Some of the features and functions that the VISUO XS818 ZEN Mini comes with are almost too good to be true.
For example, this quad has GPS positioning, altitude hold and optical flow positioning. How is that for an entry level drone? While it has the word Mini in its name, it is not so small as to be a kid-toy drone. It has a moderate size for a quad in its price range.
This quadcopter comes with a 4K camera. In the upcoming sections, we are going to find out whether this is a true 4K camera. The battery life is quite good and the drone comes with many flight functions.
When you order the drone, it can come with one or two batteries, the latter for a slightly higher cost, but well worth it.
Is there a downside to expect from this drone? Matter of fact, there is one. It does not support MicroSD cards. If a quadcopter will come with a 4K camera, it should have a slot for an SD card because with a card, you can capture footage in high resolution.
VISUO XS818 Mini Features & Technical Details
Features make a drone great or less. In addition to the features, the flight functions also need to be in top shape. They make it easy for beginners and even children to fly a drone. So what are you going to get with the XS818 Mini?
Design and Build Quality
This is a foldable drone. It folds with everything intact, into a small rectangular shape. When we say it folds intact, we mean that even the blades (which are in split design) fold up. That way, when you remove it from storage, you just have to insert the battery and fly it, without having to screw or unscrew anything.
When folded, it measures 7.2 by 5.7 by 2.4 inches. When unfolded, it measures 14.2 by 14.0 by 2.5 inches. You can see that despite the name Mini, it is actually not too small.
The weight is a manageable 210 g. Therefore, it is below the 250g set threshold for registering with the FAA in North America. Just insert the battery, calibrate and fly it.
The hull is made of ABS plastic. You can choose the grey or black color for your drone. This kind of plastic is light in weight, thin and resilient at the same time. It does a good job of protecting the delicate interior parts.
Finally, the drone comes with 1020 brushed motors. They have a good flight performance and they fly well without heating up. The noise level of the motors is really not too bad either.
This is a 4K drone camera. The video resolution is 2048*1080P. This is more like 2K. However, the photo resolution is indeed 4K at 4096*3072. The photo format is JPG and video formats are AVI and MP4.
You will be able to capture vivid details in your videos and photos with this drone. However, for the best effect, just make sure that you shoot your footage during the day when the lighting is good.
The camera is built onto the drone and it is adjustable by 90 degrees, vertically. It has a wide angle of view at 120° so you will capture many details in your footage.
You also get a good FPV experience with this camera. The image transmission distance is 150 meters over 5G WiFi. The FPV video is transmitted in 1080P resolution, which is quite good.
To capture footage in the highest resolution possible, ensure that you have an SD card in your mobile phone so that you can store your footage there. This drone does not support a TF card, which makes it a bit hard to get footage in high resolution.
You will get electronic image stabilization for the camera. It is not as effective as mechanical stabilization, but it is still something worth having.
Battery and Flight Time
This quadcopter comes with a good battery, a 3.7V 1800mAh battery. It is going to give you a flight time of 18 minutes. For a longer flight time, you can order the package with two batteries. That way, you get at least 30 minutes of flight time.
The battery charges out of the drone, so you can use one while the other one is charging. It is recommended that you only use the 5V/2A USB charging cable that it comes with for faster charging.
The charging time is between 180 and 200 minutes, which is a bit long. That is why you should buy two batteries. These batteries are safe to handle, so you do not have to worry even if you are buying this drone as a gift for your child.
The controller looks really nice. By design, it is not cluttered at all. It comes with two sticks as usual and it has four buttons, which are for the following functions:
- Headless mode
- Power switch
- Return to home
- Geomagnetic calibration
This remote controller also has a small built-in screen that displays certain stats such as power, flight altitude, flight speed and number of satellites.
On the left shoulder of this remote controller, you get a button for taking pictures and the button on the right shoulder of the transmitter is for taking videos. There is also a dial knob on the right for controlling the tilt angle of the camera. Therefore, you can adjust the vertical angle of the camera from the remote controller, without bringing the drone home.
Lastly, this is a 2.4GHz transmitter. This is the most common frequency and it has minimal to zero latency. To power this drone, you will need to buy 4 AA batteries.
The VISUO XS818 ZEN Mini comes with a nice, padded carry-case with a hand strap for easier carrying. It is dark gray in color. With a size of 9.8 by 7.7 by 3.5 inches, it should be easy to pack in your traveling backpack.
Flight functions make flying a drone simpler for beginners and even children. These are automated functions, so they do most of the work while you concentrate on taking nice images and videos. The XS818 Zen does not disappoint. Here are the most popular functions that it comes with:
The integration of GLONASS and GPS navigational systems in this drone was a very smart move. On the app, you will always see where the drone is at any given time. At the same time, you can position the quad precisely to take pictures and videos of interesting things uding optical flow positioning. Simply put, with GPS/GLONASS satellite connectivity, this drone is not going to get lost.
No signal return, low power return and one key return
A good drone must have safety functions. The ZEN Mini has one key return. If you press the key, the quadcopter turns and comes back home. However, if the drone loses signal, you may not be able to use the one key return. Therefore, the drone engages its fail-safe function automatically and it returns home. The low power return engages automatically when the drone battery runs low.
Engage the gesture-shooting mode so that you can capture photos and videos in hands-free mode. When you show the drone the V-sign, it will take photos. If you show it the palm sign, it will start capturing videos. It will do this from a respectable distance of 1 to 3 meters.
Follow Me Mode
In this mode, the drone locks onto you and follows you from a short distance, taking your footage. If you move faster, it will fly faster and vice versa. Since it locks to the GPS on your phone, the drone can follow a car, a bike and so on.
With waypoint flight, you can fly the drone along a preset route. Just open the map on the app and set the route you would like the quad to follow.
What does headless mode on a drone do? It ensures that you do not worry about whether the drone is changing directions with you. Let us assume that you are flying the quad facing east and then you turn to the west. You need not worry about whether the drone stays aligned to your position. Just engage headless mode so that the drone automatically realigns itself to the position of the flight.
Point of Interest
In this mode, two things happen. First, the drone flies around a point of interest in circles. Secondly, the drone keeps realigning itself to keep the subject in the middle of the camera frame for good photos and videos.
Aircraft retrieval function
Drones are susceptible to losses when they collide with objects in their flight path or when an electronic issue occurs and they lose power. That is why the addition of the aircraft retrieval function in this quad is a good idea. On the app, you will be able to see the most recent drone position so that you can search for it from there.
VISUO XS818 ZEN Mini Pros
- Good fail-safe features
- Has a nice carry case
- Simple to fly with many automated functions
- Nice remote controller with smartphone holder
- Has gesture shooting for extra fun
- Folds compactly including the blades
VISUO XS818 ZEN Mini Cons
- It does not support card for storage of your footage
- Poor performance even in low velocity wind
Who Should Buy The VISUO XS818 ZEN Mini?
If you are looking for a drone to capture your family photos and videos on the beach, on the picnic grounds and in the park, get this drone. It is efficient, has a reasonable battery life and it is affordable. With a HD lens, you can take decent photos, not professional or stunning, but quite good. If you are a casual drone user, you might not find the need to upgrade on this one.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Don’t fly your drone in the wind because it can vanish. This applies not only to the VISUO XS818 ZEN Mini but to other non-performance drones as well. Also choose an open space to fly the quadcopter so that it does not collide with trees and other things. Lastly, read the user manual to see how to calibrate it for flight, how to take pictures and videos from the remote controller and many more.