With the popularity of the DJI Phantom 3 among cinema and drone enthusiastic alike a demand has been put on the market. Are there any alternatives to the expensive Phantom models that offer an equal or greater quality without such a hefty price tag? Enter the Autel X Star Premium drone and you have your answer. With a similar look and a wide range of capabilities, is this the Phantom alternative that we’ve been looking for? Let’s take a look in our Autel Robotics X Star Premium Review and we’ll settle the question. You might be pleasantly surprised!
Are there many competitors with Phantom 3 features?
While there are a number of foldable drones of similar design with their own high resolution cameras the sad fact is that not many of them measure up. They tend to come with significantly lower battery life or lesser cameras, with the exception of their most popular competitor, the Yuneec Q500 4k. That was before Autel Robotics launched their X Star drone, however, and we have to say that Yuneec Q500 design team had better get busy on their next model. There is a new sheriff in town.
So, they have the same camera? The camera is the most important part!
Many, many DJI customers have flocked to the Phantom 3 for its 4k camera alone. Mounted to a drone, it is capable of capturing high-end video from angles that amateur directors could formerly only dream of. In this capacity, the Autel Robotics X Star will not disappoint you. Autel has fitted this drone with it’s own 3 axis gimbal and it is capable of producing the following:
- 720p videos at 240 frames per second for amazing slow motion footage
- 1080p videos at 120 frames per second
- 7k videos at 60 frames per second
- Stunning 4K videos with 30 frames per second
That’s not all, however, as you can also take 12 megapixel stills that are a delight to behold and the camera itself takes shots at a 108 degree POV. The camera itself is also removable, as well as the gimbal, so you can replace it if you need to without damaging your drone and even better, if better cameras are provided then you can upgrade your equipment. In this day in age when tech advances in leaps and bounds, it is nice to know that your investment won’t be obsolete anytime soon.
The X Star Premium flight experience
At this point you are probably thinking, ‘okay, so they’ve got the camera, how does it fly?’. We are happy to announce that the answer is ‘quite gracefully’. This unit includes popular modes such as:
- Waypoint – The Autel Robotics X Star has the popular ‘waypoint’ function which allows you to set a course for it to follow and if you like, you can increase or decrease the speed as it follows the path which you have set for it.
- Point of interest – Another feature that is lots of fun, ‘point of interest’ allows you to set an ‘orbit point’ where your drone will circle. Through this you can do more than confuse your poor kitty, of course, by selecting an area which you like and filming in order to do a little creative video with shots that you simply couldn’t obtain by hand.
- Follow me – Your drone can follow you when you are walking or even when you are driving your car (which looks very cool and gets attention, trust us!).
As far as it’s navigation, one of the cool things about this drone is that it comes with a standard GPS system as well as GLONASS, exactly like you get with the Phantom 3 and 4 models. This means that if there are any GPS issues you’ve still got satellite tracking and navigation to call upon. It’s a nice feature. Where it really shines in flight, however, is the controller functions due to the extra goodness. For instance, an LCD is on the controller itself which reflects flight data that would normally be crowding up your live stream flight app screen. Should disconnection with the app or even the tablet occur, the
“A port that acts as a ‘guest pilot’ connection point.”
controller itself receives a backup of the data as well. One of our favorite features, however, is a port that acts as a ‘guest pilot’ connection point. This allows a more seasoned drone pilot to navigate as needed and if you are teaching your kids or a friend how to fly this drone then this is a nice touch and can be a bonding experience.
How is the battery life?
The battery life falls a little short of the Phantom 3 at 20-25 minutes per battery but that is hardly a gaping void of time. Utilizing a 4900 mAh smart battery this unit comes with a charger which will charge the controller and the drone battery at the same time and to avoid the dreaded ‘hot charger’ issue that plagues many RC enthusiasts Autel has thoughtfully installed a cooling fan into their charger. Charge time is minimal, with a full battery charge being achieved at 50 minutes to an hour and the batter y has a self-discharging cycle that helps to ensure you get a longer battery life due to automatic maintenance.
What else comes with the X Star Premium ?
Aside from your drone, controller, and charger, there are a few more goodies that come with the package. Since you have selected the premium over the standard you will get:
- Spare propellers (color coded for easy install)
- Expanded controller range (1.2 miles)
- A sharp hard-shell carrying case that can hold your drone, 5 batteries, and accessories
If you are looking for Phantom 3 quality at a reasonable price then we cannot recommend this drone enough. As we’ve shown in our review, you can get those fancy features and film to your heart’s delight and the little extras are a nice touch. Give the Autel X Star a try, you’ll be happy that you did!