Drone racing is in the beginning stages of an explosion similar to what AV drones have experienced over the last couple of years. While it’s still too early to tell if it’s going to be the next big thing or just a passing fad, it’s not hard at all to imagine these mighty midgets becoming very popular over the next year or so. This segment of the hobby was once the domain of hardcore hobbyists only, people armed with soldering irons, hex drivers, and vast amounts of knowledge of how to build, tune, and fly these tiny beasts. That’s changing however, and ready-to-fly and plug-and-fly (pre built, just add your own receiver and bind it to your radio) are popping up everywhere. Originally these RTF and PNF models were fairly expensive, in the $400-$500 range. Less expensive models started to show up last summer though, and the trend toward lower prices and a wider range of options has continued since then. A few months ago I did a review on the Eachine Racer 250 (ER 250), an excellent low end racer-style quadcopter well suited for hobbyists with some flying experience with micro quads or AV drones who wanted to make the transition to racing drones. In this review, I’m going to look at the Racer’s younger, leaner, and meaner brother, the Eachine Falcon 250 (EF 250). How does the Falcon stack up against the Racer and other drones in this genre? Who is it for, and is it a good value for the money? Keep reading to find out! [Read more…]
JJRC is a well known manufacturer of “toy grade” quadcopters and drones. The JJRC H6C, which also appears to be relabeled as Holy Stove F180C, is a micro sized quadcopter in the same size and performance range as the venerable Hubsan X4 (H107) series. In this review we take a look at the machine and see if it fits the needs of a beginner.
What’s in the Box – and Pricing?
The JJRC model comes well packed in a small square box and includes the usual:
Quadcopter – with propeller guard
RX (remote control) with LCD screen
USB Battery Charger
Extra Set of Propellers
Pry tool for propeller removal
MicroSD card and USB card reader [Read more…]
Drone Report from the Consumer Electronics Show 2016
In our 2 1/2 days at CES, I walked over 30 miles! It certainly is a big show and, as with 2015, drones were a large part of the buzz this year. Here is our “executive summary” of drones at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It contains a number of opinions and predictions. At Droneflyers we dislike parroting PR statements or cheerleading for the entire drone industry…rather we look at the trends, accomplishments and market as a whole and try to distill it down for our readers.
Our report will focus on the consumer drone market although some mention will be made of commercial uses.
2016 will likely be a year where the evolution of consumer drones continues. Drones have become extremely complex and it’s very unlikely that brand new technology is going to arise…rather we are seeing a maturing of the industry as well as integration of existing technologies into lower priced consumer drones.
In order to give some method to our madness, we will run through the drones in order of “types” laid out in our recent article.
3. Consumer Camera Drones
4. Prosumer Camera Drones
Ok, so Christmas has come and gone and you didn’t get the drone you wanted. Not to worry – there should be some good deals in the coming months on drones of various types. One of the drones that anybody just getting into this hobby should be considering is the Phantom 3 Standard. If you read part 1 of my Phantom 3 Standard review you know that the Standard is a very solid product, but as would be expected based on the cheaper price it’s missing a few features found in the advanced version. That doesn’t mean it’s just a basic drone with nothing going for it though. The Standard still has a few tricks up its sleeve and in some respects fares quite well against the higher priced sibling. So what are some of those tricks, and exactly what is missing vs. the Advanced?
Keep reading to find out!
Part One – note, we will either add to this review or post a Part Two as we gain more experience with the RC Logger Nove 350X Quadcopter.
RC Logger is a different kind of drone company. Since their founding in 2010 they have been a popular “boutique” brand with many R/C hobbyists. As the hobby evolved they have brought many new designs to market, including the Eye One Extreme what we reviewed last year.
The new NovaX 350 is a mid-sized model with GPS features as well as a smartphone app for configuration. It is capable of lifting decent payloads (350 grams) – which include cameras as well as optional (or DIY) gimbals for smooth video. At a price of about $320 – $500+ (depend on RTF or ARF) it is a good value – assuming it fits your needs.
Who is it for?
The best description for the NovaX 350 might include the words “sport” and “flexible”. For example, a pilot wishing to do some fast FPV flying, some manual stick practice and also some aerial photography would be able to easily switch the modes and payloads to suit. Evening and night flying are another specialty of the NovaX – it has perhaps the best stock set of LED lighting on the market.
While many buyers might choose the RTF (comes with a remote and is ready-to-fly) version, there is also an ARF (almost Ready to Fly) version which allows use of many higher end Remotes (TX)…and then the tweaking of many of the various flight characteristics.
Unboxing and Assembly[Read more…]
Ever since the first prototype was going around the DJI booth at NAB this year, teases of a handheld version of the Inspire 1 gimbal/camera have been making many owners anxious to finally have the option of taking their X3 camera off their drone and continuing to shoot on the ground with the same quality stabilized camera footage for more seamless productions. Well, now they finally can (kind of). [Read more…]
Well, truth be told this goes on with many consumer products but is often more rampant with newer and “hot” products where the public still doesn’t know what to expect!
As an example, if a new cell phone manufacturer told you their phone will still be state-of-the-art 5 years into the future and takes better pictures than even the finest DSLR, you’d probably be suspect – because likely you have some idea of what smartphones do and how quickly the technology moves.
But if a drone maker told you their drone was the last one you’d ever have to buy or that it was going to be better in 100 ways than ANY existing product, you may not know they are misleading you.
This, in fact, is our reason for existence here at Droneflyers.com – consumer education and consumer advocates. We were among the first to publish stories like these: [Read more…]
I reviewed the Parrot Bebop earlier this year, calling it my favorite drone for someone looking for good quality images but for less than $500.
But a common response I got from readers was that the battery life was simply too short. In response, Parrot just launched the $549 Bebop 2, a refreshed take on the original Bebop 1.
Parrot let me demo the new drone before it officially hits shelves on Dec. 14. [Read more…]
Note for Holiday Shoppers – DJI is having a Sale from Dec 11 to the end of the Month where a free hardshell backpack comes with any model of the Phantom Series. Here is the link to the DJI Sale Page.
Droneflyers.com received a new Phantom 3 Quadcopter (Professional 4K model) at the beginning of May and have been flying it regularly since then. With about 50 flights under our belts, it time to do a First Look, Review and Rating on this new quadcopter.
We purchased the Phantom 3 Pro (4K) direct from DJI’s online store for $1259.00 including shipping and a single battery. We have since purchased two extra batteries as well as a used Nexus 7 II (2013) for running the DJI Go App (formerly called the Pilot App).It is our opinion that this hobby and pursuit is still in its pioneer stages – so we never expect the first release of a new model to be perfect or bug-free. A more important question would be whether most or all of the shortcomings are either acceptable or fixable with firmware and software updates…and, so far, it looks like that is the case. As of the end of summer (2015) software updates have resulted in better reliability – and, DJI has added a number of new features including Intelligent Flight Modes (Point of Interest, Waypoints, etc.).
NOTE: The Phantom 3 is a highly technical aircraft and requires study and skills to fly safely and to keep it in one piece. Despite the marketing materials, a quadcopter is not “for everyone”. Beginning pilots should invest time learning the hobby before putting an expensive model such as the P3 into the air.
The Phantom 3 Basics – more Revolution than Evolution
Note: For some background, please see our article – Phantom 3 Improvements over Phantom 2 Vision +
When the Phantom 3 was announced we thought it was a nice evolution of the popular Phantom line. However, after exploring this aircraft for a couple of weeks we can see that it is more than that. It is simply an unheard amount of technology and capability built into a compact frame for an unheard of price!
In need of a holiday gift for the person who already has a drone?
The coolest drone accessory you never knew you needed this season is Yuneec Aviation’s Wizard. [Read more…]