The Hubsan Zino is definitely one of the top camera drones under $300 at the moment of writing this article. There’s only a few places where you can find it under $300 now, as its value seems to increase in time.
It’s usually the case that when shopping around for a drone solution, people are eyeing up the most features for the money. At the top end of the market, this can still be an expensive affair. You get the best features around, but you still have to pay top dollar. So, what about a mid-priced offering such as the Hubsan Zino.
It’s clear that this drone has taken a massive influence from the DJI Mavic. Aimed at those who would like a super-duper, expensive drone, but in a more cost-effective package. So, let’s see how this drone measures up and if it is a cost-effective version of the Mavic.
Let’s dive into some basic specs on this unit. The camera is mounted on a three-axis gimbal, which provides Ultra HD 4K 30FPS video and 12MP stills, Dual GPS/GLONASS Positioning Systems, 23 minutes of flight time, a range of 2,500 meters and the very useful, fold-up design as popularized by the DJI Mavic.
The camera itself is a plus point at this price range, providing high definition video, but that also means you will need a substantial memory card, such as a 128GB micro SD card with a good wallop of speed.
The full boxed package includes everything you need, only lacking a few spare batteries. As a quick rundown, the box contains the drone itself, a battery, remote controller, two sets of propellers, two sets of propeller screws, gimbal protector, wrench, mains adapter, charger, USB chargers for both the drone and the controller, three RC cables, and a user manual.
The Hubsan Zino design differs slightly from the Mavic, with a more curved front face and just as easy to fold up and store away. Once fully unfolded, the drone measures 304.6mm long, 252.4mm wide, and 90mm high. Large enough to take on a variety of weather conditions.
The body feels quality made, with a solid, alloy metal being used. Brushless motors bring another level of quality over cheaper units, allowing the drone to fly for longer periods.
The included controller is an HT106 foldable remote controller, with dual antennas and has a very simple layout. The majority of the control is done through a smartphone or tablet, with a handy mount holder for a smartphone up to seven inches. All the features are very straightforward to use and never feel like you’re being overwhelmed.
In total, the whole package feels initially like you’re getting a quality product, which nicely leads on to how this drone performs in real life.
The Hubsan Zino in Use
As you would expect from a Mavic-like drone, it packs a lot of wizardry under the hood for easier flight and stability. A dual GPS/GLONASS positioning system is employed with a good bunch of automatic flight features that include waypoints mode, orbit mode, and follow me mode.
There is also Line fly where you can set a custom angle and direction through the included smartphone app, image tracking to center subjects in the frame, a very cool 360° panorama mode — where a tap at a button captures a 360° panoramic video — return to home, lost control failsafe, and low battery failsafe landing. These features at the very least should cover most of the basics you would need or expect from a more advanced drone.
As for the initial flight, it’s very quick and easy to get going, with one-button takeoff and landing. Also, the drone has a good turn of speed at 37 miles per hour. Not as fast as the Mavic Pro, but with a range of 2,500 meters, this should cover most needs unless you’re starting to dabble in drone racing.
The drone lets you know when the batteries are starting to run low by the LEDs under each motor. After roughly 19 minutes of flight time, the Hubsan Zino will let you know it needs to come home, so you can land it safely, or it will perform the function itself in the worst-case scenario.
With loads of automatic flight features on-board, it felt really easy to get flying and unless you’re in really strong winds, the drone is very stable in flight. This means that for those who want to concentrate on their video skills, they don’t have to put in hundreds of hours of flight time to nail the basics.
The camera footage is also very impressive. Extremely stabilized and provides a good degree of detail. It’s not up to the exacting degree of the most expensive units out there, but it’s still impressive enough for a camera drone at this price point.
Overall, after a few initial flights, you come away feeling that you get a lot of drone for the money. Not as ultra-refined as the most expensive units, but still extremely capable.
How Does the Hubsan Zino Compare?
Although the price points of a DJI Mavic 2 Pro and the Hubsan Zino are completely different, it’s worth checking out how they compare. Although the basic designs are similar and they both provide 4K video, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro has far higher quality attributes.
Take the Hasselblad 20MP camera, which also has a one-inch CMOS sensor and an f/2.8-f/11 adjustable aperture. 10-Bit Dlog-M and 10-Bit HDR Video and a stabilization system that makes the footage looked like its shot from a tripod.
There is also a boatload of other advanced features that range from automatic flight and more professional video and stills operation. In other words, if you want to dive into a fully professional camera drone, you can’t go wrong with the DJI Mavic 2 Pro. You’ll just have to pay three times the amount.
Although the Hubsan Zino has been labeled by some as a DJI Mavic Pro killer, it’s really not on the same level of professionalism. It definitely has a lot of fine attributes, such as the 4K UHD resolution, intelligent flight battery and a good degree of flight time. But, the DJI Mavic Pro is definitely in a higher price league and thus you get more features at a higher level.
However, when compared with other competitively priced drones, such as the DJI Spark, the Hubsan Zino has better specifications, although it is a touch more expensive. Basically, if you want a fully-featured drone, with a very capable, stabilized camera, then you can’t go much wrong with the Hubsan Zino. It packs a lot of features and will be the ideal solution for beginners or for those who want an affordable high-quality drone.