Standard drones are not for everyone. In fact, some people may find regular drones a bit on the complicated side. If you’ve never handled or operated a drone before, or if you have kids at home who are keen to fly drones, mini drones would be ideal. In this review article, we’ll take an extensive look at a mini drone, the Holy Stone HS170 drone. We’ll look at its features, performance, and find out if it’s worthy of your money.
• Holy Stone HS170
• Remote controller
• Four extra propellers
• 350 mAh battery
• A screwdriver and some screws for battery installation
• USB charging cable
The HS170 is a small drone that measures six inches diagonally and 5.5 inches across. It’s lightweight at under a pound, which could put it into the “nano” drone category, if there was one. The drone is powered by a modest 350 mAh battery. There are four rotors, with rear-positioned black blades, and white blades set in the front. This white and black color combination makes it easy to identify the direction the drone is facing when it’s in the air.
There are LEDs (blue and red) attached to the sculpted polycarbonate body. The design gives the drone quite an aggressive stance. The four spare propellers would come in handy for beginners, who would be flying this drone the most, and invariably crashing it too. For landing, there are four flexible skids that offer some leverage in unintentional or rough landings. The skids also help push the drone back up from the ground and resume flight.
• Headless mode
• Capable of mid-air flips
• Orientation stays fixed
• The exterior is tough enough to withstand crashes
• Solid controller that works well
• Springy landing makes the drone bounce upon landing
• Controller is on the bulky side
• Battery wire hangs out of the drone
• Flight time on the shorter side (six to 10 minutes)
• Controller batteries are not part of the package
• No camera included
The HS170 is part of the ready-to-fly (RTF) class of hobbyist drones. This means it comes bundled with everything you would possible require for it to power up and fly right out of the box. To launch the drone, you must first start the controller unit, connect the power cable, and then pair the two. Once the pairing is done, you would hear a beep sound, which indicates the drone is ready to fly.
The drone has three flight speed or sensitive settings, which determine the drone’s yaw and pitch. Every time the RC is turned on, the drone defaults to the first or gentlest mode. Pressing down on the stick toggles positioned on the left of the controller would change modes.
In the first mode, the drone is the easiest to manage. And it’s also the ideal setting to fly the drone indoors. Beginners are recommended to begin in this mode. This mode lets for easy and smooth operation. However, in a restricted area, the turning agility is limited. In the second and third mode, the drone can perform tight and acrobatic turns, which are mandatory at higher speeds.
Getting familiar with the flight would take some time. Once you’ve experimented a bit with the various settings, you would come to know the best mode for your flight requirements.
Unlike a few other drones that hover automatically or keep altitude once you let go the controls, the HS170 needs constant attention. In other words, you must keep an eye on altitude, direction of travel and orientation throughout the flight. If you let go the levers, be prepared to see the drone crash anytime.
Regardless, the HS170 is quite capable. How happy or satisfied you are with the drone would depend on multiple things, such as your willingness to experiment with the quadcopter and skill level. The best part is the drone is quite user-friendly, and you are very unlikely to get bored flying this drone, even if you do so for hours together swapping batteries.
The controller is a complete and fully functional piece of equipment. It has all the features that you’ll expect from a drone controller. There is the standard throttle for down and up motions, along with a lever for right and left controls to rotate the quadcopter. There are also right and left tilt controls. A bonus is a trick button that when pressed makes the drone do a back or front flip.
The trimming buttons help make necessary alterations to stabilise the flight whenever needed. The drone has on/off lights, which can be controlled remotely when you fly the drone in the dark. The controller handles the drone well. This makes flying the drone both indoors and outdoors equally seamless. And as the drone is durable, crashing it once in a while will not hurt much. However, it’s on the bulkier side, and handling it continuously could be a bit inconvenient.
The drone is battery-powered like every other drone. It connects to the drone via a wire, which hangs off the drone’s side. It does look a bit odd, but that doesn’t affect the drone’s performance in any way. The rechargeable battery takes 30 minutes to charge from zero to 100. The battery doesn’t last that long – six to 10 minutes, approximately. Therefore, if you’re planning for long flying sessions, have multiple batteries handy. You may get spare batteries easily, by the way.
As aforementioned, the drone is not the most premium or capable drone you would come across, which explains its price. But, it offers quite a lot of bang for the buck. The value proposition is great despite the drone having its fair share of flaws. Don’t get deceived by the long list of drawbacks mentioned above. A lot of them are minor flaws that most users would not even notice. Long story short, if you’re buying a drone for the first time you can consider the Holy Stone HS170 drone. If you already have drones or have played with them before and want a drone that’s top of the line or a lot more powerful, you may look elsewhere.
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