visuo zen k1

Visuo Zen K1 -Is this finally the sub-$200 drone you’ve been looking for?

The Visuo Zen K1 is a foldable drone with a 4K camera that was built to look like a DJI Mavic. It has GPS and a handful of intelligent flight modes and can be purchased starting at just $169.99. Sounds pretty fantastic. Is it too good to be true?

visuo zen k1 vs dji mavic

Visuo Zen K1

The Visuo Zen K1 is a good solid GPS drone. For a lot of people it would make an excellent starter drone. It is stable, it takes pictures and video. It has intelligent flight modes. You can fold up the Zen K1 and take it with you. Check out the video below to see it in action.

In many ways, it is better than similar drones like the MJX Mew 4-1 or SJRC F11. But in many ways, it is just more of the same. Like almost every drone I’ve tested in the $200 price range it falls short in one major area, camera and video quality.

zen k1

The sub-$200 drone problem

best drone under $200

There are a lot of options out there if you are looking for a GPS drone for less than $200. However, almost every single one has the same flaw, the camera. The Visuo Zen K1 is just like the rest when it comes to the camera. Yes, it can take 4K pictures and 2K video but at 20 fps the video isn’t going to be smooth footage. There are no isolation mounts, gimbal or real software stabilization going on in this drone. The video tends to pick up a lot of jello and there is distortion on the horizon. That is absolutely typical of almost every sub-$200 drone I’ve tested. There are two exceptions. The Ryze Tello and the Parrot Bebop 2.

Ryze Tello in Flight
We tested the flight time of the Tello and found it to be 13 minutes and 25 seconds.

Other Options

The Tello is a substantially smaller drone and uses software developed by Intel and DJI to stabilize the video. It, however, doesn’t record onboard the drone and you’ll have to be nearby to get good pictures and video quality. The Tello is a fun drone and has some interesting flight modes but lacks GPS.

Spark vs Bebop 2 Power
The Parrot Bebop 2 and the DJI Spark are both excellent beginner drone options.

The Parrot Bebop 2 is a two-year-old drone and not always easy to come across. Parrot stabilizes their video with some impressive software. The Bebop is a GPS drone and a fairly solid one at that but finding one in the $200 price range can be hit or miss. If you are looking to be able to take good pictures and video and don’t want to break the bank right now your best option is the DJI Spark. It uses image stabilization and a two-axis gimbal and is light years ahead of both the Bebop and the Zen K1. However, the DJI Spark will cost you around $400. If pictures and video aren’t that important to you and you just want something fun to fly then the Visuo Zen K1 is a pretty solid option.

visuo zen k1

Zen K1 Pros

The Visuo Zen K1 is a pretty stable drone. It uses both GPS and optical flow technology to help keep it in one place. I found the follow me mode to work quite well and the return to home feature is a good one to have in case of emergencies. It can fly via waypoints as well but my experience with waypoints in drones in this price range isn’t the best and I think it is best to avoid it. The Zen K1 also has an orbit feature. I experienced a bit of difficulty getting the orbit feature to work initially but I think that might be part user error and part my inability to interpret the instructions.

visuo zen k1 motor

While I’ve already talked about the camera’s shortcomings, jello, distortion, and lack of stability, it does have some good qualities. I do like the overall color profile. Taking video may not be ideal but the Zen K1 does take decent pictures. I found that there were times that the propellers did make their way into the shot but those can easily be cropped out. You can also control the camera angle from the drone itself.

The Zen K1 has a flight time of up to 28 minutes but a more realistic expectation is closer to 25. That is still pretty impressive and much better than most similar drones. It has a control range of up to 500 meters but the FPV feed will be limited to your WiFi connection. You will also have to have a “5G” or  protocol.

visuo drone

Overall the Visuo K1 is a slight improvement from some of the other common sub-$200 GPS offerings. If you are looking for something fun to fly that looks good then I’d recommend taking a look at the Visuo Zen K1. If you were hoping this would be an inexpensive way to capture some good cinematic video then, unfortunately, you’ll have to keep looking.

There are a few different packages available for the Visuo Zen K1. The cheapest offering is the drone with one battery and remote for $169.99. There are a variety of packages and options available with the most expensive option being a three-battery package that also includes a carrying case. That is the most expensive option at $239.99.

visuo zen k1 carrying case

Order a Visuo Zen K1

visuo gps drone zen k1

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This is just a small sampling of the whoops I’ve been flying

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