Unwrapped: The DJI Phantom personal drone

Not just for war zones anymore.

Drones are not just for war zones and well-funded police forces anymore. While FedEx and UPS are still trying to figure out how to use unmanned drones to deliver packages, the consumer drone market has morphed quickly from DIY kits to machines like this that are ready for flight straight out of the box and cost less than $1,000. Drones are perfect for amateur aviation enthusiasts, tech geeks, or that special breed of genius who will actually bring a visionary Taco-delivering helicopter to life.

Bruce Stotesbury/Times Colonist

Bruce Stotesbury/Times Colonist

The autopilot
The Phantom features a built-in GPS and compass, so it always knows where it is in relation to you. And when communication between the controller and the transmitter is disconnected, it will automatically return to its point of takeoff and land safely.

The specs
The control distance is about 300 metres, with a top horizontal flight speed of 10 metres per second and a maximum vertical speed of six metres per second.

The view
What good is doing anything if you can’t capture it on video? The Phantom has an external removable camera mount for a GoPro or similarly awesome lightweight and rugged video camera.