End of Year Budgets & Holiday Drone Shopping Made Easy - 1UP Drones

End of Year Budgets & Holiday Drone Shopping Made Easy

An abundance of new drones have hit the market, so in this blog we hope to help to make those “end of year” budget decisions, and your holiday shopping, easier. Choosing a drone is a big decision that requires forethought and planning. Let’s begin with what you should consider before making a purchase. 

How Will I (or the Gift Recipient) Use a Drone?

One of the most important factors in making a decision is to thoroughly examine and understand the use cases that apply to your specific department, in order to find the most suitable drone for your unique needs. Or simply put, how will you actually use a drone (or how will the gift recipient use a drone)? 

 Here are some valuable discovery questions to ask: 

  • What does your organization want to accomplish by adding drones into your operations? 
  • What type of data do you hope to collect?
  • How will you process and use the data?
  • How will your organization maintain a drone fleet?
  • What budget will be invested into the drone program?

For those planning to gift a drone to someone else, you can adapt these questions to fit your intended recipient to help you consider how they will use a drone, their ability to maintain a drone, and more.

Holiday Drone Overview 

To assist your holiday drone shopping, here’s a concise overview that explores the DJI Matrice 300 (M300), M30/T, M3E, M3 Classic, Autel EVO II V3, DJI Avata, and Full Throttle Aerial Cetan (the 1UP choice for Made in the USA).

Matrice 300 (aka M300 RTK)

The Matrice 300 (aka M300 RTK) from DJI is a large workhorse of a drone offering multi-utility with a variety of sensor options, including the L1, P1, H20, H20T, U10 (methane detector sensor) and many other 3rd party options from Rock Robotics, Phoenix LiDAR, etc. What makes this the workhorse?

  • 55 minutes of flight time (without payload)
  • 15 km (9.32 miles) of flight distance
  • IP 45 weatherproof rating
  • Superior wind tolerance up to 15 meters per second
  • Redundancy in components
  • Hot swappable camera and batteries
  • RTK – Real time kinematic for greater accuracy than GPS

This is an enterprise class drone geared for police, security,iInspections, surveyors, engineers, and many other AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) use cases.  

Matrice 30 (M30/T)

The M30/T by DJI is a mid level drone for quick deployment with integrated payloads (thermal and RGB). We recently saw a demonstration of the deployment of the M30 next to an M300 and the M30 took roughly half the time to launch into the air. For emergency situations, this drone is fantastic; a seasoned pilot will have it in the air in roughly 30 seconds.

  • 41 minutes of flight time
  • 15 km (9.32 miles) of flight distance
  • IP55 weatherproof rating
  • RTK – Real time kinematic for greater accuracy than GPS
  • Redundancy in components
  • Integrated camera and sensors
  • 640 x 512 IR sensor (on the thermal model)
  • Hot swappable batteries

This drone is ideal for the quick response requirements of firefighters, search and rescue, and inspections.

Mavic 3E (M3E) 

Finally, a solid replacement for the Phantom 4 workhorse of a mapping drone. The Mavic 3E (M3E) is THE drone for mapping that everyone in the industry has been waiting for! It offers an instant deployment, compact design with integrated camera with a mechanical shutter capable of snapping images every .7 seconds interval to the center of the sensor (DJI Timesync rather than to the GPS module, as the module can be offset and affect the accuracy of GIS data). 

  • 45 minute flight time
  • 15 kilometer flight distance
  • Mapping, mapping, mapping… and more mapping
  • Wind resistance up to 17 meters per second (because of the form factor, the M3E is more tolerant than the M300 and the M30)
  • RTK – Real time kinematic for greater accuracy than GPS (this is an extra charge)
  • 56x hybrid zoom
  • 640 x 512 thermal sensor on the thermal M3T


This is a great drone for the budget conscious beginner who is looking to build their construction, mapping, surveying, engineering and land development business.

M3 Classic

The M3 Classic by DJI is meant for the family vacation to replace the Mavic Air 2S. This is the budget conscious consumer/prosumer drone. A great all around “fun” drone but not the workhorse, enterprise class of the M300, M30, M3E/T. 


Autel has been busy lately, continuing on with the EVO II new chipsets and enhanced features.  The lineup now includes the following:

The Autel folks continue to dominate the market with swappable payloads and no Geo fencing (this is a BIG deal for those just beginning in drones…call us if you’d like to learn more). 

Additionally, the V3 brings back the popular “Live Deck” that many engineers and first responders enjoyed using to provide incident command a live feed of emergency situations or construction sites (for the engineers, project managers, surveyors, etc.) to have a centralized view of progress, safety, asset management, etc. 

DJI Avata 

The DJI Avata is nimble in tight spaces, compact and lightweight FPV (first person view), allowing you to go places with a drone you couldn’t go before. A built-in propeller guard protects the Avata in tight spaces, meaning if it comes in contact with an object, it can bounce back, stay in the air, and can keep on flying. Goggles and a motion controller are also available to provide a totally unique way to fly. 

  • Immersive flight experience
  • Intuitive motion controller
  • 4K stabilized video 
  • HD low latency transmission
  • Fits in the palm of your hand
  • Build-in propeller guard 
  • 11.6 kilometer flight distance 
  • Level 5 wind resistance 
  • 20 GB internal storage 
  • Max 40 MHz 

Full Throttle Aerial Cetan

The Full Throttle Aerial Cetan is our choice for the “new entry” of made in the good ole USA (NDAA compliant) enterprise drones. The initial clients who have purchased this UAV are raving about the flight times, custom features, and flexibility of payloads. 1UP recently called it the “Bentley of drones,” as the quality put into each “hand crafted and assembled” drone is remarkable. Some general specs of the Cetan are as follows:

  • Rotor to Rotor Diagonal: 39 inches (1000mm)
  • Diameter with Propellers: 50.75 In. (1289mm)
  • Max Gross take-off Weight: 26.2 Pounds
  • Maximum Payload Capacity: 12.5 Pounds (call us for the many, many possibilities of payloads)
  • Maximum Downfall: 10 mm/h, 30mm/3h
  • Maximum Wind Gusts: 33 Knots
  • Maximum Wind Speed: 27 Knots
  • Battery Power System: MaxAmps 22000mAH 40C Battery
  • Operating Voltage: 22.2 Volts 6S
  • Maximum Battery Voltage: 25.2 Volts
  • Average Flight Duration: 42 Minutes w/4 lb payload
  • Flight Control System: Cube Blue (AI Computer optional) 

Help for the Professional and Hobby Drone Enthusiast 

Regardless of your budget, 1UP Aerial Drone Services, Inc. has the options and would be grateful for the opportunity to serve you. We are here to listen, not sell, and would love to work with you on your specific use cases to provide the perfect drone for your organization. We also have entry level drones for the hubby, son, daughter, niece, and nephew on your shopping list.