Well, Finally I have one myself, a Hubsan H501S. I have heard a lot about this drone, and this is my view.
Packaging is great, it’s well thought of, and all the parts are packed good enough to not get damaged when shipped.
Inside the box there are:
- 1x 2700 mAh 7.4v 10c LiPo
- Balance charger
- Adapter for the charger, including EU adapter
- 2 sets of 4 propellers
- Key to tighten the propellers
After unboxing the drone I was amazed by the build quality of the drone.
It feels sturdy and very solid.
The golden motors match the look! The design is well thought of.
The transmitter on the other hand feels a bit cheap, but fits perfectly in your hands, and has a good grip.
Controls and switches are well in reach, and the built-in screen makes it look great.
Since I have one of the newer models I can use AA batteries and a LiPo from my Hubsan H502E as well.
The flight battery is a 2s 2700mAh 7.4v 10c LiPo, which should be capable of 20 minutes flying time (more on that later)
Battery has the same look as it’s smaller counterpart that’s delivered with the H502
The propellers feel a bit flimsy and the blades bend easily. they do match the look being golden.
Propellers are self locking, and that means that you have 2 CW and 2 CCW propellers, that twist on in the opposite direction of the rotation of the motor. this is good, propellers tighten themselves, and cannot come off during flight.
The key that is in the box is designed to “lock” the motors so that tightening the propellers is easier.
The charger is a simple balance charger, hubsan branded. It does the job, of course a dedicated balance charger like a SKY R/C IMAX B6 charger is always better. The charger charges the flight battery in about an hour, and you’ll have 15-20 minutes of flying time depending on the wind, and the way you fly.
Like mentioned before, propellers are self locking.
Propellers are marked “A” and “B” and they go on the “leg” with corresponding “A” and “B” markings.
The key that is supplied is to lock the motors so that propellers can be tightened properly, if done correctly the propellers cannot come off in flight.
The remote holds either AA or a LiPo battery (older versions only take AA batteries)
The LiPo fits good, and without any effort.
Switching on the controller is followed by a beep, and a red light, turning green.
The screen comes on, and the controller is ready to go.
When both the drone and the controller are powered up you need to calibrate the compass.
The display tells this, and the lights on the drone turn red and make a circular motion.
Calibrating the compass is easy, and quick. With the red lights on it takes about 4-5 turns to get compass 1 calibrated after that it takes another 2-3 turns nose down to calibrate the 2nd compass, the lights will turn green indicating that compass 2 needs calibrating.
Calibration is needed before every flight!
You need an additional 1-2 minutes before you can go and fly.
Since the drone relies on GPS for positioning, you need at least 6 satellites on the drone (controller display says X4 GPS) and the drone also has a “follow me” mode. this means that the drone is able to follow you (controller) this also requires at least 6 satellites on the remote as well. the drone will follow the remote GPS location (more on that later)
All the setting up is fairly easy, and it takes about 5 minutes in total before you can get up in the air.
Before you take off you can choose to change the lights as well.
Standard the lights are flashing, but there is also a setting to have them on all the time. you can also switch them off.
In flash mode the lights are bright, and you can see it very good. It gets even better when you have the lights on solid, LEDS are very bright, purple is front, green is back..
Before you take off make sure there is enough room around you if you want to rely on the return to home feature.
RTH is a safety feature that will make the drone fly back to the place where it was armed when batteries are running low. It will do this in a straight line! so every obstacle in the way will NOT be avoided.
Taking off is smooth and easy, controls are smooth and the drone is very silent.
When the controller is powered on, it is in Expert mode. this makes the drone react quick to every stick input.
It also flies faster, nut movements are less smooth.
You have the ability to change this setting to standard, which makes the drone slower, even sluggish maybe, but this will result in smoother video. The top speed is seriously reduced as well!
Changing to standard setting must be done before every flight if you want to fly in that mode. if you want to change during flight, you need to land and disarm first.
The drone also has FPV (First Person View) and that means that you can see what the camera sees when you are in the air. The drone is fitted with a 5.8G transmitter, the signal is received by the controller. in my tests the FPV signal was good, but I have been flying in wide open places. this can very from place te place. I went up to 100m without any problems, and went up to 150 meters away without problems. The display is crisp, and big enough to see where you are. I will not try it higher or further away since I am following local regulations.
I am also not interested in flying very high, apart from being dangerous it’s not allowed as well
The camera is a 1080p camera that is fitted in the drone without any stabilisation.
Personally I don’t like it that cameras are mounted in the drone itself. You can see every move of the drone, I don’t like it that much for video, but on a day without wind it is very good, and with some post processing it’s fixable I guess
Photo’s are nice, and pretty crisp. they could do with a little post editing, but the raw photo’s are not bad at all.
GPS hold is rock solid, and it’s so solid that it is also a good selfie drone. 🙂
Another great feature is follow me.
With follow me enabled, the drone follows the location of the transmitter.
You need at least 6 satellites on the transmitter for the function to work properly, and if all is well the drone will follow every move you make.
This is a video of the follow me mode.
To sum it up:
For this review I have been flying the drone for a week.
It is a great drone, especially when you come from a Syma or equivalent, but it’s also a great one to start with.
The H501 is very easy to fly, response to the sticks is great, and the video feed is a great addition and makes flying it even more fun.
Flying time is good, I could fly for 20 minutes before it flew back home, this could well improve after a few charges.
The big bright lights are great, and it’s very visible even on a bright and sunny day.
Video quality is good, and photos are also very good, but if you want bright colours you should do a bit of editing.
The only 2 things that I find a bit cheap looking are the propellers and the remote, but the good feel of the remote makes up for the looks.
The propellers are flimsy, but there are aftermarket carbon propellers that make it better, and I will review them soon as well.
So, all in all it is a great drone, and during the time I was flying it for this review I had a lot of fun with it.
A rocksolid GPS makes it a great photo drone, even a selfie drone maybe.
I flew it in winds up to 8m/s and it kept on going. Of course, taking video and photo with these winds is far from ideal, flying it in these kinds of winds is a lot of fun.. and it stands out perfectly! (you have to use expert mode though)
Would I recommend this drone?
For a beginner: Yes! because it is so much fun to fly, and follow me is a great feature!
For the more experienced pilot: Yes! especially for a quick flight, it’s easy to get it up, small enough to take with you in a small case