I finally got a chance to fly the Hubsan x4 yesterday. In case you don't know, the Hubsan x4 is the "generic" version of the traxxas branded QR-1. I have been a big fan of this little micro quad for training and flying indoors because of its durability and impressive flight times.. And unbeatable price. The QR-1 is around $65 from Amazon and comes with two batteries, and a set of replacement props. The Hubsan comes with two batteries as well but no replacement props. I also liked the traxxas charger better. These are really minor differences and the price difference is pretty wide with the Hubsan x4 coming in under $40.
I always assumed the x4 and qr-1 would fly the same, but I was wrong. The stability mode on both of these is very similar, so if you are a beginner I doubt you would notice much difference. However, the expert flight mode (click the right stick to trigger) on the Hubsan is much more aggressive and I really liked flying it better. Fast forward flight is fast and it will be out of sight rapidly.. If it was any faster, you would need eagle vision. It is a joy to make fast banking turns, and zip along the ground at 4 feet. It can even be used to exercise your dog - see below!
So you saw someone flying a remote control helicopter around your neighborhood or you watched an awesome youtube video and you are wondering where to start? Let this Camera Drone guide help you choose. There is something for all budgets. It is almost always better to start with something on the inexpensive side to learn on but the more expensive helicopters are much easier to fly. If you have any questions or want some advice, please feel free to comment or contact me.
The BadBoy Quadcopter with Camera costs about $65 from Amazon and has a 2.4ghz radio, onboard camera, and flight times around 8 minutes. The videos below do not seem bad at all for an all-in-one ready to fly package that is so inexpensive. In the lower end market, you have to watch out for vibrations that can cause a ton of "jello" or rolling shutter. If video is this good, I would say this is a great deal for $65 bucks if you just want something to fly around, chase birds, and spy on your neighbors (Kidding!!). I would not trust the range on this much beyond line of sight.
The Udi U818A comes in around $85 and has its four blades protected with plastic guards. If you are learning, you will really appreciate the prop guards. The video also appears to be jello / rolling shutter free and should be a good choice to learn on and get some experience shooting some aerial photography.
The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 might be the most popular quadcopter / drone on the market because of its ability to be controlled by smart phones and tablets. When the first one came out, I really thought of it as more of a toy but the new one has some really cool features that none of the others offer - my favorite is the ability to stream video directly to your phone or tablet so you can almost get a true FPV experience (there is a lag unlike true fpv with an analog video transmitter). After watching many videos about the AR.Drone 2.0 (even the one from the company has jello), I can confidently say you will get jello / rolling shutter and that is really the only drawback to this helicopter. Because the camera is mounted directly to the body, it will likely be difficult to correct this issue. So if you dont mind HD video with a little bit of jello, this could be the perfect copter!
This is just a simple little 3d printed part that is probably over priced, but if you have a Phantom with a gimbal you will probably really appreciate this. It attaches to the back of the remote control so you can adjust the tilt of the gimbal! It is available on Amazon.
If anyone knows of a better way to control the tilt besides switching to a different controller, let me know below! How do you tilt your gimbal?