When it comes to the budget end of the drone market, it almost seems that a new model comes out every week. Many of these drones being based on more expensive units. One example is the Potensic T25, which has more than a passing resemblance to the DJI Phantom, one of the most ubiquitous drones on the market.
Drones such as the Potensic can be seen as a homage or a direct copy, but what it does bring to the table is good build quality and plenty of flight features. That along with an affordable price. In this regard, let’s have a closer look at this drone and see if it does provide exceptional value for money or it’s just a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The Potensic T25 is aimed at the beginner and the experienced pilot who wants a cost-effective solution but still packed full of features. As already stated, this camera drone has taken its design notes from the DJI Phantom. Not a bad thing, as the Phantom is one of the most capable flyers around.
As for overall features, it’s not exactly a lightweight unit weighing just over 1 kg and 10.6 x 10.6 x 4.7 inches in dimensions. It has a respectable control range of 300m and a flight time of up to 15 minutes. Battery charge time for a full charge is stated at an hour and with only one battery coming in the package, it’s advisable to buy one or two spares for extra flight time and backups.
Inside the box, you’ll find the fully constructed drone with a 1080p HD camera, a PlayStation-like transmitter, user manual, battery, USB battery charger, and spare propellers, landing gear legs, and protection guards. Basically, everything you need to get up and running.
The included controller is definitely influenced by the gamer generation, rather than a traditional RC unit. Very simple controls, with all the automatic flight features being accessible with the touch of a button. Also, most of the drone’s workings become apparent when you’re using a smartphone, which has a dedicated holder built into the controller.
The drone is equipped with a 1080p camera, which can store all footage on a microSD card or be transmitted to the smartphone app. It’s WiFi-enabled and, being detachable, can be swapped out with your own camera.
Footage can be easily transmitted to the controller and smartphone app for easy sharing online and can be further expanded with first-person view (FPV) or even VR glasses if you want to go down this route. It would have been nice to have a 4K camera included, but that would crank up the price significantly.
What really makes these drones stand out is the built-in flight features. This one has built-in GPS technology, which is a big bonus when it comes to flight stability and smoother video transmission.
There’s also a built-in nine-axis gyro for keeping things steady and there’s a good bunch of automatic flight modes to cover the most common flight situations. These include:
- Follow Me Mode: Tracks your position via GPS
- Headless Mode: Orients the drone to your position when flying
- Altitude Hold: For more stable footage.
- One-key takeoff and landing.
- Smartphone app: Added functions such as one-key sharing of your footage.
Just for good measure, there are also bright LEDs below each propeller for easily tracking the drone in-flight. Lots of features packed into the box, so let’s see how this translates into the real world.
Potensic T25 in Use
A simple setup is needed to link the transmitter to the drone. A quick calibration and making sure the smartphone app is all working, then it’s liftoff.
Takeoff and landing are a simple one-button operation, which is a good confidence builder for the beginner pilot. The drone’s altitude hold is very steady and works great for stabilizing footage. Also, as the drone has some weight to it, it can take the odd gust of wind. It’s not a bad weather flyer, but it copes far better than cheaper priced drones.
There are three speeds to choose from when flying, the slowest being the best option for when you’re first starting out. The return to home function is also very handy if the batteries are running low or the drone loses contact with the transmitter.
The drone can also reach a reasonable speed. Not like a full-blown racing drone, but definitely enough to increase your adrenaline levels when needed.
As for the built-in camera, it’s rated at 1080p and has some degree of adjustment in-flight. Video footage and stills are of reasonable quality, as long as there’s plenty of light, but with such a wide angle of view you will get bulbous horizons and there are generally minor wobbles with all the footage it produces. In this regard, the camera is good for taking candid shots and is more of a practice platform before you jump up to more expensive units.
In total, this drone is very easy to fly and master, without a huge learning curve before you can start getting creative with your own flight patterns.
How Does It Compare?
Luckily for us consumers, if you only have a few hundred dollars to spend on a drone, there are a lot of choices on the market. Similar in design and price is the Holy Stone HS100. It’s very closely matched to the Potensic T25, with lots of built-in flight features and an on-par 1080p camera and the benefit of GPS.
It’s also very reliable in flight and could be a good solution for those taking their first tentative steps into drone flight. The only real downside against the Potensic is that the Holy Stone takes longer to charge. But, in all other respects, it’s a very closely matched proposition.
|Potensic T25||Holy Stone HS100|
|Flight time||15 mins.||15 mins.|
|Charge time||1 hour||3-6 hours|
The Potensic T25 is a very well made and feature-rich drone that brings a lot to the table for the money. The 1080p camera is adequate, but at this price point, you really can’t expect broadcast quality footage. You’ll have to take a jump up in price if your main goal is high-quality footage.
In all other respects, the Potensic provides a lot for the money and you would be hard-pressed to feel it has a lack of features for such an affordable camera drone. One added point is that customer service seems to be very efficient coming from online reports. Some users who have had faulty parts have had a quick turnaround with replacements which should be an added comfort to the deal.