Put away that selfie stick (please, really, put it away). There’s a new way to get those all-important vanity shots: a selfie drone.
These drones aren’t toys, they’re not for racing and their cameras aren’t designed to shoot high-flying cinematic views. These drones are specifically designed to grab the best aerial selfies — aka dronies.
Made to slip into a backpack, shoulder bag or even your pocket, selfie drones are basically flying point-and-shoot cameras, letting you concentrate on getting the perfect shot without having to be an expert pilot or photographer. Their small size makes them unobtrusive in public places: You fly them with your phone instead of a big controller and simple onscreen controls and automated shooting modes let you capture dramatic shots with little more than some taps and swipes.
Of course, what good is taking a selfie if you can’t immediately share it? Good news: Since these models already have a direct Wi-Fi connection to your phone (remember, your phone is the remote control), you can download your shots straight to your device, and edit and upload from anywhere.
Just note that since these models are all about ease of use and automation, you’ll likely be disappointed with a pure selfie drone if you are an experienced drone flyer. Instead, look for full-fledged drones that happen to have selfie-centric shooting features (I included a couple here).
Very small, but still very smart, the Dobby is the epitome of a selfie drone. Unfold its arms, launch it from your hand — inside or outdoors — and completely control it with your phone. High winds can toss it around, though, so it’s ultimately better for shooting photos than steady video.
$350 from Amazon (which roughly converts to £280 or AU$460).
Yuneec Breeze 4K
The videos you’ll shoot with the Breeze will make you look like a pro pilot. With just a few taps in its mobile app, you can program it to perform special camera moves like 360-degree orbits or direct it to fly up high and reveal the scene around you.
$449 from Amazon (which roughly converts to £360 or AU$590).
Parrot Bebop 2
Thanks to firmware updates the Bebop 2 keeps getting better, with new features like visual recognition to keep the subject (that’s you) at the center of the frame while flying. It’s also one of the safest drones due to its lightweight body and propellers that stop the instant they come into contact with anything.
$409 from Amazon (which roughly converts to £330 or AU$540).
DJI Mavic Pro
Like the Parrot, the Mavic Pro isn’t strictly designed for selfies (actually, it’s one of the most advanced consumer drones you can get), but it has some features devoted to capturing your mug. For instance, you can snap selfies with hand gestures: Wave to get it to focus on you and again to take the shot.
$999 from Amazon (which roughly converts to £800 or AU$1320).
Hover Camera Passport
This drone’s unique folding design makes it not only superportable, but safe, too, with propellers that are completely protected by its frame. After launching just tap twice on your phone screen to make the drone follow your face. Once you get your shot, the drone folds down to the size of a hardcover book.
$599 from Hover Camera (which roughly converts to £480 or AU$790).
This story appears in the spring 2017 edition of CNET Magazine. For other magazine stories, click here.