Holy Stone is almost like the Holy Grail among people just starting out with flying drones.
Its newly released HS270 only strengthens the long line of Holy Stone products, known for their quality and durability. And, it does so within an affordable range.
The HS270 beats everyone else with its price tag, but that’s not it. Compactness and an excellent camera are some of the features that make this little bird stand out in the large crowd of affordable quadcopters.
Sifting through a host of drones gets more difficult as you lower the price range. You gotta filter through false claims, extra features you won’t need, and poor quality.
This is why I chose to write about it today (specs and reviews here); just to give you an unbiased view of my experience with it. But before that, let me introduce myself.
Hi! This is Dhia. I’m a traveler, an engineer, and a passionate drone-flyer. I’ve tried my hands on a whole lot of drones, and my faith has shifted from over a lot of products over the years.
So, without further ado, let’s jump into the details!
1. Design and Build Quality
Coming in a gray color scheme, the drone sports a professional look. Aesthetically speaking, I really prefer this metallic look over brightly colored drones, and its weight only adds to the compactness of the product. Made of high-quality polycarbonate (high-grade plastic), the drone measures 16.9 by 11.6 by 3.2 inches when it’s unfolded.
I like the fact that Holy Stone has made a significant departure from its previous models and made the HS 270 more compact and travel-friendly. As the arms and propellers are foldable, the dimensions reduce further, and it easily fits in my backpack.
Furthermore, brushless motors draw significantly less power, ensuring a noise-free flying experience, and prevent overheating. All of this combined makes way for a sturdy drone with quite impressive looks.
The HS270 takes over the performance of its elder brother, the HS720 in terms of picture and video quality. While it boasts a 2.7k camera, HolyStone’s major focus has been on the details. I used this drone on my Europe trip, and I was simply amazed at the quality of the output! The snaps captured vivid details of all the picturesque destinations and the way it enhanced my videos.
Furthermore, the 5GHz image transmission makes the First Person Viewing totally rad! I also liked the 90-degree rotation capacity of the lens that allows me to take wider shots, or try out different angles on the same object.
And one feature that all my shutterbug friends would love is the shock absorption holder. It carefully works around the vibrations and manages random wind movements very efficiently.
The final icing on the cake is that you can instantly share all your footage and pictures via the Holy Stone App. For me, this feature works wonders as I no longer have to think about carrying my laptop for backups and sharing whenever I use the drone. I just shoot and share now!
3. Flight time and Battery
One of the best ways to test all the qualities of a drone is by suspending it in mid-air. It allows me to test its stability, battery strength, and flight time. I’ll eventually discuss the stability of this drone, as that demands some serious discussion. But first, let’s talk about the other aspects.
The flight time and the range of the drone have seen a significant improvement over other models, such as the HS700. The HS270 gives you a total flight time of 18 minutes. This certainly brought a wide smile on my face as, within this price range, the maximum flight time I’ve ever achieved was about 12 minutes.
This massive upgrade is mainly due to the inclusion of the powerful Li-Po (Lithium-polymer) battery along with brushless motors. It’s a safe modular battery that always shows how much charge is left and is very easy to replace/remove.
However, once the battery depletes, it’d take you at least 5 to 7 hours for a full recharge. A bugger, right? I agree, one hundred percent. This is the only area where the battery failed to impress me and to be on the safe side, I use two batteries for an uninterrupted shooting session of about 40 minutes.
I just love drones that come with a controller. Nothing beats a physical controller! And I don’t prefer handling drones with apps at all, no matter how much they improve over time. Having my hands all over the space, and fidgeting with the controls is a complete mess.
And this controller is as powerful as the drone itself. With a range of over 700 meters, it’s quite long, especially if you compare it to the ones that came with the HS100 (review) and the HS700 (review). The design of the remote suits amateur flyers as the different controls are laid out clearly.
Furthermore, the extended range of the 2.4 GHz transmitter allows me to fly greater vertical distances. However, when I use Wi-fi to Livestream, the height drops a couple of notches.
I’ll write about the different flying controls under the flying experience section, but the dedicated ‘Return-to-home’ deserves a worthy mention here. Whenever the battery is low, I simply push that button, and the drone returns to the starting coordinates within a few minutes.
How was the flying experience?
This sturdy, technology-packed quadcopter has given me fewer chances to complain, and I’ll tell you why. It’s the perfect bridge between entry-level drones and the professional ones. The flight time is 18 minutes give or take, and it doesn’t reduce much due to strong winds.
The best part is, no matter how hard you try, the drone won’t get lost, thanks to all the automated features and flight modes. This should be one of the most thrilling features to those who are just starting shooting with a drone.
GPS-assisted flight: This is the genius technology behind the drone that keeps it from losing its track. Whenever the battery is about to die, the quadcopter will automatically return home or at the starting coordinates. I can also do it manually with a single tap on the ‘Return-to-home’ button, as mentioned before.
Follow me mode: This is another crucial feature of the GPS-assisted flight, and it’s present in the other models of HolyStone as well, such as the HS720. I love how it follows me wherever I go and rarely goes off-track. But, on the off-chance that it may do so, the home button is always there.
The best part is, it captures all the different angles which I’d usually miss, and regulates its speed according to mine. A genius, little bird right there!
Altitude Hold: Amateurs will simply love this feature! I envy all those who are just starting with drone photography because back in my days, drones rarely came with such intelligent features. Unless you are a pro flyer, paying constant attention to the vertical height of the drone is difficult. This is why the altitude hold feature is a star! It locks the device at a vertical height of your choice, and you just gotta focus on flying it forward. Isn’t that cool?
Custom flight path: With this feature, I get to survey an area of my choice, choose the exact places within the app which the device would cover and, simply set sail. I remember my bicycle trip around Lake Tahoe, where the drone traveled my chosen path and brought me some outstanding snaps.
What could have been better?
With all these intelligent features, the drone gives a fierce competition to its contemporaries. However, after using it for six weeks, I feel HolyStone should’ve worked harder on the charger. Honestly, it takes a whole lot of time to charge the batteries compared to other DJI models.
Other than the issue with battery charging, this is a product of sheer genius and intelligent technology. Especially since it costs less than $300.
- Foldable and compact
- Long-range of controller
- Incredible video and photo quality
- Stands strong against winds
- Brushless motors are powerful
- Charging time
If you’re still wondering whether to go for this drone, I’d suggest you ask yourself two fundamental questions: (a) Have you flown a drone before?, and (b) Do you have a big budget?
This is one of the most user-friendly drones in the market that comes within an affordable price range, meeting almost everyone’s needs.
I hope this review could answer all your queries. Happy flying!