Hubsan X4 Desire H502E review

 

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I got my hands on a Hubsan X4 Desire H502E
You can get one as well… it’s available at Banggood
It’s the cheapest RTF drone available that has GPS,you can get it as cheap as €90.- shipped. It has brushed motors that explain the price.
Some see it as a bad thing, personally I don’t. I have flown a lot with my Syma, and the motors are still great.

I want to write my review here about this great Hubsan!

Unboxing and contents

The Hubsan comes in a box that is almost as big as the drone itself.
It’s packed very good, and it wasn’t hard to get all the parts out.

 

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The package is very complete:

The drone
2 sets of props, and 2 sets of srews
1 610 mAh 2s Lipo 7.4v 15C 4.5Wh
A manual (downloadable from here) ,disclaimer and calibration instruction
A USB charger (they say it’s a balance charger, I don’t think so)
TX unit.
A screwdriver to attach the props

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The unit comes without an SD card and AAA batteries for the TX unit (more on that later)

Use a class 4 or better is what Hubsan advises.
In this review I’ve used a Class 10 16 GB Sandisk Micro SDHC card that I’ve bought at a local store. The card is big enough for a day’s flying and filming.

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The TX module

I have bought a 4 pack of Alkaline AAA batteries for the TX and put them in, very straightforward.
The TX fits nicely in your hands, controls are easy to get by, and the little LCD screen gives you a lot of information.
Flightcontrol shows the connected sattelites, actual height and actual distance.
This information is realtime!
It also shows battery status of TX and the drone and 2 indicators that blink when filming or taking a photo.
On top are 2 buttons, the left for video/photo and the right for RTH funtion.
it also has buttons to adjust controls if needed.

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Photo of the TX display. showing 235 meters altitude, 12 satellites and Expert mode.

Pressing the left stick activates headless mode (I haven’t tried that yet with this one)
Pressing the right stick activates expert mode, this makes the drone a bit more agile, movements are not as smooth as in normal mode but turning in wind is easier in expert mode.
It also has the posibillity to switch between mode 1 and mode 2, switching controls around. I won’t use it here as I am right handed.

Batteries are a big problem . Using Alkaline batteries is a must! the TX is eating batteries as there is no tomorrow.
You can use a set on 1 day if you’re a frequent flyer. I have used 1 set of batteries on 2 nights of flying.
I do understand why though, there is a lot of information going around between the TX and the drone. So there’s a constant stream of information even when you let go of the sticks.
So if you buy a set of alkaline AAA’s to start with, buy a set of rechargables as well, put them on a charge straight away.

So that’s the TX all set-up… a very good and comfy one.

Drone preperation

Assembling the props was not too hard, they only fit in one way.
Both props and drone are marked with “A” and “B” markings, A props on A and B props on B, so it’s very dummy proof. they even printed it on the inside of the box

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The Lipo goes in the back after opening a cap.
There is not much room left, so upgrade batteries that could come in the future probably won’t fit.
Personally I found it a bit hard to get everything in.
The Lipo has 2 connectors, the white one is for the charger, the red one is the connection with the drone.
All of this has to fit in a space that is barely big enough for the battery itself, so I personally think that there is room for improvement there.
You can also see a USB port inside, it’s for future firmware upgrades.

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After putting the props on and the battery in you’re ready to fly… or not?
Not quite yet…

The drone has no power swith, so as soon as the battery is connected the drone is powered on. After turning on the TX you will get a beep confirming binding with the drone.

After getting some data from the drone, the message “set compass 1” appears.
The lights of the drone will go round clockwise and you need to calibrate the drone.
Turn the drone around holding it horizontally until the message changes.

 

As soon as this is done the message set compass 2 appears.
Hold the drone vertically, and turn it around until the message dissapears.

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Calibration needs to be done everytime you change batteries. this is good and bad at the same time. good, knowing the compass is alway calibrated. Bad because this takes a minute or 2 before you can actually fly. Personally I don’t see this as a very big issue, it gives me peace of mind.

When compass calibration is done you are ready to fly.. no, just wait a bit longer

For accurate GPS positioning the drone needs at least 6 sattelites.(more on that further down) depending on the location and weather this should take less than a minute. You can get as much as 12 sattelites (shown in above picture)
RTH (return to home) depends on these sattelites! so it’s important to wait!

Flying:
Once we have 6 sattelites we can go and fly this great drone.
Arming the motors is done by moving the left stick to the low left corner, and the right stick to the lower right corner. the rotors start spinning at a slow speed and you’re good to go. the motors don’t make too much noise.
The location you arm the drone (after having at least 6 sattelites!) is also the marking point when using return to home! more on that later.

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flying the drone is no different from others, left stick controls height and yaw, right stick controls forward/backward movement and turning. if you are used to fly without altitude hold as I am, you’re in for a treat as this drone has a barometer fitted, so it will stay at the same height you put it in when you let go of the left stick. this is great for photo and filming! GPS holds in in place. so hovering just became very easy!

Taking off is quite fast, before you know you’re high up.
Letting go of the left stick makes the drone hover in place and that’s a good thing. Actually it’s very good as well. there is some movement,mostly due to the wind, but no toilet bowl effect at all.

LED lights should be able to determine front and back but you can harldy see them if you are up 50 meters or higher on a bright day. they are visible on a cloudy day though. I guess headless mode could help you out there, but I have crashed a drone with that so won’t use it anymore. the display could tell which side the front is pointing to. there is a “H” on the display that tells you where the head is. Before you take off take a note of the “H” and the digits behind it. if you’re high up and cannot determine front and back that will help you out, try and use yaw to adjust.

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Taking off and flying is very smooth. I really like the GPS, it makes flying easier, and photo’s and video more stable. the whole reason for me buying this drone.

Taking photo and video

Photo:

The drone is fitted with a 720P camera, and makes decent photo’s
A short press on the left top button is enough to shoot a picture. the camera icon blinks 1 time, and the red lights on the drone both blink once

Photo’s are not as crisp as I wanted them to be, but for me it’s good enough, photoshop helps me out there. Below pictures are taken with this camera. not to bad at all.

ViviLnk

ViviLnk

Video:

Pressing and holding the top left button activates video, and it is confirmed by a beep, the camera icon on the display starts to blink, and the red lights on the drone are blinking from left to right

Video’s are pretty good as well.
The camera is fitted with a wide angle lens, and I think that’s also great!
Like I said, GPS and altitude hold are a great asset when it comes to this, steady flight makes video and photo’s a lot better.

Since there is no gimball, video can end up a bit shaky especially in windy conditions, but again, there’s software for that. The recorded video is quite good nevertheless. I haven’t noticed any jello effect at all.

These are video’s made with the Hubsan:

Return to home

Return to home is a great feature!
I have had the drone up to 253 meters (and it will not go up higher, seems locked on that altitude)
I couldn’t see it, couldn’t hear it.. I have pressed the RTH button untill it beeped and the sattelite icon started flashing.

After a minute or 2 I heard and saw it again and decided to let it finish the task.
the red lights were both blinking, indicating that it is in return to home mode.
It went down by itself all the 253 meters and landed very close to the taking off spot!
I am pretty amazed by this, I love it! Once the drone is back on the ground the motors start running at a lower speed but won’t switch off. using the procedure to arm them is also used to disarm them. again, very straightforward!

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Another great feature is the failsafe mode.
If for some reason you run out of TX batteries, or mother nature wants to play with it as well and the drone gets out of reach, failsafe mode is activated. there is no way of overruling this.. once activated.
Important to know: It doesn’t work on low battery in the drone. You need to have enough power left to get it back on the ground. if the battery of the drone runs out of juice it will just fall down!

I have tested failsafe mode at a height of only 15 meters… flew away a couple of meters walked to the drone stood under it just in case, and switched off the TX.. the blue lights started to flash indicating the failsafe mode, and if flew back and landed on the arming spot! this also shows that 6 sattelites are very importand BEFORE arming the drone.

I have also tested the drone without sattelites, and although it’s controllabe it’s not a great flyer then. RTH does whatever it thinks is best, altitude hold becomes crash mode and it’s dangerous to fly if you dont’t want it to crash! so I won’t ever do it again.

My thoughts

All in all I think it’s a great drone for everyone.
it’s easy to set up, easy to fly and all the calibration things is just something to get used to.
Like I said, I don’t mind at all. photo and video are decent knowing it’s only 720P and it has no gimball.

The drone is a quality build. it doesn’t feel cheap and has good looks.
It is classified as a toy drone, I have to disagree.. I think it’s at the lower end of hobby drones. and if it is a toy drone, it’s the best of the best there is.
If you’re used to a DJI or something similair this drone might not be what you expected, but I bet you’ll be amazed what this little thing can do!

My pro’s and con’s
To be honest, the cons are not really cons, you can get used to them.

Pro’s:

Easy to fly
Decent photo and video
GPS
Altitude hold
Return to home
failsafe mode
Flight control display
Over 200 meters altitude, seems locked to a max of 235 meters though

Cons:

battery hungry TX
LED’s are not visible on a bright day
Little room in battery tray

 

Interested? get yours right here.