DJI Mavic Mini review The Drone Girl

DJI Mini 4K vs. HoverAir x1: which under $500 drone is better?

If you’re searching for a beginner drone under $500, both the DJI Mini 4K and HoverAir X1 offer appealing options. 

These drones share a similar price point and ease of use, but their features set them apart. Both drones weigh under 250 grams, boast a relatively low price point, and are easy-to-fly options. However, the similarities end there; while the HoverAir X1 is more compact, the DJI Mini 4K outshines it in almost every other aspect.

Let’s dive into a comparison to help you choose the ideal beginner drone for your needs.

DJI Mini 4K vs. HoverAir X1: a comparison of price and specs

The HoverAir X1, crafted by the Chinese drone manufacturer ZeroZero Robotics, retails at $439. How does it fare against its DJI counterpart, the DJI Mini 4K?

The DJI Mini 4K boasts a lower price tag, currently available on Amazon $299, making it 32% cheaper. Additionally, it offers more impressive flight time and camera specifications.

SpecsHoverAir X1DJI Mini 4K
Takeoff Weight128g249g
Dimensions (folded)127x86x31 mm200x160x55 mm
Max Flight Time11 minutes31 minutes
Max Wind Speed7.9 m/s (Level 4)10.7 m/s (Level 5)
Max Real Time View Transmission Distance30m10,000m
Image SensorEffective Pixels: 12 MP, 1/2.3-inch CMOSEffective Pixels: 12 MP

HoverAir X1: lightweight and portable

Hover Air X1 drone

The HoverAir X1 shines in terms of weight, size, and its ability to record sound. Its lighter takeoff weight and compact dimensions make it an excellent on-the-go drone. In fact, it’s about half the size of the DJI Mini 4K in terms of both folded dimensions and takeoff weight.

I’ve personally found it convenient to carry around, easily fitting into pockets or bags. The propeller cage and the absence of a camera gimbal contribute to its stress-free portability. 

Additionally, flying directly through a phone app eliminates the need for extra equipment. Or it even has the option to fly at set fly patterns straight from the drone.

And sure, flying directly through a phone app (or the drone itself) has its own cons (more on that later), but not needing a separate controller is certainly a pro for drone pilots who like to pack light.

Unlike most drones on the market, the HoverAir x1 has the ability to record sound. While the sound quality is commendable, the synchronization between video and audio can be inconsistent.

DJI Mini 4K: superior camera and flight performance

The DJI Mini 4K surpasses the HoverAir X1 in camera quality, flight time, and overall performance.

Its ability to capture 4K video with a 3-axis motorized gimbal ensures stable footage even in turbulent conditions. With nearly triple the flight time and an unparalleled flight distance, it offers extended aerial exploration opportunities. 

Moreover, it comes at a lower price point than the HoverAir X1. The difference is fairly comparable too, with the $299 Mini 4K costing about 30% less than the HoverAir X1.

Which is better: DJI Mini 4K or HoverAir X1?

DJI Mini 4K

Given its superior specifications and affordability, the DJI Mini 4K is as the clear choice for beginners seeking an inexpensive yet feature-rich drone.

However, the HoverAir X1 still has some good things going for it.

For starters, setting up the HoverAir X1 compared to the DJI Mini 4K feels less intimidating. The HoverAir X1 setup is done entirely through the phone app, making it fairly intuitive for anyone who has connected their phone to a Bluetooth speaker.

The DJI Mini 4K has a slightly steeper learning curve. If you’re familiar with DJI drones, setup will be quick and easy. However, if you are new to the drone world, you’ll need to spend time learning some DJI and drone-specific technology and terminology. 

Flying through a phone app, as with the HoverAir X1, certainly has its downsides. The HoverAir X1 mostly operates on flight modes (bird’s eye view, hover, zoom out, etc.). Whether flying on a set flight path or through free flight on the phone app, you will have significantly less control and precision compared to the DJI Mini 4K.

Both the Mini 4K and the HoverAir X1 lack obstacle-avoidance sensors, so pilots need to be extra aware of their surroundings to avoid collisions. If you are looking for a drone with more safety features, consider the DJI Mini 4 Pro.

For those focused on still photography, there is not much noticeable quality difference between the two. However, the DJI Mini 4K offers far superior video quality, which is a major draw for drone enthusiasts who want to capture amazing video footage.

While the HoverAir X1 may appeal to those prioritizing portability and sound recording, the DJI Mini 4K’s overall performance sets it apart. Then again, if you’re looking for a flying camera more so than a drone, the HoverAir X1 might be the right choice for you.

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