Hubsan H501S: Is It the Best sub-$200 GPS Drone?
Hubsan H501SStarting around $200
Ease of Flying/Stability9.0/10
- HD camera
- 5.8 GHz FPV
- Slow in GPS Mode
- Power hungry remote
- No gimbal/stabilization softwar
- Flight Time: 20 minutes
- Range: 300 meters
- Camera: 1080p
The Hubsan H501S is a low-cost GPS drone that features a 1080p camera and live first-person view from that camera. It features powerful brushless motors and a handful of solid features. We get a lot of questions about how it compares to other similar quads like the MJX Bugs 2W and JJPRO Hax. Watch the video below to see how it compares directly to the MJX Bugs 2W.
We’ll go more in depth about what makes the Hubsan the best $200 GPS drone out there. Keep on reading.
The Hubsan H501S Camera and Video System
The Hubsan H501S features a 1080p camera. It will record video directly to an SD card onboard the drone. It will send the video live to the 4.3″ video screen on the remote so you can see the picture in real time. The video comes via a 5.8 GHz signal which is better than most WiFi-connected drones. A 5.8 GHz video feed means you’ll get a more reliable signal and frequently an increased range over WiFi. It also typically has less video lag. Keep in mind there is no gimbal or video stabilization, so if you move or shake the drone the video will move and shake too. You’ll have to fly slow and steady to get good video.
The Hubsan H501S camera simply is the best in its price range. It has better focus and illumination than the Bugs 2W and JJPRO Hax. The field of view on the Hubsan is also narrower so you won’t see the propellers when you fly like you will with the Bugs 2W. It is the best 1080p camera you can find for the money. If you want something better you’ll have to opt for something like the DJI Spark.
The Hubsan H501S Range and Flight Time
The Hubsan H501S has a solid flight time of up to 20 minutes. That is in part because of the powerful and efficient brushless motors. You will get a range of up to 300 meters also, which is better than most quads under $200. Unfortunately, the video feed will probably cut out around 100 meters or so unless you are flying in an open area without digital interference.
Hubsan H501S Features
The Hubsan H501S is a very stable drone because it will lock on to GPS satellites to help it hold its position. Because it is a GPS drone it also has a fail-safe return to home feature. It also has a headless mode and a follow me feature.
Room for Improvement
The Hubsan H501S is a good quadcopter, but there is some room for improvement. Unlike other models we have tested from Hubsan, the H501S included a rechargeable LiPo battery for the remote. That was a nice touch as the H502 that we have features the same remote and it eats AA batteries like they are going out of style.
The biggest knock on the Hubsan H501S is that it is not fast. Sure it isn’t supposed to be a race quad, but the Bugs 2 is much faster in GPS mode. Perhaps that was by design, as it helps to get smooth video footage. You can speed up the Hubsan if you fly it in ATTI mode without GPS. In ATTI mode the Hubsan is on par with the Bugs 2. There is no stabilization software for the video, so it can be shaky if you aren’t flying smoothly.
We also had some issues with the LiPo connector for the remote transmitter. I believe that it was a bad connection. We were able to use AA batteries, but after only one flight on AA batteries, we are already looking for more AA batteries. The remote seems to be quite power hungry like all previous FPV Hubsans we have owned. Somehow, after years of developing drones, Hubsan still hasn’t figured this out.
Hubsan H501S Alternatives
There are only a few nice brushless GPS drones out there that can compare to the Hubsan H501S in terms of both price and quality. The closest is probably the Bugs 2W. It is almost the exact same size as the Hubsan but is lighter and faster. It doesn’t have the same analog video transmission system but relies on 5G WiFi. Despite using WiFi, our Bugs 2W has pretty much the same range as the Hubsan before the video feed starts to get choppy. The Hubsan video quality does edge the MJX Bugs, with better image quality, better color, and not props in the field of view. The Hubsan has more effective and faster-connecting GPS and a notably longer flight time in our testing.
The slightly smaller JJPRO Hax is another solid option. It, like the Bugs 2, relies on 5.8G WiFi for the FPV signal. The Hax has similar video quality as the Bugs 2W. Typically the JJPRO is a little more inexpensive than both the Bugs and Hubsan.
If you don’t necessarily need a GPS drone and are just looking for the best option in your $200 price range then there are a few other drones under $200 that are good alternatives to the Hubsan H501S. The MJX Bugs 2, JJPRO Hax and Parrot BeBop all have some pros and cons when compared to the Hubsan H501S. There is also an upgraded version of the H501S with an extended range and a different remote controller.
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Should I Get a Hubsan H501S?
If you are looking for a good GPS drone and don’t want to break the bank then you should take a look at the Hubsan H501S.
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