Hubsan H501s Review
The Hubsan H501S is at the top end of the budget drones and has a raft of features that you would typically find on much more expensive drones. With follow me GPS included as standard, 1080p video and a battery life of around 20 minutes – there is plenty to get excited about.
We put the H501s to the test in this full review.
Hubsan H501s Review
Although they might not be one of the titans of the drone world, Hubsan are a very well know manufacturer and are pretty universally respected in the industry for creating affordable drones that pack a decent punch. The Hubsan H501s ticks a lot of boxes on paper and though it has been around since late 2015 we were excited to get our hands on one.
At just over $200 this UAV promises a lot for a reasonable price and certainly has the potential to be a favourite still in 2018 and beyond.
Out of the Box
The H501s has the look of a quality piece of kit as soon as you set eyes on it for the first time. The build quality is evident and it feels sturdy in the hand. In addition to the drone, it ships with a well made controller that includes a 4.3 inch LCD screen that again feels well built and is a refreshing change from needing to connect a smartphone to control your flight.
A 7.4 volt (2300mAh) Lipo battery, charger and 8 propellers complete the package and all in all our excitement was heightened upon initial unboxing of the Hubsan.
The Hubsan H501s has a feature list as long as our arms (we are fully grown men – physically at least) so buckle in and be prepared to be impressed by what this $200 drone can offer!
A 1080p HD camera tops the bill when it comes to features but when you couple that with the ability to autonomously track a subject using GPS, the H501S is on to a winner from the off. Thanks to the built in screen on the controller you can enjoy OSD live data which feeds directly to the controller to enhance the FPV experience you get from the live video relay. In addition to the standard video feed you will find live data including current altitude, flight speed and battery level – pretty impressive stuff!
If you want to use this drone for selfies then you are in luck as the combination of altitude hold (that works very well we have to say) and the ‘follow me’ GPS work seamlessly.
You have a one touch take off and landing as well as one button return to home so if you do get in to a pickle mid flight there is little to worry about.
The range of the H501s is around 300m and the FPV operates on a frequency of 5.8GHz. This drone weighs in at around 450g.
The H501s has some fantastic looks to compliment the rich feature list and we couldn’t wait to get her in the sky. We were not disappointed on our maiden flight or on the following 4 flights we took her on. Headless mode allows for really easy control of the drone as it means the orientation of the drone makes no impact on the control – in other words you fly in the direction you are facing rather than the drone.
One of the most impressive features of the Hubsan is the flight range. There are very few FPV drones that offer a range of 300 metres and certainly not at this price range. The reason for this is that you are using a 2.4GHz controller with a 5.8GHz live video feed – rather than using a WiFi connection that simply does have the range. 300m might not be as far as some of the more expensive high end drones but for us (and we suspect for most users) 300m is plenty.
We found this drone a joy to fly thanks to the robust controller that was very respsonsive. The video relay perhaps lacked a little bit of clarity but overall it was perfectly acceptable to allow you to line up your shots.
The one touch landing and return to home functions work well and perhaps the final point to make on the flight experience is the motors. Featuring 4 powerful brushless motors (KV1650 PM1806) the drone was capable of some good speeds. The fact that the motors are brushless will also prolong the lifespan of the drone and is a good addition to such a budget UAV.
Another really impressive feature of this drone is the battery life. Hubsan suggest that it lasts for up to 20 minutes from a single charge and we have to agree that this was typical from a standard flight. Heavy usage with video will drain the battery a little quicker but we would say 20 minutes was pretty typical.
Extra batteries are widely available and won’t break the bank but we doubt too many users will need much more than 20 minutes from a single outing. The only downside of the battery is that it takes quite a long time to charge – at least an hour and a half.
The built in camera has a 1080p full HD resolution for video although when you are viewing this on the controller you will be a limited to a 480 x 272 resolution on the LCD screen. Video and photographs are recorded to the SD card and you control everything from the controller.
We found that the quality of video was very good and the GPS really helps to steady the drone – even in low and moderate winds. The picture quality is excellent when taking shots in well lit conditions – so most daytime outdoor pics look very sharp.
Overall, we couldn’t fault the camera at all at this price point.
The Hubsan H501s is an excellent feature rich drone that comes in at a very affordable price. If you are looking for something that packs some good tech, has GPS and follow me functions and is a little above the generic budget drone options then the Hubsan could well be for you. You get a lot of features without the breaking the bank!
Excellent battery life
Built in display on controller
Easy to fly
Low resolution display