When I first started drone piloting, I never realized it would become such a passion for me. Now, I can’t live without the feeling.
The very act of soaring over the clouds, staring down from a bird’s eye view gives me goosebumps. And drone flying has helped me get to know the world a lot better too. The trouble is, most drones are pretty costly, and this means affording one can be tough.
However, if you’ve got a bit of cash to spare, there are plenty of budget drones in the market that can get the job done.
Hi, I’m Dhia, your friendly global blogger and robo-nerd. And today, I have for you a comprehensive review of the Potensic D80, which is one of the best sub-$200 drones I’ve laid hands on. Once you go through the following, you’ll have all your doubts cleared about whether to get this one or not.
So, let’s hop on and take a ride.
Too excited to read it all? Here’s the complete lowdown for you in a nutshell. The Potensic D80 comes with one of the best cameras in the range, with 2K HD recording and latency-free transmissions.
The brushless flight motors make it more durable and fuel-efficient, while dual GPS and GLONASS enablement provide perfect Follow-Me functionality. Add to that flight speeds of up to 40km/h and a range of up to 1000m, and you’ve got a perfect winner.
And though the battery, clocked at 1800mAh, could’ve been better, still it gives a decent flight time of around 20 minutes. Which is better than that offered by many other GPS drones in this range.
If you’re one of my regular readers, then you already know that whenever I go on a trip, I usually try out a couple of new drones. This, I feel, is an integral part of my journey. And on my last trip around Asia, I tried out the Potensic D80 and the Holy Stone HS100 models.
Today I’ll be focusing on the D80, but along the way, I’ll make it a point to compare and contrast it with the HS100. This’ll allow you guys to have a better idea of the drone’s capabilities.
Splendid Camera Quality
As always, the first thing that I’m gonna focus on is the camera, and boy was I surprised to find a 120-degree, 2K HD camera on a drone so modestly priced! I took some shots of the Himalayan region with it, and the results were stellar, to say the least.
The D80 supports 5Ghz Wi-Fi technology, which provides transmissions that are as smooth as butter. Coupled with the real-time first-person view, this allows me to get latency-free transmissions that must be seen to be believed.
The D80 even has an SD-card slot, which allows you to pack in some extra gigs for recording and storing all photos and videos. This is where it has the edge over the HS100, which doesn’t sport an external memory slot.
Powerful Motor Design
The next thing that impressed me about the D80 is the brushless motor design of the model, which makes flying it an act of sheer pleasure. Plus, the brushless technology makes it more powerful and durable, thus enabling it to fly over longer distances.
Here, I’d like to say that this is something that I missed in the HS100. And though it’s a bit lower-priced than the D80, it wouldn’t have bothered me to shell out some more dollars for that brilliant flying experience.
If you’ve ever flown a drone, then you know that many of them are noisy machines that keep on droning (pun intended!) regularly. In a quiet setting such as the Himalayan foothills, this constant noise can be a deal-breaker.
However, the D80 scores in this respect, because the brushless motor design makes for extremely quiet flights that don’t break the serenity of the surroundings. I loved the way the drone soared like a silent bird over the mountains. Pure bliss!
Whenever I work with low-budget drones, the Follow-Me feature is something that I take care to test. And in that respect, the D80 impressed me with its rather accurate Follow-Me mode that ensures the drone is always locked on to my phone’s location.
This allowed me to continue my treks with ease, knowing full well that the trusty D80 was diligently recording every step I took. What’s more, the combination of Dual GPS and GLONASS provided pinpoint location accuracy.
By the way, I should mention that the HS100 has a similar Follow-Me feature, which I tried out. The results were pretty satisfying, and I can say that the performance of both these drones on that front is comparable.
While we are on the topic of location and navigation, I cannot help but mention the stellar One-Key Auto-Return Home feature. With this option, you can make the drone return at the touch of a single button.
Add to that the Point-of-Interest function that makes the drone fly clockwise around a specific location and take images, and you’ve got a perfect filming machine. On top of everything, you can even set custom flight paths using the dedicated app.
The GPS ensures complete device tracking, and this makes the piloting process much more enjoyable. Trust me on this; you wouldn’t want to miss it for the world.
Excellent Flight Time
Finally, let’s talk about flight times. The D80 sports a 1800mAh battery, which is low when compared to the 2500mAh module on the HS100. However, I was amazed to find the difference in flight times.
Despite being the lower-capacity of the two, the D80 offers a better flight time of around 20 minutes, as against only 15-18 minutes for the HS100! This is something that the D80’s got going in its favor.
Perhaps this is due to the fact that at 440g, the D80 is considerably lighter than the HS100, which weighs in at over 700g. The lighter weight calls for lower power consumption, hence offering better flight times.
Oh! And before I wrap this up, I must mention the safety signaling feature of the D80, which enables the device to return in case of low power or out-of-range flights automatically. This means there’s no chance of losing the machine mid-flight.
What Could’ve Been Better?
After careful consideration of all aspects of this product, I’ve found two points around which the D80 can be improved. The first is that the drone isn’t foldable, which makes it a little difficult to carry along with other luggage.
The second aspect that I’d like improved in it has to do with the signaling. Remember, I mentioned that the drone works with 5Ghz Wi-Fi? Well, your phone must be compatible with the same signal transmission range for the drone to work. This means you’re limited to your choice of the controller.
- 2K HD camera
- Power-efficient flight times
- Follow-Me feature
- Powerful brushless motors
- Isn’t foldable
- Not compatible with every smartphone
And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed this ride of the D80 (and a sneak peek of the HS100 as well!). I sure loved sharing my experience with you guys.
Before I leave, however, I’d like to let you know that both the HS100 and D80 have served me rather well. Each has its plus-points, and weaknesses too. But considering the price that they’re available for, I’d say each of these two makes for a steal of a deal!
On that note, I’ll take my leave, hoping that you guys will share in my experience of flying the D80. Only then can you truly experience the joy that comes from soaring over the clouds.
Till then, ‘Cya!