Headless mode is designed primarily to help beginners maintain control of their drone – in this mode it doesn’t matter which way the drone is facing, the drone will only fly away from you if you press forward, or back towards you if you press backwards.
Headless mode can also help more experienced drone pilots retrieve a drone from a great distance or when visibility become’s limited – many drone pilots have experienced the panic of a drone moving in an unexpected direction, often leading to an expensive crash. Headless mode provides a safety net to protect against this scenario. Use our table to compare the features of headless mode drones under $100, then read on to learn all the detail about each of these drones.
1. Syma X5HW
The X5HW is an FPV quadcopter, using WIFI to transmit footage to your mobile device from an onboard 2 megapixel camera. This is the first Syma to feature altitude hold, which as the name suggests allows you maintain altitude at any level desired. This is particularly helpful for FPV flying, allowing you to focus more attention on avoiding objects. The X5HW also features headless mode, helping beginners and more experienced drone pilots alike maintain control of the drone in challenging conditions.
The X5HW is a stable flier with 5-7 minutes flight time, 30-50m range and weight below 250g, making this drone exempt from FAA registration. The X5HW is also perfectly capable of performing flips for the more adventurous fliers. It is very hard to find a better drone under $100.
Buy the Syma X5HW here
2. JJRC H26W
The standout feature of the JJRC H26W is its gimbal camera, a 3 megapixel 720P HD sensor featuring a wide angle lenses. Even more, the camera can be remotely tilted up and down or swivelled left and right from the hand controller. Combined with a 300m range and very stable flight, this is an ideal drone for capturing high quality images and video from low to high altitudes.
The focus on camera functionality means the H26W foregoes other features such as FPV and altitude hold. However, the H26W does feature headless mode, one key return, and unusually for this type of quadcopter, a heat sink for each of the electric motors. These heat sinks protect the motors from overheating or burning out, keeping your drone flightworthy for longer. The H26W can sustain 6-7 flight time, even whilst recording using the gimball mounted camera below.
Buy the JJRC H26W here
3. Hubsan X4 H107D+
This featherweight drone packs a serious punch. Firstly, the X4 H107D+ features FPV, but unlike similar drones, FPV footage and flight control are transmitted on a different frequencies. The benefit is a much higher FPV range. The X4 H107D+ also features altitude hold, headless mode and a 2 megapixel 720P HD video camera. The hand controller also features video and audio-out fittings, allowing you to attach FPV goggles for the full racer-experience.
The X4 H107D+ records a flight time of 7 minutes, automatically descending to a gentle landing at battery depletion. Control distance is between 50-100m, with FPV range between 30 and 60m depending on battery level. Although the X4 H107D+ does not come with an SD card or card reader, its small size makes it exempt from FAA registration. With the H107D+, Hubsan have shrunk the size without sacrificing features. This makes H107D+ the perfect drone for travelling or for those living in closer quarters.
Buy the Hubsan X4 H107D+ here
4. UDI 818A HD+
This is a great quadcopter for beginner to intermediate flyers, enclosed propellors protecting the drone from collisions with objects and the ground. Headless mode and a ‘return-home’ button also help new and more experience fliers alike claw back control during challenging conditions. Once confidence has quickly been built, the 818A HD+ performs flips with ease.
The 818A HD+ features a 720P HD camera with removable 4GB microSD card, generating great video footage thanks to stable flight. With two swappable battery packs included, you can make the most of the camera with up to 18 minutes flight time. Even more, with a range closer to 100m than the stated 40m, you can survey a lot of territory. The only thing missing is FPV mode.
Buy the UDI 818A HD+ here
5. JXD 509W
A stealthy looking quadcopter, the JXD 509W features WIFI enabled FPV mode, recording footage directly to your smartphone. FPV mode works well with video range over 30m, exceeded by a control range of 60-80m. This quadcopter demonstrates great flying behaviour and boasts an an extremely effective altitude hold feature, making this one of the easiest FPV flyers under 100 dollars. The JXD 509W can achieve 6-8 minutes flight time, with automatic landing on low battery or at the press of a button.
Buy the JXD 509W here