Holy Stone HS360S drone review

The Holy Stone HS360S is a sub-250 g drone with interesting features but no image stabilization.

Holy Stone HS360S drone flying against a blue sky with white clouds
(Image: © James Abbott)

Space Verdict

The Holy Stone HS360S is one of the least expensive sub-250 g drones available. It has some interesting and useful features, but it's far from perfect and has a few camera quirks.


  • +

    Complete lightweight kit

  • +

    Well-built for the price

  • +

    Useful features


  • -

    Point-and-shoot camera

  • -

    No image stabilization

  • -

    Short flight times

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If you're looking for your first drone, the options are constantly increasing, with the popular sub-250g category growing at pace. At just over a year old, the Holy Stone HS360S is a beginner model that offers some useful and, indeed, interesting features for a model in its price bracket. The HS360S /SPYDI costs around $240 with two batteries in the US, and £230 with one battery in the UK, so it's a fairly inexpensive sub-250 g model.

Key Specs

Weight: 8.78 oz / 249 g

Dimensions: Folded 5.55 x 3.70 x 2.20-inches / 141 x 94 x 56 mm / Unfolded 11.69  x 8.46 x 2.20-inches / 297 x 215 x 56 mm 

Battery: 1500mAh Li-ion / up to 20 minutes

Charger type: USB-C cable

Modes: Camera, Normal, Sport

Video transmission range:  9842 ft / 3000 m

Video resolution: 4K (3840x2160), 2.7K (2560x1440)

Frame rates: 4K 20 fps / 2.7K 30 fps 

The great thing about sub-250 g drones is that they don't require FAA registration or Remote ID in the US, while UK pilots can enjoy fewer restrictions than larger drones. UK pilots will, however, have to register with the CAA for Flyer and Operator IDs. 

The HS360S looks similar to most sub-250 g drones and sports a folding design that makes it smaller for storage and transportation. Build quality is great for the price, but as you'd expect, it's not quite to the same standard as the best drones available which are typically much more expensive. That said, it's possibly one of the best beginner drones at the basic end of the scale.

With reasonable flight performance and an easy-to-use camera, the HS360S could be an ideal inexpensive first drone. Video capture isn't great, with 4K coming in at 20 fps, and 2.7K at 30 fps. 4K 30 fps would be preferable for smoother footage, but the camera is extremely basic and only offers point-and-shoot control. 

This is great for photography and video beginners, but not so for more advanced users. Photos are captured in JPEG format at 3840x2160px, which equates to an 8.3MP image; we'll explore camera performance further later.

Holy Stone HS360S review

Holy Stone HS360S review: Design

  • Folding design
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Well-designed controller

Being a sub-250 g drone, the HS360S is a small and lightweight foldable model. It measures just 5.55 x 3.70 x 2.20 inches / 141 x 94 x 56 mm when folded, 11.69 x 8.46 x 2.20 inches / 297 x 215 x 56 mm unfolded, and weighs 8.78 oz / 249 g. The build quality is fantastic given the price, and the dark gray airframe sets it apart from the competition, which is most commonly a light gray.

The HS360S batteries are 1500mAh Lithium-ion with an advertised flight time of up to 20 minutes. This is short for this category of drone, and during testing, flight times were typically hovering around the 15-minute mark in early spring temperatures before the automatic return to home was initiated. This means that you'll need at least two batteries, but three would be even better when out for the day.

The controller is well-designed and looks like the DJI RC-N1 controller. The HS360S controller is dark gray like the drone and features a telescopic phone holder at the top that can accommodate a large smartphone such as the Samsung S24 Ultra. The kit comes with three phone cables, and the one installed can be stowed away within this section when not in use.

The control sticks are removable, protecting the gimbals from damage during transportation. They can be stored in rubberized sections at the bottom of the controller. There's also a small daylight-readable screen showing basic flight information with buttons around it for changing settings, as well as dials for the gimbal pitch (angle) and the digital zoom.

Holy Stone HS360S review: Functionality

Holy Stone HS360S drone unfolded on concrete

We think this is a great drone for learning drone flight controls at a low cost. (Image credit: James Abbott)
  • GPS and Optical Flow
  • Useful flight features
  • Reasonable flight performance

The HS360S flies well considering its low cost, and the controls aren't as sensitive as those of other beginner models in the same price bracket. This means that you can perform more complex maneuvers smoothly, which makes learning how flight controls work alongside improving your flight techniques more effective. It's certainly not the smoothest drone in this department, but for the price, flight performance is good.

In terms of features, the HS360S offers some useful options above and beyond the standard GPS positioning, Optical Flow positioning for indoor flight and Return to Home — which is automatically initiated when the battery is low, connection is lost or when the pilot presses the RTH button on the controller. There is, however, no collision avoidance, so you have to take care when flying close to obstacles such as trees, but this is no surprise and you have to take a large price leap with drones to enjoy this feature.

The HS360S offers useful features, including Follow Me subject tracking, Image Follow, where the subject can be selected in the HS Fly app, as well as Spiral Up, One-key Ascension, and Catapult automated flight patterns. Plus, there are Timelapse and Panorama functions. Subject tracking is surprisingly good, with Follow Me being the most effective of the two  — it keeps the subject central in the frame – you the pilot, holding the controller and tracking your smartphone's GPS signal.

Image Follow doesn't maintain a centrally composed subject, but the fact that you can draw a box around the desired subject in the HS Fly app and the drone will, for the most part, maintain tracking is impressive for an expensive beginner model. The timelapse feature works well, but it is basic and the drone will simply hover unless you slowly fly forward to create a hyperlapse. The main downside here is the lack of image stabilization which would give a smoother and more stable result.

Other features include a WiFi repeater to improve transmission, Camera, Normal, and Sport flight modes offering different flight speeds, camera filter effects, Gesture Control, and VR capture. Overall, there are plenty of features on offer, making the HS360S a great option for learning drone flight controls at a low cost if you don’t require a high-performance camera.

Holy Stone HS360S review: Performance

  • Point-and-shoot camera
  • No image stabilization
  • Heavy image processing

The drone's camera is extremely basic. Although it uses a 1/3-inch CMOS sensor and the lens offers an 85-degree field of view, which is good for a drone of this size and weight, the image quality isn't great. 

The main issue here is the extremely heavy processing of both photos and videos, which results in an almost painterly look where fine detail is completely diminished. White fringing/halos around high-contrast edges are also present, and moderate barrel distortion occurs when the camera is pitched downwards.

The camera can capture 4K video at 20 fps, 2.7K at 30 fps, and photos in JPEG format in 4K dimensions (3840 x 2160px). This equates to a sensor resolution of 8.3MP. The camera is automatic, which isn't a bad thing for photography beginners, as many drone pilots are new to photography. However, the camera limitations do mean that the HS360S isn't suited to more advanced drone pilots and photographers.

Furthermore, there is no image stabilization, so video footage can be shaky, and, depending on the strength of the wind, photos and videos can exhibit an unlevel horizon. 

Video is captured in an FPV style, but you have to work out the pitch of the drone as it flies forward or backward and adjust the pitch of the camera accordingly to ensure you're capturing the desired composition or viewpoint. Focusing on the positives, the gimbal can be tilted down 90 degrees so you shoot looking straight down. Plus, exposure is fairly reliable despite the camera being fully automatic.

Holy Stone HS360S review: Cost

Holy Stone HS360S drone kit in its case

The US version comes with two batteries, and the UK version, disappointingly, only comes with one. (Image credit: James Abbott)

The HS360S costs around $240 with two batteries in the US, and £230 with one battery in the UK. It is one of the less expensive sub-250g beginner drones available. The HS360S comes in a small kit that offers everything you need. But with an advertised flight time of 20 minutes and a more realistic 15-minute flight time, you will need a second battery.

This is no problem in the US, where the kit on Amazon comes with two batteries, but UK pilots will benefit from purchasing a second battery for £50. This does drive the price of the kit up, so it's a shame that two batteries aren't included in the UK kit. However, it's well worth the investment if you've decided on the HS360S.

The kit includes the Holy Stone HS360S, one or two batteries (depending on region), a transmitter, a USB charging cable, a Lightning connection cable, a USB-C connection cable, a micro USB connection cable, a screwdriver, a camera cover, instructions and two spare propellers.

Should you buy the Holy Stone HS360S?

The Holy Stone HS360S flies well and has a range of useful flight features that work reasonably well, making it one of the least expensive sub-250 g models available. The drone is undeniably lacking in the camera department, but it's an option worth considering if you're looking for a basic beginner drone to develop your flight skills and build confidence before investing in one of the best drones.

If you're looking for a camera drone that can capture great photos and videos, it's not the drone for you. But like most things in life, you have to weigh up exactly what it is you need in your first drone; whether or not this model is for you ultimately depends on what you're looking to achieve, and there will be some beginners for whom the HS360S is the perfect option.

If the Holy Stone HS360S isn't for you

If you have a slightly larger budget the Potensic Atom SE is the best inexpensive sub-250g beginner drone available, but it only offers a 2-axis gimbal with Electronic Image Stabilization smoothing out the 4K video the drone can capture.

If you'd prefer something with full mechanical Image Stabilization, the Potensic Atom offers a 3-axis gimbal with much greater camera control than the Atom SE. This provides increased longevity for beginners in an affordable package. It's not expensive, but it naturally costs more than the SE.

The best sub-250g beginner model available is undoubtedly the DJI Mini 3, but for this, you're going to need a much larger budget than the aforementioned Potensic models. The advantage of the Mini 3, however, is that flight performance and image quality are excellent, and it's a drone that could easily provide years of faithful service.

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James Abbott

James is an award-winning freelance landscape and portrait photographer, as well as a highly experienced photography journalist working with some of the best photography magazines and websites with a worldwide audience. He’s also the author of The Digital Darkroom: The Definitive Guide to Photo Editing. www.jamesaphoto.co.uk