Our Rating - 4.5/5
Amazing value for the money drone
The F181 is a small and budget-friendly quadcopter with several exciting features that you won’t find on its rivals. It makes for an excellent choice for any new entrant in the world of drones.
Holy Stone F181 Drone Review
When it comes to getting your first drone, it is always important that you consider the depth of your pockets before purchasing the device. You need not spend too much on features that you may not necessarily need as a novice, so having a pre-defined round number for your budget is something that I always suggest before you go out shopping.
The Holy Stone F181 happens to be a practical choice for beginners looking for a quadcopter in the $100 range. Ever since its release, the drone has received worldwide acclamation, thanks to its price and other exciting features.
But what makes this quadcopter so popular? In this review, we will try to answer this question by touching on the good, not so good, and the ugly about the F181 from Holy Stone, to see if it’s worth the money.
2MP (1280 x 720) 720p; still/video camera
50 to 100 meters
Around 80 minutes
Holy Stone F181 - Quick Glance
The F181 will remain hovering in the air for about 7-10 minutes, which is decent flying time for a beginner who’s just catching the drone bug to have fun. This is thanks to the 3.7V, 750mAh lithium battery that keeps it running for the duration.
However, the actual time the quadcopter stays in the air will depend on several factors, including the speed at which you are flying it and if any other electronic features are running simultaneously. For instance, you are bound to get less flying time if the camera is on or if the drone performs multiples maneuvers in the air.
Fortunately, the drone comes with an extra battery, meaning you have just about 16 minutes of playtime with the drone before you run out of battery power. Although the battery takes 70-80 minutes to fully charge; a long wait if you asked me!
The F181 packs a small HD camera that shoots 2MP photos, which I feel is quite generous for a drone in its price range. The camera shoots stills at 1280 by 720 and offers you a 120-degree field of view, enabling you to capture decent quality shots from above when playing around with your friends and family.
The 720p camera also allows you to record some pretty crisp videos. Even without the 4K resolution on the DJI Pro, you’ll still be able to capture great memories you spend with your family.
I suggest engaging the hover mode before taking the photos to prevent the images from coming out slightly blurry. This is because the camera’s sensor isn’t fast enough to stay in pace with the speed of the moving drone.
However, I didn’t like that you can’t angle or rotate the camera to get a wider view.
If you need to take a photo at an angle, you’ll have to manipulate the yaw and pitch of the drone, which may prove challenging for a beginner.
Overall, the camera quality doesn’t come close to what you get on higher-priced drones. But it’s just perfect for a hobbyist looking to have fun with a cheap quadcopter camera and offers great practice before graduating into more professional aerial photography devices.
This drone features a range of between 50-100 meters, which is not great but something you can comfortably work with. It uses a 2.4GHz remote control that boasts great ergonomics made out of plastic material.
Even with the AA batteries inside, the controller remains lightweight and fun to operate, although it feels kind of cheap.
By using the remote controller, you’ll be able to choose the power mode you prefer, which ranges from 25 to 50 and 100%. This allows you to select the amount of power that best suits your skill level.
The controller also lets you get experimental with the drone by doing flips and other maneuvers in the air.
It also comes with an LED light to allow flying the drone in the dark and let you know that the battery is about to run out.
The F181 quadcopter is no speed demon, but it does move swiftly in a calm and windless atmosphere, especially during ascents. The small size and little weight of the machine make it quite agile in the air.
The drone has various speed levels that enable you to select the one you prefer as you practice and develop your handling skills. There are four different speed levels, that include low, medium, high, as well as expert.
I recommend that you begin on the low-speed mode and practice the basics before progressing to the subsequent modes as you gradually improve your aerial maneuvers. This way, you’ll have enough time to enjoy your quadcopter before trying your hand at more advanced models.
Given how pocket-sized the drone is, it’s not quite wind-resistant and this is something you might need to be wary of when flying it outdoors. The best time to fly it would be when the environment is relatively calm or indoors.
The drone has two modes of flying. The first one is slow and recommended for beginners. Mode two is what this drone is meant to do, really fast flying. In this case, speed equals fun. It handles great, really stable in flight, auto height hold works without a problem, so do does the auto take-off function. Autoland function can really be used only close to the ground. Pushing it when the drone is high will result in the drone basically falling down. The range is around 250 ft.
Differences Between the F181 C, W, and G
One thing you should know is that the F181 quadcopter is available in three different versions with a few differences that may not easily be distinguishable. However, the key contrast lies in the FPV addition on the W and G models that allows you to receive live video feed on your phone via WiFi.
The three F181 models also have differing size dimensions and weight. The same is true when you go to order them online. They all have unique prices, with the C model being the cheapest and the G model being the costliest.
Other than the above, the three models seem to offer a variety of similar features.
Holy Stone Model
31 x 9 x 31"
12.2 x 12.2 x 3.3"
16.7 x 9.1 x 4.2”
7 – 10mins
7 – 10mins
50 – 100m
50 – 100m
What Do We Like?
Among the features I enjoyed the most on the F181 is the FPV live video transmission. This ensures that the camera transmits live video footage to your smartphone via WiFi; although you’ll first need to download the Holy Stone app before connecting it to your controller through the WiFi settings.
I also like that the drone comes ready to fly straight out of the box. It only requires a few final touches like inserting the battery, attaching the camera, propeller, etc. and it will be ready to go.
Overall, the quadcopter has a user-friendly interface, which makes it the ideal choice for beginners. Everything from unpacking to the controls and flying makes for a very short learning curve.
The camera is also decent for a device in its price range and offers enough features to capture unforgettable memories with your loved ones. And the return-to-home function is a first when it comes to drones in its class.
What Don’t We Like?
Flying the quadcopter in strong winds proved to be a disaster. The small frame of the device means it cannot stand its ground in the face of such winds, and controlling it in this kind of an environment is a daunting task.
The low resolution of the 2MP camera results in underwhelming stills and shaky videos which can’t be used professionally. But then again you have to consider that this is a low-cost drone.
The flight time is also relatively low and the battery takes quite a while to fully charge. This can prematurely interrupt the fun you are having with your friends during playtime.
Advice to Buyers
The F181 series from Holy Stone proves to be functional with nice features to provide you with exciting playtime. I would recommend it to anyone looking to fly their first drone, given the general ease of use that the series provides to users.
The Holy Stone F181 is a fun and easy drone to fly. Despite its small frame, it stacks a host of features that you’ll find useful when flying the quadcopter. The flight time, range, and overall performance are decent enough to meet, if not exceed, any beginner’s expectation of their first drone experience.
While you may not get the kind of camera quality to use in your professional endeavors, it is a nice budget option to practice your aerial photography skills as you wait to take more expensive and complex drone options.
Last update on 2020-05-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API