If you have just a few hundred dollars to spend on a drone, you may think that you only have access to the most basic of units. Luckily, there are quite a few feature-rich drones on the market that will give you a taste of the higher-end units and still be very capable flyers.
The Potensic T18 is one such drone which also benefits from having GPS. Something that you wouldn’t find until recently on anything but the top end offerings.
Therefore, let’s look a bit closer at this drone and see what it has to offer. Does the price indicate feature-packed and cost-effective or just another cheap drone to add to the list?
Firstly, when you pull everything out of the box, you feel like you’re getting value for money. A good-sized drone that is very reminiscent of the Mavic Phantom 4 Pro, propellers and spares, landing pads, detachable propeller guards, charging cable, battery, screwdriver, and a user manual.
The included camera is rated at 1080p HD and is detachable if you want to concentrate solely on flying or to have a slightly lighter flight weight. The included battery slots directly into the drone and has a bunch of LEDs to tell you how much power is left. The drone also weighs in at a hefty 2.05 pounds. A double-edged sword, which will give better resistance in windy conditions, but also may cut down on flying times.
However, the Potensic T18 uses good-quality brushless motors, which can cut down on power consumption and hopefully last longer than cheaper units. Each motor also has LEDs that can help with the positioning of the drone in-flight and also in low light conditions.
As for built-in features, the Potensic T18 has a lot to offer. Because the drone has built-in GPS, it can offer more accurate positioning, like follow me mode, point of interest, and waypoint modes.
There’s also beginner-friendly modes like altitude hold and headless mode. Headless mode is very useful for the beginner, as it orientates the drone to your own position, making the initial flight easier for the beginner. However, it’s much better to try and fly the drone in a traditional manner as this will serve you better in the long term.
The transmitter that comes in the package feels like its straight from a PlayStation, with a handy holder for a smartphone. As with most drones these days, the transmitter can fly the drone perfectly well on its own, but the smartphone app opens up the full functionality. VR mode lets you fly the drone completely through the smartphone app and is definitely one of the most fun ways to fly this unit.
Lastly, the camera facilities on this drone are probably one of the points you will be closely looking at. It provides a good degree of quality at 1080p considering its price point. It has a 75-degree adjustable lens, which you can operate remotely via Wi-Fi.
The Potensic T18 in Use
The drone initially feels very substantial and with its natural weight and can take some light gusts of wind. With the attached propeller guards, it also feels like it can take some of the initial knocks and bumps of initial flights.
The hanging down leg design, which is great for protecting the camera also works very well for landing and takeoff, especially in long grass. The brushless motors feel like they have plenty of power and are very good at reacting in an instant. This isn’t a sports drone by any measure, but it does respond well.
The built-in automatic flight modes work as expected and definitely give confidence to the beginner pilot who just wants to get up in the air and have some initial fun. The GPS and GLONASS systems make a difference not just in reactivity, but also with a control distance of up to 300m range. Very good at this price point, but as there are only 10 minutes of flying time, you’re always mindful to not let the drone wander too far.
The nine-Axis gyroscope also seems to do a good job of orientating and stabilizing the drone. Much better than slightly cheaper units which may only use a six-axis setup and generally don’t feature GPS. If the drone does start to wobble in midair, a quick tweak of the trim positions on the transmitter quickly get things back in place.
The 1080p HD camera provides good quality footage if in good light conditions and is very well stabilized. It’s not going to be at the quality level of a Phantom 4 Pro, but it’s reasonable at this price point. The 120-degree lens and 75 degrees of adjustment are a good starting point and there are enough facilities here up your skill level for when you buy into a higher-end unit. In other words, no complaints about the price.
How Does It Compare?
Taking what seems to be the best elements of top-end drones and filtering them down to more cost-effective units, means we are getting ever more value for money. One alternative to the Potensic T18 is the Holy Stone HS100 FPV which has also taken design inspiration from the DJI Phantom 4 Pro.
The Holy Stone packs in a lot of automatic flight features, along with first-person view (FPV). The camera quality is on a par, but the addition of GPS with the Potensic T18 can’t be underestimated.
|Potensic T18||Holy Stone HS100 FPV|
|Flight Time||10 mins||12-15 mins|
|Charge Time||3 hours||3 hours|
The Potensic T18 is a well-built drone, with a lot of on-board flight facilities to get you up and running. There’s a lot of intelligence built into its workings and the addition of GPS at this price point makes it a very accurate flyer. It feels tough enough to take initial knocks from the beginner, which means that even with the most haphazard flyer, this drone should last some time.
There are some missing attributes such as no obstacle avoidance, limited control range, and it would have been nice to have a 4K camera. However, at this price point, you do get a lot for the money.