Taking their place solidly near the top in the toy-class segment of drones, Hubsan is an impressive manufacturer, pumping out some great drones ranging from nano to rigs that can haul around a GoPro type camera. We met up with them at CES 2017 and have been fans of their machines ever since.
We are particularly fans of their higher-end toy-class drones with GPS, autonomous flight and more. Join us for a thorough, but not complete, look at their line, our Hubsan drones guide.
Hubsan is a Chinese manufacturer, passionate about making drones anyone can enjoy. Meeting with the company CEO was enlightening, he was not just a businessman looking to make money, he is passionate about his products. Each and every drone has a purpose and meets a need for his ideal consumer.
Having said this, Hubsan has a basic operating play book, build an airframe, then build multiple versions of craft on each frame. A simple machine will offer little more than the ability to fly, but that same base frame could be equipped for autonomous flight and FPV video streams.
I am setting the stage so that I do not have to include each and every Hubsan drone on the list today. There are just too many. Instead, we’ll focus on the main frames and discuss the options from there. Grab your popcorn, this will not be short.
On a quick note, Hubsan has a naming convention in place. You will see X4, Q4 and more attached to each drone name. This is straightforward, the most common X4 is a four propeller craft, a quadcopter. The Q4 is for the nano machines. If you see something with a six in it, expect to see six propellers, a hexacopter.
Please remember, no matter what drone you fly, you have to follow the drone laws of the sky
Hubsan H111: Fun nano drone to fly in the living room
The Hubsan H111 is the drone we often promote for first-time pilots. It’s not a powerful or capable drone, but it’s resilient and just hard enough to fly that any pilot can use it to hone their skills, all without having to leave their desk or couch
- Fun to fly
- Safe for indoors
- Good trainer
The Hubsan H111 is one of the best nano drones for flying around the house. It is a tiny machine that fits in the palm of the hand, flies slowly and is small enough that it is unlikely to cause harm to you or your house when it crashes. Enjoy a low-risk simple flight experience.
Hubsan H107: Simple starter drone
The Hubsan H107 is a series of drones that are perfect for beginner pilots. Different models include different accessories, including a camera and propeller guards. The H107 is popular and easy to find, plus there are lots of parts and accessories available to enhance your flight. This toy-class machine is a good start for any new pilot.
- Great beginner's drone
- Simple to fly
If you are looking for a solid starter drone, an inexpensive quadcopter for beginners, the Hubsan H107 series of drones is a great start.
Hubsan H122D Storm Racing drone
Introducing a beginner’s drone for the beginner drone racer, the H122D Storm Racing quadcopter. This is a well equipped machine for the price, even if you add on the optional FPV goggles and a bundle with extra batteries and propellers, this is a well priced starter racing drone. Packing speeds up to 25mph, and about 8 minutes of flight, you’ll be geared up to fly like the pros. At least you’ll be on your way to graduating to the high speed machines in the big leagues.
Currently found as the Hubsan H507A X4 Star Pro, this is the most inexpensive toy-class GPS drone in the line. Packing a robust feature set of GPS, altitude hold, return to home and more, the H507 is a powerful flying package.
Check out the Hubsan H507A X4 Star Pro for $62.
Hubsan H109 Pro: Older “GoPro” drone
The Hubsan H109 Pro was a solid alternative to the higher-end GoPro drones, but that was years ago now, drone cameras have exceeded a GoPro’s capability since then. The H109 Pro is still a decent higher-end toy-class drone, but it is not designed for easy transport, and the camera doesn’t keep up with similarly priced drones today.
- GoPro alternative
- Affordable simple airframe
The Hubsan H109S Pro was Hubsan's attempt at a more professional machine. Emulating the GoPro drone experience, it was good for its time.
Hubsan H501S: Powerful GPS drone
The Hubsan H501S was one of the first smaller Hubsan drones to offer brushless motors, GPS, and some fun flight modes in the X_Hubsan app. The camera was also one of the best in a Hubsan drone for its time. A hobby pilot looking to have some fun around the park will be pleased with this aircraft.
- Capable toy drone
- GPS and a decent camera
The Hubsan H501S was one of the first GPS-enabled drones from Hubsan with brushless motors and a 1080p camera.
Hubsan H502S Desire: Solid starter drone
The Hubsan H502S Desire is the drone we use to bounce around the backyard and teach new pilots how to fly. There are no significant flight assist features, and the camera is just a little FPV camera, but the drone is fun to fly, and has enough battery life to get through a lesson or two.
- Stable starter drone
- Simple and reliable
The Hubsan H502S Desire is a great starter drone. It offers stable basic flight and some GPS functionality, usually unheard of in a sub-$100 drone.
Hubsan Zino Pro Plus: The best Hubsan drone
The Hubsan Zino Pro Plus is not as good as the DJI Mavic Pro, but it’s as close as Hubsan gets. This capable GPS drone houses a 4K camera, folds down for transport, and has decent connectivity range. Best of all, it has competitive flight time and a fun top speed. The Zino Pro is proof that Hubsan is maturing from a toy-maker into an aircraft manufacturer. We can’t wait to see what comes next!
The Hubsan Zino Pro is a compact, folding drone with 4K camera, decent flight time and a solid set of flight features. Is this proof Hubsan does more than just make toys?
H216A Desire Pro
Utilizing the same base design as the H502 line, the H216A Desire Pro is a pleasant step above. Equipped with one of the best cameras available on a Hubsan drone, and some of the best flight assist features, such as a stable hover and GPS, the H216A is a compelling option for a toy-class machine.
The Hubsan H216A Desire Pro is $99 or more on Amazon.
Watch for sales!
We have found that Hubsan hosts many sales on their site. This may not translate into savings if you purchase from Amazon or other, but you can usually find a decent 10-20% off sale around the holidays.
Hubsan drones wrap up
I hope I did not generalize the Hubsan line too much – truth is, there are dozens of specific models based on the few above frames. I want to say again, Hubsan is lead and staffed by passionate toy makers, these machines are built with the intent of entertaining you and your children.
We see plenty of room for Hubsan to expand their operations, to reach into the same space as the likes of DJI. This does not appear to be their mission at this time, but they are rapidly setting the backbone to becoming one of the top manufacturers around. We’ll be watching closely.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hubsan drones are some of the best toy-class machines on the market. Unlike a number of white-label drones that you can find for similar prices, Hubsan designs and builds most of their drones themselves. The CEO of the company is a passionate toy maker, it just so happens that this line of toys can fly. More recent Hubsan drones have better cameras, GPS modules and more, so we think things are good, and only going to get better.
For the most part, yes, the older Hubsan drones are still worth it. Take the tiny H111 for example, it’s over 5 years old now, but there has been little advancement in these nano drones, you’ll get nearly the same experience from a first batch H111 as from a brand new nano drone. On the higher-end of things it’s different. One of Hubsan’s top drones back in the day was designed to carry a GoPro — as we no longer believe a GoPro is a great drone camera, we’d not recommend those older drones.