on September 28, 2013
A bit pricey, looks like a child's toy, does not come with a camera (sold separately to the tune of an additional $300), fragile propellers, and still an amazing device for the older boys (men over 18 who love flying devices). The functions it can perform are mind boggling, functions such as the return home feature are add on features on $1,500 quad copters and usually very intricate, but on this bad boy it's standard and done with the flip of a switch. I flew it at night with the lights on and it hovered 150 feet high with 20 mile an hour wind and stayed stationery with the flip of a switch, and with another flip of a switch it landed itself at the same location it took off from. WOW!!! The agility mode is insane, too fast, I found myself switching to stability mode whenever the speed was making it disappear from view. Some friends who are helicopter gurus complained it was too easy to set up and fly, which to me seems stupid because I personally don't have the time to spend setting up a more expensive copter and I certainly enjoy the stability of this copter regardless of how easy it makes it to fly a quad copter.
on November 14, 2013
First, two warnings:
1) This is not a child's toy. The extra size makes a qualitative change from those little mall 'copters. First, the battery - which is designed to get as much power/ounce as possible, not safety - is much, much bigger, and so stores much, much more energy, meaning it's much, much more dangerous. Second, the props are much larger, much sturdier and have much more power behind them. Running into a mall copter will sting like the dickens, but is unlikely to seriously injure you. These props could take off your fingers at speed.
2) As others have mentioned, Blade recalled the props. You shouldn't get a quad with the olds ones now, but double check: the props should have an engraved B (or possibly C, etc. if they revise them again) on the top of the hub.
Ok, now that that's out of the way - this is simply an amazing quad. It brings capabilities to the hobbyist that (well, weren't - the clones are out now) except for significantly more money, or building a DYI version.
Smart mode - well, I tend to not fly in it. The manual warns that going from smart mode to one of the others "could be a challenge". They failed to note that going the other way - for an experienced flyer - could also be a challenge. Learning to ignore orientation is easy, but the changes as it changes its position relative to me is confusing. However, it makes an incredible "Panic" button. Lose control in the middle of a roll in agility mode? Flip to smart mode and let go of the controls. It'll right itself.
The other interesting thing about smart mode is for use as a camera platform. I've had other so-called camera platforms before. Flying them is enough of a pain that you really need two people to get good shots from it - one to pay attention to the quad, and one to the camera. Being able to do a position lock and then take photos is going to be a win, so I've decided to order the camera for $200 (hopefully on sale on Black Friday).
Stability is more stable than anything else I own. While the flight envelope is supposedly limited, there's more than enough available to get myself into trouble, even though I've not tried any acrobatics in this mode.
Agility mode is an outright blast. Ok, no 3d, but more than enough acrobatic capabilities for me!
The plastic - especially on the landing skids - does worry me a bit. I'd prefer something with a bit more give for those skisd. Maybe that doesn't work with the camera (I'll see after I attach one). However, it's survived a couple of harder-than-I liked landings with nothing more than a few scratches, so I'm not going to complain yet.
Finally, there's that charger. Frankly, I wish they'd left it out of the BNF version. The battery has a standard 3-cell charger plug. If you've already got a transmitter, expecting you to have a charger isn't unreasonable. I know I did, and that's what I've been charging it with. For the RTF version, which might be going into the hands of beginners (although Blade & Horizon both list it as for intermediate flyers), I can understand using the auto-battery charger on it. As mentioned before, those batteries are designed to optimize power, not safety. If mishandled, they can burst into flames, or even explode. I'd much rather have that happening in the an engine compartment than the front seat of a car, or on a desk. If you want to charge it in those locations, you need a lipo bag. Might as well get a charger while you're getting the lipo bag.
on February 20, 2014
UPDATE, I FELT IT WAS FAIR TO COME BACK AND UPGRADE THIS FROM 3 STARS TO 4. THE REASON WHY IS AT THE VERY BOTTOM.
I ordered this over the Chinese competition, for a few reasons.
A. I did not want to give such a large amount of money directly to a Chinese owned company,
B. I did not want to have to TRY and deal with Chinese customer support if I had issues.
C. I did not like the toy looking transmitter of the Phantom.
D. I wanted a real hobby grade transmitter.
C. I wanted to support and American company,
E. I have heard Horizon Hobby customer support is "second to none"
I open up the DX6i transmitter box, and I am happy. It is what I wanted, a big, complicated, computer transmitter that reminds me of my hobby days 15 years ago. I feel like it is a precise tool, not some toy. Inversely, I open up the box on the 350Qx, and am not so impressed. It is smaller than I imagined, and has kind of a cheap feel to it. The light weight, brittle plastic body is someone flexible, and two of the motors make clicking sounds when you spin the props(rotors).
I watch a couple videos online to see how to program the transmitter for the 350qx, and I am flying it in about an hour.
SMART MODE: The Smart Mode does what is says, by making it so you don't have to remember what direction the craft is going. You push the stick to the right and it goes right, regardless of which direction the vehicle is facing.However, in smart mode, it feels like the quad is fighting me. It is sluggish to respond, and doesn't do what I want it to. It flies rough, and you can see that on the video camera.
STABILITY MODE: In Stability Mode, the craft flies like you would expect. For example, you need to keep in mind the orientation of the craft versus where you are. It flies responsive enough, that you can fly it just fine though.
AGILITY MODE: I have not tried Agility Mode yet. I am not as skilled as I would like to be, and don't want to risk a crash.
RETURN TO HOME MODE: Return to Home mode is something that I did try, and works perfectly.
WHY DID I RATE THE CRAFT AS I DID?
The reason this craft only gets 3 stars is that it came with two motors, with bad bearings that introduces a lot of noise into the vehicle, and makes poor video. The reason it didn't get just two stars, is that I called Horizon Hobby, didn't have a long wait time, and spoke with Chad, and without any fuss, he is going to ship me two new motors, free of charge of course.
DID YOU TRY IT, BEFORE WRITING THIS REVIEW?
I have done some experiments with video, and I find the front mount is problematic for a camera as heavy as the Sony AS15. It makes the vehicle tip forward, and try to fly away from you. Also, even though I had "Remote(wifi)" turned off on the camera, it still seemed to interfere with the GPS.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SUPPORTING EVIDENCE TO BACK UP THIS REVIEW?
I have a few videos I put up on youtube, if you want to type in "the suburban hippie experimentalist" into google, you can see them...
For now, I am satisfied. Even the next day before I called Horizon, and was considering sending it back, I still didn't want to by the Phantom. I will keep it, and use it, and in the future maybe build my own, if I need to upgrade.
WHAT IS THIS 350QX INTENDED FOR?
This thing I am sure will fly circles around the Phantom. It is more of a hobby grade flyer, whereas the Phantom is more a strict video tool.
Hope this helps!
One major thing happened that made me change my mind on how happy I am with this quad. One, I called Horizon Hobby customer support. I called, I was on hold for about a minute, and then I did the option to leave a call back number. I received a callback in about 3 minutes. I spoke with Chad. He was very nice, helpful and understanding. He said it was no problem to ship me two new motors.
The second thing that happened is that, without me asking, they rush shipped me the motors VIA FedEx. I got them on a Saturday, which if you get things delivered to your house, you know that is kind of rare, and cost more.
The third thing that happened, is after I replaced the two new noisy motors, I began to play with different camera mounts. I have discovered which modes work best for what. Without a gimball, and camera anti shake, Smart Mode is not the best for video. Stability Mode however, is useable.
Because of those three things, I have decided I am in fact happy with my purchase. There are some bugs to work out, but now I am confident, that it will be no problem to get the results I want.
Although the two motors I was sent, or quiet, I have decided that I will probably upgrade the motor bearings to ceramic ones from Bocca bearings in the future.
I have also ordered a Mobius camera, and will get an 89 dollar gimball off of Ebay that unfortunately is from Hong Kong(I would rather buy American, or at least Japanese)
Based on my bad experience with the Sony AS15, and my good experience with the 808 # 16, and ordering a Mobius over the Sony, it isn't so much about money rather than trying to get stuff that works right away. The Mobius gets great reviews, and the seller of this 89 dollar gimbal gets 99.3% feedback.
I REALLY HATE TO SAY THIS, BUT I THINK THE CHINESE ARE ACTUALLY STARTING TO BEAT THE REST OF THE WORLD IN QUALITY. Seriously, that hurts to say, but I think it might be true...
on October 4, 2014
I can't believe how pleased I am with this product. I was originally attracted to this product in part to my love of photography. The 350 QX provided an untapped resource for use of my Go Pro and the results are un-freeking-belivable. The 350 QX is first of all, one of the most durable products I've ever owned. I can work wonders with a GoPro, but a complete rookie when it came to piloting a quad. At first I crashed the copter in some of the most brutal ways. Each time upon retrieval I could not believe the copter was in one piece (did not start mounting camera onto until I got a handle on flying, which did not take long, especially in Smart Mode) and not just the body that should have been completely destroyed, but the propellers never broke. Got it together, with a little practice and I can't be more pleased. Some notes to novices like me. Know the difference between "BNF"(Bind and fly)" and "RTF (Ready to fly)" I purchased the BNF and was surprised to learn that there was no remote/transmitter included with my package. I called Amazon, explained the situation and learned that it was my error. Amazon was real cool about it and refunded me $42 even though it was my mistake. The way the add read, a novice would think that everything was all included. I subsequently purchased the Spektrum DX6i (Strongly recommend. Love the customer service on the part of amazon and absolutely love the 350QX. If I could, I would own a fleet of this amazing devises. The uses are seemingly endless with respect to photography and the 350QX is like the 747 that carries the space shuttle. Can you tell that I'm pleased? The short answer is I like the product and would gladly recommend it to a friend