Upair One – Phantom Contender or Pretender?
The UPair One is a full size drone that comes with either a 2K or a 4K camera. It is an unabashed copy of the DJI Phantom. But is it a viable alternative to the Phantom 3 standard? The UPair One is one of just a few remaining competitors to the Phantom lineup. There are few drones that come equipped with GPS, an HD camera and a stabilizing gimbal in this price range. Let’s first take a look and the most important features. The 2K version typically costs under $300 and the 4K version typically costs around $350. These prices sound good compared to a new Phantom 3 standard, which is currently sold new for about $450. But let’s dig a little deeper. The published flight range on this drone is 800 meters (0.5 miles) or 500 meters (0.3 miles) with video transmission. Both of these numbers fall short of the Phantom 3 Standard’s quoted range of 1000 m (0.6 miles). The range on the Phantom 3 Standard is it’s most limiting quality compared to other drones in the Phantom line-up. You will want to think carefully about buying a drone with less range. The picture quality of the UPair One isn’t half bad, but it does have some fish-eye effect image distortion, making the video feel more like a GoPro than a Phantom. If you have good post processing video equipment that may not be an issue. Flight time is respectable at 15-18 minutes but falls short of the Phantom 3 Standard’s 25 minutes.
This drone comes ready-to-fly, and you won’t have to assemble the gimbal or attach the camera. They have done their best to offer you a lower cost alternative to the DJI Phantom. One nice feature is that the UPair One has a dual compass system. This quadcopter will automatically calibrate and you don’t have to do the goofy spin-in-a-circle dance that is required with the Phantom 3.
Another nice feature of the UPair is the remote transmitter. It comes with a bright 7-inch display, so you won’t have to supply your own monitor. The Phantom drones are typically flown with a smartphone or small tablet. The UPair screen shows a lot of useful information like speed, altitude, battery, flight time, distance traveled, and compass heading.
The UPair one comes with a 5400 mAh smart battery. If the drone battery gets too low during flight it will trigger the return-to-home feature on the drone. The return home feature will also be activated if the drone loses signal from the remote or it can be triggered manually. The drone features a headless mode as well as GPS and altitude hold.
The UPair One comes with two different camera options. You can choose from the lower cost 2K or the more expensive alternative 4K camera. It is connected to the drone via a two-axis gimbal, not a three axis like the Phantom.
The biggest downfall of this drone is that many people have expressed issues with its reliability. This drone was originally sold as the UPair Chase. The company was purchased and revamped and hopefully addressed some of those quality issues. We have scoured the internet for reviews, and the results are mixed. It is hard to tell if the new UPair One has completely addressed all of the reliability issues. If you are buying from Amazon and take advantage of their liberal return policy the gamble may be worth it to save a few dollars. However, we do not currently recommend the UPair over the Phantom 3 Standard. Check out our comparison below.
Should I buy the UPair One?
So how does the UPair One compare to the DJI Phantom 3 Standard? We put together this chart so you could see for yourself. The UPair One is more inexpensive but does lack a lot of features that are standard on the Phantom 3 Standard. We compare the UPair to 5 other similar drones in our Best Drone Under $500 article. We would definitely recommend you check it out.
The Phantom 3 Standard is in another class. That Phantom 3 Standard is clearly a superior drone with longer range, better camera, longer flight time, more flight modes, and the backing of a reputable international brand. That said the UPair One can be found for almost half the cost of a Phantom 3 Standard. That $200-225 could go a long way. So if you want a solid brushless motor drone with a good camera and gimbal but don’t want to spend more than $300 you don’t have many other options. You could potentially outfit an MJX Bugs 3 with a gimbal and an action camera, but you won’t find an all-in-one package for the price of the UPair. The UPair One fills that niche. If you have your heart set on a Phantom 3 then consider looking into a refurbished unit to save some money. We’ve flown both brand new and refurbished Phantom 3 units and have had no issues with the refurbs. Click here to see if there are any refurbished units from DJI. Click here to check the current price of a new Phantom on Amazon. We’ve done a full review of the Phantom 3 Standard. You can check that out here.
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