In this Holy Stone HS280 review, you will see how affordable but feature-rich it is.
But this is not the first drone for kids from Holy Stone. In the past, we did the Holy Stone HS430 Review, which comes with so many flight functions and features.
A few years ago, drones with camera cost a lot of money. Today, brand names like Holy Stone have cameras on all their drones. This includes their toy drones for kids. Even the HS280 costs less than $100 but has a fairly decent camera.
If you are looking for a perfect gift for kids, or for an adult you would like to introduce to the drone hobby, this is it! Before you buy, look at its features and flight modes.
There has been a complaint from a few users of this drone. They say that it delays to respond to the joystick. Small, cheap drone do not lack such issues, but it is good to be aware of such issues.
Some people also complain that the drone flies away automatically after launching. It does this even when you haven’t punched in a command.
Holy Stone HS280 Features and Technical Specifications
Holy Stone makes good drone models. They use high quality material such as AB plastics, good brushed or brushless motors. The HS280 drone is well-built, and checks many boxes.
This is a foldable toy drone. Its weight is way below the required threshold for registration, so you can fly it right away. Precisely, it weighs 155 grams, so you can fold it and carry it in your jacket pocket so easily.
It comes almost ready; just charge the battery, insert it and fly the quadcopter. The drone’s propeller blades also fold up making the size even more compact and smaller.
This drone has a white top, black propeller arms and a white LED strip that stretches across the face. This can help you when flying the small aircraft in low lighting.
The HS280 comes with brushed motors, which are not as efficient as the brushless ones. On this drone, they will not consume too much power. They are not too loud.
Batteries and flight time
This small drone comes with two batteries for longer flight time. These are modular batteries, which charge outside the drone.
You can get a total flight time of 26 minutes from the two batteries. This is enough time to have fun, but you can always order more if you like. The charging time for the batteries is 70 minutes. You will not stay too long waiting.
These batteries are safe to handle. They have overcharge protection so they will never overcharge. They also snap into place and they are easy to remove.
Always charge them with the cable they come with to avoid damaging them.
The HS280 comes with a 1080P camera. This is not the best, especially in this age when we have some drones such as JJRC X15 Dragonfly with 6K cameras. But for its size, it takes decent footage.
This camera lacks things such as gimbal or EIS. If there is any wind, it is going to shake and there will be distortion in the footage. Since this is a beginner toy drone, you can use it to capture family photos.
Your children will also have fun taking aerial footage. It will give them a good footing in the field. To get a better view, you can adjust the vertical angle of the camera by up to 80 degrees. You have to do this manually since you cannot adjust on the remote controller.
This drone has first person view, albeit covering a short distance. For that, you will have to use your smartphone.
This is a very simplistic remote controller with a simple user interface. On the face, it has four white buttons and the joysticks. One joystick is for trimming the drone in flight while the other one is for forward movement.
The remote controller uses 4 AAA batteries, which are not sold with the drone. You will have to get them from the store before you can fly it.
The 2.4GHz transmitter also has a foldable smartphone holder. It does not fit all smartphones, especially the ultra modern one.
The remote controller is light in weight. You can hold it through two batteries of flying the drone, without feeling fatigued.
As a beginner drone, this one comes with many flight modes. They make it easy to fly. To use the flight modes, download the HS FPV V4 app to your mobile. Here are some of its flight modes:
One key take off and landing
This key helps you to start using the quadcopter. When you punch the key, the drone takes off and hovers at a height waiting for the next move. When it is flying and you press the key again, it will stop and land.
Don’t bother too much about the direction the drone faces when it is away from you. Engage headless mode and it will realign itself to match the pilot’s position.
This is a safety function. If the drone comes across an obstacle in its path, hit the emergency stop key. It will stop in its tracks immediately.
The gravity sensor helps you to fly the drone in any direction. Wave your smartphone in the direction you want the quadcopter to fly. It makes flying the Holy Stone HS280 easy and fun.
Enjoy gesture shooting. You can show the drone the victory sign and it will start taking selfie photos. Show it the palm sign so that it can start taking videos.
Open the app and access the map interface. Draw a flight route that you would like the drone to follow when you launch it. It is a great way for hands-free flight.
Get the HS280 to fly obey your commands like a pet. You can command it to fly forward, right, left, stop and so on.
Reviews from owners of the Holy Stone HS280 drone
This is the first drone I have ever flown, so I do not know how to judge the experience. I think it flies well, takes nice pictures and it can even obey voice commands. I will get a bigger drone as soon as I have enough of this one. Mordy Tensen
I have been flying this drone at low speed indoors. Now, I want to take it outside and fly it at high speed mode. I am waiting for a calm day with no wind at all since I read somewhere that it will be hard to trim even in the slowest of winds. Reece Dibulo
I would tell you to buy this drone just for the flight experience but not for the camera feature. It takes good footage, but that’s all. It will give you a learning experience so that you can buy a more advanced one in future. Justin Edwardson
When I press the automatic take off key, the drone takes off and starts flying away immediately. I am not used to that because most hover waiting for the next move. It keeps doing that – hovering and not hovering at times. Ron Holden
I think this is a good drone for beginners, but be keen to start it flying on the low speed since high speed mode is too fast. Hellena Infante.
Holy Stone HS280 Pros
- The price is affordable
- It is perfect for a gift
- It is easy to fly for beginners because of slow and fast speed modes
- Has many flight functions when you download the app
- The flight time is decent per battery at 13 minutes each
Holy Stone HS280 Cons
- The user manual has small letters that can be hard to read for some people
- There is latency – slow response to transmitter commands
- Too light to fly in any sort of wind
Who Should Buy The Holy Stone HS280?
Holy Stone markets this model as an adult beginner or kid drone. It can make a perfect gift for a person you love on their birthday or any special day. If you have kids and you would like to introduce them to the hobby of flying, get them this quadcopter. It has two speed modes. A beginner can start on the low speed mode and hit high speed after learning to fly.
Conclusion and Recommendation
This is a high quality small drone. To enjoy flying it, there are a few recommendations to bear in mind.
Firstly, you need to practice moving the joysticks lightly. They are so sensitive. If you press the joysticks too hard, the drone will be hard to trim.
Secondly, don’t fly the Holy Stone HS280 drone in any type of wind, even the slightest. It will be hard to trim and might vanish easily.
Thirdly, the user manual is written in small letters. You might want to download one online where you can zoom in to read.
Overall, don’t expect too much from this small drone. It is just a beginner model. Once you have learned how to fly it, you will probably outgrow it.