It takes less than a minute to unbox the Parrot Mambo Fly and start flying. In addition to its ability to reliably hold position, autonomous routines for takeoffs and stunts make it ideal for new pilots. The steady controls don’t sacrifice speed or agility, so experienced pilots can have a good time. You can also add on extras like a camera, first-person-view (FPV) goggles, and a cannon that shoots tiny balls. We recommend everyone buy the optional Parrot Flypad controller, which makes precision movements easier than piloting with the included app.
Who should get this
The appeal of drones is obvious to anyone who sees them in flight. Whether you want to take jaw-dropping aerial videos or race at 60 miles per hour, a drone is one of humanity’s easiest paths to flying.
But not everyone wants or needs to spend hundreds of dollars on one. A good photography drone generally costs $1,000 or more, but if you want just the excitement of flying, you can buy a drone with a low-quality camera (or none at all) that is focused on fast and fun flight for less than $100.
Spending less than $100 on a drone means sacrificing ideal features such as HD video and advanced autonomous-flying modes, but drones in this price range still have plenty to offer. They are perfect for learning the basics of racing and agility (think flying around flags or doing tricks like flips), or giving the dog something to chase through the house. Anyone who isn’t sure if flying drones will become a serious hobby or who is buying a gift for a crash-prone child should consider starting with a drone in this category. Pilots aspiring to compete in drone racing—an increasingly professionalized sport that calls for flying around obstacles at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour—can also find basic options for learning to fly.