Drones serve a lot of purpose in a world of media; filmmakers, YouTubers, and even journalists find this gadget extremely useful.
Not every drone is designed the same. They are pretty much similar to smartphones which basically serve the same purpose but differ in features and specs. If you’re interested in buying one, but you have less experience with them, the Altair Aerial AA108 might be the one you’re looking for.
You may ask why this specific model, or what’s so special about it. Well, this is how I discovered this simple but incredibly useful drone.
A couple of years ago, my 13-year-old kid desperately wanted a drone for his 14th birthday. Back then I didn’t have much experience with these flying machines, so I went to my friend who is a drone enthusiast. He taught me a lot of kinds of stuff about drones which I didn’t really understand. But as I saw his son who was about my kid’s same age flying a drone, I got curious.
Well, you guessed it right. After so many questions, I found what I was looking for. It’s been over five years now and surprisingly the drone still roams the sky. This pretty much explains how well built the machine is.
My buddy thought it would be a good idea to review the Altair Aerial AA108, I said why not, and here it is.
Altair Aerial AA108 Review
The Altair Aerial 108 is a solidly built camera drone made mostly of tough and durable ABS plastic that’s designed to take a few bruises and hits. After all, this model was designed for the new drone fliers. It can handle or withstand a practice flight full of knocks and hard landings.
Another cool thing about this product is that it comes with four extra propellers so you won’t have to seek a replacement after a few days of practicing. No matter how tough and sturdy the rest of the drone is built, the propellers are pretty vulnerable even if they’re made of metal. Despite its simple design and its budget-friendly price tag, the addition of extra propellers makes it even more reliable.
This camera drone has a sleek design, it has pretty small dimensions. It is a super lightweight drone that weighs only 85 grams. The AA108 comes pre-assembled.
One of the main attractions of the Altair Aerial AA108 is its camera. It is equipped with a 720p High-resolution camera which is capable of recording smooth and still video footage. At a few hundred feet in the air, you can’t expect a super high-quality aerial video, but it’s still a great thing, considering its price.
An additional camera feature which the Altair AA has is its 120-degree wide-angle rotation capability that provides incredible bird’s eye view which can be viewed from your smartphone.
Flight modes and Features
When it comes to flying this drone, even a kid who has never operated an Unnamed Aerial Vehicle (UAV) can fly this thing like a pro after just a few minutes of practice. That’s how simple it is, thanks to its headless mode.
For many starters, the most difficult part of piloting a drone is determining its orientation; meaning, they struggle to tell which part of the drone is front, and which part is facing backward, this can result in crashes. Headless mode eliminates this problem and allows the users to focus on their controls rather than focusing on the position or orientation of the drone.
To put it simply, the drone will fly left if the left control switch is activated and vice versa regardless of whichever side the drone is positioned.
This is another cool feature of this model. This feature ensures that the drone autonomously maintains a consistent altitude when it’s in flight.
Custom flight mode
You can use this feature to let your drone fly a path that you choose. To do this, all you need to do is draw a flight path on the screen of your smartphone.
Three flying modes
The Altair AA comes equipped with three flying modes. Basically, the first one is for beginners. As you become more comfortable with the first level, they can move on to the next. All three modes have varying settings of speed and agility, the higher level requires more skill and experience to fly the drone safely.
Controller and Apps
The Altair AA is incredibly easy to operate, thanks to its amazing features like the headless mode, and altitude hold mode. Landings and takeoffs are also very easy. All that’s required to perform these actions is just the touch of a button.
This camera drone has one of the simplest controllers. It’s user-friendly and it’s very easy to use. One of the coolest things about this drone controller is its template sheet which can be placed on top of the controller. If you’re wondering how this template makes it easy for use, here is how.
The template sheet (made of cardboard) has all the labels and directions which indicate what each button and switch is meant for. You can use this to get comfortable with the basic controls. As you get better you can have it removed.
Taking control of some of the features of the drone through a smartphone is also simple. To hook up the drone controller to the smartphone, you have to download and install the app. This will allow you to get First Person’s View (FPV) feed on your smartphone when the drone is up in the air.
If you don’t like using your smartphone, you can even make use of the VR goggles which need to be bought separately.
Additional information about the Altair Aerial AA108
Battery and flight time
In comparison to its size, which is as small as a toy car, the AA108 has a decent battery which provides the flight time of 8 to 10 minutes depending on the speed selection used. This drone also comes with an additional battery; this means you can have at least 15 to 20 minutes of flight time using both batteries.
Altair AA has a range of 100 meters, which is not very impressive, but not as bad considering its low price.
Built quality and durability
A lot of affordable drones or entry-level drones don’t usually have a solid construction. A lot of buyers were surprised by the built quality of this drone. All the parts and components come assembled, and there isn’t a single component that is squeaky or loose.
In addition, the body is well constructed with high quality, super durable material which ensures that the drone is capable of surviving a couple of crashes. Since the drone is rated for the kids and beginners, its manufacturers did build the AA108 for maximum durability.
The Altair Aerial AA has bright LED lights (green and red) which make it a beautiful flying machine when operating in the dark. These lights not only add to the beauty of the drone, but it serves another purpose too. The green lights are placed on the front, while the red lights are at the back. This allows the advanced operator to determine the orientation of the drone when it’s flying in the night.
Even with the LED lights, it can be pretty hard for the beginners to determine which side the drone is faced, this is why the headless mode is recommended for the starters.
Emergency shutdown button
The addition of this feature makes the AA108 much safer too. This button is actually the same button which initiates the takeoff and landing. By giving it a long press you can shut down the rotors of the drone. If you want to prevent the drone from crashing into a building or a tree, simply long-press the emergency shutdown button, and the drone will drop to ground. (Advanced users can prevent the drone from hitting the ground by turning the rotors back on).
For safety, this drone has two alarms integrated into the controller unit. One is the low battery alarm which goes off when the battery goes down below a certain level. This allows the flier to bring back the drone before the battery is totally drained.
Another alarm is activated when the drone flies out of range, which is 100 meters from the controller unit.
Pros and Cons of the Altair Aerial AA108
What we Liked:
- The AA108 has a budget-friendly price tag
- It has lots of cool features such as the headless mode, emergency shutdown button, alarms, and altitude hold mode
- It comes with extra battery and extra sets of propellers
- It’s easy to use
What we didn’t like:
- The battery life and the range are not very impressive
While the AA108 might not have many advanced features, it surely has lots of cool features that other drones at this price range do not have. As stated earlier, if you’re a starter, or you’re looking to buy one for your kid, this model won’t disappoint you.