JJRC H55 Tracker
JJRC is a company that made a lot of pretty good cheap drones, and it seems they got the experience to build an actual good budget drone like this.
The JJRC H55 tracker is definitely not a DJI Spark, but what it does it does well.
The camera, although 720p, takes video much better than most toy drones I know and frankly the ability to return the drone back to home by the press of a button is nice to have.
A very important feat when choosing a camera drone, however always take note that you can stabilize the footage in post processing too, in programs like adobe premiere or even free ones.
The JJRC Tracker doesn’t come with a gimbal or even electronic image stabilization, but we can’t really ask for it at this price. If you want some image stabilization for under $100, try the DJI tello, but keep in mind that one doesn’t have GPS.
You should look for the following in a drone if you want good image stability:
- A 2 or preferably 3 axis gimbal is the best possible way to stabilize a camera. It’s usually found in more expensive builds.
- Electronic image stabilization. Drones like Parrot Bebop 2 or even the cheaper Tello have it.
- Get yourself a GO Pro drone and use a very stable Action cam with electronic or optical image stabilization!
This is generally valid for any type of drone. How long it stays in the air is even more important for making sure you take a certain shot, usually with more expensive camera drones in professional setttings.
For a camera drone I would actually recommend you go over 10 minutes, if you want to capture the right shots. The JJRC H55 I right there at the edge, slightly under 9 minutes, but you still can take your time to figure out your shots, and replace the battery if you want to fly more.
Drone GPS and stabile flight
You can take very nice shots with a drone that only has the previous items we’ve talked about, but if you want to be stress free… having a stable drone or GPS is the way to go.
This drone has a pretty cheap GPS module, however it worked great in my experience and the return to home was accurate within about 2 meters or so. I happened to go farther and lose signal at about 250m and the drone returned home by itself.
Besides that, drones with GPS also come with useful functions like return to home and follow me, that can be super useful for saving time and money.
- Drones with GPS
- great for stability at higher altitudes and distances
- Safer with RTH options and if battery is too low
- Drones with Optical flow cameras
- much cheaper
- holds position pretty well under 20m height
- can work indoors too
Again, the strenght of this drone is that it has GPS and a good flight range for a cheap price.
Not much else can be said, the brushed motors aren’t as durable or powerful as brushless ones, but for the size of this drone and considering they are much cheaper to replace, it might not be so bad afterall.
A very important thing to be noted is that you can’t connect the drone to the app withot wifi.
And the wifi only connects to phones that support 5g 802.11ac frequency. Go on this comparison site and check if your phone works with it
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The camera is fixed and oriented at a slight angle so it can see the ground a little too. Even at 720p resolution, it does a great job capturing details and the framerate is pretty good.
I haven’t experienced lag when it comes to the wifi connection, but it does get interrupted when going farther than 200m.
The transmitter looks hobby-grade, but it has simple to use functions that are also noted down, which I love.
You can change between the 3 speed rates:
- sport mode
It’s funny how in the middle, instead of a screen you can find a colored sticker. Probably made to keep costs down, which I don’t really mind.
One annoying thing about flying this drone is that you have to calibrate it before every flight.
This means turning it around a few times until the compass is calibrated.
We got into the cheaper range of drones here. It's actually surprising in fact that there can be drones manufactured that are under $100 yet still have GPS, a camera and functioning motors. This is a solid quadcopter that can work as a beginner trainer thanks to the GPS making it easier for people to learn the basic controls.
- comes with up to 3 batteries
- quite stable GPS
- footage saves both on phone and SD card
- has telemetry ( shows height, distance and battery life)
- you need to calibrate it before every flight
- only works with phones that have 5g 802.11ac wifi