Firstly I'd like to thank GearBest for providing the unit for review, their generosity in helping spread information in the community is extremely useful :)
Currently available for around £168 at GearBest, it offers everything you need to get in the air from the quad side. It comes with a FrSky or Spektrum-based receiver as well as propellers (including 4 spares), antenna and all the internal components that make up the quad. You simple have to add your own radio, goggles and lipo, and you are ready to go!
- 32 bit F3 Flight Controller for super fast processing and loop times, giving you exceptional response time and control
- Independent anti-Vibration IMU, isolating the most important component of the Flight Controller from any mechanical vibrations 5.8GHz 25/600mw adjustable power Multi-band Vtx. Set it to 25mw so that you video signal does not interfere when flying with others, or set it all the way to 600mw to get extra video range and power to get clear signal when flying around (and through) concrete structures
- Swappable ESC - easily replace/install any ESC of your choice
- Impact resistant motor housing, protecting the motors from high impacts.
- 700TVL PAL/NTSC FPV camera giving you great resolution in your FPV goggles.
- Injection molded heavy duty plastic skirt and skid protection. Much stronger than the usual 3d printed parts found on quads.
- SBUS, PPM, Spectrum Satellite - all major radio control systems
- 180mm frame size, made for 4 inch props
- 240 grams total weight without the battery. One of the lightest quads out there, giving you more flying time and higher speeds!
- Latest Cleanflight version pre-loaded, Betaflight ready!
This isn't going to be much of a build log, but nonetheless that's my format :)
The slightly weathered box from being shipped halfway around the world! Luckily for us it's a decent thickness and the internal components are also well protected.
Inside we get a simple zipped case, that is it! This is going to be a very useful storage solution for when you are not flying it that will stop it get it damaged.
Inside we are presented with the quad - as we can see literally everything but the antenna looks ready to go! I have picked the FrSky BNF version which comes with a pre-installed FrSky XSR. All that needs to be done is to bind to it and you can fly. It's worth noting here I would imagine all of the products are international firmware versions, so if you have a Taranis purchased in the EU and wish to fly it, you will have to flash the receiver with EU firmware before you can bind to it (or flash your Taranis to International firmware).
In the other side of the case we have a nicer zipper section that contains the manuals, spare parts and a few extras.
With all of the pocket items out on show we can see there's a great amount of stickers on the sheet, some quick start guides, a spare set of propellers, and various accessories that I'm not sure what are actually for..!
There isn't anything to do with a quadcopter like this when 'building it', they even pre-install the receiver. All you need to do is bind it and away you go! I did find that the designated bind button next to the antenna did not actually work, so I had to take it apart again to press the normal bind button on the receiver - slightly annoying but no big deal as it's easy enough to take part with only 8 screws. I'm not actually sure why this didn't work either as the place it is soldered at seems to make sense too.
The Shuriken comes preinstalled with Cleanflight, I decided not to touch anything and see how it flies stock, and then after that I gave it a little bit of a refresh with Betaflight 3.0.1 to see if it makes any difference.
As we can see from the flights it flies pretty well - it has some shakes that could definitely be tuned out given the time. One thing you'll notice is one thing that generally plagues 4" setups, particularly ones that have wide arms that restrict airflow is that it lacks a little torque in the corners. This thing isn't heavy (only 240g as stated above) so I can only put it down to the rather bulky body blocking too much of the critical airflow. However, I still think this flies great considering it's plug and play.
This is a great little quad that would serve a newcomer well, or even someone who is just looking to get into the 4" quad territory and doesn't want the hassle of building one. Easily swappable ESC's, Betaflight-ready, and a well-built frame mean that it will survive crashing well, and even in those heavy crashes you won't be forced to buy a completely new quadcopter. In terms of downsides the only real thing I can think of is the camera - this is one thing that is usually always neglected in these BNF/RTF builds - and that is the same thing here. I appreciate that it would be difficult to fit the usual HS1177 CCD camera into a build like that, however it would still have been nice to try :) though in all honesty this is one of the better CMOS cameras I've seen. It goes to gray in some instances but otherwise the colours work well. Sadly we don't get much sun in the UK so I didn't get a chance to test it in bright light, but I imagine it will suffer a poor transition like the other CMOS sensors. Winter flying would also be a very easy task with this, with very few places for moisture to enter (and you can easily cover up the center-frame holes), this would be a good frame to using in the wet/snowy times.
Once again many thanks to GearBest for allowing me to create the review, their support is much appreciated. I actually chose this product to review, it was not suggested to me.