Thanks for checking out my review of the Holy Stone HS720E!
This drone remains my favorite in the Holy Stone lineup. It’s beginner-friendly but not insultingly so, so adults can feel like adults when flying it. It’s got more advanced features than your average Holy Stone drone but not a high price point.
So far, so good, right? And I agree.
However, purchasing a drone is a monumental decision, especially if you’re buying one for commercial projects. You need a drone good enough to stick with you through rigorous jobs, so you’ll prioritize features like battery life and image/video quality.
Even if you’re only looking to fly for fun (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), you still want a good drone that can pull off stunts and tricks and looks appealing.
Is the Holy Stone HS720E that drone? There’s only one way to answer that question, by taking a deep dive into this drone’s features, perks, and shortcomings.
To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.
Holy Stone HS730E key specifications
|Holy Stone HS720E
|380 x 230 x 125 mm
|Image and video resolution
|4K at 30 fps or 1080p at 60 fps
|Max storage space
|128 GB (must buy card separately)
|Camera angle adjustment rate
|0 to -90 degrees
|999 m (up to 3,277 ft)
|500 m (up to 1,640 ft)
|21 mins per battery
|Battery charging time
|5 hrs per battery
Key points of Holy Stone HS720E
So, what comes in the box when you order the HS720E? Let’s unpack its most important features.
Long flight time
Okay, so I would rephrase this as long flight time*. If you’ve ever bought a DJI drone (or thought about buying one) and saw that you have to upgrade the battery to get the longest life, that’s the same move Holy Stone pulled here.
The Fly More Kit doubles the battery longevity, so you go from a projected life of 23 minutes to 46 minutes, but that’s with two batteries.
I say projected, because all drones are tested by the manufacturers in perfect conditions. When flying in the real world, the battery doesn’t last as long.
Still, you can expect 35-40 minutes between 2 batteries, give or take (under 20 minutes per battery), which is an awesome fight time when you consider this is a Holy Stone drone and costs under $500.
The HS720E includes GLONASS and GPS for more secure navigation and fun features like return to home (RTH).
Holy Stone even included smart RTH in the vein of the DJI Mini 2 SE. If the HS720E loses connection to the remote (or if the connection weakens enough), whoosh, your drone comes right back to you. The drone also has RTH for low battery.
These kinds of features are especially advantageous for drone beginners learning the ropes. If that’s you, you probably don’t know how to track your battery levels right off the bat (although you should learn) or how far the HS720E can go before it loses connection.
Fortunately, you have a slight safety net when flying this drone.
The hover stability is also great thanks to the GPS, which is handy if you’re a newbie who wants to keep their drone still for one minute to take a few photos.
The HS720E includes a 4K camera with a 3840×2160 resolution. If you’ve used other drones from Autel or DJI, don’t expect to be blown away by the Holy Stone drone’s camera quality.
I mean, the HS720E doesn’t even have a three-axis gimbal. Instead, it uses Electronic Image Stabilization or EIS, which is moderately effective in some scenarios but not my favorite.
Do I recommend this drone for pro photography projects? No, I don’t. You just don’t get enough out of it. The camera has no color grading, noise reduction, or anything of the sort you see in comparable drones.
You’d have to do a lot of work in post-production to get the camera quality up to par compared to your competitors, and even then, you wouldn’t be on an even playing field.
Manageable noise levels
Thanks to the brushless motor, the HS720E performs quietly. I won’t say it’s whisper-quiet, but for its price, it might surprise you in this area.
If you do any kind of wildlife videography or photography and don’t want to scare away the creatures with your drone, this is a good one to have.
The HS720E launches gracefully, hovers reliably enough, and doesn’t take long to reach top speed.
Oh yeah, on that note, you can fly this drone at low, medium, or high speeds. It’s still a bit faster than you might think despite the speed settings, but it’s still kid-friendly enough if you’re teaching your children how to fly.
The drone has a long enough battery to get some basic photography and videography tasks done, especially if you’re only flying for fun and capturing a family reunion or your nephew’s birthday party.
Since it flies quietly, people will kind of forget it’s there, but not in a dangerous way. Instead, it’s in more of a way where they can act naturally, and you can have true-blue family moments captured on film.
4K EIS Drone with UHD Camera for Adults, Easy GPS Quadcopter for Beginner with Triple Flight Time, Brushless Motor, Auto Return Home, Follow Me& Anti-shake Camera.
Holy Stone drones are not often renowned for their build quality. However, I’m giving the HS720E its flowers.
Is it durable to the same extent as a DJI or Autel drone? No, but is it durable compared to other Holy Stone drones? Yes, it holds up well.
I wouldn’t crash this drone if you could help it. I don’t think it would survive a big dive.
But overall, the quality is about commensurate with the price. The HS720E looks sleek, and its appearance belies its cost (or that it’s a Holy Stone).
Size and weight
Have you noticed a trend in drones lately? I have! I’m talking about reducing weight to meet the 250-gram threshold.
Why that number specifically? If you operate drones recreationally in the United States, the FAA doesn’t require you to register drones that are under 250 grams.
That means you can use a drone like the DJI Mini 2 SE for fun and not have to pay the registration fee (it’s minimal, but still, it’s the principle of the matter).
By the way, this weight threshold only applies to recreational use. If you’re flying a drone commercially, you have to register it regardless.
This is all a moot point anyway, considering the HS720E surpasses that recommended weight threshold. It weighs 550 grams, so almost twice the FAA’s limit.
The weight of a drone doesn’t only affect whether you have to register it. It also impacts how portable it is.
The HS720E is marketed as an adult-friendly drone compared to some of Holy Stone’s toy quadcopters for kids, and its size is probably one of the reasons why. The HS720E is light enough for children to carry, but it’s a little unwieldy in smaller hands.
Its weight shouldn’t cause a big concern when traveling. It’s not like it weighs several pounds or anything, so you won’t break your back toting it around in a carry-on or backpack.
Switching gears to discuss its size, the HS720E is a big drone.
It’s not huge, but if you’re used to drones that weigh the same as a smartphone and fit in the palm of your hand, you’ll be disappointed. Neither descriptor matches this Holy Stone drone.
Let me give it credit where it’s due. The HS720E can fold. Whether it’s still too big at that point is all relative. Compared to a drone by Autel like the EVO II Pro V3, probably not, but versus a DJI Mini drone, yes, the Holy Stone drone looks hefty.
Here’s an area where HS720E is not that great.
The only way to get close to 4K images is to use a microSD card. While Holy Stone says it’s 4K, it doesn’t quite look it. It’s more like 1080p, and even then, I’ve seen drones with that lower image quality that had more clarity.
You also have to remember that the HS720E has no gimbal stabilization. Holy Stone did that to control the drone’s costs, but still, you really feel it when maneuvering this drone, such as changing its position or turning it.
I know, it has EIS, which does an okay job at counteracting the lack of gimbal, but it’s not to the same degree. The image quality would be more passable if the HS720E had a gimbal, I think.
Overall, if you’re just taking photos of your friends or family and want to do something more innovative than what you can achieve with your smartphone, the HS720E is fine. However, the image quality isn’t up to snuff for commercial projects.
The same hindrances that affect the HS720E’s image quality are at play with its video. You need a microSD card to get close to 4K quality, and even then, it’s not quite that.
Again, the video is fine for having fun, but if you want to do something serious, whether start a social media following on YouTube, get into real estate videography, or survey sites with your drone, save the $300 and put it toward a DJI or Autel drone instead.
Low-light photography and filming
The HS720E is missing any of the bells and whistles you can expect from other drone models, such as low-light footage without noise.
Its photos and videos are fine in a reasonable amount of daylight, but if shooting in cloudy weather or at dusk, you will find that the footage has too much noise (read: grainy-ness) to be very useful.
Sure, if you really want to power through it, you can put the video or photo in post and clean it up, but HS720E footage requires a lot more polishing, editing, and finessing than the images and clips you get from other drones.
Holy Stone HS720E flight time
A drone’s battery is one of its most important features. Even if the drone is otherwise a powerhouse, if the battery is weak, you will never enjoy using it to its full potential.
That’s why I thought a deeper dive into the HS720E’s battery is warranted.
The drone is equipped with two 7.6-volt LiPo batteries, which is pretty standard stuff. Each battery promises 23 minutes of flight time, and with two total, that’s how you get the advertised 46 minutes.
What’s Holy Stone HS720E’s flight range?
Speaking of range, how far can the HS720E fly before you risk smart RTH kicking in because the drone is out of range?
Holy Stone says the drone can fly 999 meters or approximately 3,277.56 feet. That’s less than a mile, so while it may sound impressive, it’s lacking compared to other drones.
How fast is the Holy Stone HS720E?
The fastest speed this drone is capable of is 44 miles per hour. You can only achieve that speed if you use the fastest setting.
Does speed matter in a drone? That depends on what kind of drone projects you’re doing.
For example, if you’re into commercial real estate or construction, you don’t really need much speed. You’re keeping your drone in one spot and surveying an area. If anything, you want to take it slow to capture the fine details.
However, if you’re filming a sports game or chasing a news story, then yes, it does help to have speed on your side.
While the HS720E goes pretty fast, you have to remember that it’s missing a gimbal and uses EIS instead. At higher speeds, EIS isn’t that reliable, especially if you’re doing a lot of twisting, turning, and other sudden maneuvers with your drone.
Does Holy Stone HS720E have intelligent flight modes?
Although it doesn’t have smart modes to the same extent as a DJI drone, the HS720E is still packed with enough automated, intuitive features to make its usage engaging and exciting to beginners.
Let’s take a look at what kinds of smart things this fun drone can do.
Point of Interest
This mode is how the HS720E tracks a subject. Open the Ophelia GO app (which is free to download) and click the icon that has several arrows moving in a circle. In the prompt box, select Yes.
Point of Interest lets the HS720E move in a circle, flying clockwise. You can expand the flight radius beyond the 16 feet it’s initially set at by going into Settings, then Flight Radius.
Take a look at this video to see Point of Interest in action!
You can exit this mode anytime by tapping the Point of Interest button.
Tap Fly is like DJI’s Waypoints; you can draw a custom flight map, then sit back and watch as the HS7230E navigates it to perfection. This is an ultra-handy beginner mode, as you can fly the drone without manual effort.
It also has nearly endless configurations, so Tap Fly is fun to play around with.
To use it, go into the Ophelia GO app and look for the icon with a finger drawing a line. Tap that, click Yes, and you’re in!
You can use Tap Fly in one of two ways. The first is to make a path by drawing a line with your finger or a stylus, then click the Submit icon and select Yes.
The second mode requires you to press the Tap Fly icon, choose a point on your drone map, then tap the Submit icon and choose Yes.
Of course, the HS720E has the classic drone mode, follow me. As the name implies, when you activate this mode, the drone will track your movements, allowing you to take dynamic footage.
Holy Stone says this drone mode works best when the HS720E has a range of 15 to 95 feet.
To activate follow me, tap the icon with a person and a drone. Choose Yes in the prompt box.
Keep in mind that the HS720E doesn’t follow you, per se, but your phone with the Ophelia GO app. If you hold your phone and walk around, it’s like the drone is following you.
The Smart Return modes I discussed before are some of the smartest technology Holy Stone has released to date in its drones.
Although not quite as advanced as what you see in today’s DJI drones, the Smart Return modes can still save your skin in tight situations.
Does Holy Stone HS720E have obstacle avoidance?
Obstacle avoidance is a coveted feature in drones, especially if you’re shopping around for a beginner-friendly model. It’s the best way to avoid unnecessary mistakes while you’re still learning the ropes of how your new drone operates.
However, today’s drones often require you to make a sacrifice. If you want a low-cost drone, it usually comes without obstacle avoidance. Sure, there are exceptions here and there, but not enough often.
The HS720E is not one of those exceptions, meaning it lacks an obstacle avoidance system. You’re on your own when flying this drone, so you have to be responsible for keeping track of where it’s going and what surrounds it the entire time it’s in the air.
Is that nerve-wracking? You bet!
Although the HS720E isn’t the most expensive drone, you would still hate for anything to happen to it, and rightfully so. Not having obstacle avoidance exponentially increases the chances of an accident.
Holy Stone HS720E controller – An overview
Let’s talk about another major part of the drone flight experience: the controller.
The HS720E’s remote includes a diagnostics screen, so you still need to use your smartphone with the Ophelia GO app to manage your drone and activate smart features.
The controller has a sizable holster for your phone, two control sticks on either side, a power button on the bottom left, a switch on the right, and retractable legs if you want to put the controller down for a minute and keep your drone upright.
Is it the best controller? User experience varies of course. Most people have no trouble with it. Others have reported issues with the controller and phone frequently disconnecting.
Holy Stone HS720E app – Which do you need?
That would be none other than the Ophelia GO app.
This app gives you a rundown of all the deets regarding the HS720E, including:
- Flight maps
- Camera modes
- Geofencing management (no, you can’t unlock geofences)
- Flight status
- Video and image downloads
- Find my drone
- Speed tracking
- Elevation tracking
- Mileage tracking
- Footprint, which keeps a record of where you’ve gone with the HS720E
- Number of flights taken
- Overall mileage
- Overall flight time
Pretty cool, right? However, there are a few caveats.
While the Ophelia GO app is available for Android and Apple devices, it has limited compatibility with certain operating systems.
More so, if the firmware updates, you can’t revert it to a previous update, so you’re stuck with whatever issue you have until Holy Stone fixes it.
Users also report that sometimes your flight preferences don’t stick, forcing you to reset them. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t happen midway through a flight, but that’s usually when it does. When this happens, the speed drops back to the slowest level, which can be disruptive to your flight experience.
On top of that, others have also reported an issue where the latest videos and photos don’t appear. Syncing is a common complaint in the Ophelia GO app, although it’s usually fixed by restarting the app (or your phone).
Do you need to register Holy Stone HS720E?
Since the HS720E surpasses the FAA’s weight restriction for drone registration, you have no choice but to register it, whether enjoying it recreationally or flying it commercially.
Registration only costs $5, so it’s not expensive.
What is the difference between the Holy Stone HS720E and HS720?
In your quest to find the best Holy Stone drone for your needs, you’ll undoubtedly have explored the various models, which means the HS720 is on your radar.
With such similar names, these drones are kissing cousins, but not identical. Rather than make you do a head-to-head comparison yourself, I took the liberty of tackling this task for you. It was fun, so don’t worry about it!
Without further ado, here are the differentiators between the HS720 and HS720E.
- Price: The HS720’s MSRP is $100 less than the HS720E.
- Camera quality: Both cameras are advertised as 4K, but the HS720 boasts 4K HD quality. However, both cameras have the same resolution.
- Shock absorption: The HS720 has a shock absorption holder to reduce camera vibration instead of EIS, but neither drone has a gimbal.
- Adjustable lens: You can set the lens up to 90 degrees with the HS720.
- Battery life: The HS720 has longer-lasting batteries, with each touted to fly for 26 minutes, giving you 52 minutes of advertised flight time versus 46 minutes for the HS720E.
That brings us to the end of this wonderful deep dive into the Holy Stone HS720E. You’ve seen it, warts and all, so let’s talk about who this drone is right for versus who should skip it.
If you’re a new pilot eager to practice but you don’t want a drone that looks like a kid’s toy, the HS720E is a good pick. It has a cool look and enough unique features to familiarize yourself with how drone flight works while automating some tasks.
However, if your budget is around $400 for a beginner-friendly drone, I would suggest the DJI Mini 2 SE over the HS720E. It has more smart modes, automated launching and landing, a higher-quality camera, a more intuitive app, and a gimbal instead of EIS.
Commercially, I wouldn’t recommend the HS720E.
Its camera can’t compete with other entry-level drones on the market. Even though you’re spending a decent amount of money on this drone, you’ll quickly find yourself falling behind in your professional endeavors, getting passed over for pilots with better cameras.
I would suggest the DJI Mini 3 Pro or Mini 4 Pro to get you started instead. These are more expensive drones, but they have the camera capabilities and the flight modes to help you be competitive in the drone market.