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For vloggers and content creators, having a drone with a follow-me mode is necessary to diversify the type of B-roll you create.
What are the best budget drones with follow me?
DJI Mini 3 Pro, DJI Air 2S, Autel EVO Nano Plus, Potensic ATOM SE, Holy Stone HS720G and Potensic Dreamer 4K Pro are fantastic inexpensive drones with follow-me that will offer you great flight experiences.
Ahead, I’ll share the best budget drones with follow-me mode, both from DJI and other parties and offer a few tips.
But before that, what is the follow-me or trace method?
What is Active Track and follow-me mode in a drone? #
Active Track (or similar feature) is how the drone keeps track of a subject, usually with a series of sensors, visual recognition, GPS, and/or obstacle detection.
Follow-me mode is the drone’s ability to follow a subject while using the above mentioned features and sensors. The drone will fly autonomously and keep a specific distance to the subject, which the pilot sets.
There are two types of follow-me functions.
1. Based on GPS: The remote controller will send instructions to the drone based on the GPS position to follow the remote controller, which acts as a ground station.
This type of follow-me mode can be found in most drones and is excellent when you want the drone to follow you from afar (e.g., you are driving a car above a forest, and the drone is at a considerable distance from you, let’s say, 300 feet).
2. Based on vision recognition tech: The drone will use sensors and AI to recognize a person or moving object’s pattern and follow it as long as it’s in sight.
It is also known as “trace,” found under the Active Track option on DJI drones.
This method advances each year and with each flight because the data is being trained to improve and recognize people and moving objects.
It’s less efficient if you are walking in a crowd or with multiple people, where the drone may misinterpret the subject and can quickly start following someone else.
It’s also less efficient if there’s poor lighting or the drone is far away.
» MORE: Follow Me and ActiveTrack on DJI Drones (Explained for Beginners)
1. DJI Mini 3 Pro #
Weight 249 gramsSize145×90×62 mm foldedFlight Time– 34 minutes with the Intelligent Battery – 47 minutes with Intelligent Battery PlusObstacle AvoidanceYes, forward, backward, and downward/landing avoidance sensorsDoes it have a follow-me mode?Yes, with Active Track 4.0Other autonomous functionsFocusTrack, Hyperlapse, MasterShots, and QuickShotsCamera resolution1/1.3 inch CMOS that can record in 4k 60 frames per second with photo resolution of 48 megapixels
✅ Pros #
- It has a fantastic flight performance
- It’s lightweight
- It can film in 4k 60 fps and hs a camera resolution of 48 megapixels
- It has obstacle-avoidance sensors
- It has Active Track with follow-me mode (trace) and other autonomous functions
- Can fly long-range due to the O3 transmission system
- It’s a fantastic drone for travelers and backpackers, as it can even fit in larger pockets
❌ Cons #
- It’s not the most budget-friendly drone you can get with a follow-me mode
- It’s an older drone
- It does not have side and upward avoidance sensors to help with the follow-me feature
The DJI Mini 3 Pro is actively known as one of the most popular drones nowadays, with fantastic flight performance and flight time.
This drone is tiny and lightweight, and if you’re looking for a drone with follow-me mode, you simply cannot go wrong with the Mini 3 Pro
Although it’s not the cheapest drone with such features, it is one of the most performance-heavy drones with the above-mentioned perks.
There is a newer and cheaper version, the DJI Mini 3, which will not have any follow-me mode feature or avoidance sensors. That’s why we recommend the Pro version.
The follow-me mode, Active Track, and other autonomous features have been improved drastically since the release of the drone and will continue to be improved with each firmware update, as with every DJI drone.
If you want to have a look at how the follow-me mode works with Mini 3 Pro, we shared a video with you below:
2. DJI Air 2S #
Weight 595 gramsSize180×97×77 mm foldedFlight Time31 minutesObstacle AvoidanceYes, forward, backward, downward, and upward avoidance sensorsDoes it have a follow-me mode?Yes, with Active Track 4.0Other autonomous functionsMasterShots, Spotlight 2.0, Point of Interest 3.0, HyperlapseCamera resolution1-inch CMOS sensor that can film in 5.4k at 30 fps or photograph at 20 megapixels
✅ Pros #
- It has one of the largest camera sensors with a fantastic video resolution you can get in an inexpensive drone
- It has four-direction avoidance sensors
- Has Advanced Pilot Assistance System 4.0 to help the drone avoid objects
- Excellent for night filming and photography
- It comes with an ADS-B system
- It also has a decent flight time
- Fantastic flight performance
❌ Cons #
- It’s already an older drone
- It’s not the most budget-friendly
- It’s slightly heavier than most drones
The DJI Air 2S has the ability to perceive the environment in four directions, and with the follow-me mode, you should be able to benefit from this drone.
The Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast or ADS-B will also allow the Air 2S drone to receive flight information from airplanes and helicopters in the area, send a warning signal to the drone pilot, and display those aircraft on the map so you can decrease the height or land the drone in these situations.
Although slightly expensive to be considered a budget drone, this drone has one of the most advanced features that will benefit from follow-me mode on this list and is the only one with a four-direction anti-collision system, which is fantastic if you want to fly the drone inside forests.
3. Autel EVO Nano Plus #
Weight 249 gramsSize140×90×50mm FoldedFlight Time28 minutesObstacle AvoidanceYes, forward, backward, and downward obstacle avoidance systemDoes it have a follow-me mode?Yes, with Active Track 2.1Other autonomous functionsSelfie, following shot, one-click VLOG, Fade Away, Orbit, Rocket, FlickCamera resolution1/1.28 inch sensors, 50 megapixels photo camera, and can film in 4k 30 fps
✅ Pros #
- It’s an affordable non-DJI drone with decent follow-me mode and an amazing Active Track 2.1 that is considered to be one of the most advanced on the market
- Has a lot of autonomous functions to get professional-level footage with one tap.
- It has a fantastic transmission range
- The photo resolution is one of the highest found in a consumer and even professional drone
- Can film in 4k at 30 fps
- The camera sensor is large for the size of the drone
- It’s yet another lightweight drone weighing under 250 grams and small enough to fit in a pocket
- Flight time is decent
- It comes in a bundle with lots of accessories and additional batteries
❌ Cons #
- The follow-me mode will require ample space, and you may receive an error of “insufficient space to pass,” which may be an issue when using the follow-me mode in tight spaces such as forests or indoors
- It does not have avoidance sensors on the side of the drone and upwards
The Autel Evo Nano Plus is yet another fantastic drone to help you acquire some good video footage when you’re vlogging or looking for B-roll.
Flying this drone is straightforward and does not require much experience. It’s a beginner-friendly drone.
We have observed that in many situations, the follow-me mode will stop working mid-flight, requiring more space, even if there’s more than enough, whereas Mini 3 Pro or similar DJI drones will follow and avoid obstacles to the centimeter.
You can have a glimpse of how the follow-me mode and Dynamic Track 2.1 works in the video below:
4. Potensic ATOM SE #
Weight 249 gramsSize87.8x143x58mm foldedFlight Time31 minutes per batteryObstacle AvoidanceNoDoes It have a follow-me mode?YesOther autonomous functionsWaypoint Flight, Circle FlightCamera resolution– Can photograph at 12 megapixels and film in 4k 30 frames per second– It has a sensor of 1/3 inch with electronic image stabilization
✅ Pros #
- It’s one of the cheapest drones you can get, with a follow-me feature that offers a decent flight experience
- Admirable drone performance and flight time
- It’s a lightweight drone that may benefit from relaxed drone laws and regulations in some countries
- The drone can film in 4k
- Has a few autonomous functions
- The drone has a decent transmission range for the price
- It comes with GPS and auto return to home function
- Have optical flow positioning
- The pack comes with two batteries, RC, and a drone bag
- Overall, it’s a good drone for beginners
❌ Cons #
- It’s a very entry-level drone and may offer an unsatisfactory experience compared to a DJI drone
- Does not have any obstacle avoidance
- Poor camera quality compared to other drones
- The drone is less reputable than a DJI drone
The Potensic ATOM SE is a decent entry-level budget drone with a follow-me mode and a few other autonomous features that can assist you in flying the drone.
This drone has a decent flight time and comes with a few extra accessories, which is fantastic considering the low price.
The Potensic ATOM SE weighs under 250 grams. It’s foldable, and you can take it anywhere without any issues transporting it.
Although the drone cannot be compared with a more expensive DJI drone, it is an excellent little drone to fly with for the first time, especially if you don’t have a budget for a pricy drone but are also looking for a follow-me feature.
5. Holy Stone 2-Axis Gimbal (HS720G) #
Weight 378 gramsFlight TimeMax 26 minutesObstacle AvoidanceNoneDoes it have a follow-me mode?YesOther autonomous functionsTap Fly, Point of InterestCamera resolution4k with electronic image stabilization at 30 frames per second and a two-axis gimbal
✅ Pros #
- It’s an inexpensive drone
- Have a few autonomous functions to help any drone pilots perform actions
- The gimbal has two axes, and the camera boasts EIS, allowing for smooth, stabilized footage
- It’s lightweight and foldable
- Has emergency stop and smart return-to-home functions
- Comes with optical flow positioning
❌ Cons #
- It doesn’t have any avoidance sensors
- It’s an entry-level budget drone, and you will not have the same flight experience as with a DJI drone
- Has a poor flight range compared to most drones nowadays
- The battery life is slightly poorer than what similar drones can offer
The Holy Stone HS720G is a decent budget drone with follow-me and other autonomous functions that can help you fly like a pro.
This drone is a respectable one to fly as a beginner and learn before investing in something more expensive. And the fact that it can follow you is good for vlogging and other scenarios.
Beware that this drone also has no avoidance sensors.
Do not use the follow-me mode or other autonomous functions in areas with many obstacles around (such as in a forest), as it’s susceptible to crashing.
6. Potensic Dreamer 4K Pro #
Weight 820 gramsSize350x320x195mmFlight TimeMaximum 28 minutes per battery Obstacle AvoidanceN/ADoes it have a follow-me mode?YesOther autonomous functionsOrbit flight, waypoint flightCamera resolution– 1/3 inch CMOS, photo resolution of 16 megapixels, and films in 4k 30 frames per second– It also has a 3-axis tilt mechanical gimbal
✅ Pros #
- Good camera stabilization for smooth filming
- Resistant at higher winds due to being heavier
- It has a follow-me mode and a few other autonomous functions
- Can film in 4k
- It is not a very expensive drone
- It has PowerAC dynamic system
- Comes with a fantastic carry case
❌ Cons #
- It’s a bulky drone, non-foldable, and can be carried in only the case provided
- Max flight time is lower than other similar drones
- It does not have the same flight performance as a DJI drone
The Potensic Dreamer 4K Pro looks very similar to the DJI Phantom 4, as it has the same body structure.
It is a large drone that cannot be carried in backpacks and may even require you to set up the drone before the flight, but I love the transport case that comes with the kit.
The price is not very far from a DJI drone with follow-me mode and is similar to a few DJI drones without the follow-me feature. It all depends on what you’re looking for.
If you don’t mind the size and weight, the drone is a good choice, especially if you like the Phantom 4.
If you are only looking at smaller portable drones with follow me and other autonomous functions, I recommend you have a look at the next drone.
What else do we need to know about drones with follow-me mode? #
- Not all drones with Active Track or follow-me mode have obstacle avoidance, but it will prevent the drone from colliding with an object by stopping or creating a new path around it.
- Drones with a follow-me mode under 250 grams may benefit from relaxed drone laws and regulations that will apply in most countries and territories, including the US. Please, always check your country’s drone laws.
- Some drones may have better follow-me features than others. In general, more expensive drones almost always come with better autonomous attributes and avoidance sensors.