Holy Stone HS161 – Cheap entry-level drone with Full HD camera
Design and weight
On the outside, the Holy Stone HS161 is completely black. When unfolded, the drone measures 25.5 x 22 x 3 cm. When folded, it measures 18 x 4 x 3 cm and thus has a very elongated shape.
Weighing only 129 grams, the Holy Stone HS161 is made of sturdy ABS plastic, which should guarantee a long service life for the drone. The robust material, together with the attachable propeller guard, provides the necessary protection for the drone in case of collisions with walls, furniture or other obstacles.
At the same time, the hoops around the rotors also protect bystanders from the drone’s fast-spinning propellers.
There are blue and red LEDs on the four arms of the drone, respectively, which help you to always tell the front and back of the drone apart.
For even better visibility of the drone in the sky, a bright white LED has also been installed at the front.
Features and flight characteristics
The Holy Stone HS161 can be controlled either by remote control or exclusively by smartphone. We recommend using the included controller to control the drone, especially in the beginning, as it gives you better control over the copter’s maneuvers.
If you want to enjoy the FPV live image transmission, you can attach your smartphone to the remote control and use the free app “HS Easy Fly” to fly the live stream of the camera image on the display.
Takeoff and landing work quite simply at the touch of a button. Once in the air, the drone independently holds its current altitude (Altitude Hold) without you having to operate the thrust control.
The built-in Optical Flow Positioning System, consisting of a ground sensor and a barometer, ensures a stable flight position near the ground. Even though the quadcopter does not have a GPS, it can still hold its position pretty accurately. However, the system only works up to heights of about 33 feet (10 meters).
So when flying indoors, the Optical Flow system is always at your disposal, while when flying outdoors at altitudes above 33 feet (10 meters), your own skills are required to keep the drone stable in the air.
Even though the drone is suitable for both indoors and outdoors, if possible, you should only fly outdoors in calm or light winds, as the drone can easily drift due to its light weight.
In terms of speed, you have three different levels to choose from. In the fastest mode, the copter reaches about 14.3 mph (23 km/h). That’s not overly fast, but it’s more than enough for a beginner drone.
If you accidentally lose control of the drone, you can use the emergency stop function, which stops the rotors of the drone immediately. The function is triggered by pressing both shoulder buttons simultaneously.
Especially beginners will be happy about the so-called Headless mode of the Holy Stone HS161, because in this mode a simplified control of the drone is available to you. In Headless mode, the drone’s orientation in the sky does not matter at all when you execute a control command in any direction. The drone will always fly in the desired direction, no matter how it is currently oriented in the sky.
However, we recommend that you don’t fly in Headless mode for too long and also learn how to control the drone normally, because by far not all drones have Headless mode.
The remote control is very compact, fits well in the hand and has a battery that can also be charged via microUSB. Therefore, you do not need additional batteries, as is the case with many other cheap drones.
Powerbank, Handheld Camera & Flashlight
A nice extra feature of the Holy Stone HS161 is the possibility to use the drone as a powerbank. If, for example, your cell phone battery suddenly runs out on a camping trip, you can recharge it with the help of the drone battery. Since the capacity of the battery is 1000 mAh, it won’t recharge a smartphone battery completely, but at least partially.
By the way, due to the compact dimensions of the drone, it can easily be used as a handheld camera when folded. Thanks to the bright LED on the front, the Holy Stone HS161 can also be used as a flashlight.
Another additional feature is the drone’s built-in voice and gesture control. This allows you to trigger photos and videos with simple hand gestures and to let the drone fly in different directions via voice command. However, both modes do not always work reliably and should rather be seen as a funny gimmick.
Flight time and range
The flight time of the Holy Stone HS161 is about 9 to 10 minutes. This is not particularly long, but it is common for drones in this price range. Therefore, we always recommend purchasing one or more additional batteries to extend the flight time.
When the battery level is low, an acoustic warning signal tells you that you should prepare for landing within the next minute. If you don’t, the drone will eventually land on its own.
Charge the 1000 mAh, 3.7 V LiPo battery within about 30 to 110 minutes using the included microUSB charging cable. The length of the charging process depends largely on the power adapter used. Most of the time, using the smartphone power supply is a good choice here.
The control range is about 110 yards (100 meters). The transmission of the FPV live image to your smartphone works up to distances of about 55 yards (50 meters).
The Camera Of The Holy Stone HS161
The Full HD camera of the Holy Stone HS161 takes photos and videos in 1080p. The quality of the recordings is very good for a drone in this price range, but of course cannot compete with the recording quality of an expensive drone with a camera.
The camera’s viewing angle can be manually adjusted by up to 45° before the flight, allowing you to film either straight ahead or diagonally downwards.
Your recordings are stored on a microSD card in the drone. The scope of delivery even already includes an 8 GB memory card.
Scope of delivery
- 1 x HS161
- 1 x 2.4 GHz remote control
- 1 x 3.7 V 1000 mAh LiPo battery
- 1 x USB charging cable
- 4 x spare propellers
- 4 x propeller guards
- 1 x propeller wrench
- 1 x screwdriver
- 1 x 8 GB microSD card
- 1 x card reader
- 1 x user manual
The Holy Stone HS161 is a robust entry-level drone with Full HD camera and FPV live image transmission. The flight time is about 9 to 10 minutes and the range is about 110 yards (100 meters).
The quality of the photos and videos is very good for a drone in this price segment, but of course it cannot compete with the quality of more expensive camera drones.
Thanks to the low weight and the attachable and detachable rotor guard, it is also suitable as a drone for children without any problems, as long as they are supervised by an adult during the flight.
All in all, the Holy Stone HS161 is an excellent camera drone at a fair price, which we can highly recommend!