Best Beginner Quadcopter
Horizon Hobby brings the mini quadcopter to the masses with the versatile Blade Nano QX RTF. This mini quadcopter is ideal for both amateur pilots and expert RC enthusiasts. Its size and stability give it the ability maneuver through indoor rooms and offices, but it has enough power and agility to perform impressive outdoor aerobatics. Lightweight and durable, the Blade Nano QX RTF is tons of fun in a tiny package.
The folks at Horizon Hobby are a huge name in the hobby world, owning 16 different brands that make everything an RC hobbyist could desire. In addition to popular RC vehicle and accessory brands including such well-known names as Horizon and Team Losi Racing (TLR), they also traverse the skies with their Hangar 9 and E-flite RC aircraft products. The Blade brand alone produces more than 20 different models of RC helicopters, ranging from the Nano QX RTF quad copter to the pro-level Blade 700x.
The Nano QX RTF is the smallest model made by Blade. At just 5.5 inches long and weighing a little over half an ounce (16.5 grams, to be exact), it fits in the palm of your hand. This makes it easy to take anywhere and everywhere, whether you want to practice aerobatics in the park or just have some fun with your co-workers in the office. The Nano QX RTF is widely considered to be the best beginner quadcopter.
Typically, we’d recommend that pilots keep their RC aircraft clear of potential indoor obstacles, but the Nano QX RTF is equipped with Blade’s SAFE technology. SAFE stands for Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope – flight control software that provides the operator with both stability and agility modes. In stability mode, the Blade Nano QX RTF can keep itself stable in a hover without any help from the pilot. Lose control? Just let go of the stick and watch the quad copter recover into a stable hover all on its own.
Then there’s agility mode, which opens the Nano QX RTF up for faster flying and improved maneuverability. Agility mode is tons of fun in wide open spaces, allowing the pilot to take full advantage of the quad copter’s smooth, powerful flight characteristics. If your tricks happen to land you in any control trouble, just flip it back to stability mode for help in smoothing things out.
If things get a bit too wild, crashes are still possible (though less likely) with the help of stability mode. Even so, it helps to reduce the severity of the situation. We recommend playing it safe whenever possible, as switching modes sooner rather than later will earn you the best outcome in any potentially hazardous situation.
The Blade Nano QX RTF is a powerful little machine, and it’s almost a little too agile for new pilots without any prior experience flying a quad copter. It’s super quick and ultra-responsive – characteristics you’d expect for a high-quality machine of this size – and even experience operators will want to take things slow out of the box, working up to the high speeds and advanced maneuvers that the Blade Nano QX RTF is very capable of performing.
That said, the occasional bump into a wall is made safer by the guards that protect the outer edge of each blade. Even if you do manage to bend or break a blade, the Blade Nano QX RTF comes with plenty of extras. It’s packaged with everything else you’ll need, too. The battery, charger, and 4-in-1 4-channel DSMX receiver/mixer/ESCs/SAFE sensor unit are all included, and there’s no assembly required. You can fly right out of the box.
With its impressive performance and an medium price range, this isn’t a toy you’ll want to buy for your youngest child. There are plenty of less powerful rc quadcopters that won’t hurt your wallet quite so much when a little one flies it into the top of a tree. However, its price point is perfect for the interested amateur looking for a fun and extremely capable heli.
All in all, the Blade Nano QX RTF is a superior mini quadcopter that may, with its incredibly small size, look like it’s just a toy. Don’t be fooled! There’s not much that this sharp little beast can’t do when it’s in the air. You’ll spend so much time with it that the price will divide into mere pennies per hour, and we highly recommend that investment.
Best Mid Size Quadcopter
The DJI Phantom 1 Quadcopter is one of the best mid size quadcopter on the market. The Phantom 1 has four equally spaced rotors. The Phantom 1 is a fun to fly remote-controlled aircraft with a camera mount to allow for filming and photographic purposes. The Phantom 1 is an easy to use, eye-in-the-sky platform manufactured by Dajiang Innnovations Technology, more commonly known as DJI Innovations.
DJI Innovations (DJI) is headquartered in Shenzhen, China, but has offices in Los Angeles, California, Schondra, Germany, and Osaka, Japan. DJI has over 500 employees and is considered one of the leading pioneer companies in the design and development of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). DJI is committed to accessibility of its products to both professional cinematographers for commercial purposes and amateur hobbyists for recreational delights. DJI promotes itself as DJI “THE FUTURE OF POSSIBLE.”
The Phantom’s Specifications
The Phantom 1is DJI’s first generation model and is one of the most popular miniature quadcoptors on the market. It weighs about 6 pounds and is 17 inches by 17 inches and stands 8 inches, or 350 millimeters by 350 millimeters by 190 millimeters. The Phantom 1 ships with a duel-joystick remote controller with a range of 1000 meters, a rechargeable 2200 mAh lithium polymer battery and charger, and detached propellers and landing gear.
Ready for Flight and Easy to Use
The Phantom 1 has factory pre-mounted hardware and pre-tuned software requiring only basic assembly upon purchase. The Phantom 1 is ready for flight within minutes from removal of the model from its box. A user needs to properly charge and install the lithium battery and attach the propellers and landing gear. Once 4 AA batteries are added to the remote controller, the Phantom I is ready for take-off. The integrated pre-configured flight system, a Naz-M autopilot system with GPS capacity, allows a user to quickly and easily learn to fly to great heights and hover in the windy outdoors. The Phantom 1 comes with LED lights under each arm for easier visual identification while in flight.
Although not included, a light camera is easily attached to the Phantom 1 because of the
camera mount seamlessly included into its design. Specifically, the Phantom 1 camera mount is configured for the GoPro Hero action camera, a popular and versatile mini-camera. On its website, www.dji.com, DJI showcases some fantastic examples of aerial photography and videography shot from the Phantom 1.
• The Phantom 1 is fairly durable to withstand rough initial flights.
• It has a wonderful Enhanced Fail-safe return feature that returns the aircraft back to its take-off point in the event of loss of contact.
• It has a maximum horizontal speed of 10 meters per second (that’s a peppy 22 miles per hour) and a vertical speed of 6 meters per second.
• Intelligent Orientation Control (IOC) allows for true direction remote maneuverability instead of front nose direction. Many multi-rotor UAS models require the user to be aware which way the aircraft’s nose is facing because that determines forward and back, as well as left and right, depending on aircraft orientation rather than location of the user. With IOC, the Phantom 1 turns true left, right, forward and back depending on the perspective of the user’s orientation of the remote controller to the Phantom I.
• DJI provides excellent customer service and the Phantom 1 comes with a One Year Limited Warranty when purchased through an authorized dealer.
• Relatively short battery charge duration of about ten minutes.
• If GPS is engaged and propellers not balanced, then video may be erratic and jiggle as the Phantom 1 may have a bumpier flight due to GPS constant calibration. Adjustment of the video camera to film at 60 fps and turning off the GPS Altitude mode should correct the issue.
The DJI Phantom 1 is the first generation quadcopter that set the industry standard for quality at a fair price. The Phantom 1 has a durable, lightweight design and comes easy to operate with such features as the IOC and Enhance fail-safe return.
The introduction of newer models to the UAS market has resulted in the lowering of the price for the Phantom 1 from $*** to an even more affordable $***. At such a cost, the Phantom 1 with its video capacity and flight-ready configuration is an impressive product that is fun to fly with very little downside.
Best Camera Drone For Beginners
Blade Helis is one of many subsidiaries of the parent company Horizon Hobby Inc. and specializes in therc helicopter models designed for consumers. The main distribution center of Horizon Hobby is located in Champaign, Illinois. Blade Helis is only one division of Hobby Horizon’s extensive RC manufacturing lines.
The company also manufactures and distributes RC cars, planes, boats, and trains along with other radio controllers and product parts as well in their product lines. Their distributorship is internationally based and their products are distributed and sold to at least 50 different countries world wide.
If you are looking for a sleek new radio controlled quadricopter to add to your collection, then look no further than the 180 QX HD Quadcopter. This rc quadcopter is a great little machine that is designed for both the novice and advanced RC pilots alike. Plus the Blade team states that the 180 QX HD quad copter is similar to the MQX and Nano QX models making it possible to switch canopies from one model to the next. The Blade 180 is best camera drone for beginners.
Also, the motor pots and propellers are the same as the other models, but the color scheme is different and the landing gear settings are higher to accommodate the addition of the on board camera. The fact that there are some similar parts from one model to the next makes it possible to repair some component damage using parts from these similar models, which can be a nice feature for those who like to switch parts in and out from one copter to the next.
Two Completion Levels
The Blade 180 QX HD quadcopter is set up to work either with the RTF transmitter. Or, if you want to avoid spending extra money on the RTF transmitter, you can alternatively operate the quadcopter in BNF, which version allows you to employ the use of a suitable spectrum equipped and operational air transmitter that you currently own and have on hand.
Three Flight Envelope Modes
SAFE Technology or Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope technology is included on the 180 QX HD quadcopter for two stability flight modes and a third agility flight mode option. The first flight mode is the Low Angle Stability mode and is really best for using the on board camera, since this is the smoothest flight mode for video recording or snapping pictures.
The second flight envelope mode, or the high angle stability mode gives the pilot more freedom with banking the copter during flight for more aggressive flight patterns, but the 180 QX HD quadcopter will not flip over in this mode, even though you have more flight freedom.
The third flight envelope mode, called the agility mode, is intended for more advanced pilots who want to use the on board camera while having no safety flight envelope to prevent the copter from doing flips and loops while recording or taking pictures. This final mode allows for a lot more precision flight capability of the Blade 180 QX HD.
The three different flight envelope modes are switch accessed. The final agility flight envelope mode is not recommended for novice pilots.
On Board EFC 720 camera
The On Board EFC 720 camera is set up with an on off switch that must be set on or off before engaging the 180 QX HD quadcopter in flight. However, it is possible to access the built in camera controls from the transmitter to switch between video and snap shot picture modes and engage the camera within each mode. The camera comes equipped with a 2 gig micro SD card that connects to the servo lead built in to the base board.
The camera is also secured in by attaching it to the hook loop strap for proper mounting. This camera can also be used on other planes and such, if you have a free channel for hooking into. The EFC 720 comes with a micro USB connector to allow the user to plug the camera into their computer to download video and pictures without having to take the SD card out of the camera.
Flight Duration And USB Charger
If the 180 QX HD is set in its first two flight envelope positions, it is said to average around 8 to 10 minutes of charged flight time. If you set the flight envelope switch to the agility mode, this will waste battery flight time much quicker. The battery used in the 180 QX HD quadcopter is a 25c 250 miliamp cell.
And the copter comes with a convenient USB charge connector, so you can recharge the copter by plugging it into a computer’s USB port. This makes the copter easy to recharge on the go, if you have a USB port available.
The most useful features of the 180 QX HD quad copter are the ability to repair the unit by being able to switch in parts from other copters, the SAFE technology for flight envelope control, and the on board camera with transmitter control capability for in flight use. In addition, the fact that the EFC 720 camera is useable on other planes is also a feature that some hobbyists seem to appreciate as well.
While the 180 QX HD quad copter comes with a number of great features, some complaints with this quad copter have surfaced from customer concerns. Some have expressed concerns over problems with the camera failing to charge. Others have noted that Horizon Hobby and the Blade Team have not adequately addressed problems with weak propeller manufacturing.
Some have been critical about the flight duration being shorter than lesser expensive copters that give the operator up to fifteen minutes of flight time. But actual flight time is based on a number of factors including payload weight, wind and other environmental conditions.
The Blade 180 QX HD quad copter is a great little RC copter that can be used virtually anywhere and is easy to recharge. It comes with SAFE technology three positional flight envelope modes and will accommodate all levels of piloting skill.
It’s onboard camera can be used on any plane model with a free channel for a servo lead and it comes with a 2 gig micro SD card for in flight video and snap pictures. Overall, the 180 QXHD quadcopter is a great machine and many users really like its features and innovative capabilities.