HelloHello, drone enthusiasts! Welcome to my Holy Stone F181W review.
I know it can be nerve-racking when choosing the best beginner drones. You’re trying to balance not paying thousands of dollars for premium drones with not paying for cheap drones that would break easily and don’t have awesome features that would make your flying fun and easy.
The Holy Stone F181W was released as an upgrade to the F181. The major difference between them is that the F181 has a microphone and no camera attached to the bottom of the body, while the F181W has a camera but no microphone attached to the bottom of the body.
The Holy Stone F181W is an entry-level drone that promises beginner drone pilots an avenue to hone their flying skills at an affordable price with a ton of exciting features.
In this Holy Stone F181W review, I will go over the features of this beginner drone like its design and build, camera quality, battery flight time, remote control, and more. I will also show you if the drone is the right choice for you before you go ahead and purchase it.
A Quick Overview of the Holy Stone F181W
It has a 1080P camera for capturing your moments and a flight time of 12 minutes, which is quite enough for a drone with its price tag. It’s easy to fly and can perform 360-degree flips while you’re honing your flying skills and exploring your environment.
The Holy Stone F181W comes with intelligent flight features like 1 Key takeoff and landing mode, headless mode, and many more. However, it has no GPS Auto Return feature, which I don’t fancy.
What’s Inside The Box of the Holy Stone F181W
Inside the Holy Stone F181W package, you should expect to get the following items:
- 1 x HS181W Quadcopter
- 1 x Transmitter
- 1 x Batteries; 4 x Spare Propellers
- 4 x Propeller Guards; 4 x Screws
- 1 x Screwdriver
- 2 x Landing Gear
- 1 x Phone Holder
- 1 x USB Charger
- 1 x User Manual
Holy Stone F181W Specifications
- Weight: 163g/ 5.7 OZ
- Dimension: 305*305*105 mm
- Flight Time: 10 Minutes
- Charging Time: 60~90 Minutes
- FPV Distance: 230 feet
- Flight Distance: 328 feet
- Camera Frequency: 2.4 GHz
- Camera Lens: FOV120°
- Video/ Photo Resolution: HD: 1920 X 1080P
Features and Benefits of the Holy Stone F181W
Let’s go over the features of the Holy Stone F181W and the benefits it has in store for you:
Design and Build
The Holy Stone F181W is a non-foldable drone that comes in a compact case made of ABS plastic that protects it from crashes. It’s painted in black but still has the appearance of a toy drone.
However, the F181W package comes in a white box with a minimalistic design that conveys the basic information. The package weighs 1.5 kg and has a measurement of 15 x 12 x 6.5 inches. The package also includes a carrying case that makes it easy to transport the drone to the location of your choice.
The F181W comes with propeller guards that protect the blades from damage when they come in contact with an obstacle. This feature will save you money from buying extra propellers after a collision.
The Holy Stone F181W is a non-foldable drone that measures 305*305*105 mm and weighs 163 grams.
The drone isn’t heavy and may feel light to some users who prefer heavier drones. However, you don’t need to register the drone with the relevant government aviation authority in your country if you reside in the UK, USA, or Canada because it weighs below the minimum weight of 250 grams.
It also has dual landing gears that make it easy to land your drone anywhere without a landing pad.
The Holy Stone F181W has dual LED lights located on the front and back of the drone. The LED light indicates the position of the drone, so you can spot it from afar. The front side of the drone displays blue LED lights, while the back side of the drone displays red LED lights.
This feature only works optimally during the night and gives the drone a lovely look from afar.
The Holy Stone F181W also comes with brushed motors that produce more noise than drones with brushless motors. The drawback of brushless motors is that they overheat, consume more power, are less powerful, and are more likely to sustain damage when they crash into an object.
The F181W package also comes with an extra battery for an extended flight time and two charging cables. This ensures you can charge both the drone and the remote control at the same time.
The 1080P camera is attached to the bottom of the drone and doesn’t come with a mechanical gimbal or Electronic Image Stabilization technology that would prevent shaky footage.
The F181W includes a micro SD card slot that can accommodate cards up to 32 GB in size.
However, no TF memory card is included when you buy the drone. Although the quality will be lesser than on a microSD card, you can choose to record images and movies directly to your phone’s memory.
Holy Stone offers a well-made drone controller with user-friendly controls that is powered by four AA batteries. You don’t really need a smartphone to fly the drone, but you’ll need to download the Holy Stone app, which is available for both iOS and Android if you want to use the camera features.
The Holy Stone F181W can capture both photos and videos at 1920 by 1080 resolution, which I think is quite okay for a drone with its price tag. It also grants you the ability to take fun aerial photos while joking with your friends and family thanks to its 120-degree field of vision
To avoid somewhat fuzzy shots, I advise turning on hover mode before snapping the pictures. This is due to the camera’s sensor’s inability to operate quickly enough to keep up with the drone’s motion.
But I didn’t like that the camera couldn’t be rotated or angled to gain a wider picture. You’ll have to control the drone’s yaw and pitch if you wish to capture an angled picture, which may be difficult for beginner drone pilots.
Generally, the camera quality falls short of that of more expensive drones. Nonetheless, it’s just ideal for a beginner who wants to have some fun with a low-cost camera drone and gain some valuable experience before moving on to more advanced aerial photography equipment.
Battery Flight Time
The Holy Stone F181W comes with a 7.6V Li-Po 1500 mAh battery, which will give you an average flight time of around 15 minutes. Flight time can be influenced by some factors that can increase or decrease it, like flight speed, wind speed, temperature, weather, flight style, and many more.
It is a safe modular battery that is easy to insert and remove. The charger displays a red indicator light when it’s charging and switches off when the battery gets full. The Holy Stone F181W is quite noisy and consumes more power than usual due to its brushed motors.
The good thing about the HS510 is that the package comes with extra batteries, which means another 15 minutes of fun time to practice and explore your neighborhood with your drone.
It has an average charging time of 3 hours, which is okay for a drone with its price tag when compared to the HS270, which has an average charging time of 5 hours. You can always increase the flight time of the drone by purchasing more batteries.
The Holy Stone F181W remote control looks like a Play Station game controller, which makes it easy and comfortable to handle. My major issue with the remote control is that it’s powered by four AA batteries, which you’d have to buy separately after the drone.
The left joystick on the controller controls the drone’s height and its ability to turn left or right. The drone may be moved forward, backward, and side to side with the right joystick. Four buttons are located beneath the left joystick.
The purposes of buttons are, going clockwise from the top:
- Take a photo
- Headless mode
- Capture video
- One key start/landing
The drone’s drift may be adjusted using the four buttons that are located below the right joystick. It’s a little uncommon to have the trim controls here because the right joystick is often moved in the desired direction after pressing a button to change the trim.
Three different speeds may be selected with the left button on the controller’s front, and the right button will trigger a 360-degree flip.
The remote control also features a retractable phone holder on the top that fits standard-sized phones.
The Holy Stone F181W has a range of between 50 and 100 meters, which is great for beginners but not something intermediate drone pilots will enjoy flying. The drone is controlled by a plastic 2.4GHz remote control that has excellent ergonomics.
The controller is still portable and enjoyable to use even with the AA batteries inside. I don’t fancy the controller, though. It feels and looks like a cheap knockoff of the Play Station game controller.
You may choose between 25, 50, or 100% of the available power modes by utilizing the remote controller. You may choose the degree of strength that best matches your skill set thanks to this.
Flips and other air movements are also possible with the drone, thanks to the controller. Also, it has an LED light so that you can fly the drone at night and see when the battery is about to run out.
Holy Stone F181W Performance and Usability
The Holy Stone HS510 comes with awesome performance and intelligent flight features that make it easy to fly and also provide you with an overall pleasurable flight experience.
It also has an excellent one-key flight feature but no GPS functions that grant the drone extra stability in windy conditions.
Below are some intelligent flight features of the Holy Stone F181W drone:
- Pairing and Calibration: Both the pairing and gyro calibration went off without a hitch, taking only a few seconds to finish each operation.
- One-Key Take-Off and Landing: The F181W’s rotors can be initiated by pressing a one-key takeoff button or by manually launching the drone by gently sliding the left joystick. Despite the drone appearing to land quite heavily, the one-key landing appeared to operate reasonably well.
- Emergency Stop: The drone will plummet out of the sky as a result of the drone’s rotors stopping instantly, regardless of the drone’s height. Although the feature works as intended, you should only use it as a last resort because you run the risk of harming the drone.
- Trim: Even when there is little to no air, the drone tends to wander, as was already mentioned. Trimming will assist in reducing the effect of drifting, but it can take several trim button presses until the drone is steadied.
- Headless Mode: Seasoned pilots will be aware that this makes it possible to fly the drone in a straightforward left-to-right and backward-to-forward manner, making it simpler for novice pilots to handle the drone. Sadly, the drone was a bit difficult to control due to its tendency to stray.
- Altitude Hold or Hover: This was successful in keeping the drone at its height once the drift had been rectified. It’s important to remember that if the battery is low, this function won’t operate.
- Flips: You may make the drone execute flips in either direction after you have reached a sufficient height (usually around 10 feet).
- Return to Home: As the drone lacks a GPS, there is no automated return-to-home function. Nonetheless, when Headless Mode is engaged, the drone will begin to fly toward the operator.
Advanced users are better suited for the features and tasks that can only be carried out through the app, which include the following:
- Gesture Mode: You can command the drone to perform a variety of functions with hand gestures.
- VR Mode: You may see live footage from the drone as it flies above you if you have a VR headset.
Speed and Power
The F181W is no speedster, but it moves quickly in a still, windless environment, especially during ascents. The drone is highly maneuverable in the air thanks to its compact size and lightweight design.
As you practice and improve your handling techniques, you may choose the drone’s preferred speed from a range of speeds. There are four different speed ranges: low, medium, high, and expert.
You should start off at the low-speed level and get some experience with the fundamentals before moving on to the other settings as you eventually get better at doing aerial moves. You’ll have enough time to appreciate your quadcopter this way before attempting more complex models.
The drone is not completely wind-resistant given its small size, so you may need to exercise caution while using it outside. It would be ideal to fly it inside or in a somewhat peaceful setting.
Holy Stone F181W Pros and Cons
Let’s go over what I like and don’t like about the Holy Stone F181W.
Pros: What I Like About The Holy Stone F181W
- The Holy Stone F181W’s biggest feature is that it arrives completely put together and ready to fly. Even experienced drone flyers enjoy the simple setup, which is ideal for people who are new to flying drones. The only preparations required before a flight are the insertion of the battery, attachment of the propeller, and insertion of the SD card into the camera.
- The drone, which weighs only 4.9 ounces, has two batteries, extending its flight time, along with safety features, simple-fly features, and intuitive navigation.
- Live FPV video transmission is one of the coolest features. This indicates that the camera’s accompanying Holy Stone software may wirelessly broadcast a live video to your smartphone. Another incredible feature is the ability to operate the drone without the included controller by using the app.
- Speaking of the camera, the 1080P HD camera quality of the drones is excellent for the price. Its 120-degree field of vision makes it ideal for taking and editing aerial panoramic images and films. To increase the sharpness of the still image taken with this drone, it is advised to utilize the hover mode first.
- Customers particularly appreciate the phone holder on the controllers, which allows them to monitor the real-time live video feed while operating the drone. The emergency-stop button and varied speed controls, which are excellent for beginners, are also popular with flyers.
Cons: What I Don’t Like About The Holy Stone F181W
- The price of this drone is actually demonstrated by a few features, on the other hand. Professional drones are quite expensive for a reason. First off, the Holy Stone F181W can only be transmitted up to 50 meters away. The majority of fliers are used to transmission distances of at least 100 meters.
- Second, avoid using this drone in windy conditions. Indeed, even a light breeze would cause the live video stream to stutter.
- The drone can fly for a longer period of time thanks to two batteries, but it only lasts for 10-minute intervals since it warms up so rapidly. To avoid overheating its internal components, give the drone a rest from flying every so often.
- Like any cheap product, the components used to produce it were presumably also inexpensive. Thus it should come as no surprise that the camera itself is quite sensitive and susceptible to harm. Even the interior fasteners and cables occasionally have a tendency to come free.
- Last but not least, the drone’s camera lacks an SD card. As most drones and other gadgets don’t often come with one, I wouldn’t classify this as a drawback, but it would be great if it did!
Holy Stone F181W Set Up
I’ll go over some basic setups for the Holy Stone F181W if you’re a beginner drone pilot who doesn’t know how to set up the drone. However, you’ll have to exercise patience so you don’t screw things up.
1. Charging the Holy Stone F181W
The first step is to charge the Holy Stone HS270 remote control and the drone battery with the USB cord. Unfortunately, only one USB cable is provided in the package, so you’ll either have to wait for one of them to get full before charging the other or simply buy another USB cable.
2. Assembling the Holy Stone F181W
Putting on the propellers: This shouldn’t be too difficult. Holy Stone provided a magnetic screwdriver to help in attaching the screws to prevent them from falling off. They also provided extra screws in case you misplaced some while attaching the propellers to the body of the drone.
Install the propeller guards if you want
Insert the charged battery in the battery slot of the drone
3. Pairing the Holy Stone F181W With Your Smartphone
The next step is to pair the Holy Stone F181W drone with your smartphone
- Download the Holy Stone app on your phone – free
- Turn on the controller.
- Switch on the drone’s battery. The battery’s lights will show the charge level; a blinking red light shows the battery charging. Then the light switches off when the battery is full.
- Go to the WiFi section of your phone’s settings and choose the Holy Stone WiFi signal.
- Click the “Enter Device” button in the app’s first page’s center after launching the Holy Stone app.
4. Calibrating the Gyro of the Holy Stone F181W
This is the final step you have to take before you can begin flying the drone.
There’s a power switch on the bottom of the drone and the controller is switched on with the red button between the joysticks. The drone and controller pair by simply moving the left joystick up and down with both devices turned on. After this occurs, the drone’s lights will cease flashing.
You simply need to simultaneously push both joysticks down to the lower left to calibrate the drone’s gyro. Once more, the gyros are adjusted once the drone lights become solid. Every time you fly, it’s a good idea to calibrate the gyros. It only takes a moment, and then you’re ready to fly.
Best Alternatives to the Holy Stone F181W
In this section, I’ll share with you three alternatives to the Holy Stone F181W to give you more options:
1. Holy Stone HS440 (Best Budget Alternatives)
The Holy Stone HS440 is my best budget alternative to the Holy Stone F181W. It comes with a 1080p FPV camera that can capture your important moments. It comes with a special function that makes flying fun. Plus, it weighs below 250 grams, like the HS510, which saves you from FAA registration.
2. DJI Mavic Mini (Best DJI Alternatives)
The DJI Mavic Mini is my best DJI alternative to the Holy Stone F181W. What I like about the Mavic Mini is that it has a long flight time of 30 minutes. Not just that, it comes with a triple battery for triple fun and a 2.7K HD camera attached to a 3-axis gimbal that provides camera stability and smooth footage.
3. Holy Stone HS720G (Best Advanced Alternatives)
The Holy Stone HS720G is my best budget alternative to the Holy Stone F181W. What attracted me to the HS720G is the 4K EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) camera that’s stabilized by a 2-axis motorized gimbal, which provides stunning aerial photography without any shaky footage.
Holy Stone F181W Safety Tips
- For your safety and that of the drone, avoid flying near or over obstacles, such as high-voltage power lines, crowds, trees, water bodies, and airports.
- The minimum recommended flying age for the F181W is 16 years.
- You’re advised to fly in open areas where you can maintain a line of sight, preferably below heights of 120 meters.
- Be careful with rotating motors and propellers, and keep a distance to avoid ear damage from the drone’s nose.
- Avoid flying in extreme weather conditions such as rain, fog, snow, and strong winds.
- Avoid flying the drone when tired, under the influence of alcohol or medication, or in any physical discomfort.
- Keep the drone clean and well-maintained.
- Read the user manual thoroughly before flying the F181W.
- Follow the battery safety rules as outlined in the user manual.
- Fly the drone with a fully charged battery and perform all the recommended pre-flight procedures before takeoff.
- Follow your local laws on drone flying and avoid flying in No-Fly zones.
- Always check the drone, controller, and battery for damages and correct installation before a flight.
- The onboard compass can be affected by electromagnetic fields near base stations or power lines.
Final Thoughts: Is The Holy Stone F181W Worth It?
Overall, the Holy Stone F181W is a good-budget drone for both beginner and recreational drone pilots.
It combines several amazing characteristics, including a 1080P HD camera, a decent flight time, and thrilling intelligent flight modes, so that both beginning and experienced pilots may enjoy flying it.
Although it is marketed as a beginner’s drone by the manufacturer, I think intermediate and professional drone pilots seeking an upgrade will find it amazing.
The best part of the Holy Stone HS510 is that it won’t cost you a fortune to own one of them. It retails for less than $100 at the time of writing this article and gives you great value for your money.
You can also check out the best Holy Stone drones to see the reviews of various drones from the Holy Stone series and the benefits they have in store for you.
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