When the new generation is introduced, the prior generation is price-reduced and eventually phased out. This pattern repetitively recurs in computers, smartphones, tablets, and other consumer electronics devices ... therefore, unsurprisingly, in drones, too. To wit, DJI's Phantom 3 product line, which currently comes in Standard, Advanced, 4K, and Professional flavors with varying camera specifications, battery capacities (therefore flight times), wireless communication protocols, and other differentiators, is currently selling at some of the lowest prices I've ever seen. As I'm writing this, for example, the Phantom 3 Standard is on sale for $399, versus an original $799 MSRP, and I've recently seen the Advanced and Pro models for $599 and $699, respectively. Keep in mind that in comparison, the Phantom 4's MSRP is $1,399. If you go 'old school' instead, you might run into things occasionally, but given the lower price you pay, you may not mind ... at least as much.

On the other end of the price spectrum, there's Cheerson's CX-10, which regular readers may recall was a recent teardown victim of mine. Its diminutive dimensions may not be immediately obvious to you:

...until I put my thumb up against it for comparison sake, that is. Yeah, it only runs for around 4 minutes on a charge. And each recharge takes around 30 minutes. But hey, it only costs $10! Buy eight of them, rotate them through a multi-port USB charging station, and you can keep at least one of them in the air at all times ... for less than a Benjamin. And take my word for it, the CX-10 is a blast.

What does an additional $5 get you (aside from a 'C' on the end of the product name)? How about a built-in 0.3 Mpixel camera (therefore the 'C') and a micro SD card slot that supports up to 32GB capacities for video recording purposes? Same flight time. Same recharge time. But eminently more useful, for those of you who want to share your flight experiences with the masses. And if you think I'm kidding about that $15 price tag, as I'm typing these words online bargain site Meh has them on sale, two for $30.

Tack on $10 more, and what do you get? The hardware controller's not bundled this time around, alas, although you can optionally use one from one of the previous Cheerson models. But instead, you can install an app on your Android or iOS device and control the CX-10W over 2.4 GHz wireless (therefore the 'W' in the name) that way instead. That same smartphone or tablet will also support wireless live streaming (and optional recording direct to the mobile device's built-in storage) of video sourced from the quadrotor. And the built-in camera also gets a resolution upgrade, to 720p video capture. Well worth $25, I'd say.

What if low price is your 'thing' but a quadrotor isn't? The Syma S107 helicopter is currently a top seller on Amazon, with a 4-out-of-5 star average rating and more than 4,000 posted reviews. And did I mention that it's less than $20? If yellow isn't your thing, it also comes in blue and red. I recently bought the similar-looking New Castle SJ230, which I gifted to my nephew for his birthday.