Let's get this out of the way first: this is obviously not a professional drone, and it's important to keep your expectations tapered as such when thinking about this item. I ended up purchasing this item after being invested in purchasing/flying more expensive drones like the GoPro Karma or Mavic Pro. I wanted to get some experience under my belt before learning how to fly on a ~1000$ piece of equipment, so I scoured a few websites looking for a decent drone. I found this model and looked around for reviews but found none, so I decided to try it for the sake of myself and everybody out there in a similar position.
This review will be very long since I’ve yet to see any other opinions on the drone on the internet, so I’ll segment my review into my opinion on its multiple facets with some positives and negatives and a TL;DR (Too long; didn’t read) at the bottom.
The drone is packaged well. The box is surprisingly small, just like the drone. Inside you'll find the drone (obviously), a faux velvet bag for portability, a battery charger (USB > battery connection), a set of spare propellers, and a manual. Read the manual before flying it, seriously.
The drone takes about an hour or so to charge and the manual and websites mention that you get around 8 minutes of flight time per charge. I’d say that this estimate is liberal and I’ve found myself getting a bit more even while recording the whole time. If you aren’t killing the thrust the whole time you should get a slight increase in the battery life. That said, 7-10 minutes after an hour-ish of charging really isn’t fantastic, but it is a 50-dollar drone that fits in your pocket.
The resolution is 480P and while that seems bad compared to the general FullHD/4K standards nowadays, it’s not that bad. Everything in the frame is easily distinguished and the video is relatively smooth. The camera view is FPV or first person so you see what the drone sees head on. If you’re buying this to take aerial pictures as opposed to videos, however, you may want to skip this altogether. The drone is not steady enough to take a stable photograph and has no image stabilization built into the camera, so pictures come out low quality and blurred. The drone does manage to stay relatively stable for videos, but I’ve had no luck with any of the picture attempts.
The drone is light and very small, which is one of the selling points of the product. This is a blessing and a curse. It’s small enough to carry around in a back pocket and its light form factor allows it to move surprisingly fast, but try to fly it on a slightly windy day and you’ll quickly lament over its design. Even a light breeze will really mess with the drone, and you’ll have to crank up the thrust power to 100% just to keep it in place fighting against the wind at times. Obviously with practice this will become less of an issue.
The application that is required for flight is very confusing and offers no instruction outside of the provided instruction manual, so make sure not to toss it immediately. The app's home screen is ugly and looks like an app designed for a toy, and it isn't amazingly easy to use until you get to flying the drone. Connection proved to be a slight issue for me as well. Every time I want to fly I follow this sequence: Turn on drone > Turn on WiFi > Connect to drone's WiFi network > Open App > Attempt Connection > Close Everything > Turn off Wifi > Start again. Essentially every time I've tried to fly the drone I've had to repeat the steps twice for it to work, but it only takes about a minute in total to do so it's not that much of an inconvenience. You get what you pay for.
The app has a lot of functions that I think are relatively unnecessary. There’s an option to flip the camera upside down which I accidentally turned on for my first two flights which led to me thinking I may have received a broken model. There’s also a mode where you can control it by either tilting your phone or speaking instructions into your phone to control it. If it wasn’t obvious, these options are not very good. Stick to the standard twin joystick control that the app shows and you’ll be fine. You also view the videos and pictures from the application itself as sometimes they don’t show up in your phone’s gallery until you do so, although I’m not quite sure what constitutes this matter.
Despite the unnecessary options, there are a few features to the app that make flying it a great experience for a beginner, such as the auto hover mode. This is not only helpful but also very fun. Turning it on will give you two buttons on the screen that display an up and down arrow. Simply hit the up arrow and it will slowly climb to about 4 feet off the ground. Perform the opposite to land. This helps the drone stay stable in the air so you can focus on controlling it, and it works well. There is also a red Stop button in the middle of the control screen that will cut power to the propellers if you end up accidentally crashing it into something. This will come in handy for your first few flights, so remember to press that button before it hits a wall or tree to preserve the motor and propellers.
And yes, I’ve crashed it into the ground twice and into a tree once – none of which have damaged or influenced the flight since. The bottom of the drone has some pads for bumping into the ground or rough landings, and the drone is relatively rigid and handled a high-speed crash into a tree trunk (although I did hit the stop button in time).
If you’re still reading, I’m impressed. I’ll list some positives and negatives here to sum up the review.
-Video quality is good and not too shaky while flying
-Video is streamed to your phone so you can see what the drone sees as you fly (FPV)
-Battery life is better than listed/expected
-Drone handles well and can move at high speeds and maintain a connection over long range
-Drone can fit in a pocket and is 1/5th of a pound for easy transport
-Drone looks cool and has lights to spot it in the sky
-No need to carry a controller since it’s phone controlled
-Application looks tacky and has some useless and confusing features
-Slight learning curve (This is a problem with every drone that doesn’t have insane GPS stabilization)
-Picture feature is almost useless due to lack of camera stabilization
-Battery charging time is slightly high and having to charge by USB is a nuisance (Maybe I’m just spoiled though)
-Phone connection to drone is spotty when first connecting (Possibly just an issue with my model/phone [Pixel XL])
This drone is a great value for the money, and there aren’t many issues with it. For $50, you get to experience a fun and relatively simple drone experience with a decent camera. There are a few bothersome traits about the application that is required to fly it, but the drone itself has almost no problems and handles well. It’s definitely worth the price tag and then some, and I’m very surprised that purchasing something with zero previous reviews actually turned out in my favor for once. I’d recommend this to anybody curious about flying drones or even seeing one in flight, as it’s a very unique experience and it can be fun for anybody involved.