For drones — or any hobby in general — learning the ropes should be a fun and engaging experience.
This is why many drone manufacturers try to incorporate as many features into their UAVs as possible. But only a few come out usable — most of them end up adding to the electronic junk piled in people’s homes.
For a beginner craft, the right balance of functionality and user-friendliness is critical for it to sell like hotcakes and deliver a good experience for the customer.
The Holy Stone HS200D is Holy Stone’s bet against the entry-level competition in the market.
With an RRP of below $100, the Holy Stone HS200D positions itself snugly in the toy-grade unit bracket, but are the features and functions it packs an easter egg for our newbie brethren?
We’re going to take a look to see if the craft justifies its price and purpose in this Holy Stone HS200D review, or if you’re better suited to add a little bit more to your budget to upsize and up-spec.
|Weight||Unloaded: 145 grams|
|Size||Length: 12.6 in|
Width: 12.6 in
Height: 4.7 in
|Signal||Range: ~100 meters|
Operating Frequency: 2.4 GHz
|Battery||Flight Time: ~9 mins|
Capacity: 1000 mAh
|Recording||Camera: 2-MP 720p, 120° FOV|
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Holy Stone HS200D Features
One Key Takeoff/Landing
To help reduce the nerves of amateur pilots, especially on their maiden flight, the Holy Stone HS200D offers a One Key Takeoff and Landing function, giving you instant takeoff and landing maneuvers right at your fingertips. This also saves the pilot from unnecessary damages from crashes caused by human error.
Return To Home
The Holy Stone HS200D has as safety Return To Home function that allows it to go back to the transmitter’s position. This is done by homing in on the signal frequency. This is can be manually pressed to recall your drone, and it is also automatically triggered when the battery level is low or when the signal transmission is cut off.
Another beginner-friendly feature is the Holy Stone HS200D’s Headless Mode. What this does is have the drone completely ignore its front-end’s position and respond to the controller in a straightforward manner. This means that the directional lever input is translated into actual movement regardless of the drone’s 3D placement, like right means right, left for left, and so on, no matter which way the ‘head’ of the drone is facing.
Altitude Hold places the Holy Stone HS200D in a stationary position, hovering in the air at a fixed altitude. This is handy when you’re about to lose control of the drone, making it stay put, or for selfies and videos, giving you a more stable platform to capture your preferred media.
The Holy Stone HS200D has a neat function that makes use of the smartphone app and your phone’s gyroscope to translate its actual movement into the drone’s maneuvers. When this mode is active, you just have to tilt or turn your smartphone while the drone is in the air. It will then mimic your every move (well, almost).
The Holy Stone HS200D also has party tricks up its sleeve, with the 3D Flips function giving you a one-button exhibition for you and your friends to enjoy. Simply activate the mode and push the directional lever to the desired direction. This will have the drone initiating a 360° barrel roll in the air, safely returning back to position in a jiffy.
The Holy Stone HS200D has a 1000 mAh LiPo battery capable of supplying up to 9 minutes of flight time, which can vary depending on your flight settings and environmental conditions. This is totally acceptable — if not on the positive side — in this price range, as we aren’t expecting beefy battery packs in toy drones any time soon.
About charging time; the battery pack refills with an hour of charging. This is not bad in our books, considering some cheap toy drones have three times the charging time for the same amount of juice. Also, it never hurt a drone head to secure extra battery packs, as some of you might find the flight time a bit limiting.
The Holy Stone HS200D has a 720p HD capable camera that can also capture pictures of up to 2MP (1920×1080) resolution, making it a good option if you’re looking for an affordable drone with a camera.
That being said, the drone’s camera isn’t the best in the field, with photos sometimes a bit bland, blurry, or dimmed, and videos being grainy and shaky, as the craft doesn’t have stabilization features included with it. If it’s any consolation, the 120° wide-angle lens gives you a larger scope of capture for your scenery footage and stills.
It also doesn’t have perspective adjustment controls, so you’re stuck with its fixed angle. Needless to say, the Holy Stone HS200D’s camera is competent enough to give you decent photography and videography coverage, just ensure that you have proper lighting when doing so. It even gives you an FPV option for a true birds-eye view of your flying experience.
We’d say that in terms of camera usage, the HS200D is great for introducing you into the world of capturing from the skies. It might even be perfect for starting your child off on a journey of education in this field. Its price makes it replaceable — upgradeable, even, when the timing is right.
Ease Of Use
The Holy Stone HS200D’s included remote controller has a hybrid of professional and gimmicky aesthetics, but we’re not complaining about looks at this price point.
It features the basic dual joystick layout most controllers sport, as well as the essential function buttons populating the controller’s face. Smack dab in the center is a nifty LCD screen that gives you a readout of real-time telemetry stats such as battery level and signal strength as well, which is quite rare for controllers of drones this cheap.
You can also attach your smartphone with the included bracket for an FPV feed of the Holy Stone HS200D’s camera. The smartphone app also gives you a larger set of features and controls to tweak your flight and camera preferences.
Design and Build Quality
The Holy Stone HS200D is based on the quadcopter design with some cues from its competitors, taking on the aerodynamic and curvy aesthetic which not only makes it look great, but contributes to overall aerodynamics as well, giving you better air resistance management. Durability is not a problem as the drone can withstand some amount of damage without impairing its functions.
Extra protection measures on the Holy Stone HS200D shout beginner fail-safe, like the longer legs and pre-installed propeller guards to ensure that nobody’s wrecking something on the first flight. The landing gear offers better ground clearance to protect the camera during retrieval, while propeller guards ensure no damage occurs during collisions.
The Holy Stone HS200D is a reliable drone, even if it was primarily made for leisure purposes.
Response level is commendable, offering lightning-quick transmission for a seamless control experience, albeit being limited to a 100-meter range.
Do note though that signal deterioration might occur as you near the operational range of the controller, so limit your frolicking to your close line of sight.
Three flight speeds are available for the Holy Stone HS200D, with the slowest being default to avoid any kind of mishap with newbies. Once you’ve mastered the basic controls, you can slowly ramp up the speed to your desired level, or match it with your piloting skill to boot.
Though the drone doesn’t have a GPS to make it stable, its 6-axis gyro takes care of the craft’s balancing act. Be aware of moderate winds though, as it can affect your flight experience given the lightweight profile of the drone.
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Beyond our doubts and speculations, the Holy Stone HS200D pushed through without much of a fuss. Decent performance, usable camera, real-time response, and a seamless implementation of features and functions, this bird doesn’t lag behind some of its pricier counterparts.
All of these inclusive features for under $100. Imagine that. Since you probably are a beginner, or you’re at least considering buying this for a beginner, this is more than a suitable introduction to the world of droning.
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