H1: The Best Beginner Drones: Potensic Atom SE Review
Are you looking to break into the world of drone photography and video? With the latest models offering more advanced features and functionality, it can be difficult to know which drone to choose. But don’t worry, the Potensic Atom SE is an incredibly small and lightweight model that offers a range of basic features at an affordable price. In this blog post, we review the Atom SE and explore what it has to offer. Read on to find out more!
The Potensic Atom SE features a folding design where the front and rear propeller arms fold out for flight, making it extremely small for transportation. Folded, the drone is just 88x143x58mm with unfolded dimensions of 210x152x58 excluding propellers. The weight comes in at 8.64oz / 245g including a battery and a microSD card. The controller is comfortable to use and features a unique design that helps to keep it fairly small when not in use. The antennas fold out from the central area between two handgrips and it’s here where the smartphone is held to access settings and control the camera.
Three flight modes are availableGPS positioningBasic automated flight patternsBeing an inexpensive beginner model, the Atom SE’s features are limited compared to more expensive models, but that’s no surprise. GPS positioning to hold the drone in position when hovering is provided by both GPS and Glonass satellites. Plus, this provides a map location for the drone in the PotensicPro app during flight making it easier to return to home manually or by using the drone’s Return to Home feature.Flight modes include Video, Normal and Sport which provide different speeds for flying and shooting video in different situations. And with a top speed of 35mph in Sport mode that can be reached in 2.8 seconds according to Potensic, it’s certainly a fast drone that belies its small size. The flight controls, however, are a little too sensitive which makes the Atom SE quite frisky, despite flying well overall. This can make composing photos tricky so hopefully, this sensitivity can be reduced in a future firmware update.
The camera on the Atom SE uses a 1/3in 12MP Sony CMOS sensor while the lens provides a 118° field of view. The camera is dampened, but with no 3-axis mechanical gimbal, image stabilization is electronic and provided in-camera to avoid shake in videos. This means that the camera is locked in position so video is captured FPV-style where drone movements are captured rather than being stabilized by a gimbal. Image quality is good in terms of sharpness in the center of the frame, but there is a fall-off in sharpness towards the edges which is typical of most consumer drones to some degree. ISO noise is also visible at even low settings within the ISO 100-6400 range, and there’s a noticeable vignette in photos. Videos don’t suffer from vignetting which is likely due to less of the sensor and lens being used than when shooting photos. Video can be shot in 4K at 30fps, 2.7K at 30fps and 1080p at up to 60fps with a maximum bitrate of 40Mbps, which is a high level of compression. Photos can be captured in both JPEG and Raw.