The Potensic Atom SE is an ultra-light, foldable, pocket-sized drone, modeled within the type of a DJI Mini 2 or Mini 3. Nonetheless, at a fraction of the price of the big-name rival, it’s a really fascinating entry-level drone .
The Potensic Atom SE is a superb entry-level drone with clever flight options and ease of use that make this an interesting drone for rookies.
The comparatively low value level makes it accessible, with the trade-off of restricted digicam stabilization and management, and no impediment avoidance.
- Top quality for the value
- Sub-250g drone
- Simple to make use of for rookies
- Clever flight modes for ease of use
- Overly delicate controls
- Restricted digicam controls and efficiency
- Hover stability is unreliable, particularly in windy situations
- No collision avoidance sensors
Atom SE design and performance
The Atom SE has folded dimensions of simply 3.5 x 5.6 x 2.3 inches / 88 x 143 x 58mm (w x l x h), sufficiently small to simply slide right into a jacket pocket.
The unfolded dimensions are 8.3 x 6 x 2.3 inches / 210 x 152 x 58mm, excluding propellers.
The load of 8.8oz / 0.55lbs / 245g, together with every thing it’s worthwhile to have on board to fly (propellers, a battery and a microSD card) means this drone is underneath the burden required for hobbyist registration.
Batteries weigh 3.6oz / 0.22lbs / 103g and supply as much as 31 minutes of flight in perfect situations. I bought a snug 25 minutes of flight out of the drone earlier than it initiated a return to house with 13% of battery energy remaining.
The drone is surprisingly well-built for its value, providing nice worth for cash. Not solely that, the flight options are simple to make use of and the drone itself could be very simple to fly, even for zero-experience rookies.
It feels properly made and sturdy to the contact, and even after touching down in some tall grass, the propellers appeared unphased.
No crashes to this point, however it appears this drone might stand as much as a bit of damage and tear.
The digicam is what you may name primary. Whereas it’s able to taking respectable photographs (in each JPEG and RAW), the gimbal controls are restricted and the stabilization isn’t stellar.
For these causes, you’re going to be restricted when it comes to high-quality video.
The controller is a novel design that extends to carry a sensible system in between the 2 joysticks. A notch makes house for the wire plug to connect with the system.
My solely criticism with this structure is that I needed to let go of the controller with one hand to succeed in to the touch controls on the display screen – it was too distant to stretch a thumb over whereas nonetheless holding on.
The equipment comes with quite a lot of cords designed to connect with any good system on the market, whether or not Apple or Android.
The controller feels strong and cozy to carry and holds a cost properly, even when charging the telephone whereas linked.
A small factor actually, however it made me really feel much less in management than I needed to be.
The Fly extra combo, which I bought to check out, consists of an additional battery and a carrying case. The additional battery is helpful in fact to increase flying time.
The batteries themselves are small and light-weight and straightforward to cost with the included USB-C cable. It’s good to not want a devoted charger for anyplace, on-the-go charging.
The carrying case is water-repellent and durable, with an adjustable, padded shoulder strap and sufficient pockets and compartments to maintain every thing neatly tucked away.
Learn how to arrange the Atom SE earlier than the primary flight
- Earlier than my first flight, I made certain to have every thing charged up: the controller and each batteries.
- The following step was to obtain and set up the PotensicPro app (accessible on the App Retailer and Google Play retailer).
- Discover the proper cable to attach your good system to the controller.
- Activate the controller. The app will then information you thru the entire downloads, updates and calibrations that should be carried out.
Word: It’s useful to do all these items at house earlier than going out to fly to ensure you have a great web sign for the downloads, and so on.
Familiarize your self with the app interface and alter settings as wanted.
Test RTH altitude, and limits on flight peak and distance. These are robotically restricted to 98 ft. in newbie mode.
If it’s your first flight, it’s a good suggestion to maintain these as they’re. You’ll be able to at all times flip off newbie mode when you’ve gotten the dangle of issues.
Launching the drone makes use of the usual process of pulling each sticks down and middle concurrently to arm the propellers. Then push the throttle as much as take off.
The primary time I put the drone up, I used to be shocked at the way it bobbed round for a minute or two, apparently making an attempt to determine its location.
It didn’t go straight to a gradual hover, however rocked round inside the house of a number of toes earlier than locking right into a considerably steadier stance.
I used to be additionally shocked by the responsiveness of the sticks; I’d even say over-responsiveness. The drone appeared to jerk round as a minimum enter, though this may be adjusted barely within the settings.
Extra in regards to the hover.
In contrast to a DJI Mini 2 or 3 that may hover nearly completely nonetheless, the Atom SE wandered round inside a foot or two of its place. It additionally drifted within the yaw (heading) orientation a technique or one other.
A couple of very mild gusts of wind blew it about much more than that. This isn’t a drone that may rise up in opposition to windy situations.
And though it is a newbie drone, that lack of rock-steady hover may very well be slightly bit disconcerting.
To not say that it’s a nasty factor for a newbie drone pilot to want to develop the talent of fine-tuning the controls to remain in place!
Placing the drone by its paces, I did really feel that there have been a couple of occasions, particularly simply after launch, that the drone was scooting round by itself, exterior of my enter.
Apart from these few moments, the drone dealt with just about as I assumed it must.
The drone is default set to newbie mode, however this may be switched off if you’re prepared. Different pace settings embody:
Video mode slows every thing manner down for smoother video, and regular and sport do exactly as you may think.
I loved testing out the clever flight modes, together with follow-me, waypoints, and circle flight.
The circle flight mode carried out fairly properly and saved the digicam oriented roughly towards the middle of the circle.
The waypoints mode labored properly, and it is a good function that related degree drones lack.
My solely criticism on this division is that the map was very blurry and exhausting to pin-point the places to drop the waypoints. However this might have been as a result of telephone sign and never any fault of the drone’s.
The follow-me mode appeared to problem the drone a bit, despite the fact that I did nothing extra difficult than jog round in a big circle. It didn’t appear to take care of a good distance, and the digicam didn’t orient as shortly because it ought to have.
The return-to-home function is enabled by GPS, so make sure you have GPS alerts locked in earlier than taking off if you wish to depend on this to get your drone again.
The return to house shouldn’t be tremendous exact. Within the 4-5 occasions I landed the drone within the check flights, the return to house introduced the drone to anyplace from 3 yards to 2 toes of the take-off location.
You even have the choice of manually adjusting the drone’s place with the sticks whereas it’s robotically touchdown, which helps quite a bit in getting a extra exact touchdown.
You’ll nearly definitely have to do that if you wish to land again in your launch pad and keep away from trimming the grass along with your propellers.
One other factor to pay attention to with the Atom SE is the dearth of impediment avoidance sensors. That is commonplace with a drone of this measurement and value, however it does imply that rookies particularly ought to make sure you fly in areas with few obstacles.
The flight vary is proscribed to 2.5 miles, and whereas that is a lot lower than you may get than with, say the Mini 3, it’s greater than sufficient to get the drone past your visible line of sight, which is a no-no with FAA drone laws.
In case you’re staying inside line of sight, you’ll be able to take the Atom SE loads far sufficient away with out dropping reference to the controller.
The digicam on the Atom SE is a 12MP Sony CMOS sensor. It gives a 118-degree discipline of view and will be tilted vertically from +20 to -90 levels.
There is no such thing as a lateral gimbal management, and the one technique to flip the digicam left or proper is thru the yaw management on the drone.
As I famous above the stick controls are fairly sensitive, and this could impression the smoothness of the video because the drone bumps round with the controls.
The picture stabilization is digital, and does an honest job of minimizing video shake, however the lack of true gimbal comes into play with the horizon steadiness.
The three flight modes supply some measure of enchancment right here. Specifically, the video mode (cinema mode) slows down the drone’s actions and steadies the responsiveness considerably.
The opposite two modes prioritize pace, so will not be perfect for video.
Video will be shot in 4K at 30fps, 2.7K at 30fps and 1080p at as much as 60fps with a most bitrate of 40Mbps. Pictures will be captured in each JPEG and RAW in a 16:9 ratio reasonably than 4:3.
There are not any choices to manually set ISO, white steadiness or shutter pace.
All digicam settings (besides publicity compensation) are absolutely computerized.
Whereas that is good for a newbie who could also be extra concerned about mastering flight fundamentals than in mastering superior pictures strategies, it’s a severe limiting issue.
The RAW photograph seize is an fascinating possibility that’s not accessible in plenty of related degree drones.
It definitely opens up the inventive choices, though if severe drone pictures is your objective, this won’t be the drone to land on, contemplating its different digicam limitations.
Who should purchase this drone?
The Potensic Atom SE is a good alternative for rookies on a finances.
At nearly half the value of the DJI Mini 3, it’s not stunning that you simply get a barely underwhelming digicam and restricted clever flight options, to not point out no impediment avoidance.
For a hobbyist wanting to interrupt into the world of flight, the Potensic Atom SE gives an important different that may present high quality and efficiency that shall be exhausting to beat on the value level.
It’s in all probability not for you when you’re a severe photographer although, even when you’re a newbie in relation to drones.
The shortage of digicam settings and the dearth of 3-axis gimbal will significantly restrict your photograph and video high quality.
This may even be an important alternative as a journey drone, for somebody who would really like a less expensive different to take alongside in your travels with out having to fret about getting misplaced or broken, as a lot as you may for a costlier drone.
The compact measurement and sub-250 g weight additionally lend themselves to journey, particularly because it falls underneath much less restrictive laws in most nations.
I actually loved buzzing round with the Potensic Atom SE, and even see it as an important starter drone for my older youngsters.