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Quad Squad

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It’s amazing to see the fun and excitement that quadcopters bring to everyday life. Hardly a day goes by that you don’t see something on TV mentioning drones, robotic multirotors, and other commercial and military remote-controlled flying vehicles. Though some of the larger quadcopters and drones require assembly, the mini and micro sets, for the most part, are ready to fly straight out of the box.  Advancements in both the electronics and the on-board stabilization systems have allowed these small drones to be easily carried anywhere, and some even fit in your pocket. If you haven’t flown one of these small four-corner hovering machines yet, and you want to join the multirotor craze, this article is for you.

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Top Left:
Align M424
Align  |  alignrcusa.com  |  $39.99

 Highlights
-> 3-axis gyro stabilization system
-> Supports iPhone/Android as controller (optional)
-> Very easy to fly
-> Very easy to fly

 Flight comments
“Great for both indoor and outdoor flying. Fully charged battery provides a decent amount of flight time.”

Lower Left:
AirHogs Elite Helix X4 Stunt
Spin Master Intl.  |  spinmaster.com  |  $79.99

 Highlights
-> Very easy to fly
-> Charges from controller or using USB cable (included)
-> Extremely rugged and crash resistant

Flight comments 
“Nice stability and response. Has a selectable 3-function “flip” button.”

Top Right:
Blade Ultra Micro 180 QX HD
Horizon Hobby  |  horizonhobby.com  |  $149.99 (BNF); $179.99 (RTF)

 Highlights
-> Includes transmitter-controlled in-flight video camera
-> Excellent stability and agility flight modes
-> Easy transmitter setup for BNF version

Flight comments
“Both versions have excellent performance indoors and outdoors. Very good video quality.”

Lower Right:
Ares Ethos DX 130
Firelands  |  firelandsgroup.com  |  $39.99

Highlights
-> 3-axis gyro stabilization system
-> Different accessories, including camera, rocket-launcher, water-blaster, winch with basket, and bubble machine
-> Automatic flip mode

Flight comments
“Good performance with some nice lifting capabilities. A great indoor and outdoor quad to fly around. Includes a flip mode for aerobatic fun.”

 

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 Top Left:
Blade
Nano QX BNF
Horizon Hobby  |  horizonhobby.com  |  $69.99

 Highlights
-> SAFE technology with stability and agility modes
-> Includes yellow and green canopies and extra rotor blades
-> Excellent stability and response

Flight comments
“Requires compatible 4+ channel transmitter. It is very easy to control in stability mode and is constantly stable. In agility mode, fun tricks are easy to perform.” 

Top Right:
Heli-Max 1Si
Hobbico  |  hobbico.com  |  $99.98; $139.98 (w/camera)

 Highlights:
-> Actual Direction Control feature
-> Return to Pilot feature
-> Available with and without camera

 Flight comments:
“Very easy to fly and hover. Actual Direction Control makes it easy to control the model regardless of where it is pointed. Braking feature brings 1Si back to hover and makes flying very easy. Return to Pilot feature is very cool.”

Lower Left:
Estes Proto X Nano
Hobbico  |  hobbico.com   |  $39.99

 Highlights
-> Smallest quadcopter available today
-> One-piece PC board acts as the main frame and motor outriggers
-> Both the quadcopter and included transmitter easily fit in your pocket

 Flight comments
“Given its micro size, it is very easy to control and has good duration. Should only be flown in calm conditions, or indoors.”

Center + Lower Left:
Heli-Max 1SQ / 1SQ V-Cam
Hobbico  |  hobbico.com  |  $99.98 (1SQ); $129.99 (1SQ V-Cam)

Highlights
-> Excellent stability and response
-> Easy to set up
-> V-Cam version includes video camera

Flight comments
“Available ready to fly or transmitter-ready, both versions are rugged and have excellent flight stability and performance. Very good flight duration.”

 

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 Top Left:
HobbyKing Q-Bot
HobbyKing  |  hobbyking.com  |  $39.99

 Highlights
-> 3-axis gyro stabilization
-> Ultra stable flight characteristics
-> Four selectable flight modes

 Flight comments
“Good indoor and outdoor flyer with good lifting capabilities. Includes four selectable flight modes to suit its pilot’s skills.”

Top Right:
HPHeli Quad RTF
Hobby People  | hobbypeople.net  |  $99.99

 Highlights 
-> On-board video camera included
-> Rugged design
-> 6-axis stabilization

 Flight comments 
“This ready-to-fly quadcopter is easy to fly for both beginners and experienced pilots. Two pre-programmed flight modes give the ability to set up the HPHeli Quad for beginners and indoor flying, or for advanced, responsive outdoor performance. Bright LEDs allow night flying and a built-in 640×480 camera comes with a 1GB Memory Card.”

Center:
LaTrax Alias
LaTrax  |  latrax.com  |  $149.95

  Highlights
-> Three flight modes: Easy, Fast, and Expert
-> Auto-leveling 6-axis flight system
-> Extremely durable

 Flight comments
“Excellent response and flight stability. Easy-to-use switches let you do “flip” aerobatics. Very tough and durable — it can really take a beating without breaking.”

 
By: Team Rotordrone
Photos by: Peter Hall

 

 

Updated: December 9, 2014 — 7:27 pm
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