Despite being launched in 2018, a combination of precise flying, stabilised video and a load of extra flight modes and in-flight moves, the Ryze Tello is still the best cheap drone on the market. We gave it a full five stars in our Ryze Tello review.
Released two years later, came the Eachine E58 Pro – this Pro model being an upgraded version of the original E58 that was launched in the same year as the Tello. With an RRP substantially lower that of the Tello, but more recent tech, does the E58 Pro represent better value for money and could it be the first drone we've tested to outperform the Tello?
Before these two models step into the ring, we'd better point out that a fairly recent change in drone flying rules means that before flying any camera-equipped drone outdoors in the UK, you'll first need to obtain an Operator ID. For additional info check our UK drone regulations explainer, and to buy an ID, head over to the CAA website. For those with deeper pockets who are after a more serious drone, check out our round-up of the best drones around.
Ryze Tello vs Eachine E58 Pro: design and features
The E58 Pro measures 255L x 220W x 50D (mm) and weighs 96g, though it has foldable arms which greatly reduces its size when folded down. The Tello is smaller at 180L x 170W x 40D (mm) and lighter at 86g.
The build quality of the Tello is the best we've seen on a drone in this class. While the E58 Pro is well made and we've had no issues in testing, the plastic fuselage doesn't feel as robust as the Tello's.
Both drones have nose-mounted cameras. The Tello's camera is fixed in place, but the camera position on the E58 can be moved vertically through manual adjustments. The E58 Pro also has twin LED lights at the front of the aircraft which are fairly powerful for their size and a big help in orienting the drone – particularly at a distance.
While the E58 Pro comes with a controller as standard, the Tello does not. So, unless you want to shell out another £30, you'll need to fly the Tello using the on-screen controls found on its free device app.
App support on both models allows you to get a view through the drones' cameras as well as storing video and stills to your phone. The apps also give you extra in-flight functions, such as flips and circles in the case of the Tello, while the E58 app allows you to trace flight paths on your touchscreen and fly the drone by moving your phone.
Winner: Eachine E58 Pro
- Looking for toy options? Head to our best kids drone guide
- Or for adults new to flying, our best drones for beginners will help
Ryze Tello vs Eachine E58 Pro: flight and stability
The Tello's tiny underside camera and an infrared sensor help it do an excellent job of holding a steady hover indoors or in windless conditions. Despite its 'altitude hold' system which helps it stay fairly level, the E58 Pro requires constant adjustment while hovering as it regularly drifts out of position – even when flying indoors.
When manoeuvring, the Tello makes impressively precise movements through the air and is easy to control. Getting the E58 Pro to make precision course alterations in flight is much harder though, as it's far slower to respond to commands from the pilot.
Unless you're flying in completely windless conditions, both drones perform badly outdoors. Even very light winds mean that they struggle to respond to any commands, while stronger gusts can quickly carry them hundreds of metres away.
Winner: Ryze Tello
Ryze Tello vs Eachine E58 Pro: video and stills
While on paper, the E58 Pro’s 1080P camera is a better option than the Tello’s 720P version, video footage from the Tello is far more watchable. Unlike most drones in this category, the Tello has in-built software stabilisation which gives super-smooth results. When it comes to comparing stills though, the Eachine drone’s higher resolution camera does give slightly better results.
Winner: Ryze Tello
Ryze Tello vs Eachine E58 Pro: price and verdict
With an RRP of £65.99, the E58 Pro delivers excellent value for money. In comparison, £99 for the Tello, without a dedicated controller, seems a little pricey. However, the Ryze drone betters the E58 Pro in almost every category – especially in the two most important areas – ease of use and video performance.
So, which should you choose? Well despite being around for three years, the Tello is still the outstanding drone in its class and well worth the extra spend. But if your budget is lower, then the E58 Pro is still a decent choice.
Overall winner: Ryze Tello