The Halo Board Halo Drone Professional ($1,497) carries a premium worth, however its options and video high quality are nowhere close to professional degree. Even when I hadn’t been pressured to crash land it throughout my first take a look at flight (attributable to a bug that Halo Board is conscious of, and does not have a repair for), I discovered sufficient shortcomings to steer pilots with this a lot money to spend in a unique path. If you would like a high-end drone, go for the far more moveable DJI Mavic Pro Platinum or the 1-inch-sensor-equipped DJI Phantom 4 Pro as a substitute.
The Halo Drone Professional is similar to the discontinued GoPro Karma. It has a folding design, however not one you may slide right into a backpack or messenger bag just like the tiny Mavic Professional or Mavic Air.
The Professional version, which is repeatedly on sale for a lot lower than its MSRP (it sells for $1,097 at press time), features a fitted backpack for storage and transport. The pack measures 18 by 12 by eight inches (HWD) and is kind of sturdy. However something that requires its personal backpack for transport qualifies as cumbersome in my guide. When folded the Halo is about the identical dimension because the Karma (roughly 5.5 by 7.5 by 14 inches), and it weighs three kilos.
To get it able to fly it’s essential unfold its arms and lock them in place with clips. And it’s essential set up the rotors, because the drone does not slot in its backpack with them hooked up. The method solely takes a few minutes, nevertheless it’s not as seamless because the DJI Mavic collection, which options folding propellers you may go away on always.
The drone ships with a distant management with a clip to carry your smartphone. It really works with the Halo Drone app, a free obtain for Android or iOS. The distant and your smartphone talk through Wi-Fi, and the app reveals some necessary info, together with a reside view from the drone’s digicam and a world map. The video feed may be very low decision, by no means just like the 720p feeds we’re used to seeing, nevertheless it offers you a normal thought of what you are recording. You do get real-time telemetry knowledge when flying, however the app does not file it and put it aside as a flight log, which is a function you get with DJI fashions.
The digicam is removable. It is comparable in construct high quality to any variety of cheap action cameras. It seems to be and feels so much just like the Aukey AC-LC2. Do not count on rugged GoPro high quality right here.
Along with the case, the Professional mannequin features a wrist tracker, so you may have the Halo monitor your actions. If you would like the drone with out the tracker and backpack, you should buy the usual version. It has an $1,197 MSRP, however has been on sale for some time now. At press time it goes for $847.
Automated following is a plus for folk who need a drone to observe them and movie them doing issues, assuming that actions are going down in a transparent, open space. However the tracker watch is a little bit of an antiquated idea. DJI contains topic monitoring in its newest fashions, which do the identical job with out requiring a tracker—its digicam system is ready to carry out topic recognition and preserve it in body.
We at all times fly a drone for so long as the battery can deal with in testing, to get an thought of what its real-world battery life is like. After about 15 minutes of flying throughout my first take a look at flight, I noticed that the drone’s battery was getting low—it estimated 4 minutes of flight time left—so I began to carry it in nearer to residence for a touchdown. However earlier than I used to be capable of land it manually, the drone acknowledged its battery was low and initiated an automatic return-to-home and touchdown process.
I had been flying fairly low, however as a result of there is not any impediment avoidance, the drone is programmed to rise to the next altitude earlier than making the beeline to the launch level. I opted to manually override the automated course of. Had the drone been additional away I’d have let it fly residence by itself, nevertheless it was solely about 30 or 40 toes away from the place I needed it to land when the automated sequence kicked in.
However as a substitute of returning management to the distant’s joysticks, the drone instantly initiated an automatic touchdown course of. It was nonetheless above a muddy cornfield at this level, so I made the choice to cancel the touchdown, with the intent of bringing the drone about thirty toes nearer to my location to land on neatly manicured grass.
However that did not occur. As a substitute of returning conrols to my sticks, the drone turned unrepsonsive and began to fly up and away from residence. I could not pause its movement, nor might I alter its altitude or heading—stick controls have been fully unresponsive. The drone was flying away, and I had no purpose to imagine that it will cease till it ran out of battery. Even with solely a pair minutes of life left, it might cowl far.
I felt the one alternative to make sure restoration of the plane was to kill the engines. Fortunately you are able to do so utilizing the distant management, and the Halo did reply to the command to show off the motors. It fell from the sky and landed on gentle floor, however was broken to the purpose the place further flights weren’t occurring. You possibly can watch the sequence in our take a look at footage beneath, beginning at concerning the three-minute mark.
I reported the difficulty to Halo and a consultant acknowledged that it’s a identified problem. Halo does not recommend that you just cancel landings. What the corporate describes in its FAQ is not fairly what occurred to me, however very low energy to the drone might clarify why it stopped responding to controls. It does not clarify the fly away, nor does it clarify why the ability was so low when the app was telling me I had 4 minutes of flying time left.
Halo claims the drone is sweet for 22 minutes of flight per cost. I discovered the determine to be nearer to 15 minutes in actuality. That is an enormous disparity. Particularly once you keep in mind that the svelte DJI Mavic Professional Platinum can fly for near 30 minutes.
Working vary may be very restricted. I began to lose reference to the video feed at a distance of simply 800 toes. Our take a look at flight was carried out in a rural space with little or no radio interference, so this end result may be very disappointing.
Video and Picture High quality
The included digicam data video at as much as 4K high quality with a powerful 50Mbps compression charge and H.265/HEVC compression. Footage seems to be clear, though the digicam could also be responsible of some oversharpening. However that is the least of its issues. White stability is in every single place. It modified dramatically all through our take a look at flight, regardless of flying over an evenly lit panorama.
You additionally do not get 24fps seize at any decision. You possibly can shoot at sooner body charges at decrease resolutions, a plus for slow-motion, however these settings cannot be modified on the fly. With a view to alter digicam settings it’s essential bodily make adjustments on the digicam itself. This can be a difficult course of. It’s essential to take away the digicam from its gimbal, keep in mind which buttons to carry down on the aspect to allow its rear LCD, and navigate by menus utilizing management buttons. As soon as you’ve got obtained it set, it’s essential keep in mind to change the digicam again to its transmission mode (which disables the rear LCD show), mount it within the gimbal, and be sure that the video feed is correctly working. It is a ache. Different drones, even those who work with exterior detachable cameras, allow you to change digicam settings proper from the distant management.
The digicam data nonetheless photos in addition to video. It could snap 8MP stills on the 16:9 side ratio and 12MP photos at four:three. Stills are saved in JPG format. Picture high quality is about what you get from any finances motion digicam—crisp, with a large area of view—however not so good as what you’d snap with a smartphone.
I do not prefer to be completely dismissive of a product, particularly one which takes a lot engineering and design to place collectively. However there’s completely no purpose to spend your cash on the Halo Board Halo Drone Professional. It isn’t a cut price by any means, its digicam is not that good and makes it troublesome to regulate video recording settings, and its battery life is manner behind the competitors. Even when I hadn’t skilled the pressured crash touchdown, there is not sufficient right here to suggest.
If you would like a drone, get a DJI Mavic Air or Mavic Professional Platinum for about the identical worth and revel in a very moveable—and intensely secure—plane. If you happen to prioritize picture and video high quality over dimension, the Phantom four Professional and Phantom 4 Advanced use 1-inch picture sensor cameras, which gives you one of the best aerial video and imaging you may get, wanting shopping for a really high-end mannequin with interchangeable lenses.