The RCLogger Eye One Xtreme was released over a year ago but suffered from a number of initial QC and design problems. Even so, this little quadcopter became very popular among hobbyists “hackers” who enjoy modifying, fixing and improving stock quadcopters. It also has a loyal following among those who enjoy active acrobatic flight and First Person View (FPV).
RCLogger claims to have fixed most all of the shortcomings and also improved many of the components and systems. Since the Xtreme is one of very few quads in it’s size and price range (200mm brushless), we felt it was worth another look and so ordered and tested a current production model. Note – this was purchased from a New England Dealer in early December, 2014 and is the latest version of both the software and the hardware as of this time (Jan, 2015).
Our original article, by contributor AKCOBRA, is located here.
Appeal to users: Advanced Beginners up to Experts who want the thrill of flight and a platform for acro and FPV.
Type of Quad: Hobbyist/Hacker
Cost: $129-149 with battery, spare props, TX, charger. Add approx. $50 for Aerial kit and extra batteries.
Crashworthiness – Good
Less than $150 for a brushless (read about brushless motors here) hobby-grade mid-sized quadcopter? Hard to believe – there are no other quadcopters currently on the market at anywhere near the same price. For example, the Blade 200QX would cost about double the price in a RTF configuration (with TX).
We purchased the “Aerial Kit” which includes an extra battery, larger props and a camera holder for an extra $39. A third battery was $13.
Upon inspection of the box and contents, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the quality of the materials. The printed owners manual is the best I have seen in this hobby so far. The quadcopter itself has a quality feel and look. Putting on my “marketing hat”, I’ve always thought that RCLogger sold this machine for TOO LITTLE $$$….that perhaps selling an upgraded TX with it, some more crash protection (prop guards, softer landing gear, etc.) for $179 to $199 may have been a better way to enter the market. Instead they have chosen to sell it for the lowest possible price and appeal more to the “tear it apart” set as opposed to the off-the-shelf buyer.
The stock TX is of the “playstation” style. RCLogger, however, supports the use of many different transmitters with this quad – although binding these to the Xtreme does require some technical knowledge or a friendly dealer who will do the work for you.
Beginners should keep in mind that this is a technical machine – it’s not, IMHO, the right drone for a beginner. This is due to factors such as flight manners, lack of propeller guards, cost of repair after hard crashes, etc.
If you are just getting started in this hobby, you should stop reading now and visit our beginners section and the associated articles.
A quad of this type is all about fun – speed and responsiveness. The Xtreme does not disappoint in delivering these and more. This quad is fun! It’s a very active machine and will take your full concentration to fly. It’s a completely different experience than larger quadcopters like the Blade 350QX or Phantoms, which are designed as super-stable platforms for (mostly) aerial photography and video. This machine is more like a formula one racer – made for going around curves and obstacles with speed and precision. Watch out, though….just as with race cars, the inexperienced are likely to gauge speed and distance wrongly and end up crashing!
With all the reviews and words written about this machine…the most important point is to actually understand what it is best for. It’s not a general purpose machine, a photo platform, a beginners toy or a follow-me drone. It’s a racer, an FPV platform and a great machine for intermediates to hone their flying skills. If you can fly this machine well, you are unlikely to ever have a problem with the more expensive machines, most of which are heavily stabilized.
The Eye One Xtreme features 3 modes – the Beginners Mode is just that…it tries to keep the machine tame for indoor or small yard use. RClogger cautions against using this mode in ANY wind, and my experience bears this out. Most buyers of this machine are unlikely to use this mode at all- except perhaps for some indoor flight.
Sport mode is the middle range – this keeps the machine in a fully stabilized mode, but allows for more speed and steeper angles. This mode allows for flight in moderate winds – perhaps up to 10 mph. The Xtreme has a “altitude hold” button which should keep the craft at a fixed height (but it will drift with the wind). I found that mode relatively useless as even light winds caused the quadcopter to drift away from me quickly.
The third mode is Expert Mode, one which I may never use! It allows for full manual control of the Xtreme by turning off many of the advanced leveling sensors. If you decide to give this a try, make sure you are over some very soft tall grass and don’t take the quadcopter up very high.
The Xtreme does not tolerate high winds well – although active flying in sport mode close to the ground can offset some of the effects of wind. The manufacturer states “zero to light wind” and those who want to keep their quadcopter would do well to heed this warning.
As stated above, this is not designed as a long range and high altitude flyer – doing so will likely lead to loss of your Xtreme as you will not be able to gauge orientation at distances much over 100 feet away. The stock TX is rated for up to 400 feet of range in an open field, however most of our flying was done within a range of less than 150 feet.
Longevity and Crash Worthiness
Although our test has not been long term, we did crash the Xtreme once from a decent height – the only damage suffered was the propellers, which are easy and inexpensive to replace. Most of our flights were over soft ground and that is what we recommend for users of this machine. Brushless quadcopters have heavier motors and batteries and most any serious crash on a hard surface is likely to result in damage.
Video, FPV and Photography Capabilities
RClogger claims that a payload of up to 100 grams can be added when the Aerial Kit is used. This kit contains larger props as well as the larger 1150 mAh battery. A small camera tray is included which can serve as a platform for mounting cameras such as the Mobius (about 40 grams), the 808 #16 (30 grams) or similar. Although the payload may be able to life heavier cameras, there is very little reason to do so since the Xtreme is not a true video platform. After taking a number of videos and still pictures using the Mobius, here is our conclusion:
The Xtreme is well suited for close-in relatively low altitude still photography….on a hobby scale. However, the lack of GPS as well as the difficulty in keeping the quad under control in higher winds make this function secondary to the real use of this quadcopter. In other words, don’t buy the Xtreme for photography or video. However, you can strap on the camera on occasion and get some decent shots – here’s a couple examples of still photos I took with the Mobius.
I tried taking some video and the results were very poor. Small machines move quickly and also vibrate quite a bit compared to heavier machines. The only real use for video on such a machine is for for FPV use – even then, the camera should be mounted with anti-vibration pads such as the ones described in this video:
RClogger is introducing a low cost gimbal (camera stabilizer) which will be lightweight enough to work on the Xtreme/Mobius or other similar configurations. However, we feel that larger quadcopters are better suited to stable video production.
Basic Modifications and Suggestions
Many pilots have mentioned that the stock battery – at 800 MaH – is a bit weak. RClogger sells replacement batteries which are 1150 MaH which perform much better and will also give longer flights. The batteries use a non-standard connector as shown below which can be quite difficult to remove from the quadcopter. Cutting off the small tab was suggested by some users – that worked and now it takes much less force to remove a spent battery from the quad. Many users have even converted the Xtreme connector to a more popular type – and then use other brands of battery.
There are literally hundreds of modifications which can be made!
If you have further interest in modifications, check out the hundreds of pages of hints and tips at the RCGroups Xtreme Thread.
If you’ve gotten this far you probably can decide if the Xtreme is for you! It’s not for beginners nor is it always a natural step up from toy quads on the way to larger machines. Rather it’s a category to itself – a sports car platform at a very low price which can be a blast to fly in smaller areas, parks, etc.
It won’t take abuse as well as super-lightweight toy quads like the Dromida Ominus and the Alias – so if you are still learning your moves, it may be better to beat up on another machine. However, when you are ready to step up a brushless machine and have more options for modifying and hacking your quadcopter, the Xtreme is ready when you are!