As we near the end of 2016, a cluster of new drones have hit the market, mostly with portability and intelligent flight as key features, such as the Mavic Pro from DJI, Karma from GoPro, Breeze from Yuneec, and now, the Hover Camera Passport. At a price point on the low side in this group of $599 US, is it a good choice as a first drone for new flyers? Let’s take a look.
Portable: The Hover Camera Passport’s size and folding factor are incredible. It truly can fit into a purse or backpack with ease and the cage protecting the propellers keeps them from harm. It’s also very lightweight at just over half a pound.
Easy to Use: This drone really does fly with the press of a button and can be placed by hand to to the location where it should hover. It uses Wi-Fi to connect to a phone and the drone can then be controlled using a dedicated app. It uses sensors on the bottom and front to keep itself in place.
Safe: The enclosed propellers prevent them from hitting anything or anyone. Very few drones have something like this to make for safer flight.
Low Image Quality: The video quality is essentially not usable. While it has 4K resolution, the electronic stabilization and image quality make for an unstable, grainy image. Compare this to something like the $499 US Phantom 3 Standard, which provides up to 2.7K sharp, stable video. Stills may be usable on the Hover Camera, but video is comparable to a cheap smartphone. Stability is better indoors, but still not great.
Tracking Needs Work: While the Hover Camera is certainly capable of tracking, it’s far from perfect. Most reviewers, such as Norm from Tested, found that the framing was off and while tracking, the drone would easily get lost.
Overall, the Hover Camera seems like more a novelty than a good drone for first-timers. Going back to a drone like the DJI Phantom 3 Standard, one can accomplish incredible video while also learning the basics of flight and still use several smart features through the DJI Go app. The Phantom 3 Standard also features longer battery time and more reliability. For a first timer, it’s important to actually learn to fly and have a drone that can provide quality images and a new perspective as opposed to a gadget that is cool to try but doesn’t bring anything new to one’s life. Of course, the Phantom is not as portable, but what good is portable if the drone can’t get interesting images?
Flying drones is now truly something anyone can do. If you are thinking of getting your first drone, don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn as much as you can before you purchase. You can even find a friend who has one or ask a dealer for a demonstration. Once you start flying, you’ll likely never turn back!
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