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Drones are becoming increasingly popular among photographers and video creators who want to take their art to the next level. EXO is a company that aims to compete against industry-leading drone technology without making the prices of its products a steep investment for the average consumer.
Founded in a garage in the United States, EXO claims it’s time for improvement in a fairly uncompetitive market. Most of us drone pilots are aware of DJI, the most popular aerial photography and filmmaking brand. EXO is determined that they can offer the high-quality imagery everyone wants but at a much lower cost.
With all the information we’ve gathered, the EXO is probably the best thing you can get if you aren’t able to put down a huge chunk of change for DJI’s top-of-the-line drones. To learn why we came to this conclusion, check out our individual reviews below!
|EXO X7 Ranger Plus
|EXO Cinemaster 2
|EXO Blackhawk 2 Pro
|EXO Mini Pro
As EXO is an American company, they manufacture all of their drones here as well. Despite this, they keep their prices fairly low, even when compared to DJI, who charge a pretty penny. In reality, DJI makes their drones in China, which is a major win for EXO’s ethics.
EXO is a brand that is best for filmmakers and photographers that are on a budget but don’t want to compromise on features and picture quality. With a wide variety of drones to choose from, you can find a product that works for you—whether it’s UHD video quality, a high-megapixel sensor, or a lightweight drone, there’s something for everyone.
If you want something even more inexpensive, such as a cheap beginner drone to learn the basics, you might have better luck finding one on Amazon. For example, DEERC offers a drone for a price that anyone could afford. Of course, you may miss out on essential features, but there’s always an option that’s more barebones on a site like this.
Another thing we want to note is that a popular brand like DJI will have much more information and tutorials on the internet to help guide you through their system.
The EXO drones that we’ll be reviewing all have a minimum of 2K video recording. This is important for professionals who need to export their footage for clients that want amazing results, and with sensor sizes varying from 1/3-inch up to 1 1/3-inch, you can choose what matters most. They even have a drone that has a 48 MP sensor, which is perfect for high-detail photos.
As they were designed and crafted in the U.S.A, the EXO drone you get will be built right. You’re much less likely to get a lemon if you buy one and you’ll know they were made according to a high level of manufacturing standards.
Most EXO drones are very capable in terms of their flight times. They match a lot of the specs you see with DJI, but again, they don’t charge as much money. There are options to buy multiple batteries with your purchase too, so you’ll always be able to extend your drone excursions.
The biggest reason why EXO drones aren’t chosen over DJI is due to their prominence in the market. EXO is a fairly new company, and its trust among consumers isn’t as good as compared to its adversary. This doesn’t mean that they are a bad company per se, but it will take some time for them to beat DJI’s ecosystem and convert their user base.
The most controversial feature that the EXO drones lack is the no-fly zone restriction. With DJI drones, this prevents users from flying illegally depending on their location and gives a sense of relief to pilots. However, EXO did not implement this into their technology, which can pose a real hazard for flyers.
Our first pick from EXO is the X7 Ranger Plus, a feature-packed drone that boasts 4K UHD video recording, up to 25 minutes of flight time, and obstacle avoidance sensors. Performance-wise, the Ranger Plus can fly at a speed of 27 MPH—not bad for what you pay for.
On the other hand, the sensor has only 9 MP, which isn’t a good choice unless you’re uploading exclusively for phone viewers. The X7 comes in at 3 pounds, so you definitely won’t be able to slide by the registration process, and you’ll be weighed down a bit more if you want to go hiking.
Another 4K-capable drone by EXO, the Cinemaster 2 is a powerhouse for filmmakers who need a balance of portability, video quality, and flight control. The Cinemaster has a built-in GPS tracker, along with the essential return-to-home function. Users can get 1080p video in 60 frames per second for slow-mo footage, in addition to level-5 wind resistance in flight.
At 650 grams, it’s lightweight and compact, so you won’t be weighed down on long walks or excursions. Despite this, the drone still has an acclaimed 28-minute flight time.
The Cinemaster 2 isn’t the ideal choice for photographers; it’s geared toward low-budget videographers. Due to the 10 MP sensor, you will be limited to how much detail you can attain in your photos. Also, keep in mind that it exceeds 250 grams, so it will need to be registered accordingly.
The best thing you can buy out of these three choices has to be the Blackhawk 2 Pro, which is an incredible drone for both photography and video content. With a 48 MP 1/1.3-inch sensor, it seriously competes with the newly released DJI Mini 3 Pro but for a lot less cash. While we’re on that note, it also has 4K 200 Mbps bit rate recording capability. The crazy thing is, it’s also the lightest drone we’ve discussed so far, at just 550 grams. Not only that, but it has the best battery life as well, with 38 minutes of acclaimed run time.
Due to its highly-capable tech, it’s also the most expensive. Now, it isn’t as much of a wallet-killer compared to DJI’s Mini 3 Pro, so that’s a major plus. Still, it’s marketed and made for dedicated professionals. The other limitation of the Blackhawk 2 Pro is its distance, just half a mile maximum. This is a big consideration if you want to fly to faraway subjects but don’t have the ability to get there on foot. For example, the open ocean or mountain ranges may be a no-go.
Leaving the words of other users out of the equation is never a good idea when reviewing products. Check out the Amazon reviews for each of these drones:
When it comes to drones, there aren’t a whole lot of premium options out there, as DJI has taken hold of the industry for years with its trusted user base. However, despite being a new player in the drone-piloting world, EXO has completely shaken its throne, with many high-performance devices (such as the Blackhawk 2 Pro) of their own. Hopefully, these reviews have given you an alternative option that you may consider trying, especially if you want to pay fair prices. EXO may have some work to do, but their current standing is overwhelmingly positive!
Featured Image Credit: atsurkan, Shutterstock
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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