What you'll learn in this review

The Hubsan Zino is definitely one of the top camera drones under $300 at the moment of writing this article.
 
There's only a few places where you can find it under $300 now, as its value seems to increase in time.
 
In this review of this drone I'll go over a lot of details, but some of the more notable ones are:
  • all the Hubsan Zino specs
  • how it compares to the competition (in visual tables)
  • Where it's cheapest to buy it from
  • Where to get the black version
  • how many changes the new update brought
  • how good is the camera and the flight
And many more…
 
This being said, let's dig into it and see why I actually consider this to be my favorite camera drone in this price range.
 
Not really that hard to tell why a 3 axis stabilized 4k GPS camera drone would fit well in that category.
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Xiaomi Fimi x8 Specs and Features (vs competition)

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Battery Life Test

The Hubsan zino can stay in the air for a maximum of 23 minutes in perfect conditions.
 
However, considering that you probably should return the drone at 15% or 20% battery, it's about 19 minutes of actual use time, especially in windy conditions.
If you cancel the auto return to home on low battery, you can get more out of it, although I wouldn't recommend it for the health of the battery.

Range (Flight Distance)

The Hubsan Zino has a maximum range of 1km if there's not much interference.
 
I've noticed this number go down to about 600m in cities for example.

How much does it weigh?(is it under 250g?)

The Zino weighs 700 grams and is obviously over the 250g limit of US registration.
 
It's to be expected, considering the hardware it has and the ability to carry the 3 axis camera and gimbal and a big enough battery.

How good is the GPS accuracy

The biggest drawback of the Hubsan Zino was that it's GPS stability was a bit shitty in the past.
 
I even experienced toilet bowl effects.
 
However, Hubsan has changed the software a lot and with the new update everything in terms of stability has been fixed.
 
Now the drone doesn't do any more toilet bowling and it flies quite steady.

Does it come back after losing signal?

Yes, The hubsan Zino does come back after losing signal.
 
It actually comes back until it regains signal and then it stops for you to take the controls again.
This is a feature I actually like, as it can save you from having to cancel the return to home yourself in case there is an obstacle in between.

Does it return on low battery?

Yes, the drone does come back on low battery, 20% to be precise, but you can deactivate this function from the app if you so want.
 
You can also change the height the drone comes back at home.

What's the maximum height it reaches?

This quadcopter can fly up to 500m in height, but you can limit this setting from the app too.
 
There's also beginner mode that will limit both height and distance, in case you want to practice without making any mistakes.

Does it come with optical flow stabilization

No, the Zino does not come with any obtical flow stabilization or obstacle avoidance sensors.
 
This is obviously made so it lowers the price as much as possible.
 
But it would have been nice to at least have on obstacle flow camera at the bottom so you can fly it inside or just fly it more stable when closer to the ground.

What are the best alternatives for the fimi x8 (table comparison)

Considering the Hubsan zino can be actually found even under $300 if you know where to look, it doesn't really have much solid competition for this footage quality.
 
Bellow I presented a table comparison between the Zino vs the Fimi A3 vs Cfly Dream and VS X12 Aurora.
 
All of these come with their advantages and disadvantages, depending what you're looking for.
 
Versus the X12 Aurora
 
The Aurora is a very recent drone released on the market, and although it comes with a 1080p camera, it also comes with a better battery life, 3 axis gimbal and even bottom stability sensors.
The image quality is not as good, but it's not that bad either.
 
Versus the Xiaomi Fimi A3
 
Xiaomi has released some killer drones lately and the FImi A3 is quite special, having a really good build quality and a unique transmitter with an FPV Screen inside of it and a lot of functions.
 
Versus CFly Dream
 
This is a bit curious, because the CFly dream is one of the few drones with this filming capacity that is actually under 250 grams to make it legal in the States, besides the Mavic Mini, probably.

Add to compare

Bellow you can find a filtering system for the main competitor drones I reviewed and you can press the “Add to compare” button if you want to do so.

Zino
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X12 Aurora
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Cfly Dream
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Fimi A3
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Hubsan Zino Camera specs(3 axis stabilization)

The camera is obviously the strong point of the Hubsan Zino, and it's quite amazing how they managed to actually get a really decent looking camera on a very well stabilized gimbal for this price.
 
These photos were taken in 4k, click on them to see the full resolution image in a light box.
 
The photos are mainly exactly what you’ll get from the video image as well. And that’s because the photos are nothing else than basically still shots taken from video.

How good is the footage and photos

I am pretty happy with the quality, I must admit. There is some blurriness on the edges, but otherwise it’s top notch from what I can tell.
The dynamic range is allright, but as you can see, in the brighter part of the image above, the snow has lost almost all it’s details.
 
The gimbal itself is stabilized in 3 axis and I simply don’t have any complaints for it, it works as it should and is one of the most stable gimbals I have seen in a while.

My Video review (and camera footage)

I know it's a bit hard to tell the camera quality just from some screenshots or photos, so that's why I made a complete video review that also has a ton of footage you can judge from.

Camera Settings

The Zino doesn't come with many camera settings besides the standard ISO value and exposure.
The maximum resolution in which you can record is 4k 30fps, but you can also go for 1080p in 60fps if you think your computer won't handle the processing power.

Parts and Accessories

Best accessories for the Fimi x8

There are more and more accessories appearing online for the Zino, as it raises in popularity.
 
You can get most of the stuff you image, but haven't yet found any ND filters, which could have turned this drone a bit more into the pro range.

Design and Unboxing

The Hubsan Zino is not a very stophisticated drone with tons of sensors and such, it focuses on:
  •  a solid build
  • powerful brushless motors for carrying the heavy battery
  • And the main focus: an aerial camera that's well stabilized
The plastic it's made of is quite standard, a bit inferior to what you can see in Xiaomi Drones or DJI, but good enough nonetheless.
It also comes with foldable props, which make it even more compact and easy to carry.
It even has a nice, well made gimbal cover (that's easy to put on).

Transmitter And Mobile App

The transmitter feels a little bit cheaper than higher end drones, the sticks felt a bit like cheaper toy drones from china, but overall the controller does its job well.
 
Usually transmitter quality is an area where I can compromise in, if all the functions are properly working.
 
The drone can be set up to fly in standard or sport mode, which will make it considerably faster, but won’t allow for smoother cinematic movements.
There’s a wheel to control the camera gimbal up and down and a few useful buttons like aut launch and return to home.

What phones work with the Hubsan Zino? Do you need a 5G 802.11ac Phone?

The Hubsan Zino doesn't require you to use an 802.11ac phone, as it connects though a small cable to the transmitter, which takes that function instead.
 
So any smartphone works with the Zino, considering you also get 3 different types of cable for Iphones and Android too.
 
You can also use the phone only, without any cables and connect it to the drone directly, but that does require you to have an 802.11ac wifi phone and the FPV distance will also be limited to 300m or so.
 
The controller itself has a 5g repeater so it can extend the range of action up to 1km, which is not bad at all.

The Zino App

The Zino app works as it should, doesn't come with the most sophisticated settings in the world, but you will get to setup most things and intermediate user needs and even more.
 
You can obviously see things like:
  • distance
  • height
  • speed
  • number of satelites connected (btw, you need to have more than 7 if you want positioning to work)
  • micro SD storage space indicator

How fast can it fly?

The Zino has 2 main flight modes: GPS and atti mode.
In GPS mode it flies slower, but in Atti mode you can unlock it's full 60km/h sport mode.
 
Otherwise, 40km/h should be enough for most people. The maximum speed

What flight modes does it come with?

Waypoint mode
A standard waypoint mode, but you can actually change the direction of the drone and camera angle while flying, which is nice.
 
Orbit Mode
A standard flight mode, no issues here, it simply does what it says. It can get clumsy sometimes in stronger winds.
Following Mode
In following mode you can either follow the GPS signal of your phone, or you can follow the subject on the screen. This mode works very well, and manages to track subjects even if you run under the drone.
 
Line Fly mode
This is my favorite, as you can setup a certain trajectory for the drone to fly at and then play with it, to get a more complex sideways shot for example.

Hubsan Zino Price, Manual and Instructions

How to fly it

The process is a bit more complex the first time you do it, but easier from then on.
  1. Start the drone and transmitter
  2. Connect to the app and  the phone to the transmitter
  3. Bind aircraft to the device by the first prompt you get in your app screen
  4. Do a GPS accuracy test as prompted
  5. Calibrate the Compass from the menu settings (at least the first time)
  6. Start the Motors

Who should buy it (is it worth the price)?

This drone is MUCH MORE than worth its price, it almost competes with DJI drones when it comes to image quality, and that's on a whole different price level.
 
I think this quadcopter can fit in a wide range of uses and some people that could benefit from having it are:
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Where to buy it from?

here's a few places you can safely buy this drone from, I bought mine from Banggood, but there's other reliable chinese sites out there and also Amazon if you want it cheaper.
 
Keep in mind that wherever you buy it from, it's still going to be built in china anyway, so It's a matter of price and shipping.
 
And the chinese websites usually have free shipping.

Xiaomi fimi black version - Where to get it? (Hubsan Zino VS Zino Pro)

There's also a newer released black version for the Hubsan Zino that looks cooler in my opinion and it also comes with an included case.
 

Although some people call it the Pro version, it's no real big difference between the standard Zino and Zino pro, besides the color.

 
Another advantage is that the black version comes with all the new software updates, and trust me it can be a bit of a hassle to make the new sotfware updates to the older drone.
 
But by now probably even the white version has the latest updates preinstalled.

Is there an official manual to download online?

If you want to download the official Hubsan zino manual click over here

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