The Halo Board Halo Drone Pro ($1,497) posesses premium price, but its features and video quality are nowhere near pro level. Even easily hadn’t been forced to crash land it within my first test flight (because of a bug that Halo Board knows, and does not have a fix for), I came across enough shortcomings to steer pilots with anywhere near this much cash to invest in a different direction. If you prefer a high-end drone, choose the much more lightweight DJI Mavic Pro Platinum or the 1-inch-sensor-equipped DJI Phantom 4 Pro instead.
The Halo Drone Pro is quite like the discontinued GoPro Karma. It includes a folding design, however, not one you can slide right into a backpack or messenger bag just like the tiny Mavic Pro or Mavic Air.
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The Pro edition, which is regularly on sale for significantly less than its MSRP (it sells for $1,097 at press time), carries a fitted backpack for storage and transport. The pack measures 18 by 12 by 8 inches (HWD) and is pretty sturdy. But whatever requires its backpack for transport qualifies as bulky in my own book. When folded the Halo is approximately the same size as the Karma (roughly 5.5 by 7.5 by 14 inches), and it weighs 3 pounds.
To get it prepared to fly it is advisable to unfold its arms and lock them set up with clips. And you will need to set up the rotors, as the drone doesn’t easily fit into its backpack with them attached. The procedure only takes a short while, but it isn’t as seamless as the DJI Mavic series, which features folding propellers you can leave on constantly.
The drone ships with a handy remote control with a clip to carry your smartphone. It works together with the Halo Drone app, a free of charge download for Android or iOS. The remote as well as your smartphone communicate via Wi-Fi, and the iphone app shows some important info, including a live view from the drone’s camera and a global map. The video feed is quite low resolution, never just like the 720p feeds we’re used to seeing, nonetheless it gives you an over-all notion of what you’re recording. You do get real-time telemetry data when flying, however the software doesn’t record it and save it as a flight log, that is a feature you get with DJI models.
The camera is detachable. It’s similar in construction to a variety of economical action cameras. It looks and feels nearly the same as the Aukey AC-LC2. Don’t expect rugged GoPro quality here.
As well as the case, the Pro model carries a wrist tracker, in order to have the Halo track your movements. If you wish the drone without the tracker and backpack, you can purchase the typical edition. It comes with an $1,197 MSRP, but has been on sale for some time now. At press time it applies to $847.
Automated following is an advantage for those who want a drone to check out them and film them doing things, let’s assume that activities are occurring in a clear, open area. However the tracker watch is a lttle bit of an antiquated concept. DJI includes subject tracking in its latest models, which do the same job without requiring a tracker-its camera system can perform subject recognition and keep it in frame.
We always fly a drone for given that the battery are designed for in testing, to get a concept of what its real-world battery life is similar to. After about quarter-hour of flying within my first test flight, I saw that the drone’s battery was getting low-it estimated four minutes of flight time left-so I began to bring it in nearer to home for a landing. But before I could land it manually, the drone recognized its battery was low and initiated an automated return-to-home and landing procedure.
I have been flying pretty low, but because there is no obstacle avoidance, the drone is programmed to go up to an increased altitude prior to making the beeline to the launch point. I opted to manually override the automated process. Had the drone been further away I’d have allow it fly home alone, but it was no more than 30 or 40 feet from where I needed it to land when the automated sequence kicked in.
But rather than returning control to the remote’s joysticks, the drone immediately initiated an automated landing process. It had been still above a muddy cornfield at this time, so I made a decision to cancel the landing, with the intent of bringing the drone about thirty feet nearer to my location to land on neatly manicured grass.
But that didn’t happen. Rather than returning conrols to my sticks, the drone became unrepsonsive and began to fly up and abroad. I couldn’t pause its motion, nor may i adapt its altitude or heading-stick controls were completely unresponsive. The drone was flying away, and I had no reason to assume that it could stop until it ran out of battery. Despite having a couple minutes of life left, it might cover some distance.
I felt the only option to make sure recovery of the aircraft was to kill the engines. Thankfully that you can do so using the handy remote control, and the Halo did react to the command to carefully turn off the motors. It fell from the sky and landed on soft ground, but was damaged to the stage where additional flights weren’t happening. You can view the sequence inside our test footage below, starting at about the three-minute mark.
I reported the problem to Halo and a representative explained that it’s a known issue. Halo will not advise that you cancel landings. What the business describes in its FAQ isn’t quite what happened certainly to me, but very low capacity to the drone could make clear why it stopped giving an answer to controls. It doesn’t make clear the fly away, nor does it make clear why the energy was so low when the iphone app was telling me I had four minutes of flying time left.
Halo claims the drone is wonderful for 22 minutes of flight per charge. I came across the figure to be nearer to 15 minutes the truth is. That’s a huge disparity. Particularly when you understand that the svelte DJI Mavic Pro Platinum can fly for near 30 minutes.
Operating range is quite limited. I began to lose reference to the video feed far away of just 800 feet. Our test flight was performed in a rural area with hardly any radio interference, which means this result is quite disappointing.
Video and Image Quality
The included camera records video at up to 4K quality with a solid 50Mbps compression rate and H.265/HEVC compression. Footage looks clear, although the camera could be guilty of some oversharpening. But that is the least of its problems. White balance is everywhere. It changed drastically throughout our test flight, despite flying over an evenly lit landscape.
You also do not get 24fps capture at any resolution. You can shoot at faster frame rates at lower resolutions, an advantage for slow-motion, but these settings can not be changed on the fly. So that you can change camera settings you should physically make changes on the camera itself. That is a tricky process. You must take away the camera from its gimbal, remember which buttons to carry down privately to permit its rear LCD, and navigate through menus using control buttons. Once you have got it set, you have to be sure you switch the camera back again to its transmission mode (which disables the trunk LCD display), mount it in the gimbal, and make certain that the video feed is properly working. It’s a pain. Other drones, even the ones that use external removable cameras, enable you to change camera settings from the remote control.
The camera records still images and video. It could snap 8MP stills at the 16:9 aspect ratio and 12MP images at 4:3. Stills are saved in JPG format. Image quality is approximately everything you get from any budget action camera-crisp, with a broad field of view-but much less good as what you’d snap with a smartphone.
I can’t stand to be absolutely dismissive of something, especially the one that takes much engineering and design to construct. But there is no reason to spend your cash on the Halo Board Halo Drone Pro. It isn’t a bargain at all, its camera isn’t that good and helps it be difficult to adapt video recording settings, and its own battery life is way behind your competition. Even easily hadn’t experienced the forced crash landing, there is not enough here to recommend.