Welcome to our review of the excellent PowerVision PowerEgg X Wizard Edition, the prettiest and most versatile drone in the skies right now. PowerVision is a highly innovative company that specialises in a unique array of remote controlled vehicles from drones to underwater submarines and fish finders.
Instead of trying to compete against the mighty DJI – a battle it could never win – PowerVision has instead opted to head down a different route and provide a consumer drone that's enormously versatile. It performs most of the aerial tasks expected of a modern drone, including front obstacle avoidance and autonomous flight modes like return-to-home, follow-me, orbit and time lapse. However, it also goes two stages further by transforming into a hand-held stabilised camera and a tripod-mounted video recorder with motion tracking ability. But perhaps most importantly of all, this is the best drone for use on or around water – it's one of a tiny number of models that can land and take off on water.
Want to delve a little deeper beneath the surface? Read on for our full PowerVision PowerEgg X Wizard drone review.
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PowerVision PowerEgg X Wizard review: design & features
There is simply no other drone on the market like this one. Indeed, not only is the PowerEgg X the best looking drone this writer has ever seen, it’s also far and away the most versatile.
In transport configuration, the PowerEgg X looks like a shiny ostrich egg with no visible seams – and it's about as large as one, too ( it weighs 522g). While not as transportable as DJI’s Mavic series, it’s still small enough for the average backpack.
To use it in drone mode, carefully pull off the lower half of the housing to expose the camera, the gimbal and two ports for the folding legs to clip into. Now grab the chunky hand controller, clip in your iOS or Android phone, launch the well-designed Vision+ 2 app and fly.
Fancy doing some hand-held ground-based shooting? No problem with this drone because it transforms into an admittedly large and ungainly stabilised ‘SteadiCam’ camera with automatic face recognition simply by adding the hand strap or mounting it to the supplied mini tripod. Granted, its mechanical three-axis gimbal in hand-held mode isn't as steady as some of DJI's top fliers, but it’s good enough for creating acceptably smooth, jitter-free footage if the user is careful how they move around.
Top tip: when walking, the secret is to keep your arm as steady as possible and to walk in short steps in a sort of stooped position. Yes, you will look like you have a carrot up the bottom but this posture is part and parcel of using any stabilised camera successfully.
Now, as any drone pilot will tell you, flying over water generally requires balls the size of Venus. After all, losing a drone over water is every pilot’s worst nightmare and there are many reasons this could happen, whether it’s a bird strike, motor failure, an exhausted battery, heavy rain or high wind speed. Well this Wizard version is the Holy Grail of drones because it comes with two robust strap-on floats and a fully waterproof housing that protects the entire body and camera. It also means that, should the worse happen and the drone plummets from the sky, it’ll simply stay afloat instead of sinking to the bottom like an anvil.
Granted, when used for videography purposes the camera will need to shoot through a clear plastic dome which does create some subtle video aberrations but the extra reassurance of having a floatable drone is something not to be sniffed at. Another brilliant thing is that this drone can also land and take off from calm water and fly in both rain and snow, wind speed permitting.
What's more, it can also record audio from ground level while flying above; something no other drone can do. SyncVoice uses your phone’s microphone to pick up ambient noise so your final video isn't totally silent. If you never edit you videos then this feature could be a bonus for you.
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PowerVision PowerEgg X Wizard review: camera performance
A video and photography drone is only as good as the camera it’s carrying. Well this one comes with a fixed focus 12-megapixel camera with a 1/2.8 inch CMOS sensor capable of shooting in 4K at up to 60 frames per second, 1080p at up to 120fps and 720 at up to 240fps. However, while the footage it produces is undeniably very good, it’s still not quite up to the benchmark set by DJI. While the centre of the image is pin sharp, there’s a little softening at the edges of the frame that becomes most noticeable when videoing foliage from higher altitudes. Nevertheless, video shot from lower altitudes looks much sharper, and the same goes for the 12MP stills which are generally excellent.
To be honest, you really won’t notice these small issues if viewed on a phone or a tablet but you may on a 5K 27-inch iMac. Whatever, this is in no way a deal breaker, especially when all of its other functions are taken into consideration.
PowerVision PowerEgg X Wizard review: control system
The PowerEgg X comes with a bulky but comfortable hand controller with an excellent mounting system for the all-important phone, your portal to viewing what the drone’s camera sees.
Although it’s not quite in the same league a DJI’s range of drone-specific apps, PowerVision’s Vision+2 (Android and iOS) is nevertheless very well thought out and relatively easy to use. As mentioned above, the app provides a small variety of autonomous modes, including automatic return to home (the drone returns entirely on its own to where it took off from), follow-me (the drone locks onto the subject and follows it around), orbit (the drone flies and films in a perfect circle around the subject) and time lapse (the drone shoots a series of still images and stitches it all together automatically to produce a fast-moving video).
PowerVision PowerEgg X Wizard review: flight performance
The PowerEgg X is as stable in flight as the majority of DJI drones we’ve tested and it will stay in the air for up to 30 minutes, which is excellent. Its top speed is a very nippy 40mph and its image transmission range a commendable 3.7 miles. It can also safely fly in wind speeds up to 22mph which is truly excellent.
For extra peace of mind, the PowerEgg X is also equipped with front- and downward-facing obstacle avoidance. It uses the front sensor to measure distance from a subject up to 19 metres away and will pull on the brakes once it gets close. The downward sensor in conjunction with the drone’s GPS processor is used for precise landing.
PowerVision PowerEgg X Wizard review: who can fly it?
As of 31 December 2020, all pilots of camera drones will need to purchase an Operator ID from the CAA and sit a short multiple-choice online examination. However, for even better flying opportunities, we would suggest going for an A2 Certificate of Competence, which allows the PowerEgg X pilot to fly in areas used for recreational, industrial, residential or commercial purposes.
PowerVision PowerEgg X Wizard review: verdict
Right now there isn’t a more versatile drone in the sky – or the ground. Although the PowerVision PowerEgg X Wizard's camera isn’t quite as good as the best DJIs around, the mere fact that it can fly in rain or snow and float on water is reason enough to give this drone some serious consideration. It's a lovely looker, too.
First reviewed February 2021