When it comes to drones, no matter what your experience level with the technology, everyone is looking for models that provide bang for the buck, whether it be in terms of performance or specs.
A number of brands have tried, but few have managed to pull it off.
The Chinese drone giant Holy Stone, however, are certainly exception to this. Pitting against its pricier competitors is the Holy Stone HS100G, which is seated comfortably in the $200 price bracket.
Consumers have certainly hyped the Holy Stone HS100G, proving the model’s appeal to a wide audience.
What exactly does this drone have that makes it such a viable contender in the budget-oriented range? What is it missing, if anything? Read on to find out in this comprehensive Holy Stone HS100G review.
|Unloaded: 700 grams
|Lenght: 500 mm
Width: 500 mm
Height: 175 mm
|Adjustable dial for fine-tuning
|Range: ~500 meters
Operating Frequencies: 2.4 GHz
|Flight time: ~15 mins
Capacity: 2500 mAh
|Camera: 120°, 1080p FULL HD
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Holy Stone HS100G Features
Most drones this day and age are either equipped with GPS, GLONASS or both for their location and positioning needs.
The Holy Stone HS100G makes use of GPS (and only GPS) to pinpoint its location and provide accurate positioning that is needed by some other features that we’ll take a look at shortly. It also helps in keeping the craft stable during flight or hover modes, which might otherwise drift without the assistance of such systems.
While it is imperative that drones today should pack a positioning system by default, it’s a bit disappointing that Holy Stone couldn’t go with the GPS + GLONASS combo. This would make tracking and positioning extra accurate, and with the redundancy offered by the combination, you essentially have a fail-safe should one of these systems cease to function.
One Key Takeoff/ Landing
Like most drones from Holy Stone, the HS100G also has a One Key Takeoff/Landing feature. With a press of a dedicated button, the drone automatically positions itself for landing or does a take off maneuver. This feature can be helpful for beginners who wish to go into flight control practice, without worrying about crashing the drone when taking off or landing.
The Holy Stone HS100G’s Headless Mode gives you the option to control the drone, regardless of where its nose is facing. For beginners, maneuvering a drone while keeping tabs on where its camera is pointing at can be a daunting task, and often ends up with a crashed drone and a disheartened pilot.
With Headless Mode, you’re free to fly the Holy Stone HS100G regardless of its position, letting you focus on getting the controls right while mid-flight.
For solo travelers or for those wanting to have some fun with the Holy Stone HS100G, it has a Follow Me mode that follows you automatically.
This is handy if you want to capture third-person perspective footage without worrying about controlling the craft, keeping it an exclusively hands-free experience.
For this price point, of course, you cannot expect this feature to be an intuitive, face tracking one, like those being offered by pricier products. Instead, the Holy Stone HS100G follows the signal of the remote controller to make use of this feature.
Return To Home
Using its GPS function, the Holy Stone HS100G can initiate an automatic Return To Home mode in the event of transmission loss or low battery levels. It can also be manually prompted with the dedicated button.
We advise that you fly the drone within your line of sight to ensure safety. This is because of the fact that the Holy Stone HS100G doesn’t have any smart obstacle-detecting features to keep it safe during the return flight.
The Holy Stone HS100G can hover in place at a set height with Altitude Hold. This allows you to take pictures or videos with a stable position, enhancing clarity and stability when doing so.
The Holy Stone HS100G has a modular, 2500 mAh battery that can supply up to 15 minutes of uninterrupted flight. This may vary, though, depending on the speed you are flying at or the wind conditions that may introduce drag to the craft.
For a drone in this price range, 15 minutes is a pretty impressive amount of flight time. This is especially true when you consider the fact that the Holy Stone HS100G uses brushed motors, which uses more power than their brushless counterparts.
The drone weighs 700g — not the heaviest by any means, but also not light. The Mavic Mini, for comparison, is 249g. Added weight causes more strain on the motors to keep the craft aloft, consuming extra power that might have been used for multidirectional flight.
The biggest turn-off is its unapologetic charge time, which could take between 3 to 6 hours. We’d definitely recommend picking up a spare battery to double your fun to half an hour.
The Holy Stone HS100G has a 1080p FULL HD camera, with a wide 120° viewing angle for maximum photo and video coverage. It is stabilized by a 1-axis servo motor gimbal, giving you about 90° of movement allowance, so you can change perspectives during flight.
For a drone this price, you really can’t complain about the supported resolution (4K is a bit ambitious in this bracket). Well, yes, but the image clarity could be improved. We’ve seen drones who sport 1080p cameras but produce images and footage which are a far cry from the Holy Stone HS100G’s own.
The wide-angle lens is both a boon and bane of the craft, because while it offers a wide shot for your landscape photography, it suffers from image distortion, curving the top and bottom part of the shot excessively. This is something that all videography drones will ultimately suffer from. It could also use some image sharpening and dynamic range tweaks for better captures.
Ease Of Use
The Holy Stone HS100G has a standard layout controller, with a few dedicated buttons for Power and other flight functions of the craft populating its face. The sides have buttons for GPS activation and photo/video capture, and scroll wheels on either side to adjust drone speed and camera tilt.
It looks and feels like a giant slab of soap (minus the slipperyness), though, missing the contours that might’ve promoted better ergonomics and comfort.
Design and Build Quality
The Holy Stone HS100G features a quadcopter design, with a body mostly composed of ABS plastic. This type of material is more resilient to crash damage — perfect for a drone without obstacle detection features.
The Holy Stone HS100G is no tiny bird, that’s for sure. With fairly sizeable dimensions and a healthy weight to boot, the drone is a little bit cumbersome considering it doesn’t feature folding arms.
You’ll need to register it to your local flight/airspace authorities as well, with its 700 grams of gear on the air exceeding most, if not all, flight regulations around the world.
The camera is mounted under the belly, with the landing gear tall enough to offer some clearance to avoid damaging it on landing maneuvers. It also has LED indicators under the arms for indication purposes, like pairing, GPS, and battery status.
All other factors aside, the Holy Stone HS100G is very responsive to your controller inputs while in the air and is surprisingly agile when you consider its weight. The adjustable speed dial on the controller also gives you the freedom to ramp up or tone down depending on your experience or confidence level.
Its Wifi-connected FPV stream can manage about 200 meters of range before getting choppy or cutting off, which is to be expected.
The smart flight features also provide excellent coverage of multiple functions, making the control of the Holy Stone HS100G easier to manage, though it could use a bit of upgrading for more seamless flight experience.
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For a drone in this price range, the Holy Stone HS100G is certainly a lot better than most.
However, when you’re looking at spending this kind of money on a drone, it could be argued that you’d be better off increasing your budget by just a little bit and getting yourself into the next grade of specs — 4K camera, better flight time, brushless motors, etc.
Not taking anything away from Holy Stone, but the HS100G could’ve fared just a little bit better in our opinion.
If it’s any consolation, this thing can fly well, can take pictures and videos, and is responsive to your commands. If you can manage to get this bird at half the price or lower, it’d be a steal, but looking at where it’s currently positioned? Hardly.
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