Good bang for the buck
This is a zippy little quadcopter that's a lot of fun and very affordable.
Quadcopters and drones come in all shapes and sizes. Few are as small as this one, though. The Hubsan x4 H107L is definitely the smallest drone I have tried out—and that has both pros and cons.
The Hubsan x4 is tiny—especially after playing with the DJI Phantom2 (that review is coming soon). It is barely larger than a small bird and fits in the palm of your hand. The actual dimensions are 4.6 x 2.3 x 1.3 inches. Weighing in at a mere 3.5 ounces you hardly know it’s there when you’re holding it.
Power and Operation
On a full charge the Hubsan x4 will flit about for around for just under 10 minutes. It takes about 30 minutes to get it fully charged again once you plug it in.
It operates on the 2.4GHz frequency range. The controlled has 6-axis flight control, and the quadcopter is capable of flipping in four directions.
I wasn’t immediately impressed when I first removed the x4 quadcopter from the box. The weight of the device made it feel cheap, and the way the power wiring just hangs loosely gave me the impression that maybe something was broken or had fallen off.
I got over both of those issues as I started to use and understand the device.
The wires were strange to me, but nothing was broken. They were hanging out by design. You charge the x4 using the one side of the wiring. When you want to fly it you connect the two sides together to complete the circuit and tuck the wires out if sight.
The small size and light weight mean that I can safely fly the drone around the house. There is still some potential to knock something down if you’re not careful, but it’s so light that crashing it into the walls or ceiling doesn’t really have any effect—other than possibly damaging the rotors on the quadcopter.
Hubsan knows that you’re likely to damage the rotors at some point so the box includes one extra pair, and you can buy a crash pack that even includes a spare body frame and battery for less than $20. The Hubsan x4 is surprisingly resilient, but it’s nice to know that it’s OK if you damage it because you can easily replace broken parts.
I tried to just fire it up and take it for a spin but that didn’t go very well. Just getting it to go straight up rather than veering off into a wall was a challenge. It wasn’t the fault of the Hubsan drone, though—just a matter of RTFM (Read the [insert expletive hear]manual). Once my son actually looked at the directions and figured out how to calibrate it first I was able to actually fly it without crashing (too much).
The x4 is zippy and the controls are sensitive. It took a little getting used to before I was able to maneuver without careening wildly about the house. As noted above I did crash a few times and eventually did some damage to one of the rotors. Thankfully I had extra so I was back in business in a few minutes.
One thing I haven’t yet mastered is flipping. The Hubsan x4 is supposed to be able to flip in four directions and I’ve seen videos of people doing pretty awesome aerial acrobatics with the drone. Apparently that takes more practice. I was happy to be able to fly it in a relatively straight line and land it without breaking anything.
I only flew this drone inside my house. There is no reason you can’t fly it outside, but I would caution against trying to fly it in strong winds. I have seen other reviews that suggest it can hold its own, though, and is capable of handling windy conditions.
Whether or not this is the right drone for you depends on what you want a drone for. It doesn’t have a camera (The Hubsan x4 H107C model does have a camera) and its small size imposes other limits on it as well. The battery life is pretty short, and it’s not capable of flying to higher altitudes that larger drones can reach.
If you just want to have some fun—and maybe master how to make the thing to acrobatic flips—this is an excellent drone for less than $50.