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First Click: Is this the holiday you finally buy that drone?

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November 18th, 2016

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I really want a drone. Every Christmas since I was a kid has been highlighted by some kind of remote-controlled vehicle. I’ve had countless RC cars, of course; tanks, boats, and lots and lots of remote-controlled helicopters. The quality has steadily improved over the years but they’ve never cost more than $50 or so. They're toys, after all, and usually last only a day or two before suffering an irreparable crash or fatal loss of interest. Things took a turn when I first saw the original DJI Phantom a few years ago.

I’ve been watching the high-end camera drone market ever since, keeping abreast of Ben Popper’s adventures and recommendations. I’ve been tempted to buy before, even when the price was hovering at around $2,000 for the complete quadcopter plus camera kit. I’ve got kids, I’d rationalize, and I’ll only have one chance to capture my five-year-old daughter in one of those close-up shots that zooms into outer space. Now she’s eight. Still, I’ve never quite managed to trick myself into pulling the trigger.

But now there’s a portable, lightweight drone that costs about $1,000 and still packs all the advanced features found on models costing much, much more. I’m talking about the DJI Mavic Pro, of course — our This Is My Next pick for best drone as 2016 comes to a close. It’s just a shame that the future of GoPro’s Karma is now in doubt.

Anyway, I’m seriously tempted to buy a drone this holiday season. What about you?