First thing that you will realize about DBPower X101C is the fact that it is big. Some users even complained that it is too big for flight comfort, but this opinion changed the moment the drone took off.
Despite the fact that it is a rather big drone to begin with, this neat quadrocopter is also very light and stable. It might give the illusion of instability, but, if assembled right and if the instructions are followed to the letter, there should be no problem when flying this bad boy.
The second thing that you’ll notice right off the bat is the price tag, which already has people scratching their heads. Usually, a drone that ticks most of the feature boxes is expected to be around 1000$. However the X101C is just a couple of hundred dollars.
- 3D Split Screen Display: Compatible with 3D VR HEADSET on MJX FPV APP
- Headless Mode: usually, the forward direction of a flying multi-rotor is the same as the nose direction
- FPV Real Time Transmission: equipped with the 1MP 720P camera
- Left/Right Throttle Control Switch Mode: This copter has 4 control modes for selection
Upon closer inspection we can see why:
- Even though it comes with its own camera, and even an SD card for you to play around with, the resolution is within the medium range.
- The drone itself might be sporting a nice aerodynamic and sleek design, an integrated camera, various secondary improvements and features, but nothing else is really being brought to the table here.
At the end of the day it is a simple camera drone, sturdy reliable, big and stable, with an affordable price.
The X101C’s packaging is pretty basic but it gets the job done. It’s a cardboard box inside of which a split Styrofoam casing houses the actual drone parts and components.
Inside the box you will find:
- 2 x set of 4 propellers
- 1 x battery
- 1 x battery charger
- 1 x electrical adaptor
- 1 x set of tools (1 tools in total) that will help you with the minimal maintenance work that this drone requires every now and again
- 1 x transmission cable
- 1 x transmitter
- 1 x drone body
- 1 x set of propeller guards
- 1 x set of drone feet
- 1 x SD card
- 1 x card reader / adapter unit
- 1 x camera
- 1 x manual complete with assembly instructions
Remember that this is just the base kit – the standard, if you would. So, even though it already comes with a spare set of propellers, you can still buy spare parts if you want. One of the most popular choices here is a second or even third battery, to increase the flight time.
Even though the flight time is long enough for its bracket, there are a lot of drone pilots out there that opt for 1 or 2 extra batteries along with the one that comes in the kit.
Design and durability
One of the key features of this drone is its design, which is easily identifiable, especially when it comes down to the actual shape and look of the drone.
First off, it’s a big drone, almost double the size of standard drones, and especially bigger than the other drones in its price bracket.
However, the X101C is not packing proportionally bigger propellers. It is true that the propellers are slightly bigger than the standard quadrocopter drone propellers, but they are not as big as one would expect. This is because the body of the drone is incredibly lightweight.
The thing that sets this drone apart from the rest is represented by the propeller guards. These, in case of a rough landing and even a crash, are able to protect the propellers and take some if not all the impact stress and distribute it along the frame.
One last thing to notice here is the sleek and narrow body of the drone. Even though this is a big drone, the actual body is quite small, housing only the circuit board and the various wires and connectors along with the battery and camera mounting gimbal and bracket.
That being said, the shape is rather distinct: its narrow size allowed designers to work with the body and mold it into something that can easily be distinguished. It also allows the pilot to figure out which end is which without having to rely on different lights or different colored propellers.
The camera implemented on the X101C is a Hawkeye III 720p, capable providing HD-ready footage and 1megapixel resolution photos.
The camera also has a smartphone app that allows you to see what the camera sees in flight as well as split-screen 3D support for virtual reality head gear.
Battery and flight time
Here is where the X101C comes in a little bit short. The battery that the drone comes with in the standard kit is a 7.4V 1200mAh Lithium Battery. This, as you may well know, is a slightly smaller than average drone battery, which is not able to carry a normal charge.
Combine this with the max carry capacity of the drone and its motor, and the results can be quite worrying.
With the carrying capacity that is the direct result of its frame and the amount of air that is being pushed in order to make the drone fly, the X101C has a flight time, while fully loaded, of about 8 and 10 minutes.
The controller is a modified MJX model, which comes with a lot of advantages that not all other controllers have. It also has its own set of distinctive features.
- First and foremost, it is completely customizable, to the point where you can set which control is the throttle. This works quite well with left-handed people.
- Second, it comes with a small attachment where you can place your smartphone in order to connect it to the drone’s camera and watch the video that the camera captures while the drone is in flight.
There are a few drawbacks with this controller, but by far the biggest problem is that the controls are too easy to remove and sometimes simply fall off and get lost in the car, the trunk, the office and wherever you might keep it.
Another drawback is the fact that this controller has a small problem when setting the drone on expert mode. When you try to throttle over 90 it will usually cause the drone to flip over. One nice workaround this issue is to keep the drone on Medium settings and not bank too hard when taking turns.
The X101C is a great drone when it comes to flying. Because of its large and at the same time light frame, it is able to take advantage of a wider flow of air, and combined with the slightly larger propellers, the drone is as stable as it can be. It corners wonderfully, the acceleration is nice and smooth, and the stopping and landing maneuvers can be executed without a problem.
One thing that really comes into play here is the design of the drone. You can download an app on your smartphone that will allow you access to the camera on your phone via Wi-Fi. This way you can fly it like you would in a simulator on your computer in first person mode.
Of course, if you want, you can simply look at it and be able to tell which part is which without having to need special light markers and different colored propellers.
There are a few issues with its flight performance when fully loaded though, and as soon as you load it up with anything heavier than a standard Go-Pro it starts acting out.
Value for money and guarantee
One thing needs to be made clear here: this is not the perfect ultimate drone, nor is it the best of its kind. It has a few problems and a few issues, as well as workarounds and fixes in order to get it to perform a bit better than originally designed.
With that in mind, you will not have to become and aeronautical engineer in order to make it decent. Still, you should have a few basic notions of using a screwdriver and some other hand tools.
It is, however, worth mentioning that the drone itself is worth around $200 on the current market, so it is actually one of the cheapest drones out there. Sure, compared to a top end drone this one is unappealing to say the least. However, this is not designed to be the top of the bracket, in fact this can easily be labeled as an entry-level or even a gateway drone, designed to get people into flying.
With that in mind, despite the issues that it might have, because of its price tag and the fact that it will give you a lot of hours of fun the X101C is actually a great deal with great value for money. Even more, it will contribute to your projects and even help you get those special shots every now and again.
In regards to getting your money back, the drone comes with the standard warranty and warranty conditions. In case there are technical flaws that stem from the fabrication and manufacturing processes, the manufacturer will either refund your money or ship a brand new drone to you.
The X101C has a few unique features when compared to other drones in its price bracket as well as performance level.
- First and foremost it is among the first drones out there to have split-screen 3D support which is compatible with VR devices and head gear.
- Second, even though they are not exactly a unique feature on the market as a whole, having propeller guards in this price bracket is something that is rare to say the least.
- Third, the design of the body makes it very easy to tell which side is which just by looking at it.
Similar models or main competitors
Cheerwing Syma X5HW-1
The Syma X5HW-1 is a drone that, just like the X101C, is in the more affordable price bracket. However, it manages to bring its own advantages to the table. First and foremost, due to the frame build and design, the drone itself is very agile and at the same time stable in flight.
This drone falls a bit short, compared to the X101C, when it comes down to aerodynamics because of the frame design which adds a bit more drag to the flight.
The camera’s mounting bracket is also dampened around its base, compensating for any vibrations or any stress that usually occurs with other drones, especially during tight turns and when the drone levels out.
However, the place where this drone falls short is battery life and this is something we can also see in the X101C. The average flight time with the Syma X5HW-1 is only about 10 minutes, and it is shortened with every aerial stunt and maneuver that makes the motor and the propellers over-solicit themselves.
One last disadvantage that this drone brings to the table is that the maintenance work. This device must be taken care of in order to keep it running properly, and this is quite hard to do because of the design.
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This is probably one of the most hilarious and fun drones on the market, simply because of the fact that it looks like a flying saucer.
Make no mistake about it, it is a drone, and it is a sensitive piece of equipment, not a toy. However, at the same time, its visual appearance makes for some really fun and joke filled times.
One of the key elements that distinguish this drone from the X101C is its flying saucer design. It’s made to feel more like a novelty item and a fun to use toy whereas the X101C is a more down to earth, straight to business kind of drone.
When comparing this drone to the X101C in regards to flight time, we see a bit of a similarity. However because the design allows for extra batteries (if the wiring is altered properly) the U845 pulls ahead of the X101C in terms of flight time.
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XuanLei Headless Mode
Unlike most of the drones on the market, the XuanLei drone is a hexacopter, meaning that the drone has 6 propellers and the quantity of air moved around by the drone is larger than normal.
One thing to note about this drone is the fact that it does not exactly excel at sharper turns and aerial stunts like the X101C does. However, the level of stability that this drone brings to the table is almost unimaginable and far surpassing the capabilities of the X101C in that department.
Another great thing about this drone is the fact that, because of the 6 propellers that it is sporting, it is able to compensate for harsh weather and rough winds. This means that you would be able to capture some great footage even in weather that would ground most quadrocopters, including the X101C.
One last thing to note about this hexacopter is the resilience that it is able to pack. It can deal with a lot of stress and a lot of wear and tear.
One last thing to note here is the fact that the XuanLei drone falls a bit short in comparison to the X101C when it comes to both flight time and maximum weight that can be put on it. Because of the 6 propellers that it sports it requires a bigger charge and a bigger battery, thus hindering the drone and causing it to fall behind from this point of view.
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Let us discuss some pros and cons of this machine.
- A nice neat design that allows you to keep track of which end is which without the need for special lights and colors.
- It sports propeller guards, protecting the propellers and preventing them from breaking.
- It allows the pilot to watch the footage that is being captured midflight through the actual camera on a smartphone.
- A flight time of only 8-10 minutes
- The controls on the controller tend to be too lose and fall off
- The camera records in only 720p.
In conclusion, the X101C is an affordable, easy to use, set up and fly. Because of the added protection around the propellers and the ease of flight that the drone is capable of achieving, it is a great starting drone for inexperienced pilots that want to get into flying drones.
That being said, if you have a budget of only a couple hundred dollars the X101C is the perfect choice for you.