Most people tend to underestimate the importance of drones as well as the industry as a whole. Some people even dismiss them as hobby more than anything else. However, the Walkera Tali H500 actually manages to change a lot of these impressions. This happens due to 2 major features that it brings to the table.
First and foremost, the H500 isn’t an ordinary quadrocopter, nor does it rely on various gimmicks to make itself noticed on the market. It is in fact a hexacopter, meaning it sports a total of 6 propellers (3 front rotors and 3 back rotors).
It is not a unique design, as there are a lot of hexacopter drones on the market, but due to its light frame and chassis, the Walkera Tali H500 takes full advantage of its 6 propellers. Thus means that it manages to move a lot more air than it needs in order to stay leveled and this can only mean a few things:
- heavier lift capacity,
- a longer flight time
- a lot of power and stability which allows the user to take amazing shots even during difficult weather conditions
It does not stop here though. The first big thing that this drone brings to the table is the fact that it has the biggest amount of “smart” technology on the drone market.
That being said, it has a lot of failsafe measures in case it runs out of range, as well as a “fly home” function that enables it to return to the original starting point. This option can come in very handy, especially on night flights or in low visibility when landing the drone can be quite difficult and, at the same time, hazardous for the drone.
The second thing that the H500 brings to the table is a nimble yet strong brushless gimbal system for the camera mounting bracket. This allows it to not only compensate for vibration, turbulence and sudden shifts in momentum, but it also allows the joint to reach difficult angles and maintain its position as well as transition from angled to upright as smooth as possible.
- Includes DevoF12E FPV Transmitter
- Pro Level 3 Axis Gimbal w/iLook+ HD Camera
- GPS Position Hold
- Intelligent Orientation Control System
- One Key Go Home/One Key Return to Launch
One of the key elements here is that the gimbal system itself is not based on luck or momentum changes in order to manipulate the position of the camera in flight. The gimbal can actually be adjusted and calibrated while on the ground in order to ensure that the joint behaves as it should.
One last thing to mention here is the fact that the H500 works with a very wide range of cameras, including Go Pro cameras and the iLook cameras. It even manages to stream the footage via WiFi connection to the transmitter so that the pilot can see the flight from the drone’s perspective, without having to attach a smart phone to it or any additional bits of kit.
One of the more interesting things about this drone is the package itself. Unlike the vast majority of drones on the market, this drone comes in not one box, but 3 boxes at the same time. The boxes organized as Russian dolls, along with the thick foam casing and padding, ensure as much protection as possible during shipping and transportation.
Inside the actual box you will find:
- 1 Drone
- 1 Camera
- 2 sets of front propellers
- 2 sets of rear propellers
- 1 charger
- 1 set of instructions containing the manual, a setup guide, a software disk and various other documentation for the drone
- 1 bag of miscellaneous spare wires and cables
- 1 set of specific tools for the drone
It is important to note that the battery itself is present in the kit and it comes readily installed on the drone. It can be removed for replacing and charging purposes.
Design and durability
The design of the H500 is an interesting one. Even though the design itself is a rather classic one, there are a lot of details and minor design choices that make it stand out.
For starters, the body is not a bulky one, but rather streamlined and aerodynamically inclined. The arms are rounded out and tapered towards the ends in order to reduce drag as much as possible, at the same time integrating the directional lights into the actual arms. This decision was a rather clever one because the drone saves weight this way and it reduces any and all drag that was caused by having lights on the exterior of the body.
The positioning of the arms themselves might seem a bit off – that is because they are. The propellers are still properly placed around the drone but the arms themselves, especially the front ones, are pushed slightly towards the front. This is to shift more weight towards the front and actually enable the drone to fly forward at a higher speed as well as make slightly sharper turns by focusing its power at the front and balancing and leveling itself out with the rear.
As far as durability goes, the H500 is not the highest ranking drone on the market; however it is still able to handle quite a bit of punishment and harsh conditions.
Its body is strong enough to handle mediocre crash landings however it still relies on the pilot’s skill in order to avoid serious damage. The motors are designed in such a way that allows for proper ventilation and the 2 metallic legs that the drone comes with offer it a lot more safety and protection when landing.
The H500 is able to support a rather wide array of cameras, including the popular Go Pro and the latest generation of iLook cameras on the market.
Not only that, but it is able to make full use of their features by putting the actual camera controls in the pilot’s hands, as well as stream the actual footage in real-time to its radio controller via WiFi connection.
One thing that needs to be noted here is the fact that the actual mounting bracket of the camera is connected to the drone via a brushless gimbal joint. The brushless gimbal joint has a wide swing angle which is not only created to withstand hefty amounts of turbulence, but also be adjustable in order to allow for smooth and uninterrupted camera motion while in flight.
The camera that you get with the standard kit for this drone is a latest generation iLook camera, which is a very reliable and sturdy camera to have. It is able to shoot high definition footage and outstanding resolutions, the only limitation being the actual memory card that it comes with.
The size of the memory card is rather limited considering the performances of the camera, which is why it is advisable to purchase an additional 32GB memory card along with the drone kit, in order to make sure that you can get the most out of the camera and shoot insanely high quality footage without having to worry about memory space.
Even though the drone has not been on the market for long, there are already certain modifications that are available for it, one of them even involving a make-shift memory bay which can be installed inside the drone and connected to the camera via its side ports.
The catch with these modifications is the fact that they void the warranty, and seeing as this drone sits comfortably within the $1000 price bracket, this might not be something that you would want to be doing.
Battery and flight time
One of the main strengths of this drone is the fact that, due to its design and the amount of engineering that went into it, it is able to achieve a flight time of approximately 25 minutes on a full load.
One of the main reasons for this high flight time is the 22.2 V 5400mAh LiPo battery that the drone comes with.
Compared to the vast majority of drones on the market, this battery is insanely powerful, especially when we take into account the fact that the H500 is a rather light drone, as well as the amount of systems and avionic features that it sports.
While it is rather easy to drain the battery itself, the battery is interchangeable. One of the failsafe systems installed on the drone is the P.S.R. (point of safe return). This means that the drone actually monitors its battery level and, if the power left in its battery is just enough to make it back to the takeoff location, then the failsafe can be triggered and the drone automatically returns home. This, like most of the drone’s failsafe systems can be turned off, however it is not advisable.
When we did this review there were no known or tested modifications that would allow you to increase power storage and flight time.
The H500 comes with the Devo F12E FPV transmitter, one of the latest transmitters and radio controllers on the current market.
Just as the name implies, the controller allows the pilot to view everything in a first person view which is pretty neat. This happens without having to set up smartphones, secondary accessories or makeshift modifications.
The controller is rather easy to use, having all the usual drone flight controls in their respective positions. It also sports an impressive number of extra controls for the different systems behind this drone.
The biggest inconvenience that has come up when discussing this controller is the fact that it is quite big to begin with and the controls are spread a bit too far apart from each other. While flying the drone, you will find yourself regularly taking your thumbs off of the main flight controls in order to reach other buttons, especially the ones on the bottom of the controller.
So, the drone may be a bit difficult to fly but not impossible. Once you get used to the controller it will come natural to you.
If there was a word to sum up the experience that you would have while flying this drone without holding back, that word would be power. The drone is insanely powerful, especially after you get past the initial shyness and really start pushing it.
It can reach impressive speeds and can venture as far away from the controller as the terrain and flight conditions allow it. Still, there is a catch. Because of the 6 powerful propellers that are moving a great deal of air around the drone, combined with the power that the motors can put out, the drone can be a bit overwhelming, especially if your thumbs happen to slip on the controls.
The drone is very responsive and can execute a number of aerial stunts and tricks. It is recommended that you actually push the drone more and more to its limits from this point of view in order to really understand how powerful it actually is.
It is definitely a drone for more experienced and tried pilots, simple because of the fact that it still requires a fair bit of skill to fly it correctly and prevent flight issues like spin-outs, momentum rushes, and worst of all, stalling.
Value for money and guarantee
As stated earlier, this drone is not cheap; in fact it is in the $1000 bracket. The price depends on the kit you chose as well as the extras you may or may not opt to add to your order.
With that in mind, you are not buying just any drone. You are buying a professional drone, designed to improve film projects and various other video and photo projects that you might think of.
It is not a toy; it is actually an investment that does a rather good job of paying for itself in the long run, provided you use it for professional purposes.
Considering the fact that it has one of the biggest flight times on the drone market, as well as the incredible video capabilities that it sports and the failsafe systems that it comes with, the H500 does bring a lot of value for the price tag that it sports.
In regards to any and all guarantees, Walkera is offering a rather impressive warranty with the drone. They also offer some really great servicing if the drone is to sustain damage while it is being used.
With that in mind, there are some conditions that must be met for the warranty to stay valid. Modifications of any shape or form, performed by people other than the service, engineering, and design teams to this drone will void the warranty, so you might not want to mess with the drone and modify it.
One of the first things that pop to mind when discussing the unique features of the H500 is the very way in which the drone was designed and manufactured. First of all, everything is integrated into the drone itself.
The battery, the lights, the navigation systems, these things are not just components that sit on the frame and connect to the circuit boards via cables. They are connected to the board, making the drone’s body as tight and as compact as possible. This actually saves a lot of weight and helps balance the drone properly, without having to mess with the configuration and build of the drone.
Another thing that comes to mind is the gimballing joint that connects the camera to the drone. It is by far one of the most reliable, advanced and well-designed gimballing systems ever made for these drones. It is able to reach angles and compensate for things that other systems can only dream of doing.
Another thing to note here is the fact that the gimbal is actually adjustable during flight. This saves battery power and flight time.
Similar models or main competitors
The DJI T600 is a quadrocopter, unlike the H500, however it manages to hold its own when compared to the H500. The T600 is a nimble and at the same time lightweight drone that, when compared to other quadrocopters, manages to rise above the competition.
One of the key features that make this drone stand out is the camera. Just like the H500, the T600 packs a very performance oriented camera, which shoots video at 4K resolution. However the real-time feed is of only 720p resolution, meaning that far less battery power is consumed during streaming.
Just like the H500, this drone presents us with a gimbaling joint as well, all be it slightly inferior from both a design and performance point of view.
One of the biggest drawbacks with this drone is the fact that it is a bit tricky to fly and especially land because of the odd shape and landing. You would have to lower the propeller arms and using them as landing gear while the body is suspended in the air.
The second drawback is the controller. This one is small, compact, with rather few actual flight controls to begin with. It is a welcome break from the bigger and more complicated controllers (like the one used by the H500), but on the long run it doesn’t really feel like a drone controller.
It doesn’t allow for angle adjustment or for various navigation systems in flight despite the drone having the possibility to be equipped with them.
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The X600C is a hexacopter, just like the H500, however that is the actual point where similarities end.
First and foremost, the X600C follows a more traditional drone design and build, unlike the H500. The battery is easily replaceable or interchangeable without any serious consequences to the drone.
The drone offers a pretty good experience to fly, since its lightweight enough to be flown and maneuvered by even the most inexperienced of pilots. At the same time, the device manages to pack in a lot of tech improvements, like the 3D split screen functionality which makes the live feed compatible with VR headsets.
One of the main disadvantages here is the fact that, if you chose to fly it using a VR headset, you will be locked in a first person view experience for the entire duration of the flight.
While watching the feed on a screen gives you the option to look up and adjust certain things or dodging different obstacles, the VR headset makes it impossible to look at the drone from a third person view without taking your thumbs and fingers off of the flight controls.
This means that avoiding obstacles that are either beneath or above you rather difficult and unnecessarily complicated.
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Yuneec Typhoon H
The Typhoon H is one of the more pretentious hexacopters on the market, and for a good reason. It is in the same price range as the H500, above the $1000 mark, however it certainly manages to deliver when it comes down to the value for money.
One of the main strengths of this drone is the fact that the body is balanced to a very high degree. This means that experienced pilots can actually take risks and perform some amazing tricks and maneuvers without having to worry about aeronautical mishaps.
The camera that it sports is on par with the camera that the H500 comes with by default. However, unlike the H500, the Typhoon H doesn’t allow you to change that camera with another camera off the market without some modifications made to it first.
Another great thing about this drone, unlike the H500, is the fact that it is sporting probably the best drone controller in the world. The controller is a larger and bulkier game console with a screen in the middle and controls placed on the side.
The great thing about it is the fact that the controls can be accessed easily.
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There are a few pros and cons to owning this particular drone.
- Great camera with the possibility of swapping it out for a different camera without modifications
- A lot of failsafe systems including the P.S.R. system
- A 25 minute flight time on average
- Not a friendly experience for new or inexperienced pilots
- Can be overwhelming without practice
In conclusion, the Tali H500 drone is a drone fit and suitable for more experienced drone pilots. The drone can be very valuable for both their projects and their leisure activities.
So, if you are an experienced drone pilot, and you are in the market for a competent, reliable and fun drone that can offer you around 25 minutes of continuous usage and footage before having to recharge the battery, then you might want to at least try the H500 out for a bit.