Holy Stone HS280 review: A budget-friendly beginner drone?

It’s cheap and it’s got a camera – is the Holy Stone HS280 the drone for you?

Holy Stone HS280
(Image: © Adam Juniper / Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

We’re not quite sure who this drone is for; it’s bigger and heavier than some toys, making it riskier indoors, but seemingly too light for outdoor flight (save for very wind-free days). Nevertheless it looks better than many competitors and sports a powered camera tilt, features an apprentice aerial photographer would appreciate, if they had the patience and space to practice.


  • +

    Good-looking design

  • +

    Remotely controlled camera tilt

  • +

    Robust airframe

  • +

    Two batteries supplied

  • +

    Takes familiar toy controls to a camera drone


  • -

    Flight time realistically only 10mins

  • -

    Drone easily influenced by wind

  • -

    Range limited by direct wi-fi control

  • -

    Camera shake

  • -

    No card slot to record on-board

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When it comes to budget drones, Holy Stone produces many offerings across a range of categories. So many, in fact, that it is difficult to compare them with the conventions laid down by other manufacturers. For example, Holy Stone’s idea of a ‘mini’ drone is around 30g, while DJI or Autel would include anything that scraped in under the 250g registration limit.

The HS280 is another example of that indifference to industry orthodoxy. It is not built to cram all that can be fitted into a regulation weight limit, but is simply called a ‘beginner drone' by Holy Stone. At 151g (5.3oz) it does fit more than comfortably inside the ‘no registration’ rule, but nevertheless manages a camera and – in theory – can be used outdoors.

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Adam Juniper
Managing Editor

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 

Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 

He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones, The Smart Smart Home Handbook, 101 Tips for DSLR Video and The Drone Pilot's Handbook