Which drones make the best toys?

Coming out of CES 2015, three drones caught reviews' eyes. What makes the Hubsan Nano Q4, EHang Ghost, and DJI Inspire 1 special?

Mark Lennihan/AP/FILE
A drone flown by Brian Wilson, prepares to land after flying over the scene of an explosion that leveled two apartment buildings in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York.

This year's Consumer Electronics Show presented a spectrum of drones designed for everyday people. Whether you're looking for a quick zip of fun or a higher-end “prosumer” drone, here is a sampling of the most exciting, innovative, and future-looking unmanned flying vehicles.

Hubsan Nano Q4

Said to be the world’s smallest remote-control quadcopter, the $80 Habsan Nano Q4 is aimed at hobbyists looking for the latest tech gadget to tinker with. Unlike many of the drones on the consumer market, the Nano Q4 lacks a camera. The battery can handle five minutes of flight time and charges quickly via a computer’s USB port. Reviewers say its miniature remote control is very sensitive because of the quadcopter’s small size, and it sometimes requires tinkering to make the Nano Q4 fly upward in a straight line.

EHang Ghost

The crowd-funded EHang Ghost raised more than $760,000 from backers, compared to its goal of $100,000. The Ghost uses a detachable GoPro for video-recording, making its auto-follow feature especially attractive to people involved with action sports. Using a smart phone app, skateboarders and snowboarders can set the Ghost to follow and record their adventures – provided they don’t exceed the Ghost’s 20-minute flight time. It also has a “tilt mode” that allows users to control the drone by tilting their smart phone. Backers pre-ordered the Ghost on Indigogo for $900 to $1000.

DJI Inspire 1

At the “prosumer” end of the market is DJI’s Inspire 1. Video cameras today often have 720p or 1080p resolution, but the Inspire 1 boasts a 4K camera with the ability to rotate 360 degrees. The Inspire 1 can be flown via the controller packaged with the drone, or by using its comprehensive mobile app. Reviewers report the Inspire 1 is easy to operate, has impressive stability even in rough wind conditions, and offers 18 minutes of flight time. Less easy to maneuver is the 360-degree rotatable camera while flying at the same time, but there is an option to fly the drone with the camera locked at one angle. The Inspire 1 starts at $2,900.

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