Syma is well known for their low cost quadcopters and the brand is often suggested to those who want to get started in this hobby. Their most popular models – the X1 and X5 – are too large for extensive indoor flying, so we were pleased to see them release the Syma X11 Hornet, a smaller model. This model comes with propeller guards as standard equipment making the quad comparable in price to other popular starter models such as the Hubsan X4. Our review and rating will put the Syma X11 Hornet through it’s paces and let you know if you should consider this quadcopter for your fleet.
I purchased my X11 from Amazon at this link and, unfortunately, the unit I received was defective. I was unable to fly it without it flipping and crashing – probably a defect in the gyroscope chip(s). I sent it back and ordered another one and the 2nd one flew perfectly the first time. Q/C problems happen…especially with very low priced quadcopters. This is why we always suggest purchasing from a company or outlet which offers good customer service.
The X11 is a micro sized quadcopter – small enough to fly inside if desired, but not tiny like the nano type.
X11 Quadcopter with Prop guards installed
Transmitter – smaller “thumb control” type
3.7v Lipo (200 mah)battery and USB Charget
Extra Set of propellers
26 grams = X11 with no prop guards or battery
7.1 grams = stock battery
2.3 grams = prop guards
35.4 grams flying weight with prop guards.
Unlike many micro quads, the X11 uses geared motors. This allows for bigger and better formed propellers and seems to result in more stable flight manners. On the other hand, gears may need occasional replacement.
Preparing to Fly
Charging the included battery should take approx. 35 minutes using the including USB charger.
Remove the small phillips screw from the rear of the transmitter, slide the battery cover down and off, and insert 4AA batteries in the proper configuration. Test TX to make sure it turns on and replace the battery cover and screw.
Once your LiPo battery is charged (USB charger red light turns off), it’s ready to insert into the battery bay in the bottom front of the Syma X11. Slide it all the way in – there is a small plastic “spring tab” which will pop up and help to hold the battery in during flight.
Connect the battery to the quadcopter and set it on a level surface. The LED’s will be flashing. Now turn on the transmitter – wait a second or two – and push the throttle (left stick) up to the top of it’s range and then down to the bottom. You should hear a beep indicating that the quadcopter is bound to the transmitter and the LED’s should stop flashing. Check to make certain by advancing the throttle slightly – the props should start spinning.
This video shows the binding process along with the gyro reset and a short demo of hovering and crashing into a wall and ceiling.
After binding the X11 to the TX, push the throttle stick forward until the X11 lifts a foot or so off the ground. It should be relatively easy for those with some joystick or quadcopter experience to get this craft to hover. If the quadcopter wants to flip or otherwise is difficult to control, try resetting the gyroscropes by setting it on a flat surface and pushing both sticks to their lower right – the LED’s should flash, indicating a reset. Try again and see if you can obtain a relatively stable hover.
Note – total beginners may find it better to try their first flights outdoors – but not too close to a bunch of trees or elsewhere where you may lose your X11. A garage or basement also makes a good place to become familiar with the flight characteristics of the Syma X11.
Compared to other “toy grade” quadcopters of it’s type, the X11 has decent flight manners. This allows for indoor as well as outdoor flight.
Here is a video by another quadcopter pilot showing some outdoor flight:
I flew the X11 outdoors on a day with moderate winds and had no problems enjoying myself and keeping the quadcopter under control. The X11 has a “hi” mode which is activated by pressing the switch on the upper left part of the transmitter – this mode allows for steeper angles which can be used to counteract the wind.
There is also a “flip” button – located on the upper right of the transmitter. This should only be used outside, as the X11 needs some room to recover from this move. I had mixed results with the flip function – sometimes it seemed to not work and other times the flip was executed. Perhaps the “hi-lo” mode has an effect on the flip function.
Small quadcopter such as the X11 are designed to be flown within 30 meters (100 feet) or so of the operator – any further and you will lose sight and/or orientation. I flew the Hornet out to at least 120 feet and maintained control.
The owners manual details many of the functions available – such as trimming, reset, flight modes and more. As usual, the translation (from Chinese) could be better…and, yet, compared to earlier manuals this one is quite decent. It is suggested that you familiarize yourself with the manual and keep it handy, as it details various functions which you could never figure out without it.
Value for $$$
Propellers are brittle and will break if they contact hard objects.
Gears need checking and cleaning – hair, lint, dust can easily clog.
All toy grade quadcopters need to have their motors and gears replaced regularly.
Our Recommendation – Should you buy one?
We, as well as many novice AND experience flyers, are impressed with the basics of this quadcopter. It behaves better – at least for a beginner – than the Hubsan X4, which has always been one of the standards in starter quadcopters.
Given the reasonable price, the X11 definitely earns our “yeah, buy one” recommendation assuming you have the patience to learn how to replace certain parts which tend to wear out.
I’ve seen pricing from $25 to $50 for the X11 – it’s a newer model, so I suspect some of the higher prices are due to limited stock. You should be able to find it for no more than $30-$40 including shipping. If you are US based, check the Amazon link below – that page should also show other vendors and their pricing:
If you find the X11 for a good price (under $30), you should consider ordering a 2nd one – because just the props, the battery and the motors (in parts) cost that or more. Parts are already available but only from China and Hong Kong based vendors. However, it’s very likely that within a few weeks parts will be stocked by some US based stores.
Parts are available with free shipping from the Syma Toy Stove at this link:
Forum Discussion X11 Hornet
If you’d like to comment on your experience with the X11, ask questions or take part in the conversation, you can leave a Facebook comment below or visit our forum continuation thread about the Syma X11 Hornet.