There are a few drones that have paved the way for all others on the market, machines that many people identify at a glance, or are what people think of when they think of the word “drone.” We believe the DJI Phantom line is perhaps the most iconic drone around, but it is hard to ignore the presence of the Inspire, the multitude of props on the Typhoon and the extremely popular folding design of the Mavic Pro.
For now, let’s first dive into the drones that everyone knows, and then we’ll explore the newer drones that have all but replaced these iconic beasts over the years.
Original iconic drones
DJI Phantom 3: a trend-setter
The DJI Phantom 3 was, no surprise, not the first Phantom drone on the market, but it was the active model when drones really hit the spotlight in the consumer market. Not only were Phantom drones popular at the time, but there were many similar looking machines that took to the skies as well. The latest Phantom drones are far superior in almost every way, but the overall airframe design remains the same.
DJI Inspire: Big, intimidating pro drone
The DJI Inspire was one of the first consumer-accessible professional camera drones on the market. As a large machine with a big price tag, it got some attention, but the retracting landing gear is really what made it stand out. Not only is the ‘legs-up’ profile intimidating looking, but the assumption that it is hard to fly gave it some exclusivity. Once again, the newer Inspire 2 maintains mostly the same airframe, but is better in almost every way as well. And don’t let anyone fool you, if you can fly a Mavic drone, you can fly the Inspire 2 as well!
Yuneec Typhoon H: Six propellers
If four propellers are good, six are better, right? There are certain advantages to having extra propellers, such as increased flight safety and the potential for improved stability in the sky. We must compare drones to cars now, your car has four tires, we assume, which is a reliable balance of efficiency for safety. Your car would be also be safer and smoother with six tires touching the ground. We’ll stop there, point is, Yuneec launched a series of hexacopters and they are all fantastic machines to fly.
Hubsan H111: Super nano drone
The Hubsan H111 was one of the first tiny drones to take off from living room floors across the globe. I can fit the drone and the remote in the palm of one hand, and that’s the glory of the H111, it’s a super simple drone, a toy-class machine that great for first time pilots, and for experienced pilots to keep up with their skills.
DJI Mavic Pro: The portability king!
The DJI Mavic Pro was the drone that inspired us to start covering drones. That’s right, the impact this compact, folding quadcopter had on the market was huge. Prior drones were expensive and intimidating, the Mavic Pro made a flying camera accessible, portable, and easy to operate. Many similar machines hit the market since, and DJI themselves have continued the Mavic line with nearly a dozen iterations in different sizes with ever improving cameras. The latest Mavic drones are our top picks for the best drones on the market, and it all began with the Mavic Pro.
Updates and replacements for the iconic drones
With no rhyme or reason, here are a bunch of newer drones that were inspired by the iconic originals.