Owning a quality and reliable drone has become much more affordable over the last few years. There have always been cheap drones you could buy, but they are usually difficult to operate and have poor camera systems.
You might be looking for something with some more professional features, but without breaking the bank. However, can competitively priced drones compete with higher-end models, and what are the major strengths and weaknesses of this level of drone?
Well, we’ll answer those questions and more in our in-depth Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Drone Review. So, let’s get straight to it and see exactly what it has to offer…
- 1 Package Contents
- 2 Build and Design
- 3 Battery and Flight Time
- 4 Controller
- 5 Flight Performance
- 6 Standout Features
- 7 Pros And Cons Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Drone
- 8 Looking For More Superb Drone Options?
- 9 Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Drone Review – Final Thoughts
Upon opening your package, you will find neatly bundled inside a decent looking and feeling hard case containing the following items. The X-Star Premium Drone itself, a controller, charging cable, intelligent battery, fast charger, a 64 GB Micro SD card, and some spare propellers.
Build and Design
There are two things that have been taken into consideration when it comes to this drone. They are aerial maneuverability and photography. We will start with the design aspects which assist with the drone’s maneuverability.
Constructed mainly from hard plastic, the drone is incredibly strong and can take a bump or two. It’s a decent size, being not too big or small. You can still comfortably transport it, but it’s also no so small the wind will take it, or you’ll lose sight of it during flight.
You have a choice of two colors, being a bright orange like a traffic cone or the classic white. We like the orange, as it sets it apart from other drones and makes it easier to spot while it is hovering in the sky.
Camera and Gimbal
No shortcuts have been taken with the built-in camera for the X-Star Premium. Covering a 108° field of view in UHD 4K resolution at 40fps ensures immersive, detailed images. If you prefer more frames per second, options include 720p 240fps, 1080p 120fps, or 2.7K at 60fps. You can also take up to 12 megapixel stills.
Keeping things steady is a 3-axis gimbal. For those that aren’t aware, a gimbal counteracts movement to provide a stabilized image when capturing video or still images. This gimbal performs well in light wind; however, it starts to struggle as the wind picks up beyond a breeze.
Battery and Flight Time
A single battery is included inside the package. Classified as an “Intelligent Battery,” this means is that statistics in relation to the battery performance and details can be monitored. This includes data such as the number of charge cycles, individual cell performance, voltage usage, remaining mHa, and more.
From a single charge, you can fly the drone for up to 25 minutes. This is above average for a drone of this size, with these capabilities. In comparison, most other comparable drones offer 20 minutes or under of flight time. That extra five minutes actually makes a big difference, especially if you’re trying to nail that perfect shot.
The included charger is kind of interesting. It can achieve a full charge in only one hour. That is exactly one hour, no more, no less. The interesting part is that it will always take exactly one hour, no matter how much power is remaining in the battery? Very strange???
So make sure that you have used most of your battery before charging. However, there is an advantage to this in that you can almost set your watch to the charging time, making planning much easier. It also avoids overcharging as you know exactly when the cycle will be completed without having to keep checking.
You require a smart device such as a smartphone or small tablet for the control to function. That device must also have the Starlink App installed, which is available on both the Android Playstore and iOS App Market.
Once you have downloaded the App and plugged your smart device into the controller, this will connect to the drone over the 2.4Ghz radio frequency. It can communicate up to a range of 1.24-miles (2-kilometers).
All at your fingertips
At the top of the controller is an LCD display that shows critical flight information. This includes altitude, distance, battery life, satellite connectivity, and the pitch angle of the camera. It will also give status details when charging or performing firmware updates.
The joysticks are responsive, comfortable, and easy to maneuver, allowing for accurate and precise drone control. At the bottom of the controller are five buttons. In the center is the power button. To the left are the motor start and auto take off/landing buttons. On the right side are the return to home and pause aircraft buttons.
Overall, the flight performance of this drone is above average, especially when considering the price. Once it is up in the air, you can fly with confidence and precision. It is during take off and landing that it can be a bit nerve-racking for beginners.
Once the drone goes below 20-feet (6-meters), the altitude system becomes less reliable. We highly recommend using the auto take off and landing feature. If you stay above that threshold, though, performance is fantastic.
Speed and altitudes
A maximum speed of 36 miles per hour (57 kilometers per hour) is possible with the X-Star Premium. That is plenty fast enough for enthusiasts and is more than enough to get beginners into trouble if pushed to the limit.
There is no cap on the maximum altitude; however, users should consult with local laws for restrictions. Also, remember, the higher you climb, the windier it becomes, and control becomes more difficult. Ascent speed is a maximum of six meters per second, and descent speed is maxed at three meters per second.
Positioning is performed using the Starpoint Positioning System. It measures altitude, along with the position of both the drone and the controller. Even if GPS becomes unavailable, you can still perform accurate and safe flying.
Working hand in hand with Starpoint are both GLONASS and GPS navigation systems. This helps position the drone if, for any reason, there is a low radio signal. By combining both of these systems, you can fly with confidence.
Professional looking footage
Getting that perfect shot often requires some impressive pilot skills to maintain smooth and consistent footage. Luckily even if you are just starting out and are still learning to fly, the X-Star Premium has built-in smart features.
These include Waypoints, where you can set a path using GPS for the drone to follow. Orbit will perform a perfect 360° circle around an object while keeping it in frame. Finally, the Follow Feature will automatically follow a person or object selected on the screen.
If this is your first time using a drone, there is a beginner mode that can be activated. This will restrict the altitude, distance from the homepoint, and the speed of the drone. Perfect for familiarizing yourself with the controls.
Most of these features can be accessed using the Starlight App. The app is well-designed and will allow you to perform checks on your drone before you fly. You can even perform a HD live stream direct from the onboard camera.
Pros And Cons Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Drone
- Fast one hour charge allows up to 25-minutes of flight time.
- High quality 4K footage with high FPS at lower resolutions.
- Comes with a 64 GB Micro SD card.
- Easy access shortcut buttons on the remote control.
- No collision avoidance system.
- Battery’s overall lifespan is shorter than competitors.
- Position monitoring can be tricky for beginners.
Looking For More Superb Drone Options?
Then check out our in-depth Best Camera Drones Reviews.
Or, if you need some other high quality camera equipment, take a look at our Best GoPro Camera Reviews, our Best Waterproof Camera Reviews, our Best Mirrorless Cameras Reviews, our Best Cameras for Beginners Reviews, our Best Instant Cameras Reviews, and our Best Compact Camera Reviews for 2021.
Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Drone Review – Final Thoughts
We were very pleased on the whole with the performance of the X-Star Premium drone. The build quality is above average, feels sturdy, and can take some limited punishment. The controller is also well-designed, can hold tablets, and feels comfortable in the hand.
The camera provides crisp, clear footage and has those useful smart features. Flying the drone is responsive and accurate, as long as it is above around 20-feet (6-meters). The automated take-off and landing also assist with this.
Given the features and toughness of this drone, we believe it represents great value for both beginners and enthusiasts.