FPV Drone vs Normal Drone: Which One Is The Best?

Pre Intro

Between an FPV vs normal drone, if you ask me which is best, I’ll have a question for you – what’s your purpose? 

FPVs have a high skill ceiling and are used by professionals for aerial videos or racing. 

Normal drones, on the other hand, are for beginners and recreational flyers interested in photography and learning the nuances of flying.

There’s more! Read on to learn the best drone type for you and why.

Feature Table

FPV Drone vs Normal Drone Comparison

Product
Battery life & Flight Time
Camera Quality
Ease of Use
Range
Obstacle avoidance
Speed and Maneuverability
Safety
Normal Drone
9/10
9/10
9/10
7/10
Yes
7/10
9/10
FPV
7/10
7/10
7/10
9/10
No
9/10
5/10

Intro

Drone flying is addictive! I received my first drone as a Christmas gift, and since then, there’s been no looking back. 

Now I own a small fleet comprising three normal drones and two FPVs.

As a result, I’m often the go-to person for friends and family when they’re buying their first drone. Most often, they are confused between a normal drone and an FPV.

Since this is a common query, I’m addressing the differences between normal drone features and specifications and FPV in this blog. Read and decide which one should be your pick.

FPV vs. Normal Drone: Basic Characteristics

Both FPV and normal drones are usually quadcopters with cameras and the ability to fly. 

The most basic difference is that an FPV has a camera and video transmission, which allow the pilot to see everything the drone camera sees through specialized goggles. 

Hence the name FPV or First Person View.

A normal drone lacks this feature. Instead, it provides a third-person view as if the pilot is looking at the drone while flying it.

Even if some drones have the video transmission feature, it cannot be solely relied on for flying.  

Besides, FPVs cannot perform functions like hovering, following a subject, returning home, or avoiding obstacles. These features are only available on normal drones.

Metrics Comparison

Below is a comparison of various aspects of the two drones to better understand their functions and usage.

Battery Life and Flight Time

FPVs are favored by pilots who seek the adrenaline rush of flying at high speeds. The lighter a drone, the faster it can fly. 

Therefore, FPVs sacrifice batteries in favor of speed.

They use batteries with less power capacity than normal drones. As a result, the average flight time varies between 5 to 15 minutes, depending on usage.

The flight time of normal drones varies between 23 to 45 minutes. Some advanced and commercial drones even offer flight times exceeding 1 hour.

The most I’ve achieved is 40 minutes with my DJI Air 3.

Verdict: The extended flight time in normal drones due to high battery capacity as compared to FPVs makes them a winner.

Camera Quality

It’s common knowledge that FPV cameras are inferior to normal drones. They are neither as sophisticated nor do they fare well against normal Drone camera resolution comparison.

But if cinematography is your aim, then you can always fit the FPV with a GoPro, as I have done.

That way, I have the best of both worlds: a pro camera and exhilarating speeds!

As I’ve mentioned above, normal drones come fitted with excellent cameras focused on producing stellar images.

They possess large sensors and greater-resolution cameras that capture more precise shots.

Mid-range and high-end drones also have image stabilization features that eliminate blurry images regardless of flying conditions.

Verdict: The cameras of normal drones are meant for photography and are significantly better when compared to an FPV.

Ease of Use

FPVs have a very steep learning curve that involves simulation practices before flying. Since they offer an immersive experience, the pilots must learn to orient themselves while flying.

I’ll give you an example. When I first started flying an FPV, I would often turn my head to the side because I thought it would allow me to take a view of the surroundings. But that’s not how it works!

The drone only looks and flies in the forward direction, and your view is limited to the cameras.

This takes some practice and skill adjusting to. No wonder people very often crash their FPVs!

A normal drone, however, is not meant to test your skills or patience. Anyone with basic stick knowledge can begin flying it as soon as it’s out of the box.

My 8-year-old can fly my DJI Mini with considerable ease. Besides the instruction manual, there are plenty of features like intelligent modes that make flying and photography a breeze!

Verdict: In a drone control mechanism comparison, normal drones are extremely easy to fly. This makes them the perfect choice for beginners/recreational flyers.

Range

The range of FPVs is unmatched by normal drones. They can fly up to 15 km in areas with no signal obstruction.

However, their ability to fly long distances is marred by the tiny battery life.

Also, most FPVs work on the 5.8 GHz spectrum, which has a low range. But with a bit of tinkering and the right transmitters, you can change the frequency and increase the range. 

The maximum range offered by regular drones is 3-4 km. This, too, is only in high-end models that are significantly costlier and in a controlled environment minus any obstructions.

Verdict: When it comes to max range of FPV drone vs normal drone, FPVs are a clear winner!

Speed & Maneuverability

FPVs are created for speed and agility. Consider this – some of these can accelerate to 60 miles/hour in two seconds!

In fact, a friend has fitted their FPV with a powerful custom motor that takes the drone to 100 miles per hour in one second!

The maximum speed of FPV drones varies between 60 miles/hour to 180 miles/hour, making them the best drone for racing and acrobatics.

As I said earlier, FPVs are notoriously difficult to fly when compared to regular drones.

But once you learn the manual control mechanism in FPV drones, you realize the thrills of the sharp turns, crazy dips, and flips you can take with the drone.

It is the closest one comes to experiencing the joys of flying!

Normal drones, like my DJI Air 3, can achieve maximum speeds of 70km/hr. This will be even less for budget drones.

Controlling normal drones is fairly easy once you learn to use the controller.

Normal drones allow for some aerial feats in the sports mode, but their agility cannot be compared with the nimble FPVs.

Verdict: FPVs win in this category for their sheer dexterity and unmatched speeds.

Safety

Normal drones are targeted at all types of fliers and hence come studded with safety features.

Notable among them are the obstacle collision sensors and Return to Home (RTH) mode.

The anti-collision sensors halt the drone automatically if they detect any obstacle. This is very useful, especially for beginners, as drone crashes can be avoided.

The RTH feature ensures that the drone flies back to the controller even if you lose the signal. Thus, you are assured of never losing your drone, even if it is out of sight.

FPVs are devoid of these safety features. They are meant to fly wild, only limited by your creativity!

However, some FPVs, like the DJI Avata, do offer the RTH function and downward sensors.

The absence of safety features coupled with a higher learning curve are reasons you should expect to crash your FPV multiple times.

Trust me, I know, because I’ve paid a fortune in repairs for my cinewhoop!

Verdict: Normal drones are safer than FPVs. The safety extends not just to the drone but to those around as well.

Conclusion

Normal drones and FPVs each have their separate audience. If you are purchasing your first drone, then it is best to start with traditional drones.

Thereafter, you can graduate to FPVs and maybe build an FPV yourself, too!

Both normal drones and FPV are good in what they do; having read the blog, you can now decide which is best for YOU!

FAQ

FPVs offer an immersive flying experience and are manually controlled. Normal drones focus on providing stability and great aerial shots.

Yes. For videography that requires high speeds and sharp turns, nothing can match the prowess of FPVs.

 

You may have to fit a good camera like the GoPro to get better resolutions.

No. Normal drones lack the high speeds and agility required in racing and aerial acrobatics.

Keep in mind the purpose for which you are buying the drone. If aerial acrobatics, racing, and flying in difficult places are the aim, then consider FPVs.

 

For aerial photography and greater flight times, choose normal drones.

Yes. FPVs are flown using specialized goggles that require practice and good flying skills.

A shorter flight time, limited camera resolution, and a higher learning curve are some drawbacks for professional photographers and beginners.

Yes, most FPV drones have the option of mounting an additional camera.

Yes! When piloting an FPV drone, the pilot actually feels like flying as the FPV offers an immersive experience.

 

Also, the speed and agility are unmatched and make for an exhilarating experience.

No. FPVs require flying skills that come with practice. They are not suitable for those with no flying experience.

Author
Diptesh Das

Diptesh Das is your friendly ‘content maniac’ and drone enthusiastic! Being passionate about content writing. He is a firm believer of the power of words and thereby ended up leveraging them to create an impact by sharing his drone knowledge and experiences.

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