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Holy Stone drones are a great entry into the world of drones, as they’re traditionally low-cost, beginner-friendly, and so easy to use.
However, since they’re inexpensive, they don’t typically last that long, which is why you’ve turned your attention toward DJI.
Feeling torn between two drones is not fun. You want to make a firm choice you can feel great about.
I can understand that, which is exactly why I’m here to help.
I’ve used the DJI Mavic Air 2 and the Holy Stone HS720E extensively, flying them in every condition imaginable, testing all the features, and experiencing the best and worst of these drones.
This guide will help you choose between DJI and Holy Stone by reviewing the Mavic Air 2 and HS720E’s features and differences. I’ll share all my insights backed by my hundreds of hours of flight experience, explaining why the Mavic Air 2 is my favorite of the two.
Knowledge is power, and you’ll have plenty of both by the time you’re finished with this review. There should be little doubt in your mind about which drone to choose!
Brief overview #
DJI Mavic Air 2 #
Released in April 2020 at the height of the pandemic, the DJI Mavic Air 2 was my distraction – and that of many other pilots – from what still feels like a surreal time.
This drone is the long-awaited follow-up to the original Mavic Air, which was released in January 2018.
It was a painfully lengthy wait, but it was so worth it, as the Mavic Air 2 is still one of the coolest drones for its age and price.
Here are the features of this drone I enjoy the most:
- A ½-inch CMOS sensor that shoots in 4K video at 60 frames per second and 48 MP video. That’s incredible, especially when you consider the age of this drone!
- Intelligent Flight Modes to increase your drone photography and videography skills, including Point of Interest, ActiveTrack, and Spotlight. These features are designed to help you home in on your subjects with expert precision.
- High-quality footage thanks to the HEVC H.265 video codec the Mavic Air 2 uses, which cuts down on storage space while retaining more image data, from detail to dynamic range. D-Cinelike flat color is also available to make your footage sing.
- A battery life of 34 minutes is another impressive feat for a drone that came out several years ago.
- Livestreaming through the DJI Fly app so you can connect with your social media audience anytime, anywhere, and let them share in your incredible drone adventures.
**» MORE: **Best SD Cards for DJI Mavic Air 2
Holy Stone HS720E #
Let’s switch gears and discuss the Holy Stone drone of the day, the HS720E.
If you’re considering this one, you’ve got an eye for taste, as the HS720E is one of the most popular drones from this manufacturer.
One look, and it’s easy to see why! This isn’t a kiddie drone, even if children and adults can fly it.
It has a cool, professional appeal that will lend you credibility when doing commercial projects with your drone and make you look awesome when flying for fun in the park.
Here’s a closer look at what makes this drone stand out from the crowd:
- 4K video quality in 3840×2160 resolution is fantastic. The camera has Electronic Image Stabilization or EIS to improve your video quality, and with an adjustable angle, you can expand your field of view when shooting photos or videos without having to buy an expensive dual- or triple-camera DJI Mavic drone.
- Designed for use indoors and out, and quite beginner-friendly, the HS720E can hover, auto-start, and use GPS to bring it back via RTH. You won’t have to stress about your drone venturing away when exploring.
- A flight battery time of 23 minutes (46 minutes if you select the Fly More Kit, but that’s in two batteries). You’ll breeze through your drone tasks for the day, opening up time to take on more clients. But you will have to land to switch out your batteries.
- Fun flight modes to facilitate more functionality and enjoyment with every outing, including Point of Interest, follow-me, auto RTH, and Tap Fly. These features almost give DJI a run for its money!
- The inclusion of brushless motors makes flying your drone quieter. This is perfect if you’re practicing in your backyard or on the street and don’t want to annoy your neighbors. Social media posters and influencers will also appreciate how the drone motor won’t overpower your voiceover.
**» MORE: **How to Fly Holy Stone HS720E (Explained for Beginners)
Quick verdict #
Now that you’ve been properly introduced to both drones, the question of which to select might be ringing in your head louder than ever.
Here at Droneblog, we’re on a mission to find you the best drone for your needs.
After countless hours of experiencing both these drones to the fullest, I feel confident with a recommendation you should enjoy.
Between these two drones, the DJI Mavic Air 2 is the optimal choice. It has high-quality images and videos, more Intelligent Flight Modes than the HS720E, and a gimbal system rather than EIS.
That’s not to say the HS720E is a bad drone or anything of the sort. For a Holy Stone, this is a remarkable pick, and it stands on its own merits for quality.
It has a longer flight time than the Mavic Air 2 if you buy the Holy Stone Fly More Combo, and its video quality is just as good as the DJI drone.
» MORE: Holy Stone HS720E vs. Ruko F11GIM (Here’s my Choice)
What are the main differences? #
With DJI being the leader in drone technology, it’s only natural that other manufacturers will begin integrating DJI-like features into their drones.
That’s certainly been the case with Holy Stone, which releases continually more high-end models with improved performance.
However, the Mavic Air 2 and HS720E are about as dissimilar as can be besides sharing the same video capabilities.
Here are some of the most pertinent differences to guide your decision-making as you continue mulling over your options.
- Gimbal: The Mavic Air 2 has a perfectly capable three-axis gimbal that can pan, roll, and tilt. Three-axis gimbals are the standard in drones. Some manufacturers have made the move to four-axis gimbals, but those drones are still very expensive. Three-axis more than suffices. The HS720E, by comparison, has no gimbal. It uses EIS to keep its footage stable, which isn’t as effective.
- Price: Now, here’s a major difference if I’ve ever seen one! The HS720E is available for under $300 if you select the base model. By comparison, the Mavic Air 2 costs almost $900 for the basic package and nearly $1,000 for the Fly More Combo. That’s more than twice the cost of the HS720E.
- Flight modes: Both drones have automation-driven flight modes, but DJI has a wider selection. The caliber of its Intelligent Flight Modes is often replicated but never duplicated, or at least rarely duplicated. Even older editions of the Intelligent Flight Modes outshine the Holy Stone.
- Beginner-friendliness: The HS720 might not look very beginner-friendly, but it operates in a way that anyone can pick it up and use it. The Air 2 is very intuitive but is not meant to be your first drone. It has many automated, beginner-friendly Intelligent Flight Modes at least.
» MORE: Holy Stone HS720E vs. HS175D (Here’s my Choice)
DJI Mavic Air 2 #
The DJI Mavic 2 is a 2020 drone and the second in the line of popular Mavic drones.
Its base video resolution is 4K, but that’s not the only surprise this drone has in store for you.
If you use Hyperlapse to take awesome time-lapses of a busy cityscape or moving intersection, you’ll shoot in 8K.
That’s among the best video quality DJI offers for its consumer drones, period.
Granted, the video quality is only in that mode, and you don’t get to appreciate all the fine details the same way you would when using more standard video modes, but still. It’s there and it’s epic.
As for image quality, the Mavic Air 2 is no slouch. Its 48 MP images are among the best DJI offers in its roster of consumer drones.
It’s all thanks to the ½-inch CMOS sensor, which is small enough to let in minimal light and increase detail.
And if it’s detail you want, it’s detail you shall have.
The Mavic Air 2’s H.265 codec goes to great lengths to ensure the detail and dynamic range you worked so hard to achieve in your shots is still there.
You can build a professional-looking drone portfolio fast with the Mavic Air 2 in your fleet.
It’s an excellent choice for the social media poster growing their audience and the commercial pilot expanding their projects and clients.
**» MORE: **DJI Mavic Air 2 Battery (Everything You Need to Know)
Although the D-Cinelike color is not the most advanced DJI offers, since it’s a flat color profile, it still adds enough lifelike color to your images and videos to turn heads and captivate attention.
The Air 2 is surprisingly zippy, achieving speeds of over 42 miles per hour when flown in Sport Mode.
You can race to catch any target, then use the Mavic Air 2’s tracking-centric Intelligent Flight Modes to stay in line with your target, taking awe-inspiring footage along the way.
Use Point of Interest 3.0 for vehicle and people tracking, ActiveTrack 3.0 for keeping your target centered, and Spotlight 2.0 for maintaining the camera’s focus when tracking.
These aren’t the newest editions of these features, but are still excellent for the cost.
Holy Stone HS720E #
The HS720E is one of Holy Stone’s first forays into more serious drone territory while still retaining the traits that make the brand so appealing to new and older drone pilots alike.
The starring feature of this drone is its 4K camera featuring a Sony sensor comparable to what you’d see in a DJI drone.
That explains how the HS720E achieves a video resolution of 4K at 30 fps.
Here’s another cool feature. You can adjust the shooting angle of the camera, moving it 90 degrees. That’s an even larger and more noteworthy feat, considering this drone lacks a gimbal and uses EIS instead.
You can feel like you have a DJI drone without spending a lot when you fly the HS720E.
Rugged and quieter with its brushless motor, another major feature of the HS720E is its GPS system. You can hover the drone inside your home or out.
If you’re an influencer or social media maven, you can keep your footage varied enough to hold your audience’s interest and attention.
Commercial pilots will appreciate the additional advantage of indoor use, which the HS720E makes possible with an air pressure and air optical flow control system.
**» MORE: **Holy Stone HS720E Camera Settings (Explained)
The GPS goes further than that, enabling plenty of cool automated features, with auto-RTH chief among them.
This feature activates if your drone exits its allowed range, preventing you from losing it (and your hard-earned money).
That’s not all. This drone can activate on its own at the push of a button, the perfect feature for beginners who want to fly ASAP but haven’t yet learned how it works.
Point of Interest replicates the DJI feature, although the HS720E hovers around the subject. You can also use follow-me, an oldie but goodie.
Head-to-head comparison #
Camera system #
Winner: DJI Mavic Air 2
If the Mavic Air 2 and HS720E share the same video quality (4K), why didn’t I declare this section a tie?
That’s because the camera system is about more than merely image and video quality.
You’ll recall that the HS720E lacks a gimbal. Sure, it has EIS, which is designed to reduce that shaky, blurry sensation that can destroy the integrity of your images and videos.
However, the HS720E’s EIS wasn’t that ground-breaking for me.
My footage wouldn’t come out as clear as it could have, marring the otherwise good video quality.
Speaking of that, the 4K in the HS720E and the Mavic Air 2 aren’t as entirely comparable as you’d imagine. DJI’s video quality is clearer despite the fact that it and the HS720E both boast the same quality.
I know Holy Stone tries to make this drone seem like it has a gimbal by allowing it to adjust 90 degrees, but EIS isn’t comparable to a gimbal at the end of the day, especially not a sturdy, reliable, smooth gimbal like the one the Mavic Air 2 has.
» MORE: Camera Technology in Drones (Explained)
Winner: DJI Mavic Air 2
Here’s another category where the Mavic Air 2 aces it compared to the HS720E.
The Mavic Air 2 doesn’t have obstacle avoidance but includes an Infrared Sensing System with Downward, Upward, Backward, and Forward Vision Systems.
This is a cool feature, but it only means the drone will perceive obstacles, not actively avoid them. That’s up to you, savvy drone pilot.
The HS720E has no obstacle avoidance or even obstacle sensing to speak of. For a drone that’s so beginner-friendly, this is a huge omission.
That said, I know why Holy Stone did it. It’s the same reason the HS720E has no gimbal: to keep production costs reasonable.
The HS720E excels in its auto-takeoff, and its smart features are cool, but they aren’t as plentiful as the Mavic Air 2’s Intelligent Flight Modes, nor are they as enjoyable to use.
» MORE: Smart Features in Drones (Explained for Beginners)
Winner: Holy Stone HS720E
The weight of the HS720E on the spec sheet, which is listed as 1.09 pounds, might make you think it’s way too heavy to do anything with, but relax. When converted to grams, that’s 494.4 grams.
It’s heavy enough that you’d have to register the HS720E if enjoying it recreationally, but not so heavy that you can’t auto-launch it. It folds down, increasing its portability to a degree.
The Mavic Air 2 weighs 570 grams, so it’s about 100 grams heavier than the Holy Stone drone.
Ultimately, both these drones are travel-friendly. You can fold them down and fit them in most drone backpacks, which you should be able to register as checked luggage or a carry-on.
In the case of the HS720E, you can use its included carrying case.
Part of the fun of flying a drone is taking it with you on your adventures. Both drones are ready to go.
» MORE: Do I Need to Register my Mavic Air 2?
Long-range flights #
Winner: DJI Mavic Air 2
The HS720E is packed with its own controller. For the cost of this drone, the controller is fine. It includes a holder for you to place your smartphone, which you must use as the screen.
The controller has a small screen that produces diagnostics only.
I love how the remote controller has legs. You can stand it on a flat surface for a moment and the controller won’t topple over.
The legs and phone holder fold down and tuck out of sight for optimal storage during your travels.
The Mavic 2 Air also includes a standard controller in the box that has a smartphone holder and no screen.
It’s a large, boxy controller that’s surprisingly easy to hold and has good ergonomics. I also appreciate how the phone holder does its job so well.
I think we’ve all been in those precarious situations where we’re afraid our phone is going to topple off the drone remote controller because it doesn’t feel like it’s in there well. That doesn’t happen with this controller.
As for video transmission capabilities, this is a no-contest. The HS720E can only transmit footage 1,640 feet away. Converting feet into miles, that’s 0.3 miles.
On the other hand, the Mavic Air 2 can transmit videos up to 6.2 miles away. That’s not even DJI’s best, but it outdoes the HS720E by a huge margin.
- Long Range Drones: Ultimate Guide
- 21 Best Long-Range Drones (2023-2024)
Battery life #
Winner: Mavic Air 2
Using the Mavic Air 2’s standard Intelligent Flight Battery lends this drone 34 advertised minutes of battery.
The Holy Stone’s batteries provide 23 minutes of flight time apiece, but there are two, which gives you 46 minutes.
You don’t have to use both batteries at once, but if you can double your flight time, why wouldn’t you? That allows you to get more work done.
That said, the long charge times of these batteries (upwards of six hours) might make you reconsider taking both.
In my flight experiments, the HS720E lasted about 43 or 43 minutes in the air with both batteries (yes, you have to land to swap out the batteries!), and with only one, almost 20 minutes.
The Mavic 2 should give you at least 30 minutes of flight time.
If we’re doing a single-battery to single-battery comparison, yes, the Mavic Air 2 wins.
» MORE: Drone Batteries (In-Depth Information)
The fierce fight between the Holy Stone HS720E and DJI Mavic Air 2 was closer in many respects than I thought it would be.
There were enough twists and turns on this wild ride through their differences and comparisons that I was quite surprised.
Ultimately, the DJI Mavic Air 2 came out victorious, a decision I feel confident in through and through.
Its sturdy gimbal, high-quality video and image features, and Intelligent Flight Modes make it a tremendous entry into the DJI family and an exceptional model for commercial and recreational projects alike.
» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro vs. Holy Stone HS720E (Here’s My Choice)