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Camera Drone for Noobs Starts at Just $99

It may be August, but holiday toys are already taking flight. Xtreem is launching a trio of quad-copter drones, aimed at beginner pilots and featuring an onboard camera capable of recording 720p video. Starting at $99 and available now at Toys R' Us, these drones won't be competing in the same league as the DJI Phantom, but should provide a good introduction for first-time aviators.

The Raptor Eye Video Drone ($99), designed for novice flyers, has a 9.9-inch wingspan and is a featherweight 0.2 pounds. Its forward-looking camera can record video at a resolution of 720p, and the drone has a range of about 130 feet from the controller. The drone's 500 mAh battery is only good for about 7 minutes of flight time, but two are included in the package, along with a 4GB microSD card for recording video.

MORE: The Best Drones and Quadcopters on Any Budget

At the next level is the Fly Eye Video Drone ($149), which is more than double the size at 20 inches, but still weighs less than a pound (13.76 ounces). it too has a 720p camera, but it can be replaced with a GoPro. However, the camera cannot be rotated remotely. The Fly Eye Drone has a range of about 330 feet, and a slightly longer flying time of 10 minutes; like the Raptor Eye, a second battery is included with the drone. Flight modes include hover mode, return to home and headless mode.

Lastly, the Sky Ranger Video Drone ($179) is also about 20 inches in width, but weighs 1.3 pounds, and looks like a DJI Phantom knock-off. It has a 720p camera, which can be livestreamed to a smartphone via an Android or iOS app. However, the Sky Ranger's range is 230 feet, about 100 feet less than the Fly Eye, and has a flight time of about 10 minutes. Unlike the other drones, though, the Sky Ranger doesn't come with a spare battery, so you'll have to wait 3 hours for it to charge.

Michael A. Prospero is the deputy editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing the smart home, drones, and fitness/wearables categories. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine or some other cooking gadget.