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Hubsan Zino Review 2020

Hubsan Zino Review 2020

Hubsan Zino Test: The H117S Quadrocopter in Detail

The Hubsan Zino is an inexpensive quadrocopter with 4K camera and foldable design. In direct competition to the Parrot Anafi and the Yuneec Mantis Q, the Hubsan Zino is ideal for beginners who want to take high-resolution aerial photos but don’t want to spend more than 500 Euros.

In the test I take a close look at the Hubsan H117, make test flights and pictures and show the advantages and disadvantages of the drone.

Info about the Hubsan Zino

Type: drone with camera, foldable drone
Suitable for: Beginner, hobby, travel
Size: medium
Manufacturer: Hubsan

Weight: 700 gram
badge required: Yes
Camera: 4K/8 MP
Price range: up to 500 Euro

Here you can buy the Hubsan Zino
Buy Hubsan Zino
Scope of supply: This is in the package of the Hubsan Zino
Hubsan Zino under test: Scope of delivery & unboxing
Accessories for the Hubsan Zino

Hubsan H117 Quadrocopter

Battery 11.4V (3000mAh)
Remote control HT016
Spare propeller (4)
Charging technology with balancer
Connecting cable RC spark to Smartphone (Micro USB, Lightning, USB Type-C)
Manual (also in German)
The Hubsan Zino drone is delivered RTF (Ready To Fly), which means you can take off directly after unpacking. In theory at least, because some things like app download, calibration and firmware update should be done before the launch.

When unpacking I especially like the very neat stowage of the accessories and the motto “We fly with your dreams”, which greets you when opening the package.

Hubsan Zino test report: The Unboxing

Hubsan Zino Review: The Unboxing Part 2
Unlike the Parrot Anafi, the Hubsan Zino does not come with a transport case. If you want to have the Copter with you on the road, you would either have to buy an additional case or bag, or run the risk of damaging the drone when it is transported loose in its backpack.

The Hubsan Zino also comes without an SD card. Usually, a 16GB memory card is included, which I usually replace directly. Anyone who creates 4K videos with drones quickly goes beyond the scope of such a small SD card, which also often cannot write data fast enough. If you want to buy the Hubsan Zino, I recommend my guide to SD cards for drones.

Hands on: The Hubsan Zino looks so valuable

Hubsan Zino Review: That’s how good the drone is in comparison
The 3000 mAh LiPo is not used but inserted.

Before I take the drone into nature for the test, I test all functions indoors. It is noticeable that the Hubsan Zino looks quite big and bulky. In comparison to the Parrot Anafi, Yuneec Mantis Q and DJI Mavic Air, the H117 Zino is much more massive and heavier and is more in the category DJI Mavic Pro. This is also reflected in the take-off weight: the Quadrocopter weighs 700 grams (Anafi: 320 grams, Mantis Q: 480 grams, DJI Mavic Air 430 grams) and thus clearly qualifies for a drone badge.

However, the Zino feels very high quality when taken in hand. The propellers on the brushless engines are much bigger and stiffer than on the Anafi, the axles can be folded in and out very well and snap in firmly. The battery is pushed into the belly of the drone and can be removed again without much frieze – that’s how I like it!

As with the Mavic drones, the Hubsan Zino has a gimbal cut that protects the camera and camera mount from shocks and damage during transport.

Hubsan HT016 remote control for Zino drone
Remote control of the Hubsan Zino completely made of plastic.

Comparison remote controls Anafi vs. Zino vs. Mavic Pro
Size comparison of sparks from Anafi, Zino and Mavic Pro.

I don’t like the remote control that much. It is completely made of plastic and has nothing of the quality of the DJI sparks. Sure, for the competitive price of the Hubsan Zino you have to save money in such places, but the remote control doesn’t feel too valuable. 
However, the plastic look doesn’t impair the functionality: you can reach all keys and sticks, it’s tidy and does what it’s supposed to.

App & flight preparation

Hubsan Zino Test: How good is the H117S Zino?
Waiting for the flight: H117S is waiting for take-off permission.

While I examine copter and accessories, the power supply unit with attached LiPo battery hums in the shelf, the remote control is charged via the USB cable on the computer.

In order to enjoy the FPV function of the Zino and to receive telemetry data, I also need the X-Hubsan app. Of course it can be downloaded from the App Store (iOS) and PlayStore (Android) and I like it pretty much: tidy, everything in sight, the most important options just a touch away.
Once the batteries are charged, it’s time to calibrate.

After this annoying point is done, too, and the drone, remote control and smartphone are tied indoor for the first time, we go out for a test flight.

Flight performance

Range: 1000 meters

Flight duration: 23 minutes

Smartshots & Dronies: Yes

FPV: Yes, HD quality

Video: 4K at 30 fps, 2.7K at 60 fps

Photos: 8.2 megapixels

Hubsan Zino: The first test flight
Hubsan Zino test flight: Better than the Anafi?
Bigger and louder than the Anafi, stable in flight.

Before I bring the drone into the air, I select the control by RC spark in the menu of the app. You can also control the Hubsan Zino via WIFI, but I don’t recommend this because of the low range and connection quality.

The Hubsan Zino already shows how much power it has when it takes off: The drone rises quickly and accelerates a lot even in normal mode. You’ve quickly climbed to a height of 20 or 30 meters and you can do your laps comfortably. Compared to other drones, the Zino is a bit noisy, which may be due to the large propeller blades, but is not noticeable negatively.

If you let go of the sticks, the quadrocopter stays in place and corrects itself a little bit here and there. The positioning via GPS works great, although the setup takes quite a long time for the GPS satellite.

After the first manoeuvres I let the Hubsan Zino climb to about 100 meters and fly over forest and meadow. The HD FPV image remains sharp (FPV transmission range is 1000 meters), the data transmission stable and the flight feeling very safe.

After about 18 minutes I land the Quadrocopter manually and walk back to the power socket. Even if the wind refreshes, I want to use the good weather for a second flight to use flight modes like Smartshots and RTH and of course test the camera.

Flight #2: Strong wind and autonomous functions

Test flight #2: The Hubsan Zino under test
After the drone battery is recharged (which unfortunately took 3 hours to recharge) we’re ready for another test. Meanwhile the wind has refreshed and is blowing through the landscape. The Hubsan Zino doesn’t seem to matter much, because even if I expect a warning about the wind speed, nothing comes. Also the Copter is still very calm in the air.

FPV picture of the Hubsan Zino
Stable live image even at greater distances.

Subsequently I let the Zino automatically return to the starting point via RTH (Return To Home), track myself via image tracking, execute an orbit (POI, Point Of Interest) and create a panorama. All this works perfectly.

Unfortunately the Hubsan Zino only saves photos in JPEG format, which is a problem especially with a panorama.

Hubsan Zino Test: That’s how good the camera is
Hubsan Zino camera tested: How good is the Zino?
4K camera on the Hubsan Zino

Hubsan Zino camera mount: 3-axis gimbal for the 4K camera

Chic 3-axis gimbal for little money.

The Hubsan Zino has a very powerful 4K camera. This is attached to a 3-axis gimbal that compensates for wobble, wind and vibration. As a result you get calm and straight aerial shots. The gimbal itself can be rotated 90° down or 30° up on the remote control. You can adjust the speed of the swivel up and down in the options.

In comparison to other drones under 500 Euros, the 3-axis gimbal is particularly praiseworthy. But also the camera has it in itself:

The following video resolutions are possible:

4K (UHD): 3840x2160p at 30 fps
2,7K: 1920x1080p at 60 fps
Full HD: 1080p at 60 fps
Single photos are taken with 3840×2160 pixels and stored in JPEG format. Unfortunately only as JPEG and not additionally as RAW (DNG) file. This is very unfortunate and in my opinion a clear disadvantage compared to other drones in the price range.

Because: When it comes to high-quality aerial photos (or photos in general), RAW files are a must in post-production. Also the panorama I made in the test could not be put together in the end, because I need RAW files for Lightroom and Photoshop for the purpose of edge cutting.
Of course it is clear that the Hubsan Zino is not aimed at professional pilots and photographers, but at beginners and beginners. They usually don’t need RAW files and are happy with fancy JPEGs.

Test image:

Hubsan Zino Testpicture: The camera is that good in comparison
In the detail area/ zoom it becomes spongy. All in all the pictures are good.

In the test I find the videos better than the photos. The latter are often pale, have little contrast and quickly lose sharpness in detail/zoom. Note that the photos are also great for the price, but in comparison to the more expensive Parrot Anafi or DJI Mavic Air the difference is noticeable.

Since 4K/UHD videos are possible in many Selfie and Dronie shots, I suspect that the Zino was also designed with focus video.

What makes the Hubsan Zino interesting

The Hubsan Zino comes up with two very powerful arguments: On one side there is the stable flight platform with a 4K camera, which is also mounted on a 3-axis gimbal. Even in comparison with more expensive camera drones, the Zino doesn’t have to hide behind this. On the other hand, there is an absolute bargain price: if you want to buy the Hubsan Zino, you don’t have to put more than 400 Euros on the table, much less than for the DJI Mavic Air or DJI Mavic Pro. Ideal for beginners and hobby pilots.

Conclusion & Rating

All in all, the Hubsan Zino test was really fun for me once again! After the Parrot Anafi, I had a copter in my hands that was of high quality workmanship and amicably equipped: With a flying time of over 20 minutes and a range of around 1000 meters, the Hubsan Zino has all the prerequisites for extended tours and has proven its all-weather suitability even in strong winds.

Apart from the missing RAW format, the 4K camera of the Zino is very well suited for videos and aerial shots and especially worthy of all honors due to the 3-axis gimbal (which really not all drones have).

Combined with such a low price, the Hubsan Zino gets an absolute buy recommendation.

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