Walkera has made a huge name for themselves in the helicopter segment so a lot of people couldn’t wait to see how their quads would play out. Early versions were pretty good and they have continued to evolve the product with versions such as the MX400.
The MX400 is one of the very few quadcopters to come standard with 3-blade propellers. The props themselves have a keyed base to prevent slipping on the motor housing but this does mean finding replacements might be a little more difficult. Most resellers have said that replacement props are on their way and should arrive within the next couple of weeks.
The Walkera MX400 is small sized quad with direct drive brushless motors. The overall impression you get is that the MX400 is a well designed craft that some thought and engineering actually went into versus some of the products on the market feel like a chassis with some electronics bolted on. The battery fits securely into its own space, the landing gear attaches with screws into a well designed chassis, and the overall construction is actually pretty nice. The particular model reviewed here came with the Devo7 controller, LED Lighting Kit, 2200mah 3S 25C battery, Banana-Dean connector adapter, an aluminum case, and the metal landing gear. One of the main complaints about the case is that the MX400 has to be disassembled in order to fit into the case. The entire process consists of removing the battery, removing 4 screws holding the landing gear on, and then two more screws on each landing gear skid. If you have a decent screw driver and Allen wrench in your box, the process should only take a couple of minutes at most. I’m sure the case is a great add-on for some people and if I ever travel with it, it will certainly help protect it.
Drone Flyers Size categories:
Nano: Weighs less than 4 ounces
Micro: Weighs between 4 and 8 ounces
Mini: Weighs between 8 oz and 1 pound
Small: Weighs between 1 pound – 3 pounds
Medium: Weighs between 3 pounds – 6 pounds
Large: Weighs between 6 pounds and 10 pounds
Giant: Weighs greater than 10 pounds
- Length.width.height: 28.8″ x 28.8″ x 7.5″
- Weight: 2.3lbs
- Payload: 1.1lb
- Brushless motor: WK-WS-28-009 x 4
- Battery: 11.1V 2200mAh LiPo 15C (not included, optional )
- Gyro: 6-Axis control system
- Electronics: Walkera integrated electronics
- GPS / Telemetry upgrades coming soon
- Walkera UFO MX400 6 Channel Quadcopter
- Four rotors (2 CW / 2 CCW)
- Devo 7 Transmitter
- Receiver included
- Aluminum Case included
- LED Strip Light Kit
- Tool Kit
- Instruction manual for MX400
- Instruction manual for Devo7
- Mini CD with PDF manuals for Devo
I completely fail to understand how not one single manual for a quad that I have seen yet appears to have taken into account that someone might actually want to assemble and fly the device or ever need to repair anything. The MX400 has absolutely no instructions on setup other than which directions the props go. There aren’t even simple instructions like how to attach the landing gear or how to assemble the LED light kit. Not that these things are difficult, but when you are used to manuals for products like a Blade 450 with complete exploded views and detailed instructions, you do expect a little more detail when you are shelling out about the same price.
There also are no instructions on what position the different toggles on the Devo7 should be or what settings would be optimal for a beginner versus and advanced flyer. While flying a quad IS easier than a helicopter, I would certainly think that some of this basic information should be included to help new people to have the best experience possible.
I would estimate that the average first-time user will spend about 30-45 minutes getting everything setup good while a simple instruction sheet and some marking on the LED strips to denote red or white lights couple cut this setup down to about 10-20 minutes.
With everything setup and ready to fly, I didn’t even need to look outside to know that the wind was kicking up pretty bad as the windows in the house were rattling in the gusts. A quick check confirmed that we were getting sustained 15mph winds with gusts to 20mph. There is not a snowball’s chance in hell I would launch my Blade 450 Helicopter in these conditions, but the Walkera MX400….why not. This is certainly a key benefit to me of a quad over a heli in that you can fly a quad in conditions that you wouldn’t fly a heli in.
The one big concern I did have is that I can’t get any replacement props for about two weeks so I need to make sure and not do anything completely stupid. After doing some on-ground spin up tests, I put her into the air at about 6′. One tick on the left aileron trim and she was pretty well dialed in and surprisingly stable given the wind. If a gust got it while she was up in the air the MX400 would climb gently like a kite. If the MX400 was already pretty low, the wind would tend to push it down a few feet. Even given the wind conditions, I was easily able to do some circles and basic moves withing the confines of my pretty small front yard. I really want to be impressed with the MX400 but I will need to wait for better flying conditions.
The guys at XHeli have done a few pretty good video on the MX400 so I figured I would give them a shout out and include their test flight video.
The wind was only a little lighter today with gusts from 12-17 mph so I waited until late afternoon and headed out hoping for the best. The park area had two guys in biohazard suites spraying chemicals on the grass so I figured I should probably stay away from that so I headed out to a dead end street which didn’t give a lot of space, but I figured it would be good enough to get a few minutes of flying in.
The take-off was nice and smooth and the MX400 climbed up nice and gentle As I got to about 15 feet or so the wind was much stronger and the MX400 got hit with a pretty good gust of wind. The only thing that happened is that the MX400 got a little wobbly for a second and then settled back down. Even in the steady wind, the auto-level function worked quite nicely. A few more times during the flight a strong gust would come up and the MX400 would pendulum a bit and then mellow right back out.
The MX400 is relatively quiet for a quad this size although not totally stealthy as it did draw the attention of an old model airplane builder who took quite a fancy to it and was very impressed with how well it was handling the wind.
If you want nice smooth fairly level flight, you need to be pretty soft on the controls, it doesn’t take a whole lot of input to pitch left/right or forward/back and start moving along. Two things that I really liked about the MX400 is that the wind gusts didn’t really ever affect altitude like I have seen on smaller quads. It held altitude pretty good even in some pretty heavy gusts. The second thing that I like is that the motors have enough power to spin the blades up quick enough to give you a good feeling of control when descending. When a quad is a little underpowered you sometimes have to jump on the throttle if it is losing altitude too quickly and then there will be a little lag while the rotors spin up. The MX400 has enough power for its size that you don’t ever think you could be in some serious trouble on a fast landing.
What would a maiden flight be without a GoPro strapped on? All I did was to velco the GoPro to the bottom chassis plate so no real effort was made to reduce vibrations. Since the GoPro is directly under the center of the MX400 there was no balancing issues to deal with and the payload capacity of the MX400 is well above the weight of a bare GoPro.
While I would like to have had some more air time before posting this review, we do have a few fun projects in store for the MX400 so we will be doing a followup in a few weeks and see if our initial impressions will hold out.
Here is the on-board GoPro footage:
The Walkera MX400 gets high marks on engineering, build quality, performance, stability, packaging, and value. Where the MX400 loses some points is in poor documentation. I fully understand that developing and printing a manual takes time and costs money that raises the cost of goods of the end product. However, these is no excuse not to have someone (I’m available for this Walkera) do some YouTube videos on setup, flying, troubleshooting, and repair. A little extra effort on the customer service side will go a long way.
The copter itself is a good value for the money coming in at $409 for everything from WowHobbies. If you are looking for your fist multi-rotor copter and don’t want to build it yourself, the MX400 sure seems to be a good fit for that market.