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Holy Stone HS170 Predator Review

A fun little toy, but only worth a purchase if you find it on sale
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Price:   $56 List | $56 at Amazon
Pros:  Fun, simple, stands up to minor crashes
Cons:  Relatively expensive for its class, controller requires 6 AA batteries
Manufacturer:   Holy Stone
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Nov 12, 2018
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Our Verdict

If you're looking for something small and simple that can fly through indoor obstacle courses without damaging itself or your house, the Holy Stone HS170 Predator certainly fits the bill. This drone can buzz around inside with decent agility, but is light enough and has sturdy enough propellors guards that collisions with walls or bookcases are unlikely to leave any marks. However, we still think the EACHINE E010 Mini fits this niche a bit better, and costs significantly less. Additionally, the Predator's controller requires 6 AA batteries, while the EACHINE's only needs 2. Therefore, we would only suggest buying the Predator if you can find it on sale for less than the EACHINE's $25 list price.


Our Analysis and Test Results

After multiple days spent flying the Holy Stone HS170 Predator through our office, weaving between monitors and active 3D printers, we were quite enamored with it. However, we found the EACHINE E010 Mini to be just as, if not more fun, and it lists for less than half the price.


Flight Performance



The Good


The Predator's flight is very simple, and for a tiny drone without any sort of flight sensors, it is relatively stable. You definitely get a more by-the-seat-of-your-pants flying experience that requires some practice, but after a couple of flying sessions we were able to hold the predator in a decent hover without too much frantic feathering of the joysticks. We were also able to get it on some stable flight paths and perform some reasonably intricate turns, even threading the needle between some desks and computer monitors. The drone itself is also very light, so all of the crashes leading up to that threading of the needle didn't cause any damage to the drone. Obviously, you won't want to fly the Predator within close proximity of people, but we've watched it bounce off many household objects without damaging them or itself. Overall, we'd call the Predator's flight performance comparable to that of the EACHINE E010 Mini.

The Predator's rotor guards let it come away from most crashes unscathed.
The Predator's rotor guards let it come away from most crashes unscathed.

The Bad


Like all small drones, you can't get your hopes up too much with the Predator. It can't just lock into a stable hover at the push of a button like the Ryze Tello, and it certainly takes a bit of practice to not have this thing careening straight into the wall or ceiling everytime you take off. This is all pretty much par for the course for drones of this caliber and price. However, the Predator did fall short of comparable drones in one aspect: flight calibration. Flight calibration allows you to adjust how the drone responds to the controller. For most models (like the EACHINE E010 Mini), the flight control was fairly good out of the box and calibration just made it a bit tighter. The Predator flew like a confused bumblebee on a humid day when we first took it out of the box, and calibration was necessary to get it into working order.

The Predator's controller is quite large.
The Predator's controller is quite large.

Who Should Buy This Drone?


This drone certainly tailors to those looking for a toy that can fly around inside the house for general amusement, and in our experience it very much delivers on that promise. If you fit into this category andyou find this drone on sale for less than $25, it's certainly a worthwhile purchase.

Who Shouldn't Buy This Drone?


Unfortunately, we think the answer to this question is most people. While the Predator provided us with solid entertainment, the list price of $56 (it usually sells online for around $40) is just too high. The EACHINE E010 Mini provides just as much entertainment and lists for only $25. Since the Predator's controller also requires triple the number of batteries as the EACHINE's, it is only the better economical choice if you can find it on sale for a decent chunk less than $25 (which is unlikely).

...and it requires 6 AA batteries  triple that of most competitors.
...and it requires 6 AA batteries, triple that of most competitors.

Conlcusion


The Holy Stone HS170 Predator is a great little drone that can provide lots of fun times flying around the house. However, the EACHINE E010 Mini can do the same at a fraction of the cost.


Max Mutter and Steven Tata