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HolidayBuyer's Guide

The drones of spring

DJI Phantom 4

Yuneec Typhoon H


ProDrone Byrd

Walkera Furious 320


The year promises to be filled with all manner of drones, but here's your peek at what's going to be flying around in the first half of 2016.

Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET

The Phantom 4 promises to be one of the top drones out this year thanks to its obstacle avoidance system that should keep you from crashing into trees while it follows you around with its new ActiveTrack mode. It's not cheap, though, at $1,400. It arrives in mid-March at and with wider availability in April.

Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET

Like the Phantom 4, the Typhoon H can avoid obstacles thanks to some help from its partnership with Intel and its RealSense technology. This one's pricey, too, at $1,800, but it has a removable, upgradable 4K-resolution camera that rotates 360 degrees; landing gear that gets up and out of the way of your shots; foldable arms to make travel easier; and a fail-safe that will keep it from crashing to the ground if one of its six motors cuts out. Look for it mid-April.

Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET

The Onagofly is controlled with an iOS or Android device and is primarily designed to snap aerial selfies or record 1080p full-HD video while it follows you around in the air. It can currently be ordered through Indiegogo for $260. In a new twist on crowdsourcing fails, the developers started shipping on time to its early backers, but the apps needed to fly it were initially unavailable (iOS) or incomplete (Android) and the drone itself appears to be getting regular updates still to improve performance. If you order one now, it is scheduled to arrive in April. Hopefully by then more of the kinks will be worked out.

Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET

The ProDrone Byrd made an appearance back at the end of 2015 setting itself apart from other camera-toting quadcopters with a strong foldable design paired with a healthy feature set and potentially long battery life -- up to 30 minutes. And it was supposed to be shipping by now. A company representative told me it is set to ship at the end of April.

Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET

The Furious 320 was one of the few ready-to-fly racing drones I saw at CES 2016. It's a 320-size model with brushless motors and a modular design for easy repairs. Flight times average 8-10 minutes, and it can be purchased with or without GPS. Its props tilt forward so that it can reach speeds up to 75 mph. You can buy it direct from Walkera for $550 with GPS, but it will have wider availability in the coming months.

Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET

This follow-me quadcopter for action sports made a big splash at CES 2015, but only recently started shipping to its crowdfunding backers. CEO and co-founder Edgars Rozentals said although it looks the same and the core product is the same, everything about it is better than what they had originally planned. If you order one now for $1,600, it will ship in April.

Caption by / Photo by Joshua Goldman/CNET