Hubsan H501S X4 Review
We look at this premium budget drone (yes we may have just invented a new category there) and give you the full low down in our review.
Hubsan H501S X4 Review
Hubsan have established quite a following among those consumers looking for a beginner friendly drone and that is in no small part down to the relatively cheap price point that most of its drones have. The Hubsan H501S X4 is a slightly more premium end drone in terms of price (generally around £170) than some of its other models and it is pretty well spec’ed when it comes to the on board tech.
The H501S is available in two trims. The white and gold version is generally a little cheaper whilst the black trim is often a few pounds more. Both drones perform in exactly the same way and come with the same accessories but if the look of the drone is important then you will of course base your choice on looks.
We decided to take it out for a fly and see if it lived up to all the hype amongst beginner drone enthusiasts.
On first look there is nothing to really wow you about the Hubsan H501S and the oversized propellers give it a sense of being quite large. That being said, the Hubsan is pretty light weighing in at just shy of 410g and the gold detailing (that comes on most variants) is quite appealing. The rather large controller looks and feels well built and whilst it will take 8 batteries to power the thing (making it pretty cumbersome to handle) we liked the design and found it pretty easy to use. The built in display is also a nice touch at this price and sets it apart from other drones in the sub-£200 band.
The Hubsan H501S X4 in Flight
We quickly got the Hubsan in the air and got it going. The first thing to note is that the X4 is not the easiest to take off with, the short legs mean you need a really shallow take off surface to get it in the air successfully. There is not much in the way of stabilisation and there is no gimbal (more on that in the camera section) which means that keeping the drone stable for photography is far from easy.
For general flying the X4 is not too bad once in the air and it has some good features that will help keep your drone safe. The one touch return to home button on the controller is useful and the flying modes are also helpful for beginner pilots. Headless mode allows you to control the drone really easily – giving you full control of movement with the right stick no matter which direction the drone is facing.
Battery life is impressive with this drone and we were getting typically just under 20 minutes flying time out of it. Again, at this price point that is a pretty impressive stat and is one of the main reasons why the Hubsan H501S X4 stacks up well against more budget drones.
One thing we do have to point out is that in very windy conditions the Hubsan H501S X4 struggles somewhat and is very difficult to control so it is probably best suited to less windy environments. We did (don’t tell the boss) crash on our first flight which probably hurt our ego more than the drone itself but all the same we were quickly back up in the air without problems. If you find your drone slightly off balance you can use the trimming features on the controller – although we had little need for this.
Speed wise, the X4 is not the nippiest of drones but is also not the most sluggish and it has a good range of up to 800m using GPS to help locate the drone with the controller.
Using the controller in flight is pretty simple and the video relay is useful given that you don’t need to sync up a smartphone or extra display. The display itself does look a bit dated and you would probably get a better picture if you were using your smartphone in all honesty. But, if you are looking for an all in one easy (enough) to use drone package then you have it here.
Hubsan H501S X4 Camera
The camera sports full 1080p but this is one area where we have to say we were left disappointed in low light circumstances. Good lighting was a completely different story however and provided us with some simply stunning pictures. Video was more hit and miss and this is where the addition of a good gimbal or drone stabilisation hardware would have made all the difference.
Again, if you are looking for a decent starter kit then the Hubsan H501S X4 is going to stack up well. But when you consider the DJI Spark or even one of the older Phantom models you are not going to be winning any photography awards with the X4. 20 minute flight times does catapult the Hubsan in to being a serious contender in the sub-£200 category and despite low light camera flaws we have to say we are quite smitten with this drone.
Check our overall scores and comments in the review box at the top of the page – however, overall this is a decent enough drone for the money ad unless you are going to be shooting a lot of video in low light conditions you will not be left disappointed.
Hubsan H501S X4 Review Summary
The Hubsan H501S X4 is a good drone for a beginner who wants a little more for their first foray into drone ownership. The camera leaves a lot to be desired but you will get some great images and video on bright days. The controller is a beast and with the exception of the amount of batteries it takes to power it, it was one our favourite controllers we have ever used.
Ease of use
Value for money