Racing drones continue to gain in popularity and diversity, with sizes ranging from about 330 mm all the way down to about 120mm. The prices are all over the board as well. While generally cheaper than their AV Drone cousins, a high end racing drone can still cost $600+ in a ready to fly or a plug and fly (add your own receiver) configuration. Eachine for the most part has been targeting the value side of the market, offering low cost racing drones that offer pretty good performance at bargain basement prices. The Falcon 180 is their latest entry into this market, a scaled down Falcon 250 with some new configuration options, and a few familiar warts as well. So what does the Falcon 180 bring to the table that might make you want to buy it? Read on to find out (and skip to the bottom to see the Falcon 180 in action)!
The market for toy class drones has exploded in recent months, with everything from palm sized micros to full sized brushed motor quads with video and/or FPV capabilities. This review features the Coocher Syma X8C, a camera drone that has been around for a while and is now being offered by Coocheer. So how does it stack up? Does it still hold it’s own against the newer competition, or does it come up short when pitted against some of the newer offerings? Keep reading and find out!
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…]
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!
FLASH – Please note DJI Black Friday and holiday sales with vast savings! Phantom 3 now starts at $599. Click here for links.
DJI has been setting the standard in the exploding consumer drone market since consumer drones first burst on to the scene about 3 years ago. There is no doubt that DJI is the 800 lb gorilla on this playing field, they have done it better, faster, and cheaper than anyone else out there.The amount of technology packed into their current flagship, the Phantom 3 series, is nothing short of astounding when you consider the price point. That being said however, it’s still not cheap. Getting into the AP/AV game with a Phantom 3 will still cost you upwards of $1000, which while a great value considering all the technology packed into this little drone is still a good chunk of change for the average consumer. And that is exactly who DJI is trying to address with the latest addition to it’s lineup, the Phantom 3 standard.
The standard version comes in at a very reasonable $699, which while still not quite at the level of “impulse buy” should be much more palatable for potential customers who balk at the $1000+ price of the Advanced and Pro versions. There is no free lunch however, and you are giving up some of the cooler advanced technology found in the Advanced and Pro.
So is it worth it? Did DJI Hit the mark, or is it too much for too little? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
Last month I did a review on the Walkera Runner 250. This was a highly anticipated quadcopter that was supposed to do for quadcopter racing what the DJI Phantom did for aerial video. Unfortunately Walkera dropped the ball, and sadly the Runner just did not live up to the hype. One thing it did do however is help shine a light on this fast rising segment of the drone universe. Drone racing is growing in popularity by leaps and bounds. The Walkera Runner was supposed to be the quad that brought drone racing to the masses, but by dropping the ball they have left the door wide open for somebody else to pick up that ball and run with it. Enter the Eachine Racer 250.
I’m going to end the suspense right off. The Runner 250 is much more impressive sitting in the box than it is in the air. Walkera really dropped the ball on this one because with their deep pockets and marketing muscle this could and should have been the DJI Phantom of racing quads. I REALLY wanted to like this quad, because I think this is exactly what the mini-quad racing segment of this hobby needs to take off the way AV quads have – an easy to set up, ready to fly quad that comes with everything you need in the box to go out and start flying and having fun. And the Walkera Runner DOES do that. Unfortunately what it fails to do is actually fly well, and when you get right down to the bottom line that’s what matters the most.
Camera drones are a dime a dozen these days. DJI, Blade, Walkera, Cheerson, everybody has an entry in this playing field. There is a new segment of this hobby that’s recently been getting a lot of attention that requires a completely different kind of drone however, and that is the 250 class FPV (First Person View) racing drone. Until recently FPV racing was strictly the domain of the hardcore hobbiest. If you wanted to play on this field, you had to roll up your sleeves and build your own drone, tune it yourself, acquire your own FPV gear and equip it yourself. Needless to say this is all pretty daunting for the uninitiated, but there are a couple of new players in the game that are opening up the FPV racing arena to more casual users. The Walkera Runner 250, the Immersion Vortex, and the Storm Racing Drone are 3 popular entries that have opened up the doors to racers who don’t want to build from scratch. This is a first look at one of them, the Walkera Runner 250.
This review will be an overview of what your options are and what you get in the box. Part 2 will be a more comprehensive review of performance, ease of use, and how suitable it is for the market it’s being targeted at: Drone flyers who want to get into FPV racing without having to build from scratch. [Read more…]
You’ve all seen them. Videos produced via quadcopter that are smooth as glass with awesome music tracks that look ready for the big screen. Then you look at your latest video and it looks like you’re filming the apocalypse. Everything is shaking about, the jello is making you nauseous, and the whine from your motors is giving you a headache. So what’s the trick? Well, quite frankly the only way to get smooth as glass professional quality video is to spend some money on a larger quad and a good quality gimbal. Even with a gimbal though there’s no free lunch. Gimbals are expensive, add complexity to your quad, and shorten your flight times due to the added weight. There’s no denying they produce stellar video, but they’re not for everybody.
That doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck though. It’s entirely possible to produce very decent quality video without a gimbal and without spending a ton of money. You will still have to spend SOME money, expecting to produce good quality video from a $40 micro quad with a low res camera is simply unrealistic, but if you’re willing to spend up to a larger (250-450 sized) quad and at least a halfway decent camera, you can produce some very decent video by following a few relatively simple guidelines:
Recently I wrote an article on moving up from a toy grade quad to a hobby grade quad. In the past this typically meant a serious commitment in money and/or time as you either had to build a quad from scratch or opt for an expensive RTF (Ready to Fly) option such as a DJI Phantom. Enter the Eye One Xtreme from RC Logger. This quad hails the emergence of a brand new class of quad, the affordable brushless mini. Packing options galore, many advanced features found on more expensive RTF quads, and powerful brushless motors capable of carrying a GoPro, the Xtreme has emerged as the perfect bridge between toy grade and hobby grade quads. [Read more…]