Best Smartphone Controlled Drones for Beginners

man flies a drone with phone

As the popularity of drones continues to grow, it can be harder and harder to find ones that meet your needs. As soon as you begin hunting for one, it’s easy to get quickly overwhelmed by all of the available ones on the market. This article will walk you through some of the best ones out there so you can find the right one for you without the days of research.

Please note that in this article we only discuss drones that can be fully controlled with smartphones. Actually, most of the drones come with a remote controller, and phones or tablets can be mounted on the remote as the screen

Our Picks

Best overall: Holy Stone HS120D Drone

The Holy Stone HS120D drone gives you a carrying case for easy travel. The camera is also 1080p HD so you can get clear images at all times.

Also great: Altair #AA108 Camera Drone

This drone from Altair has a 720 HD FPV camera, which gives you high-quality images from anywhere. You’re able to draw flight patterns for it on your cell phone and tell it where you want it to go.

Budget pick: Dwi Dowellin Drone

This drone gives you all the joy of a drone without the extra expense. Watch and control your flight from your phone with an easy-to-use app.


Things you should know about smartphone controlled drones

Before you purchase a phone controlled drone, there are a few things you need to know about what to keep an eye out for and how they work.

Most drones controlled by phones have an app you’ll need to download to use them or a Bluetooth connected remote. Usually, these are easy to install and operate.

Always be sure to practice before your first flight. Read the instruction manual multiple times so you know what all the buttons are.

If there are immediate stop or safety buttons, practice hitting those quickly and easily. You don’t want to be in a situation where you need to stop your drone but you forget how to.


How did we pick? 

There are a few factors we kept in mind when picking these drones to recommend. With so many drones on the market, it was important to carefully consider a variety of factors.

Ease of use

Every drone is different in their flight abilities and knowing what level a drone is at is essential to you enjoying your purchase. If you buy one that’s too hard for you to fly, you’re not going to enjoy using it, which defeats the purpose of getting it in the first place.

Battery life

Most drones have different battery lives and knowing how long your flight is can help you manage your time well. For some drones, you can also order extra batteries with your purchase to extend the life of them.

Camera quality

Depending on what pictures you want to take and use them for, the camera quality might matter in your shopping checklist. Most drones are either 720 or 1080, but you’ll also want to check the video quality, too, if you plan to take videos as well. Each camera will also have different degrees that can rotate. Most drones have degrees that can rotate 120 degrees.

Overall use

Some drones have easy-to-use buttons like automatic landing and automatically return to the takeoff point. You’ll want to make sure your drone has the buttons you need and have them easy to access.

Size of drone

The size of the drone matters for a lot of people as well as the other factors. There are some that can fit into your pocket and others that are much larger. The larger ones can be heavy and hard to fit in bags if you don’t think ahead.


Best Smartphone controlled drones review

Our top pick: Holy Stone HS120D Drone

The Holy Stone drone has the same quality of the expensive drones without paying a hefty price. The 1080p HD FPV camera makes it one of the better options out there for camera quality if you’re using it to get pictures or video. The buttons on the controller and on the accompanying app make it incredibly easy to fly, especially when it comes to easily take-off and landing. It also comes with an easy traveling backpack so you can take it anywhere you need to, which is perfect if you love to fly your drones on the go.

The GPS assisted flights make sure you never lose your drone, which is a common issue for a lot of passionate drone flyers. With each flight, you can save your photos and videos to an SD card. You can use your smartphone to control the flight path so you know exactly where it’s going to go with every move.

This drone is a little more advanced than some others on the market, so if you plan to get it for your child, you might want to consider a different one or be sure to help them fly it every time.

Key Specs and Benefits:

  • GPS assisted flights
  • Carrying bag for traveling
  • Smart flying options including follow me, object trace, custom path, headless mode, altitude mode, and one key takeoff/landing
  • Total weight: 250g 
  • Light enough to avoid FAA registry

Learn more >>


Runner up pick: Altair #AA108 Camera Drone

The Altair #AA108 has a ton of features that make it a great option for any age. Whether you want to fly it indoors or outdoors, it’s safe to fly and easy to control. There are three skill modes for this drone so if you have multiple kids with different skill levels, they will all be able to fly this drone.

The 720 HD FPV camera gives you a great image right from your phone and the ability to capture images onto an SD card so you can import them to your devices after flying. Out of some of the drones out there, this one has a stable flight and an easy-to-fly process.

You get two batteries with this drone for double the flight time. You’ll get up to 100 meters (which is about 10 minutes) of flight time before you need to switch out batteries. There is a built-in low battery alarm so you can get a heads up before the battery cuts out.

Key Specs and Benefits:

  • 720 HD FPV camera
  • VR option
  • Three skill modes
  • An indoor or outdoor drone
  • Two batteries for extra long flight time

Learn more >>


Budget pick: Dwi Dowellin Drone

The Dwi Dowellin drone is a great option for anyone looking for a drone on a budget without sacrificing the best parts of a drone. Most cheaper drones only get a few minutes of flying time, but the Dwi Dowellin gets a full flight time of 23 minutes.

This drone also has the fun feature of doing flips and rolls with the simple push of a button. As long as you have enough space to make sure they can perform the trick, it will be easy to do. Not giving it enough space can cause it to crash, so read the instructions carefully. This drone can flip four different ways so you can have a ton of fun creating sequences with the flips. 

By using WiFi FPV transmission you’re able to see the 720P HD camera and can save all of your pictures and videos. There are different flying speeds with this drone as well, so as your skills advance, you can make it progressively harder and have more control over the drone.

Key Specs and Benefits:

  • 720P HD camera
  • Connect through the app to watch the flight in real-time
  • One key take-off
  • 23 minutes of flying time
  • Altitude hold function
  • Multiple tricks available

Learn more >>




Overall, the Holy Stone drone is the best smartphone controlled drone due to the overall build and quality of the drone along with the carrying pack. The Dwi is the best budget pick if you need something cheaper, but you won’t get all the features as the others. The Altair is a solid middle-ground option between the two.

What drone do you like to fly? Let us know in the comments below!


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The Best Camera Drone with Camera under $300 Review

The Best drone with camera under $150

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