Hobby drone pilots are quite blessed as they have quite a range of drones to pick from. However, the Blade Nano QX is something that any drone pilot should try for fun. It is basically a great drone with a wide range of features that will satisfy the thirst of hobby drone pilots ranging from beginners, enthusiasts, as well as veteran drone pilots.
As a user, you will also have access to more advanced features and thus, you’ll become more skilled at flying a drone. And, the best part is that, for all the amazing features, you will only have to part with $70. Sounds pretty cool, right?
A word of advice: If you order it in BNF (Bind-N-Fly) version, it doesn’t come with a transmitter. However, it is not that pretentious and you can use your own transmitter, if you have one. For those who order the RTF (Ready-To-Fly) version you will get the transmitter, though it is merely a basic one.
- Features exclusive SAFE™ technology with stability and agility modes
- Small enough to fly in any room or office
- Tough, lightweight airframe with blade guards
- Potent brushed motors that provide smooth and powerful lift. 4-in-1 DSMX Receiver/ESCs/mixer/SAFE sensor unit
Before getting into more details with the Nano QX drone let’s talk a bit about the company that came up with this model. BLADE is a hobby products distribution company, situated in Illinois, which is specifically based in Champaign.
The owner of this company is Horizon Hobby and the Blade range of quadcopters is well-known worldwide for their great features.
For instance, the Blade range was among the first to implement enhanced safety features on their drones and they even have a patented technology called SAFE. This helps in making the flight smoother and risk-free which is a nice touch, especially for beginners.
This micro quad is packaged in RTF version and you will find the following inside the package:
- A pre-bound MLP4DSM DSMX Transmitter which is a 4 channel one with batteries
- A yellow as well as a green canopy
- A 150 mAh flight battery
- A USB battery charger
- An assortment of the spare propellers
Design & durability
The Nano QX is a small drone that is available as a ready to fly model, which implies that all you have to do to get it in the air is fit the batteries, after fully charging them.
The manufacturer chose to adopt a simple design. This is highlighted by the frame which is nothing more than a single piece of plastic and a printed circuit board. The canopy just clips at the top with the batteries having been fit securely beneath it.
The frame is made out of light plastic which is just tough enough to enable this quad to withstand most crashes. This drone weighs about 8.8 oz. and it measures 7.2 by 6.3 by 2.5 inches. All these make it quite suitable for a beginner drone pilot.
Even more, the package usually contains prop guards. They are small pieces of plastic which extend from the frame just beyond the rotating propellers. The significance of these prop guards will be appreciated in case you accidentally fly into obstacles.
They will actually prevent the fast rotating propellers blades from getting into contact with the obstacle. This is meant to protect not only the propellers but also the obstacle.
It is good to note that the prop guards of this drone are not solely foolproof, especially when the Nano QX flips over and hits an object – blades can get caught during this. Also, the prop guards are of no use if you decide to put your finger/s between the blades as the drone is working. This will lead to instant failure.
If you are a beginner, you most likely need a quad that you can easily repair in case it breaks. For the Nano QX you are provided with 4 spare rotor blades as these are the components which are most vulnerable to crushes. There is also a spare canopy and both these components are easy to swap during a repair.
You don’t necessarily need any tools as the rotor blades can be easily pulled off from the drone and slipped back in while the canopy simply snaps back into place.
You also have the option of ordering other spare parts. However, considering that this is an affordable drone, you can opt to buy another one to avoid the hustle in the event of a serious crush.
Since it is quite small, this drone does not support a camera and it doesn’t offer support to mount one separately.
Battery & flight time
The Nano QX uses a small battery – a 150 mAh lithium polymer pack – which powers it for about 7 minutes of flying. You can recharge the battery using the USB charger provided with the drone. This battery takes approximately 25 minutes to fully recharge.
You can conveniently swap the batteries you are using by simply disconnecting the power cable and then sliding it out at the base of the Nano QX and finally reversing that to replace the battery.
This tiny battery won’t last for long but you can get a spare/s which is relatively cheap. A pack of four would go for around $20.
The remote control for this drone has two sticks and kind of looks like Xbox controller. The grip is nice and it fits nicely in your hands. You will also realize that the sticks are also easy to activate.
The left stick of the controller has the aileron control which will help in turning the drone left or right. The right stick is designed for rotating the drone to the left or the right. You can make the Nano QX ascend or descend by using the throttle control and if you wish to switch the drone movement between the up-down of the two sticks, just use the elevator control.
Many users report that the throttle stick can be moved effortlessly making you to easily get the drone to spiral away. The power switch is located between the two sticks and it is meant to help you turn the controller of the Nano QX on or off. If you want to change the sticks’ sensitivity level you can use the buttons around the ring of the stick.
The remote control is powered by 4 AA batteries.
The great thing with the Nano QX is that it can be enjoyed by both beginners and veterans. You can make it climb up or zip around, speeding. You will be amazed by the controller precision as the drone responds swiftly and quickly to commands. However, as a beginner, you will need a bit of time to adjust with the controller.
Just keep in mind that, after you connect the battery, you need to place the drone on a flat surface. Once it is on solid ground, the LED that was flashing up until now, should turn a solid blue.
Even more, just like any Blade drone, the Nano QX is equipped with SAFE technology. This makes the drone hover in case you don’t touch the controls for a while. This enhances the drone’s safety in case you accidentally release the controls thing that usually happens to beginners.
You can disable the SAFE feature by pressing down the left stick but it is advisable that you leave it on if you are not skilled in flying drones.
The controller range is about 40 feet which is pretty adequate for a drone that is to be used indoors most of the time. The lightweight makes it unsuitable for outdoor flights, especially during windy conditions, as it can easily be blown away by the wind. What is worse is that even slight breezes can get it off course during an outdoor flight session.
Value for money & guarantee
The Nano QX is inarguably the best beginner drone out there without a camera. For less than $100 you get a responsive, agile, and fast micro quad which is quite suitable for indoor as well as outdoor flights in calm weather. It features the SAFE technology making it great for beginners.
The manufacturer offers 1 year warranty period from the date of purchase. This doesn’t cover damages occasioned by cosmetics or damage as a result of acts of God, commercial use, accidents, misuse, abuse, or negligence or a modification of any of its parts as well as purchase or repair from unauthorized Hobby Horizon dealers.
Unique features of the Blade Nano QX
The SAFE System
One of the outstanding and innovative features of the Nano QX is the SAFE technology. This makes the drone quite friendly to beginners, as the system provides two different flight modes; agility and stability mode.
When you are in the stability mode, SAFE technology will enable your Nano QX drone to hover automatically in one position when you release the controls. This will be quite handy if you are a beginner who is less experienced or are learning to fly hobby drones. This way you will avoid crashes and damages that would have resulted after a direct collision.
If you want to have maximum control and attain maximum heights with the Nano QX you can switch to agility mode. The latter is more suitable for experienced drone pilots.
The desired versatility for a basic hobby drone
The relatively strong build of this drone makes it to be able to withstand crushes that are quite characteristic for hobby drones. You wouldn’t go wrong with the Nano QX as the only movable parts are the 4 propellers and the design offers a great deal of protection to its props as well as the engine.
Above average flight control for a micro hobby drone
You can fly the Nano QX comfortably indoors even if there is light wind or air displacement from air vents or the HVAC systems. Of course, no one stops you from flying it outside as well. This little guy is able to reach great heights but you should keep it in sight. It is agile and quite responsive and you will enjoy your flight sessions.
Similar models or main competitors
The Syma X5C
This is also a toy drone that is often rated as one of the best basic and small hobby drone. Apart from gyros and accelerometers, which will enable you to auto flip it and stabilize it, this drone doesn’t have any special features. It has, however, a small HD camera which can either be attached or detached with prop guards which can be used when you want.
It is a highly flexible and pretty versatile hobby drone thanks to the 6-axis Gyro stabilization system which enable it to be flown both indoors as well as outdoors. It is considered as a perfect drone if you are a beginner drone pilot or an experienced drone pilot who would wish to add onto his/her fleet of quads.
The flight time is about 7 minutes and the battery is a 500 mAh LiPo model. The control range is about 30 meters and battery charges in about 60 minutes.
Its affordability and ease of operation have made many to fall for it and it offers an experience like no other for beginners. While the flight times of the Syma X5 and the Nano QX are similar, the former has a more powerful battery which means the charging time is comparably longer. To get a better insight in what this model offers, make sure you also read our Syma X5C series review.
The features described here make it similar with the Nano QX, with the main difference being the presence of a camera. Even more, this drone is cheaper compared to the Nano QX.
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The Hubsan X4
This micro drone compares to the Nano QX drone pretty well as they have the same size. Though the Hubsan is cheaper (about half the price of the Nano QX), it comes in 4 different versions with its cheapest version going for about $45. The price is inclusive of all the necessary controllers as well.
The cheapest model, however, doesn’t have an agility mode for the more experienced drone pilots, like the Nano QX does.
It is relatively fast with great maneuverability and 6 LED lights which are controlled with the controller. One of the main differences is that the Hubsan comes equipped with a camera. This makes it somehow better for people who are interested in taking aerial photos during their hobby drone flight sessions. For more details on this model, check out our Hubsan X4 review.
Even more, the Hubsan has an average flight time of about 9 minutes and the battery is a 3.7V 250 mAh lithium polymer model. It will take about 40 minutes to recharge which made most users consider purchasing a second one.
This drone has a good stabilization system and a better flight time, but its battery takes a relatively longer time to charge compared to the Nano QX.
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The Proto X
This is also a pretty tiny quad and it is actually one of the smallest drones in the market. It has 3 gyros, 4 motor speed controllers, 3 accelerometers as well as a radio receiver. Its price is pocket-friendly compared to the Nano QX, going for only $38. It is a fast drone, though many have complained about its inability to do bank turns.
The Proto X is an electric powered 2.4GHz quad which is radio controlled. This RTF drone is recommended for those who are aged 14 years and above and it is meant for indoor flights only. You will notice the front as well as the back of this drone due to the LED lights which also come in handy during low light flights.
The battery is a 100 mAh 3.7V LiPo model and it is inbuilt, implying that you cannot replace it. When fully charged, this battery can give you a flight time of about 10 to 15 minutes and it takes about half an hour to recharge it. If you think that this model is interesting, wait till you read more about it, as well as about other popular micro drone models, in our article about the best micro quadcopters on the market.
Due to the implemented safety measures, the Nano QX is considered better, but it is also pricier. You might enjoy a longer flight time with the Proto X but its undoing is the inability to replace the batteries in place.
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Here are a few more pros and cons of the Blade Nano QX you ought to keep in mind:
- It is a fun to use and responsive micro quad
- Has simple controls as well as the SAFE technology
- The package includes spare blades as well as a canopy
- It has a short battery life and short flight time
- It is very sensitive to wind limiting its outdoor utility
For less than $100 dollar you get to enjoy an agile and pretty responsive drone.
This is a suitable beginner hobby or toy drone and it compares favorably to renowned models such as the Syma and Hubsan X4. You should give it a try.