Drone specialist Potensic, launched the Elfin in 2020. As you'll see in our dedicated Potensic Elfin drone review, it shares a similar appearance and costs almost as much as our current best cheap drone, the Ryze Tello. Also launched in the same year was the Eachine E58 Pro – an upgraded version of the original Eachine E58. But while the Eachine model is classed in the same toy drone category as the Tello, it costs around £25 less and closely resembles a mini version of the much more capable DJI Mavic Pro.
So how do these two toy drones fair against each other? Yes, the Elfin costs a few quid more, but is it worth the extra spend or does the Eachine E58 Pro represent better value for money? (If you're in the market to spend a bit more on a more serious model, head over to our round-up of the best drones around.)
Before we get into our bargain drone battle though, rules that came into force in 2021 mean that before flying any camera-equipped drone outdoors in the UK, you'll first need to obtain an Operator ID. You'll find more info in our drone regulations explainer, and to purchase an ID, head over to the CAA website.
Potensic Elfin vs Eachine E58 Pro: design and features
The Elfin is the smaller of the two drones, measuring 200L x 190W x 40D (mm) and weighs 95g. Both are made from plastic, but while the build quality of the E58 Pro feels decent enough, the Elfin definitely seems the sturdier of the two. The E58 Pro measures 255L x 220W x 50D (mm) and weighs 96g. Both drones have foldable arms which greatly reduces their sizes when packed down.
The camera position on each of the models is positioned on the nose of the aircraft. The POV of the cameras can be manually adjusted between pointing forward or below the drones, though the E58 Pro allows for more adjustment. The E58 Pro also has twin LED lights at the front of the aircraft which emit a fair amount of light and are helpful in orienting the drone from a distance.
Both models come complete with controllers, spare batteries, spare blades and removable propeller guards. They can also be flown via the free phone app that you'll need to download in order to get a view through the drones' lenses and record video and stills which gets stored directly onto your phone.
Winner: Potensic Elfin
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Potensic Elfin vs Eachine E58 Pro: flight and stability
The Elfin does a decent job of hovering steadily in place when indoors or outside in zero wind. To help it stay in one spot, it has a small camera on its underside which reads the ground below and makes adjustments as required. This tech also helps the Elfin make more precise movements when moving which makes it easier to fly.
While the E58 Pro has an 'altitude hold' system and stays fairly level, it needs regular adjustment from the pilot as it has a tendency to drift out of position – even indoors. The drone is also slower to respond to changes in direction than the Elfin, as momentum seems to be a bigger issue for it – this is amplified when the E58 Pro is flying faster.
Both drones have three propeller blade speeds and in their fastest settings, can move through the air at an impressive pace. The flipside is that both are far harder to control at speed though.
Outdoors, both models are hampered by the same issue (that is a shortcoming of all the sub-250g drones we've tested) and handle very poorly even with the slightest hint of wind. Bigger gusts can see them being carried way into the distance, which lacking the homing abilities of more expensive models, can result in them never being seen again.
Winner: Potensic Elfin
Potensic Elfin vs Eachine E58 Pro: video and stills
The E58 Pro’s video resolution is 1080P and looks slightly better than the lower quality 720P camera on the Elfin. But in truth, the video output from either drone is not great. Compared the relatively smooth, software stabilised footage from leading toy drone, the Ryze Tello, both models on test produce shaky while results moving through the air.
When taking stills, the Elfin is able to match the E58 Pro’s 1080P resolution, but the Eachine model is able to take photos with deeper colours and more varied tones.
Winner: Eachine E58 Pro
Potensic Elfin vs Eachine E58 Pro: price and verdict
The Elfin costs a fair bit more than the E58 Pro, with their RRPs at £89.99 and £65.99 respectively. But while the E58 Pro represents decent value for money and (just about) wins the camera battle, crucially, the Elfin is the best performer in the air and has a more robust construction.
OVERALL WINNER: Potensic Elfin