Yet again Holy Stone produced one of the most popular drones in it’s price range. F181 was released about a year ago and it achieved great success worldwide. In fact, this model presented Holy Stone company to western market.
While it’s definitely true that its competitive price played big role in its popularity, it’s fair to say that that’s not only factor that made it interesting for many drone enthusiasts. We’ll talk more about that below.
Holy Stone F181 Specifications:
Flight time : 8 minutes
Battery type : 3.7 V 750 mAh
Charging time : about 80 minutes
Control range : up to 100 meters
Camera : 2MP
Features : one key return, headless mode, LED lights
Price : check price on Amazon
Before we start with the actual Holy Stone F181 review, here are few things you guys should know :
- This drone does not require FAA registration
- This drone comes with 2 batteries, which means you can easily replace empty one with full one and continue your flying. That is great but please keep in mind drone motors can easily burn out. To avoid that, give it 10 minutes to cool down before flying again with new battery.
This is ready-to-fly drone but that does not mean you can fly it right out of the box. Don’t worry, it won’t take you longer than 3 minutes to launch it to the skies 🙂 I’ll explain that few lines below.
So, what’s included in the package?
- Holy Stone F181 drone
- 2.4G remote transmitter
- 2 USB charging cables
- 2 drone batteries of 3.7V 750mAh
- 2 landing slides
- extra 4 rotating blades/propellers
- 4 protecting frames
- A screwdriver
- The user manual
You’ll need to assemble only few things before your first flight. Follow this steps and you shouldn’t have any problems with it :
- Attach landing gear using screwdriver you got in the package
- Attach blade protecting frames (this is not required but it’s highly recommended for all beginners)
- Make sure camera is connected, there’s camera slot on the bottom of drone
- Make sure battery is connected
Note about blade protection : it’s not required to have these attached to your drone but if you’re beginner please listen my advice and attach them. You’ll crash your drone at least once, that’s a fact. In my whole “drone flying career” I have not seen any beginner who haven’t crashed his/her drone at least once. If you’re flying indoors and crash your drone into wall, propellers will break easily. That’s not what we want! 🙂
Design and durability
Holy Stone F181 design is quite common for a quadcopter. It would be lie if I told you it’s the most beautiful drone I’ve ever seen or something like that. But I like it, it looks good and when you hold it you can feel it’s not some cheap toy. Build quality is good in my opinion.
It has LED lights on the bottom, which is common “feature” in all new drones. Blue lights forward, and red lights backward. This will make your life much easier if you decide to fly it during night, which I specially like. One more cool thing about F181 is LED light on it’s nose, this should help you determine its position when flying it during day or night.
This drone comes fully fitted with 2MP camera. This camera is able to record videos at 30 frames and take snaps 720p resolution. This probably doesn’t mean much to you so I’ll try to demonstrate it. This camera can’t be considered as a professional camera, it is far away from that. But that doesn’t mean it’s useless, truth is it’s really nice camera for “fun” purposes. It’s not better nor worse than other cameras in this price range drones.
Videos and photos are stored on the default 2GB SD card which comes included in the package. 2GB should be enough for all your needs. In case it’s not, you can easily insert SD card with more storage space (4/8/16GB). At the bottom of this review you can see sample of video and photo it records/captures.
F181 comes with a controller that resembles a typical PlayStation or XBox joystick. It’s very comfortable to hold since most of us are familiar with joysticks 🙂 You’ll need to insert 4 AA batteries before you can turn it ON. Batteries are not included in the package so you’ll have to buy them separately. They should last for a month minimum.
On the top, we have a little display. Don’t get fooled by some fake reviews that claim you can see live feed from camera on that display because you can’t! It’s used only to display some crucial information such a : battery status, signal strength, drone speed and LED lights status(on/off). That’s where use of this display ends, there is no way to make it receive live feed from camera. I’m saying this only because of some fake reviews who are not telling truth, this should not be reason not to buy this drone.
If you’re beginner you’ll probably find it bit difficult to fly in “speed” mode. We highly recommend your first flights to be in 30-50% speed range. In the other hand, if you’re already experienced in flying drones, I believe you’ll be fine with high speed mode. Since this is medium sized drone, it can easily be flown outdoors. It’s not very wind resistant so be careful about that. Overall, F181 is stable flyer that’s good for both indoor and outdoor flights. I prefer night flights in my garden because I just love to see those LED lights in the air above my house.
Flight time and control range
In this price range, average flight time is somewhere about 6-7 minutes while control distance is under 100 meters. Holy Stone F181 has a slightly better flight time : 7-9 minutes, while control range is between 50 and 100 meters, depends on environment.
For me, these are more than good characteristics for drone in this price range. Remember, you’ll get extra battery in the package so you can basically fly 2×8 minutes. In my experience, that’s more than enough! When you gain some flying skills, I believe you should be OK with removing landing gear and propeller protectors. Doing this you’ll reduce drone total weight, which will improve it’s motility and increase total flight time. Don’t do this until you feel comfortable enough to land drone without landing gear.
Other models in the same price range
There are many other drones in this price range, and some of them are really good toys. I’ll mention only few of them, this should help you understand what you can get for your money.
JXD’s big successor, one of the best selling toy grade drones in 2016. Comes with an above average specification and some cool features such a : altitude hold, one key landing, return to home.
It has a efficient motors and batteries which should provide you with up to 10 minutes of flight time. This is at least 2-3 minutes better than other, average drones in this price range. I should also mention it’s camera, it comes with 2MP FPV camera. For FPV transmission it’s using 5.8GHz frequency instead of WiFi, which is awesome. It has it’s own display on controller so you won’t have to buy extra display or use your smartphone for that. In case you’d like to use your smartphone as a camera live feed receiver, you should check out JXD 509W model.
While Hold Stone F181 is quadcopter, MJX X601H is hexacopter. Hexacopters are better in some aspects compared to quadcopters. For an example, if one of your motors burn out while you’re in the air on your quadcopter, there’s no way you can land it safely. While that’s not the thing on the hexacopters, in most of cases you’ll be able to land it even without one motor.
Second, they have more power in most of cases. You don’t have to be engineer to figure out that 6 motors are more than 4 motors. There are some disadvantages, 6 motors consume more power from battery, which will result in lower flight time compared to quadcopters. This is not the case with MJX X601H because it can stay in air for up to 8 minutes thanks to its 3.7V 700mAh battery. Control range is somewhere around 70 meters based on my tests. What’s more important are some cool features that MJX X601H has, so I highly recommend reading MJX X601H review here.