When I first laid eyes on the Potensic Atom SE, which drone came to mind? Yup, that’s right, the DJI Mavic Mini SE. Potensic won’t be the first company to try and emulate the design of DJI drones. Many have done so, and some to great success; the trick is if they can persuade customers that their product is just as good if not better than the original. So, is the Potensic Atom SE on par with the DJI Mini SE? Well, that is what we are here to find out. In this review of the Potensic Atom SE, we shall explore the drone’s main features, how it performs and if it’s a worthy alternative to the Mini SE.
Do You Need To Register It?
First things first, as the drone weighs less than 250 grams, will you need to register it? This will depend on where you live and what you intend to do with the drone.
If you live in the USA and use it purely for recreational purposes, you will not need to register it with the FAA. However, if you are entirely new to drones, you will need to take the Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST).
Suppose you intend to make money with this drone through things like professional photography or even uploading drone videos on YouTube. In that case, you will need to obtain the Part 107 certificate and register this drone.
In the UK, the laws are a little different; you will need to obtain an Operator and Flyer ID from the CAA.
If you live elsewhere, please check and comply with local rules and regulations.
Potensic Atom SE Review – Design
The Atom SE is one of the best-looking drones from Potensic; it’s a small, lightweight drone that you can easily store away and carry around.
It looks similar to the DJI Mini drones, specifically the Mini SE and Mini 2; it has an all-white colour scheme and foldable arms. Each arm is equipped with landing legs, with the front pair slightly longer than the back pair, which enables a smoother landing procedure.
The drone has powerful brushless motors, and its propellers have to be screwed on individually; the props do not come in pairs, so make sure to screw each one onto the correct motor.
The battery compartment is on the back, and below it is a charging port and micro SD card slot. You do not get a micro SD card with the package, so you will need to purchase one; the recommended cards are of class10 or U1, which have a memory capacity of 4GB-256GB.
On the bottom of the drone are some ventilation units to keep it cool, a couple of optical flow sensors, and a Tof sensor. Both of these sensors help with flight stabilisation, especially in areas where the GPS signal is weak.
This is a nice small controller that extends from the left-hand side, which creates some space in the middle to insert your mobile device; this is similar to the controller of the Fimi X8 drone. It has a pair of foldable antennas on top and is powered by an internal lithium 1S battery.
There are not a lot of buttons, unlike the RC-N1 controller for the DJI Mini SE; it has a button for power and automatic return to home, as well as a couple of buttons on the top to record videos and images. There is also a dial that will allow you to control the pitch of the camera angle.
To access the drone’s more advanced features, you will need to download the PotensicPro App.
This decent App is easy to use and even comes with some tutorial videos to help you get started.
The App will provide access to advanced camera settings, intelligent flight modes and displays the drone’s flight data.
Potensic Atom SE Camera
The camera is one of the main features of any drone, and this is no different for the Atom SE. The camera on the Potensic Atom SE will be one of the reasons why people decide to purchase this drone.
The camera has a 1/3-inch Sony image sensor with a 118° FOV that can capture 12MP images in both RAW and JPEG format and records video footage in 4k at 30fps, 2.7k at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps and has a recording speed of 40Mbps.
You can also stream live video feed to your smartphone at 720p thanks to the PixSync 2.0 transmission technology.
The camera is not stabilised by a 3-axis gimbal; however, it does come with an electronic image stabilisation (EIS) feature for which they have given a fancy name called ShakeVanish™.
This EIS feature works well and minimises any distortion from the images and photos, although it’s not perfect, and sometimes you may notice some jittery effects.
The camera angle can be changed up or down to certain degrees, giving you more viewing angles.
This is a very good camera, especially for its price, and although I do recommend the DJI Mini SE from drones that cost under $300, the Potensic Atom SE is a good alternative.
Check out the video quality below.
The drone has three-speed modes, video, normal and sports; the difference between each flight mode is the speed the drone can reach. In video mode, which is essentially like the Cine mode on the Mini SE, the drone has a maximum speed of 13 mph. In normal mode, it can reach 22 mph; in sports mode, the drone reaches its maximum speed of 35 mph.
Even at its fastest speed, the video feed is very stable for a drone that has no gimbal stabilisation. Potensic has done a very good job with its EIS feature.
There is a beginner mode that limits the drone’s altitude and distance to 30 meters; this is for absolute beginners who want to practice their flying skills before using the drone’s advanced features.
You can also turn off the GPS by flying in altitude mode; however, you should only fly in this mode if you are an experienced drone pilot or if you are flying in a wide-open area.
Intelligent Flight Modes
The drone comes with three intelligent flight modes, they include the following:
Circle/Orbit: The drone locks onto your smartphone and will fly around your position. You can set the speed, height and distance.
Follow me: As the name suggests, the drone will follow you by locking on your smartphone.
Waypoint: This mode allows you to draw a flight path on the App’s map, and the drone will automatically fly along that route.
The drone also has an automatic return-to-home feature that is activated when the battery gets low on charge or the communication between the controller and drone is lost for a few seconds.
Although these features are fun to use, they should only be used in wide-open areas to minimise the risk of crashing into something.
Potensic Atom SE vs DJI Mini SE
People will inevitably compare the Potensic Atom SE against the DJI Mini SE; they are similar drones in looks and features, but which one is better? That really depends on what you are looking for. The Potensic Atom SE has a camera that can record actual 4k videos and capture 12MP images in JPEG and RAW format.
On the other hand, the DJI Mini SE only records in 2.7k at 30fps, but it does come with a 3-axis gimbal which provides superior stabilisation. However, for images, the Mini SE only captures in JPEG format.
Both drones have similar flight times and transmission ranges; while the Atom SE comes with autonomous flight mode, the DJI Mini SE does not.
There are other differences, but these are the major ones; which one would I recommend? I would personally go for the DJI Mini SE, but that’s probably because it’s a DJI drone, and I’m a huge fan.
The Atom SE is a very good alternative to the Mini SE and, in some areas, has better features.
The Potensic Atom SE is a very good beginner-friendly drone that is easy and fun to fly. It comes with some exceptional features, the main one being its 4k camera with EIS anti-shake technology. It’s a drone suitable for first-time pilots and drone enthusiasts.