Hubsan H301S Spy Hawk RTF FPV - full review / owner's thread! - RC Groups
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Oct 06, 2015, 09:11 AM
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Hubsan H301S Spy Hawk RTF FPV - full review / owner's thread!


Hi everyone, it is time for another review of a new product that has just hit the market - the Hubsan H301S Spy Hawk RTF FPV Plane, which was sent to me for review by Banggood.

Full range of spare parts can be found HERE!

You can find all of the information and details in my blog: ArxangelRC.blogspot.com.



I've been doing FPV and some long range flights for some time now, and honestly I did not think that anything can do a good job that comes ready to use from the factory. Then Banggood contacted me about doing a review for the new Hubsan H301S Spy Hawk Ready-to-Fly FPV plane, and I jumped at the chance. Looking at the specs, the plane really does promised quite a lot and I was a bit skeptical about whether it can deliver. My experience with RTF packages so far has not been perfect, nor for other hobbyists around me! What seemed most impressive though was the advertised 1km range of the video and radio signal, and the Return-to-Home function, which really should be a MUST for all RTF FPV packages now! When the plane arrived I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the kit as well as the actual range that the video and radio were achieving.


SPECIFICATIONS
Wing span: 1000mm
Length: 750mm
Wing area: to be determined...
Flying weight: ~355g according manufacturer (367g in reality)
CG: not mentioned in the manual, around 37mm from LE at the moment, just in front of the main spar
Video/radio range: 1000m were advertised. I achieved 1800m (outside the city) and turned back, did not wait for loss of signal!!!!


ARRIVAL STATE

Banggood did a good job of packaging this, the plane's box was wrapped in a layer of thick foamy plastic packaging material. There were a few dings around the edges, but overall it was in a very good shape. Inside the box the plane packed in Styrofoam and there was absolutely no damage to any of the parts.






WHAT I LIKE

There is a lot that I like about this plane... as it turns out!

First of all, the Manual is pretty detailed, describing all sort of stuff like how to assemble the plane and get it ready for flight, battery charging, radio stick calibration, plane flight controller calibration, compass calibration, camera functions, etc. It also comes with a set of stickers, instructions for where the stickers should go, and an instruction on how to use the directional video antenna.







Battery and battery charger are also supplied with the plane. The battery is a 2S 1300mAh 15C LiPo pack, which should be good for 20-30 mins of flight time, according to Hubsan. I was surprised to see that the charger box had labeling for 2S and 3S packs, but the 3S side was not cut out... I guess that addition probably costs 10 cents... so wonder why it wasn't implemented, could be useful for newcomers to the hobby!











Both antennas have their own spots in the box.







The radio also sits in its own nest. I have to be honest, this box will have to take A LOT of abuse for anything inside to get damaged! I hope more manufacturers would start packing their planes in this manner. I have rarely gotten a plane that didn't have any shipping damage due to poor packaging.





The screen shade also comes in a separate compartment, and it snaps right on to the screen. I did not remove the protective cover of the screen just so I can keep it scuff free.





The plane's fuselage and wing are also very well secured inside the box!



Turning now my attention to the plane itself, right from the start it can be seen that this is high quality EPO, and the plane has absolutely no scuffs or dents on it.







All the gear on this plane comes pre-installed. The wing is one piece with the carbon spar pre-installed... how they did that I do not know, but it is impressive and looks GOOD! The inner side of the wing features an adapter that locks it to the fuselage. There are also cables for the LED strips, the servo connections, and the ESC power and signal wires.





All the clips around the plane are also pre-installed. The front part of the wing clips to the fuselage in addition to the two long pins that go all the way through it. Better safe than sorry!



Servos, push rods, clevises, control horns, and LED strips are pre-installed. The right wing half has the green LED strip, the left wing half has the red LED strip.





Although this is a light plane and this may never become an issue, you still might want to add some CA glue to this part of the control horn on the ailerons and the other control surfaces, just to make sure it will not accidentally un-clip in flight. In case you do not choose to glue them, check them carefully after every landing, just to be safe.



This is where the back part of the canopy clips to the wing. I haven't thought about this before, but these clips are perfect for this size plane. They hold the parts well enough, and they are so easy to use!



The last bit on the wing is the motor. It looks very nice! It sits at the top of the wing in its plastic "throne". If you look at the plane from the back, the motor is angled up and to the right a little. This is done to help counter the torque rolling the motor creates when spinning, and in this case the right angle (looking at it from the back) is the correct one in relation to the prop being used, which is a standard tractor style prop in a pusher configuration.





There are little cooling holes in the plastic to help with motor and ESC cooling. I don't think cooling will be a problem unless you go full throttle during the whole flight, but its still nice to see that little detail there. The plastic is also not bad, its hard but flexible, so it should be able to take the occasional bad landing, or light crash.



And we finally get to the fuselage.

The inside of the fuselage is laid out very well! The flight controller and the tail servos are mounted at the back, which is right under the wing. This leaves the whole front of the plane free for the battery and other stuff. There is one section in the middle that actually remains empty, so this plane definitely has space to spare despite its size!



Continues in next post...
Last edited by Arxangel; Oct 20, 2015 at 12:58 AM.
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Oct 06, 2015, 09:11 AM
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... continued from previous post.

All of the wires coming from and going to the front of the plane are grouped together and tucked in one corner. This looks very clean... unlike my own builds!





Looking at the flight controller, you can see all of the connections clearly labelled, which makes connecting the wing pretty straight forward. Immediately to its right you can see where the 2.4Ghz radio antenna exits the fuselage. This FC has the radio receiver integrated, which makes the whole thing smaller and easier to install.

The servos have the ends of their arms cut, so they don't rub in the foam.



The GPS unit is actually mounted all the way at the back, in the tail. This is good for two reasons: it is as far away from any interference sources as possible, and it serves as ballast to even out all those electronics in the nose of the plane, and keep the CG true!



And there is one more thing to notice here: they have used a square carbon tube to strengthen the tail boom and to run the GPS wires and tail push rods. This is very good design thinking because as we all know, square tubes are stiffer and stronger than round ones.



The front of the plane features the video transmitter and the camera. To my surprise, the camera did come with a 4GB Micro SD card in it, while the Banggood listing said that a card was not included. I really like surprises like that!





The camera lens is mounted at the front of the plane with a slight downward angle. The lens actually looks really nice, and is protected by a removable cap. To be honest, I did not know what to expect from the camera recording, but in reality it is a very nice quality camera for an RTF product.





The camera and Vtx also get enough cooling through holes at the front, around the camera lens, and also on the bottom, as seen on the photo below. I noticed that there was some noticeable heat coming from the electronics there, so the cooling holes are definitely needed. Even the manual warns not to leave it on without flying for more than 2 mins, otherwise the camera board might overheat, so keep this in mind. If you are not recording on the ground, probably it will not heat up as much.

Also, like I mentioned before, the plastic here is also hard yet flexible, so it should be able to take some abuse.



The tail control surfaces also come with push rods, control horns, and clevices pre-installed, just so you can get in the air quicker. The rudder is also held down with clips, which is very convenient if you ever need to disassemble the plane for transport. The clips actually hold quite strong and the fit is good, so it is unlikely that they will let go in flight, and in the event of a crash they will un-clip and reduce the chance of the part breaking.





Now, the wing mounts to the fuselage by inserting the two large pins on the wings, after plugging in the cables into the FC, into the two large holes at the bottom of the fuselage, on both sides of the flight controller.



The pins exit the bottom of the plane and snap on these plastic supports. I had to push the rear one a bit more for it to snap on, and you also have to clip on the two small clips at the front as well, but the fit is tight, solid, and it feels as if the plane is one whole piece. The mounting looks very secure.





Lets look at the radio now. I was quite surprised by the quality of it. It is a bit weird at first, due to its non-standard form, but you get used to it pretty quickly, and it does feel very nice in the hand. The grips are rubberized and definitely heighten the quality feel of the radio. All switches feel solid, and the potentiometers are smooth. The screen is amazingly sharp and bright, even if the sun is shining directly on it, you will still be able to see what's happening. Antenna connectors are clearly labelled: the straight thin antenna is the 2.4Ghz one, the square shaped antenna is the 5.8Ghz one.





The battery compartment has an AA battery tray for 8x batteries. If will also accept a 3S LiPo. Size wise the 3S packs for the Taranis and Turnigy radios should fit without issues, all that they need is a male JST connector.





The bottom side of the radio also has some ports on it, but as it turned out, the Micro SD card port is not actually installed on the inside on the board. Would have been nice to be able to record the video on the ground as well!

There is a Mini USB port, but I am not sure what it does... perhaps you can change settings and/or update radio firmware that way. There are also 3.5mm Audio and Video ports, though I am not sure what good the audio would be, since the camera does not record audio, nor does it send it down to the ground. The video port, IF its operational, could be useful to connect video goggles to it, or a bigger screen.



All that is now left is to put the battery in. It fits real tight, which is good, because it will not more around during flight.



And I just love how easy it is to install the canopy - just clip it on, and it stays on! No magnets to come un-glued, no tape to hold it down!



WHAT I DON'T LIKE

Well... this will be a short section!

My main issue is with the User Manual and the labeling on the radio. As you can see below, the manual does say that the GPS function can be activated with the "A" switch, but on the radio the stickers are wrong, and the "B" switch is actually labelled "GPS", while the "C" switch is labelled "Home"! This is misleading, because first of all you will be confused which one actually activates the RTH function, and actually none of them does. The "B" and "C" switches, in the manual, labelled "GPS" and "HOME" on the radio do NOTHING. That might change with a future firmware update, but at the time of this review, they do nothing. The "A" switch really does activate the RTH function, so at least here the manual is accurate. The "D" is not unused, like the manual says, it is used to switch the LED strips on and off.

Also, even though the manual does mention that you can start and stop camera recording from the "Enter" button, it does not say anything about the "Exit" button, which is used to switch between "Manual" and "Stabilize" modes.





What I also don't like is that the camera does not record audio... or at least mine does not! Not sure what the reason for this is, but for one I would have loved to be able to hear the plane's motor when its far from me through that small speaker on the radio! its a small thing, but it can be important when flying beyond LOS.

Another thing that is bugging me is the RTH function! For the most part it works as advertised and will get the plane back home, so that is good! What I don't like is how it switches back to "Stabilize" mode once it reaches Home point, rather than circle around it until you take back control. This is not a problem if you use RTH to bring back the plane because you are lazy, or if it goes out of range, but it can be a real problem if your radio battery dies, and you don't have any spares, and are alone somewhere. To be hones, I still have to test this scenario, but if it acts the same, switching back to "Stabilize", the plane will quickly disappear, and you can just sit there and watch it fly away, after returning home safe! It is entirely possible that if your radio is off, the FC will keep the RTH function on, and will keep going back to home point until the battery dies, at which point it will glide to the ground, but I still have to test this.

And the last thing is the small black smudge that is visible in the video recording from the camera, just to the left of the centre. I am guessing either the lens is dirty on the inside, or there is some other defect with it. I don't mind it, and I am pretty sure its just a defect with mine, but still... would have been happier without it!




THE VERDICT

Well... the BAD things about this plane are not actually bad.. just a few user manual mistakes, and a few software features to be worked over. Other than that... I am not sure how to express my amazement of this plane!

I was very skeptical about the capabilities of this model! I did not believe it will be able to reach 1km range for both video and radio, but it did much better than that, it reach 1.8kms with solid video and radio... and better yet... working telemetry, and I had to switch RTH on myself, because I wasn't sure it will be able to make it back against the wind before the battery ran out (I have been flying for a while before that, so the battery was getting low).

Then, I did not believe it will be able to fly anything close to 20 mins, let alone get into that advertised 20 to 30 mins range! In fact, the plane flies for 20 mins if you don't try to save the battery! If you go easy on it, and fly at a constant speed, it will easily go over 20 mins. Also, in "Stabilize" mode I found it impossible to stall it... possibly you might be able to do it going downwind in very strong winds... but in the conditions that I flew in, I was unable to make it tip stall, which makes it a very nice product even for novice flyers, not only novice FPVers!

I was also very pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy this plane is to assemble and get in the air. Literally you just have to mount the wing on and charge the battery... nothing much to it! A toddler will be able to do this, although if you are a novice pilot I would recommend having an experienced pilot with you until you get used to the plane and get some experience flying.

So to sum it up... this product has performed twice as good as advertised, and probably four times as good as I had expected it to! It does shake a bit when there is wind, but that is to be expected, otherwise it flies very well, very gentle, and can glide well! The lack of any stall tendencies in "Stabilize" mode make it very good even for novice pilots. The camera actually records a very sharp and crisp video, definitely better than I expected, and being able to control it from the radio is an added bonus. The RTH function works well, but does require getting used to, so you don't panic when it switches back to " Stabilize" mode once it reaches home point. I am amazed by how good this plane is, I can definitely see and feel that a lot of thought and effort has gone into this product, and it wasn't in vain. The plane truly is Ready-to-Fly out of the box, and with a little assistance even somebody that has never flown anything RC could start flying immediately!

At some point I did think that 400 USD shipped was too much for something like this, but in reality it performs like a much more expensive product, and if you try to source the parts to build something like this yourself, it will definitely cost a lot more in order to have the same functionality, not to mention the time wasted on building, testing... rebuilding, and re-testing, etc.

In my opinion this plane is worth EVERY cent they charge for it. Hands down this is the best integrated RTF FPV system that I have ever seen and tried! I will definitely be taking this plane with me every time when I go travelling from now on!


THE BUILD, AND MODIFICATIONS

This section doesn't really apply to this plane much... the build lasts exactly 30 seconds, and consists of plugging 5 connections and clipping the wing on to the fuselage.... and DONE!

I guess if somebody is really eager for modifications, they could go around looking to find a higher capacity battery of equal weight, or try to replace motor and prop to find a better, more efficient combination, or even try to replace the flight controller with something like a Mini APM, so you can have missions, and full Auto flight, and proper RTH with circle above Home point, but at this point I do not feel the need for this. I will use this plane as it is out of the box, and will only replace parts if something breaks!

Having a potential range of 2kms on a system that costs only 400 USD is still a shock to me, so I am guessing it will be some time before I am bored with this!

In the meantime, here are some photos from the flying field, as well as the build and flight video reviews of the plane. Enjoy!





The LED strips are quite bright and are visible even in sunny weather.













Here is the build video, it turned out a bit long, but I did try to go through everything!

Hubsan H301S Spy Hawk RTF FPV - Unboxing and build review (31 min 9 sec)


And here is the maiden flight and review video. I had a lot of fun with this plane over the weekend, so watch the whole thing if you can, there is some interesting stuff in there, including RTH testing, distance testing, horses and cows chasing, and "absolute beginner" flying.

Hubsan H301S Spy Hawk RTF FPV - Maiden and flight review (15 min 5 sec)


This is it for now, I will upload more videos soon, as I am planning to have a lot of fun while testing the capabilities of this marvelous plane!
Oct 06, 2015, 09:12 AM
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Reserved!
Oct 06, 2015, 09:12 AM
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Reserved...
Oct 07, 2015, 12:04 AM
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My Hubsan H301S does not support Audio record and Audio Transmission. Why in the product details of the H301S specified "Video+Audio: 5.8Ghz Transmission" on many sites?

http://www.banggood.com/Hubsan-H301S...-p-962832.html

http://fpvcentral.net/2015/01/hubsan...s-auto-return/

http://www.droneshat.com/products/hubsan-h301s-spyhawk
Last edited by Evgeny30; Oct 07, 2015 at 12:17 AM.
Oct 07, 2015, 01:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evgeny30
My Hubsan H301S does not support Audio record and Audio Transmission. Why in the product details of the H301S specified "Video+Audio: 5.8Ghz Transmission" on many sites?

http://www.banggood.com/Hubsan-H301S...-p-962832.html

http://fpvcentral.net/2015/01/hubsan...s-auto-return/

http://www.droneshat.com/products/hubsan-h301s-spyhawk
Yup, I am guessing the information is wrong. Mine does not record or transmit audio as well, which is not a big problem anyway, though it would have been nice to have that.
Oct 07, 2015, 05:42 AM
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Thank you very much !


Thank you very much for this great review with all the great photos and interesting information!
Oct 07, 2015, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mokabo123
Thank you very much for this great review with all the great photos and interesting information!
You are welcome, I hope it will help people make up their minds about this plane!
Oct 08, 2015, 04:15 AM
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i wonder if it can carry another small camera.

great review btw.
Last edited by red_colt; Oct 08, 2015 at 04:15 AM. Reason: additional
Oct 08, 2015, 04:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red_colt
i wonder if it can carry another small camera.

great review btw.
Thanks.

Which camera do you have in mind? I guess it should be able to, but you can expect a certain drop in flight time!
Oct 08, 2015, 03:46 PM
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very intresting model! It would be useful to know if the video port works!
Oct 09, 2015, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David125
very intresting model! It would be useful to know if the video port works!
I just tested it and I can CONFIRM that there is video OUT from the "Video" port on the bottom of the radio! This is GREAT!!!

Oct 10, 2015, 10:36 AM
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Great review! However I downloaded the brief Manual & it looks as though there is no facility to take still photos [my main interest], only video?
Oct 10, 2015, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony lechauve
Great review! However I downloaded the brief Manual & it looks as though there is no facility to take still photos [my main interest], only video?
Yes, you are right, the camera cannot take stills! However, depending on the resolution that you need for these stills, you can use stop frames from the video, it certainly has the sharpness and quality to work. Watch a few seconds into this to see a stop frame: https://youtu.be/DLnX0YukJfs?t=14m4s
Oct 12, 2015, 01:15 PM
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Video to JPG Converter


Perhaps a Software like

Free Video to JPG Converter

http://www.dvdvideosoft.com/products...m#.Vhv4kvntlBc

could help, too, depending how good quality has to be...




Quote:
Originally Posted by Arxangel
Yes, you are right, the camera cannot take stills! However, depending on the resolution that you need for these stills, you can use stop frames from the video, it certainly has the sharpness and quality to work. Watch a few seconds into this to see a stop frame: https://youtu.be/DLnX0YukJfs?t=14m4s