As the prices of drone keep going down, the line between drone and toy is no longer that clear. Some toy for children on Tmall label themselves as ‘drone’. Many drone lover would like to choose a low-end drone for practice. Today we are going to review a really cheap drone– Hubsan H502E, ,which only costs 699CNY ( $101 ).
This is how it looks. It has got GPS, Camera, return to home feature and controller of 2.4Ghz. Not bad with this price!
The packing box is 21cm*21cm*11cm, quite simple in appearance.
It claims this is not a toy and unsuitable for kids under 14. This seems a little bit inconsistent with the slogan on Tmall, which says this is a children’s toy.
You can see the drone and controller after unboxing.
Airframe X1, battery X1, controller X1, power cable X1, propeller X8, screw driverX1 and screws.
You need to install propellers on motor by yourself, remember to tighten it up with screw driver.
Please notice that anti-clockwise propellers can be installed to clockwise motor, which may lead to serious consequence like crashing. New users should be really careful for this.
Hubsan H502E uses coreless motors, looking quite differently from the brushless motor of Phantom 3 on its right. Coreless motor is much cheaper, but also has a short life cycle. It is often seen on toys.
It has a 720P/1080P camera to take photo or record video. But you can’t adjust shooting angle, and it doesn’t have gimbal.
Open the cover of battery hub, you can see all the circuit boards which don’t have protection. Well, it’s sold at $101 after all.
Still you can see wires and circuit boards inside through the heat sink. There is a Micro SD port on right. You will need another SD card to take footages.
There is no power button on the drone. It powers on when you put in the battery. So make sure all the wires are kept in the battery hub, otherwise the drone may crash when wires whip on propeller during flight.
Only one battery in provided in the combo. The flight time is 12 minutes, but it takes 150 minutes to charge the battery. So buying a few more batteries would be a good idea. Hubsan H502E 2S Li-Po, red cable supports the drone, white cable is used for charging.
The controller looks like a gamepad, using 2 pairs of 7 cells.
The controller is quite simple: power button, two joysticks, adjust button, one photo/record button and one return home button.
You need to prepare for following steps before flight:
- Install propeller;
The propellers are labeled as A or B, please install them accordingly to avoid accident.
- You need:
Charger for the drone (must-have)
7 cell *4 for controller (must-have)
MicroSD card for photo/record (must-have)
Electricity measurer (optional)
The flight range is 215m, and its GPS is only applicable in China.
There is no matching app for Hubsan H502E, which means, there is no video transmission at all! So you can just keep it in your visual range.
Finish calibration first:
Rotate the drone horizontally, just like Phantoms;
When the left and right indicators start to flash alternately, rotate it vertically;
The calibration succeed when indicators turn solid. Calibration takes about 30 seconds.
Let’s try hover first;
With good GPS signal and no wind, it basically hovers in a small range. But sometimes it may shift a few meters. It can’t stay on the same height, too. Not so satisfying.
If you let go of the joystick when the drone flies forward, Hubsan H502E will break and fly a little bit backwards. The controlling experience is far worse than middle to high-end drones.
Since it doesn’t have video transmission, we can’t tell where it was when it flew 20 or 30 meters away.
It lost control when it was about 70 meters away, probably because of radio interference nearby. We pressed the return home button and luckily it went back. It seems the return home feature works well.
It landed 10 meters away from home point. The GPS accuracy is not very good. So you may want to fly it in open area for safety.
When the flight time was about 10 minutes, the battery level was low and the drone looked shaky and fell down quickly.
After a few small ‘crash’ it remained intact, so it is quite endurable.
▼Held by hand▼
The photo/video button works like this: press quickly, it will take picture; press and hold, the camera will start recording. Without video transmission, you can just rely on your experience.
The image is blurry with bad coloring and bad white balance. The sky is completely overexposed.
▼Shot during flight▼
Zoom the image to 200%, you can see how blurry it was. Trees behind lost sharpness.
The video was very unsteady without gimbal. We shot GIF below by holding the drone:
- Tiny and portable
- No video transmission nor app
- Low stability
- Low quality of footage
- Bad controlling experience
- Weak propulsion with coreless motor
- Short flight time and long charging time
- Those who would like to enjoy flight since childhood
- Who would like to have fun with their kids
Not suitable for:
- Who want to get some serious aerial photos
- Who want to experience cool, advanced technology
If you are a beginner, we don’t suggest you to use Hubsan H502E for practice. It is quite unstable and very different from professional drones. Also, you can buy a flight battery of professional drones with $101, so why not?
To me, Hubsan H502E is more of a toy. What do you guys think?