficult to figure out which would be the best to choose for a budding drone pilot. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular options.
Best smartphones for drones
Both Apple and Android smartphones have made it onto the list of the best smartphones for controlling drones which is great news for both of these smartphone users. Here’s a look at the top selections and their credentials:
- iPhone 11 Pro – claims to offer drone users a screen brightness of up to 1,200 nits when using HDR content and an average of 800 nits with standard content. Drone apps are easily downloadable via the App Store, much like downloading the Candy Crush, Unibet Casino, or Netflix apps.
- LG G7 ThinQ – this LG creation isn’t far behind the iPhone 11 Pro by offering 1000 nits when in boost mode. The G7 ThinQ is also the optimal choice for drone pilots on a budget as it comes in at the lowest price.
- Samsung S10 – the S10 offers a maximum brightness of around 800 – 1200 nits as well as having a low screen reflection which is something that all budding and experienced drone pilots would greatly appreciate!
Although some smartphones now do have large screens, if you’re looking for an even larger display, several tablet devices are also approved for use with many drone apps, such as the iPad, iPad Mini 4, iPad Air Pro and all the newer Apple tablet models too. Unfortunately, apps on Android tablets aren’t yet fully supported.
Most popular drones
Choosing the right drone to fly can also be a minefield, as there are so many to choose from, and each model has its own strong points and features. Here, we have a few of the best-rated smartphone-controlled drones and why they’re a favourite among flyers:
- Altair 818 Hornet – has a 720p HD camera, altitude hold mode, 150-metre range, 15 minutes of continuous battery life and is a great budget drone for hobbyist drone pilots.
- DJI Mavic Pro – boasts 27 minutes of flight time, an ultra HD camera with Cinema 4K capabilities, and 20 channels. It weighs 1.6 pounds and is incredibly portable for a drone with a professional standard of camera.
- DJI Spark – supports 15 minutes of flight time while maintaining a 2km flight range. It comes with a 1080p HD camera alongside being one of the cheaper DJI drones while still hosting an array of high-tech functions and features.
- Parrot AR 2.0 – this is a great drone for beginners as it’s instantly recognised by most smartphones. It has a flight length of 10-12 minutes, a 50-meter flight range, 4 channels and weighs around 4 pounds.
- Yuneec Typhoon H – this drone looks and sounds like it means business and is probably better suited to a more experienced pilot. It boasts an impressive flight time of 20-23 minutes, a 2km flight range, a 4K UHD camera, 12MP photos, plenty of high-tech features to keep users entertained, and GPS.
A final glance
Ultimately, it would seem that the iPhone 11 Pro is the optimal choice for most drone users who are looking for maximum brightness. However, those that aren’t fans of Apple will still receive a great experience when using the Samsung S10 or the budget-friendly LG G7 ThinQ.
All of these smartphones appear to support the most common drone flying apps, too, so set-up and installation should be quick and easy, leaving more time for flying and less time battling with technology.