You get what you pay for
One of the better pre-fabricated drones you can buy for under $100, but you’ll want to buy with realistic expectations for drones at this price.
- Modern drone style
- Built-in camera
- Good in-air stability
- Affordable price
- Quick to start flying
- Lightweight to a fault
- Camera functionality is suspect
- Plastic parts break easy
EACHINE E58 Pocket Drone: The features
The most compelling feature of this drone is its price. You’re not likely to find such an impressively designed camera drone you can fit in your pocket for a better price than this — but you should be sure to keep your expectations in check as well.
I think it’s fair to say that the E58’s design was heavily inspired by the DJI Mavic Air, one of the leading consumer drones on the market in 2018. But the comparison between the E58 and Mavic needs to stop at looks because the E58 has all the familiar trappings of a budget drone — for better or worse.
The E58 is incredibly light, weighing in at just under 100 grams and comes with a pretty good controller that includes one-touch buttons for take-offs and landings, but also a really poorly designed smartphone holder that I immediately lost trust in when it popped my phone out during my first test. The drone includes the standard onboard gyroscope to help keep things steady during flight and includes other cool features such as altitude hold function and in-air flipping stunts to make things fun and easy for novice pilots.
The model I reviewed has a 2MP camera that shoots 720p video, which is more than okay for casual use but simply wouldn’t cut it for any professional use — did I mention this drone is only $95? — and the removable batteries deliver around 10 minutes of flight time on a full charge.
Fun to fly…
EACHINE E58 Pocket Drone What I like
The E58 is really great for anyone new to the hobby who wants to experience owning and flying a drone but doesn’t necessarily have the money to drop on a DJI drone. I love how compact it becomes when it’s all folded up, as it will easily fit into most jacket pockets or your backpack. The controller, too, is about the same size as the folded drone making the whole package very portable.
This is one of the fastest drones in its price range, making it super fun to fly.
The one-touch take off works as you’d expect, with the drone hovering about three feet off the air. Once you’re in the air, this thing is a blast to fly around. There’s no listed top speed, but it’s pretty quick and maneuverable for its size.
The drone also offers modular repairs — if one of the motors seize up or an arm gets damaged, you can easily replace the whole thing as long as you’ve got the spare parts on hand.
…a pain to repair
EACHINE E58 Pocket Drone What I don’t like
I get that plastic breaks, but I had about six propeller blades break on me during my testing time with this drone. Avoiding crashes caused by pilot error can prevent this, but I also wish the propeller guards did a better job of actually protecting the props. I had the prop guards installed each time that For that reason, I would heavily recommend also buying the $12 accessory kit that includes a full set of propellers, propeller guards, and landing skids that’s always good to have on hand.
Get ready to replace a bunch of these brittle, flimsy parts — often.
One issue with replacing the blades is that each pair of propellers is held together with little assemblies that include three tiny screws. This is less than ideal if you’re stuck replacing broken props out in the field somewhere, as they’re incredibly easy to lose.
During my time testing the camera, I found the whole set up to be pretty underwhelming overall. You need to connect the phone to the drone using an app called JY UFO, which is clunky to use and often delivers really shaky footage that sometimes cut in and out. Here’s some sample footage to show you what I mean:
As you’ll see, too, that clip ended with the drone falling from the sky. Maybe I accidentally pressed the emergency landing button without knowing it, but I suspect the drone just lost connection with the controller. The other thing I need to mention is that because this drone is so light it does not handle windy conditions at all. If you’re planning to fly this drone outdoors you’re going to want to wait for a very calm day, and this thing can and will get blown away very easily by a good gust of wind.
EACHINE E58 Pocket Drone Should you buy it?
Buying a cheaper drone for someone who’s casually interested in drones is a great idea because its a relatively low-risk way to learn how to fly. You definitely need to stock up on spare parts, though, because plastic breaks rather easily.
With a bit of patience and practice, you might be able to get some decent footage or photos from this camera drone, but you’re better off focusing on controlling the drone before messing around with the camera.
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Marc Lagace is the Apps and Games Editor at Android Central. He’s been a gamer for most of his life and actually took a university course on Video Game Theory — which he aced! You can reach out to him on Twitter @spacelagace.
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